The Hamburg Exhange 2014 Report

In the October half term a group of Remove students travelled to Hamburg for the second leg of the UCS/Heinrich-Heine Gymnasium annual German exchange trip. Our exchange partners had already spent a week with us in September, so we had all been able to find out about their families and a bit about their daily routines, including crucial details like what time they had to get up in the mornings for school!

We weren't stepping completely therefore into the unknown as our partners had done on their visit to London. After a trouble-free journey we arrived in Hamburg and were greeted by our host families at the airport. As it was a Friday evening, we were scheduled to spend the weekend with our families, meeting up again on the Saturday night for a big group dinner. My exchange partner, Cedric, took me to the centre of Hamburg, and was very excited to show me the Hamburg Dungeons. It was much as I expected it to be until we came to the "thrill" at the end of the visit - the "death drop" which was supposed to replicate the drop that a hanged person would experience - not something I'd ever wondered about, but now I know! It was fun to meet up as a group and go bowling in the evening and swap stories and listen to everyone's individual experiences of Hamburg.

On Sunday Cedric and I visited the famous Miniatur Wunderland, a model railway which covers four floors and is like a mini world, incorporating many different scenes, one of my favourites being an airport with working miniature planes taking off and landing - there was amazing attention to detail. I wasn't surprised to find out it is one of Hamburg's most popular tourist attractions.

Once the weekend was over, our UCS group all met at the train station on the Monday morning for a trip to Berlin and from that point on we were all sharing the same activities and timetable. For the remainder of the week, we spent some time in classes with our exchange partners, watched a play in our host school, toured Hamburg and even went inside the magnificent town hall, as well as a few shopping centres! We also ventured out on trips as well; these included one to Lübeck (famous for its marzipan) and a full day trip to Berlin which we all thoroughly enjoyed. We ended the exchange with a final group night out to one of best restaurants in Hamburg and a tradition of the exchange; Blockhaus!

Our time in Hamburg went by in a flash and we all made the most of the opportunity to practise our spoken German. We are very grateful to our host families for their hospitality and to Mr Underwood and Mr Bienias for organising such an enjoyable and educational exchange.

Matthew Shinder