How we spent our time on the Gloucester Exchange
In the November of 2017 a group of forty students and two teachers –Mr. Martin and Mrs. Hajgato- went to Gloucester for the 40th annual Gloucester Exchange.
In the evening of Wednesday the 1st of November we arrived in Gloucester and first met our exchange families. We were warmly welcomed and had a nice dinner. The next day we went to Bristol to see the “Clifton Suspension Bridge” and the “S.S.Great Britain”. Then we went for a walk through Bristol on which we saw street art. One of the artists was the world famous Banksy. It was quite exciting to see the places that are described in our English school books.
On Friday we visited Gloucester. After a meeting with the mayor of Gloucester and a photo shooting with the fancy clothes and accessories the mayor wears we explored the city centre on our own. Then we visited Gloucester cathedral in which scenes for three Harry Potter films were filmed. We got to know how much effort it is to produce even trivial scenes.
After a weekend with our exchange families we went to Croft Farm together with our exchange partners. Croft Farm Water Park is an outdoor experience park near a lake and a river that has its own climbing place, its own kettcar racing track and of course its own boats. The diversity of activities reaches from paddling in a canoe-catamaran to wrestling in fat suits.
On Tuesday we went to London. After a long bus trip we reached the capital of the United Kingdom. The London Eye was our first stop. Surprisingly we convinced everyone to come on this absolutely safe Ferris wheel that had no accidents till now. The important part is the “till now”. Then we had a very short and basic city tour we rushed from the House of Parliament to Westminster Abbey and from there to Buckingham Palace nearly without stopping. We even had no time to visit London Tower and Tower Bridge. Then we had about three hours for ourselves which of course we knew how to fill. But wouldn’t it make much more sense to spend more time on the important things to see in London, on the atmosphere, on its beauty and not on shopping and hot chocolate?
Our last day in England we finally spent in class with our exchange students. Of course, the English wanted to entertain us so they let the fire alarm go. After this we noticed how different English classes can be. For instance, in English Literature two or three people read the book loudly and the others listen. After three hours in school our bus already came and we left Sir Thomas Rich’s School for the last time.
The exchange was a very good experience for us. I had a really good time. My exchange family was very nice and took care of me. But it would be even nicer if we could spend more time with our exchange partners during the exchange. Of course we spent the weekend and the afternoons with them and we sometimes even met in smaller groups but I think our English would improve even more if we had more chances to speak English during the day.
Frederik Schittkowski and Zoe Szagun