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KHS Pupils visit partner school in Germany

As part of the newly established exchange scheme with Gymnasium Mellendorfnear Hannover in Germany, eleven Year 11 pupils as well as one Sixth Form pupil , accompanied by their teachers Miss Buller and Mr Pobloth, travelled to the region of Lower Saxony in the north of Germany from the 20th to 27th of September. First contact between the two schools was established in 2019 prior to the Covid pandemic and this year saw the first group from Kilkeel High School make the journey. The exchange was partly funded by a grant from UK-German Connections and allowed for a memorable encounter between young people from different cultural backgrounds. The German exchange co-ordinator Mr Sassenberg and his KHS counterpart Mr Pobloth had carried out the exchange partner matching in December 2022 and the German group had already come to visit Kilkeel in June 2023 as the first leg of the exchange. Similar to the time in Kilkeel the second leg of the exchange in Germany saw the group partake in a series of communication workshops, which combined aspects of the high school’s anti-bullying ambassador scheme with the ‘conflict intervention approach’ from Hannover. The sessions were developed and delivered by Gymnasium Mellendorf’s teacher Mrs Pobloth, who also happens to be the sister of the KHS co-ordinator. Similar to Kilkeel High School, Gymnasium Mellendorf is located in a rural area on the edges of the Hannover region. Beyond the workshops, the exchange group undertook visits to Wolfsburg Autostadt (the home of the Volkswagen production line), the historic city of Goslar with its Ore Mine Museum, the famous Hannover Zoo, and the local ice rink. The KHS pupils were hosted by the German families of their exchange partners for the week and during the weekend the families undertook excursions with their KHS guests. After the final workshops and evaluation session on Tuesday the group finally returned flying back from Hamburg Airport. The group had been warmly welcomed by the German families and was well-looked after by their hosts. The KHS pupils had a memorable time, and the co-ordinators are already making plans for the next exchange, which will be open to pupils in Year 10.