Nebelswall 1 - 33602 Bielefeld
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By Anne Bittner, Year 9

Some girls of 9a-c visited St Helen's School from 12th until 22nd October 2008. We all enjoyed the trip very much; our partners and host families were very nice and kind. (Even the teachers were okay!)

The school is a very large building, actually there are lots of buildings (a new library is being built at the moment). At the beginning we lost our way in lots of staircases, corridors, halls, rooms,... There are very modern computer rooms, a small theatre, a large sport complex, a chapel, an assembly hall and lots of other rooms, such as the Old School Hall where we met before excursions. We visited Oxford, Bath, Avebury and Portsmouth. That was sometimes nice and interesting and sometimes quite boring...

Well, the school. In the morning we went to the classrooms with our exchange partners. First the teachers always checked attendance. Then the whole class went to assembly silently. (Well, everyone was supposed to be silent but actually...)

At assembly there were short presentations and musical performances. Moreover they showed pictures and short films, for instance one about Columbus on the anniversary of the discovery of America. But on Tuesday there was a short religious service in the chapel with musical performances too (songs), prayers,...

Afterwards classes began. They nearly always had double lessons without breaks in between except after lessons 2 and 6. Lunch was after lesson 4 (There was a large cafeteria; the food was not very tasty but okay...). The pupils —and we— had school till 4.00 p.m. and after that they often had other activities like sports, orchestra, drama etc. Most of the pupils had a long way hone on the school bus, sometimes for more than an hour! So you got home at 5.00 p.m. at the earliest. And then you have to do lots of homework! It is always a very tiring day, I think, more tiring than here. (But you can sleep longer in the morning: School starts only at 9.00 a.m.)

Yes, some things are very different, not only the school uniform (a red or grey sweater, a blouse with red or green stripes and a grey skirt). Perhaps the rules are stricter but it is like here: Not everyone sticks to the rules... The lessons are sometimes as boring as here, quite normal, I think. But people are very kind (as I said) and they actually always say "sorry", "please" and "thank you" (You say "thank you" to the bus driver, too, when you leave the bus!)!!!

All in all, it was a great experience! I hope the English pupils will like Bielefeld as much as we enjoyed the ten days in Abingdon.