Sheringham High School forges link with students in Germany

Nineteen German students had a taste of high school life on the north Norfolk coast, as part of an exchange visit organised by Sheringham modern languages teacher Clare Hayes and her counterpart Sally Ost, from Dierdorf, near Koblenz.

The two teachers struck up a friendship after meeting a few years ago and came up with the idea of re-starting an exchange programme between their two schools.

'We did have a successful French exchange some years ago but, for the past three years, we have just been having a one-day visit from German students, so we decided to get it up and running again,' Miss Hayes said.

After spending their first day at Sheringham getting to know their English counterparts' families, the German students were treated to a welcome reception at the high school, hosted by library manager Alex Steward.

They spent the morning in lessons, before touring the town and seafront, with other itinerary highlights of their week-long trip including a visit to Norwich Castle, followed by shopping in the city centre.

Sheringham students were travelling to Dierdorf for a return visit this week and the two schools are planning to make the exchange an annual feature of the high school calendar.

'Besides the obvious language skills benefits, exchange visits allow students to experience a different culture,' Miss Hayes said. 'They form lasting friendships, improve their social skills, and it is inspiring when they are back in lessons and realise it is a lot more than just a text book.'

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Ms Ost, whose family lives at Sheringham, added that exchanges broke down cultural barriers. 'It takes young people out of their comfort zone and they get to know themselves in a completely different way which can influence their whole lives,' she said.