8 May 2023
On Thursday 30 March, 22 Armstrong Creek students learning German in Year 10/11 and four staff members departed on our inaugural visit to our new sister school, the Gymnasium Trossingen in the south west of Germany.
Over three weeks, the students learned about a new culture, improved their language skills, grew in independence and resilience, and made many new friends.
While the students stayed in host families, we undertook exciting day trips together: for example, we learned about traditional life 400 years ago in the ‘Vogtsbauernhöfe’ in the Black Forest. Exploring the mighty castle of Germany’s once most inﬂuential Hohenzollern dynasty, we imagined life as a knight in the Middle Ages. As we walked through the picturesque town of Tübingen (with 1/3 of its population consisting of university students) many of our group started contemplating the idea of returning one day to study at the famous university which was founded in 1477.
Another destination was Rottweil, not only home to the ‘Rottweiler’ dog, but also a ﬂourishing city for nearly 2000 years: we looked at an original mosaic in a Roman bath house, learned about the medieval layout of the city, and visited a (Catholic) Gothic and a (Lutheran) Baroque church. Being surrounded by so much history was a mind-blowing experience.
In the last week of our stay, students attended classes with their host siblings and found out that school in Germany is a very different experience: the school day starts at 7.30 am (a big challenge) and varies greatly in length; depending on the learning stream some days ﬁnish at 5.30 pm. Our students helped out in different English classes and had a lot of fun. Overall, the trip was well beyond what we expected. We were all welcomed with such warmth and kindness that saying goodbye to our new friends was heartbreaking.
Our Head of College Ms Jill Lange-Mohr and the Principal of the Gymnasium Trossingen, Herr Markus Eisele, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between our two schools, paving the way for a long-term sister school relationship that will hopefully engage a large number of German learners at GLC over the next years. But at the moment, we cannot wait for the return visit of our friends to Geelong over Easter 2024!