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Magical Christmas Trips 2015

A taste of Christmas culture in Germany

In December 2015, pupils from Mayhill Junior School and mentor students from Robert May's school in Hampshire took part in a four-day visit to Berlin to meet children from Germany and explore German culture, history, school life and Christmas traditions. The combination of seasonal excitement and intercultural activities made for a highly successful visit.

Prior to the trip, the primary pupils attended regular sessions at school run by their mentors to find out about Christmas in Germany and learn some new German words and phrases in preparation for the visit and for meeting their peers at the German primary school.

During the visit, the mentors helped to guide the children through the various programme activities, such as the school visit, the advent craft workshops and the Christmas markets. They also delved into Berlin's history at the Story of Berlin Museum, as well as through visits to the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie and the Holocaust memorial.

Working within this primary-secondary structure meant that the mentors had the opportunity to develop their language and leadership skills and that the experience was even more enjoyable for the primary pupils as they were able to connect with young people of a different age and from a different school.

At the Berlin primary school, the Mayhill pupils made some new German friends and got involved in lots of joint activities, such as crafting, singing and Christmas games. The two primary schools have now set up a new UK-German link and are looking forward to future projects together.

To round the visit off, on their return to school, the pupils will share their experiences in the form of assemblies, displays and newsletters with other students, parents and the wider community to highlight the impact of their UK-German activities and show just how magical German Christmas culture is.

"We went to the Christmas markets and saw some amazing sights and some beautiful lights."
Amelie, Year 6

"I was really excited about meeting German children and seeing what it is like at their school. I made four friends there."
Amelie, Year 6

"We went to the Museum of Berlin and I learnt lots of history."
Liam, Year 6

"We made Christmas cards with the German pupils. They wrote 'Merry Christmas' and we wrote 'Frohe Weihnachten'."
Thomas, Year 6

"I really enjoyed the preparation for the trip as we got to create and give lessons for the students, which hopefully they enjoyed as much as we did!"
Bethany, year 11

"The best part about being a mentor was teaching the year 6 pupils German and talking to them. I could already see some future language students!"
Maddy, year 11