Work Experience Exchange in Trier
After a Sunday spent exploring the historic town of Trier (the oldest city in Germany) we prepared ourselves for an early start the next morning.
Lara: First stop for me was the Auguste-Viktoria Gymnasium where I attended the morning lessons with my exchange partner. This was an interesting experience as some striking contrasts between British and German schools became apparent. After enjoying a thoroughly interesting drama lesson, it was off to experience the real thing for work experience at Theater Trier. Working at the chronically underfunded but endearingly communal Theater Trier was an unforgettable experience, whether it was sorting through press archives or attending opera rehearsals. My mentor, Herr Orbons, was an incredibly helpful and always included me in meetings and conferences. Despite striving to comprehend the quick-fire German of my colleagues, as a non-native speaker I was bound not to understand it all however it was really interesting to be in that atmosphere and I surprised myself with how much I could understand and join in.
Mercy: After having to catch an early bus to Seibel & Partner law firm; I braced myself for what I thought would be thenotoriously difficult world of legal German. However, on arrival I was greeted by a host of smiles and settled in quickly to the rhythm of working as a legal secretary in Germany. There was lots of filing to be done and letters to be stamped but the friendly and lively atmosphere of the office made sure the work was never dull. The thing that really struck me was the age of my colleagues in my department; none was older than 22. Indeed, one of my closest friends in the office was actually younger than me! In Germany they have a really interesting dual system which allows young people who want to go down the vocational path to spend two days a week at school learning their trade, and three days actually working and learning on the job. Although I couldn’t imagine being in work so young, I could definitely see the benefits of a system I had previously been very doubtful of. My colleagues enjoyed their jobs, and their continued education meant by the time they had completed their courses at the Vocational School they would be fully qualified, confident and skilled workers. Germany completely enchanted us; whether it was the unbelievably punctual buses that ran to a strict timetable, the
beautiful Trierisch accent and dialect, or our incredibly friendly exchange partners. We had so much fun, both at work, and enjoying the Carneval festival that was going on in Trier. We saw German films, ate German food (currywurst mit pommes) and, much to our delight, spoke a lot of German. We really felt like we had had a proper taste of German life, and leaving Trier on our last Saturday was sad. We acquired a new linguistic confidence, and we both couldn’t imagine a better way to spend our half-terms.
Mercy Hadfield and Lara Heus, Year 12