Nebelswall 1 - 33602 Bielefeld
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By Mathis Prestel, Year 9

On 12th October, we left Bielefeld to experience England and especially Abingdon. It was a very exciting time with lots of adventures and fun. But I do not want to anticipate anything. When we arrived in Abingdon, we were all very tired, because we had already left at half past five in the morning that day. But there was not much time to relax, we had to go to school the next day. After a short night (some of us were supposed to get up at six a.m.) most of us enjoyed the English way of school. After a more or less short time in the common room ( the school is subdivided into houses, every house has an own common room, where everyone can play pool or do the remaining homework for the day), we went to the lessons with our partners.

The English style of education is very different to the German one. The teacher speaks during the whole lesson and everyone has to be quiet. Some of the classrooms were full, so we had to stay in the common rooms and played pool or listened to music most of the time.

On the next day we went on a trip to Bath. Mr. Revill, an English German teacher came with us. Bath is such a beautiful city with many impressing sights, like the Roman Baths or the Royal Crescent. Some people actually say that it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. After one normal school day and the extraordinary experience of a school without girls we went to Oxford, where we were able to visit Keble College, led around by two students of German.

The next day there was no school but again a trip, not to Oxford, but to Portsmouth. We visited some ships, the "Warrior", a two-hundred-year-old ship, which has never taken part in a battle, and the "HMS Victory", the ship of Lord Nelson, who was the man that beat Napoleon in such away that Napoleon had to give up a bit later. At the following weekend we did something with our partners' families; some of us went to London and some of us just stayed at home. On Monday we had again just a normal school day. On our last full day in England we made a trip to Oxford again, to visit Christ Church College, where the " Harry Potter" films were made. And the next day was already our last day in Great Britain. To conclude I can say that our trip to England was at least a great experience that nobody would want to miss.

By Anne Bittner, Year 9

Some girls of 9a-c visited St Helen's School from 12th until 22nd October 2008. We all enjoyed the trip very much; our partners and host families were very nice and kind. (Even the teachers were okay!)

The school is a very large building, actually there are lots of buildings (a new library is being built at the moment). At the beginning we lost our way in lots of staircases, corridors, halls, rooms,... There are very modern computer rooms, a small theatre, a large sport complex, a chapel, an assembly hall and lots of other rooms, such as the Old School Hall where we met before excursions. We visited Oxford, Bath, Avebury and Portsmouth. That was sometimes nice and interesting and sometimes quite boring...

Well, the school. In the morning we went to the classrooms with our exchange partners. First the teachers always checked attendance. Then the whole class went to assembly silently. (Well, everyone was supposed to be silent but actually...)

At assembly there were short presentations and musical performances. Moreover they showed pictures and short films, for instance one about Columbus on the anniversary of the discovery of America. But on Tuesday there was a short religious service in the chapel with musical performances too (songs), prayers,...

Afterwards classes began. They nearly always had double lessons without breaks in between except after lessons 2 and 6. Lunch was after lesson 4 (There was a large cafeteria; the food was not very tasty but okay...). The pupils —and we— had school till 4.00 p.m. and after that they often had other activities like sports, orchestra, drama etc. Most of the pupils had a long way hone on the school bus, sometimes for more than an hour! So you got home at 5.00 p.m. at the earliest. And then you have to do lots of homework! It is always a very tiring day, I think, more tiring than here. (But you can sleep longer in the morning: School starts only at 9.00 a.m.)

Yes, some things are very different, not only the school uniform (a red or grey sweater, a blouse with red or green stripes and a grey skirt). Perhaps the rules are stricter but it is like here: Not everyone sticks to the rules... The lessons are sometimes as boring as here, quite normal, I think. But people are very kind (as I said) and they actually always say "sorry", "please" and "thank you" (You say "thank you" to the bus driver, too, when you leave the bus!)!!!

All in all, it was a great experience! I hope the English pupils will like Bielefeld as much as we enjoyed the ten days in Abingdon.