Students from Lancing and Detmold: Friends for 45 years

German language exchange

German language exchange - Credit: Archant

This year, Lancing College celebrates the 45th anniversary of its German exchange.

The long tradition started in 1970 with two school masters when Michael Power, a German teacher from Lancing, spent a term teaching at the Gymnasium Leopoldinum in Detmold, North Rhine-Westphalia. In return, Peter Jentsch joined the Common Room at Lancing and the idea of the student exchange for the following year was born.

Donald Tyson, a former Lancing teacher, took the first group of students to Detmold in 1971 and in subsequent years. He is delighted that the exchange is still going strongly. “We were very lucky to find ourselves partnered with Detmold. It is safer than the large German cities and has a surprising number of sights. In the early years, I accompanied about 25-30 boys, mostly in their second year. In those days the journey to Detmold was mildly horrific: minibus to Shoreham station, train to Victoria, underground to Liverpool Street station, train to Harwich, steamer to the Hook of Holland, train to Bünde in Germany, another train to Herford and a final train to Detmold. Seven changes and just one accompanying master!”

Dr Mark Palmer, a current German teacher at Lancing, has been involved over three decades: “Hundreds of Lancing and Detmold students have had the unique opportunity to discover one another’s family and school lives; and close friendships have been forged. Highlights for Lancing pupils have been: walking up to the Hermannsdenkmal in the Teutoburger Wald in the snow, whilst re-enacting the famous ancient battle with teachers taking the part of the Romans and students the Germanic tribes; Currywurst and Detmold beer; excursions to Berlin, Hamburg, Paderborn and Cologne; and even the early starts in German schools. On one occasion, Lancing students were taken into former East Germany, shortly after the Wall came down, to visit Weimar and Buchenwald.”

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Sergei Drozdov, Head of Modern Languages and German at Lancing, currently runs the exchange programmes with Gymnasium Leopoldinum: “I am proud to continue such a long tradition of school exchanges. We are one of very few schools in the country where such trips are still run, despite national trends of subject decline. Our students have a fantastic opportunity to improve their language skills on these visits and to learn about Germany’s culture and traditions outside the classroom.”

The 2016 Exchange

Fifteen students from Detmold, accompanied by two teachers, will be at Lancing from 6-11 June, with a busy programme of cultural visits around Sussex, as well as attending lessons and experiencing the extra-curricular life of the College. Lancing students will visit Detmold from 24-30 June.

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