Students pay exchange visit

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A GROUP of college students have returned home from Germany after taking part in an ongoing exchange programme with their European counterparts.

East Durham College paid for 15 students to spend two weeks with Stattliche Fachoberschule und Berufsoberschule School in Altötting, Bavaria, as part of an exchange programme which is now in its 20th year.

As well as enjoying the main attractions that the city has to offer, students also took part in an eight-day work placement relevant to their college course.

Social activities included a traditional German evening in Altötting, go-carting, a trip to the BMW museum in Munich and a day down the Salt Mines in Berchtesgaden.

Students also had the chance to visit neighbouring Austria during their spare time.

College staff say the exchange programme is important to both institutions as it offers students the opportunity to travel abroad and experience a different culture.

During their stay, college catering students had the chance to hone their skills at a number of hotels in the city.

Bernie Timney, 16, from Horden, worked in the Plaza Hotel and said: “It was really good, the best thing I’ve done since being at the college.

“I worked in the kitchen and restaurant in the hotel, it was hard not speaking any German though.

“We also did activities in our spare time like bowling. It was really nice to experience the differences in culture.

“It was really interesting.”

The exchange programme has been such a success that students are hoping to set up a German study group at the college.

Staff members Sandra Ambrose and Stephen Metcalf joined the 15-strong group of students on the trip, which was funded by East Durham College.