Rufus Constable

Hamburg Exchange 2010

In early October 2010, a party of 11 intrepid UCS German students, accompanied by Mr Underwood, Dr Plow and Mr Doran boarded an aeroplane at Luton Airport, bound for the north German city of Hamburg. Although we had been in contact with our partners via e-mail, we all had a feeling of apprehension as we were nervous to meet the people we would be living with for the next seven days.
When we arrived I was blown away by the way they welcomed complete strangers. We were all whisked away from the airport before any of us had said “Guten Abend”. When I arrived at my family’s house, it was already as if we had known each other for years, due to the fervour of the conversation in the car. Everybody had so many questions, and they stretched my modest German speaking capabilities to the extreme. After an enjoyable evening of games and a delicious meal, it was off to bed, because there would be an early start the next day.
We were at the train station by 7:00 local time, the British contingent bleary eyed and half a sleep, and the rest of the party finding it extremely funny that we were so tired. The day commenced with a tour around Hamburg by bus, which was a great opportunity to see the city, but also to get to know our German counterparts. After that we went on a boat trip around the city’s famous Docklands. That evening we had a party at another exchange partner's house. This was really great fun and we all really enjoyed it, and we left feeling like we had made some new friends.
The week held much in store for us, we went on many day trips to famous and not so famous destinations, which included Berlin, Lübeck and of course the Heinrich Heine Gymnasium School. It was amazing to get a sample of the culture of such a wonderful country, the epitome of this was the sampling of Currywurst, a German delicacy that had reached near cult status among us, for reasons none of us can fathom.
By the end of the week we were all firm friends, and we rounded off the week with a wonderful meal in a restaurant, where we laughed with our exchanges like old friends. It was a great way to end the week. And as we boarded the plane to return to the UK, we all couldn’t wait for the return leg in London, which was equally such a success. We’d like to say thank you to Mr Underwood and Dr Plow for organising the trip.