The German Department at Roscommon Community College employs a variety of vibrant learning techniques as pupils grow in their acquisition of the language. We are twinned with Schloss Bieberstein, a secondary school 15km east of Fulda in Hessen. ICT is used to sustain this partnership and letters to pen friends are exchanged frequently. An awareness of German culture, music and cinema is encouraged and all pupils participate in “Deutsche Woche”, an annual celebration of all things German. As part of our commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day, staff and students were recently privileged to attend a lecture by Tomi Reichental, as he shared his recollections of the time he spent in Bergen Belsen concentration camp.
Auf Wiedersehen Augsburg
Roscommon Community College hails German exchange a resounding success
A busy final term for the German Department at Roscommon Community College recently saw both halves of our flourishing German exchange take place. At the end of January, a group of students from Gymnasium Sankt Stefan in Augsburg, Bavaria visited Roscommon Community College. Enjoying the hospitality of their Irish host families and exploring the cultural highlights of what the Roscommon area has to offer, Lena, David and Anouk attended school with their Irish counterparts daily for a period of three weeks. The return leg of this very fruitful visit took place in May, when a group of Transition and Fifth Year students made the exciting trip to Augsburg, to once again rekindle friendships made.
On May 31st, Adam Finnerty and Noilin Hennigan, Roscommon Town and Emma Lalwani, Kilteevan departed for Munich, accompanied by their teacher Frau Barrett, anticipating an exhilarating three weeks of language learning and fun. Enthusiastic at the thoughts of meeting their German counterparts once again, the Roscommon students touched down in Munich, enchanted at the beauty of the city bathed in resplendent sunshine. Delighted to once again meet their friends, a welcoming atmosphere prevailed as the group cheerily set off on the hour long drive to Augsburg, laden with all sorts of goodies from Roscommon. A special delivery of confectionary from Molloy’s Bakery in Abbeytown was gratefully received by the host families, warmly delivered by special request! Others items which generated a keen response were Irish smoked salmon (Raucherlachs) and Adam’s very own handmade pens, which formed the basis for his Mini-Company during Transition Year. An exquisite example of the craft of woodworking and woodturning, Adam’s unique pens went down a treat with our German friends.
After a good night’s sleep, the Roscommon group found themselves at school the next day, albeit a little earlier than usual. With school starting at 8am, this proved to be one of the biggest cultural differences for our students. Everyone agreed however that the early start was worth it, when school ended for the day at 1pm allowing the students free time to pursue a variety of diverse activities. The brilliant sunshine provided a glorious backdrop as the group enjoyed a visit to a nearby water park, while on other days they enjoyed partaking in an assortment of outdoor pursuits. Noilin proved to be exceptionally skilled at sunbathing while Adam displayed his sporting prowess to the admiration of his new classmates. Table tennis (Tischtennis) was a particular favourite whenever the students had free time.
Students spent each weekend with their host families, whereby they enjoyed shopping trips to Munich and day trips to local places of interest, such as the remarkable Clock Museum (Uhrenmuseum) in Nurnberg. A sombre tone was set as the group undertook a haunting trip to Dachau concentration camp, undisputedly one of the most unforgettable experiences of the trip. The History students among us eagerly anticipate hearing more on this aspect of the trip when school beckons in September!
The busy itinerary continued as the group carried out an array of tasks and assignments in the town, for example visiting the local market, the tourist information office (Fremdenverkehrsamt) and many shops and restaurants, all the while practising their German and becoming more and more immersed in the target language. A particular highlight of the exchange was a trip to Munich, whereby students undertook a Third Reich tour, charting Hitler’s meteoric rise to power. Emma served superbly as chief navigator, as she was in charge of Satnav and our map (Stadtplan), directing us to places of interest (Sehenswürdigkeiten) around Munich. Our very own Marco Polo! Students were very interested to learn more about the resistance fighter Georg Elser, as they had attended Roscommon Arts Centre during the academic year to watch the movie “13 Minuten” which centred on his life story. While in school, the Roscommon group participated in classes on a daily basis and also worked on a variety of cultural projects set by the coordinating teacher Frau David. During their free time (Freizeit), Emma, Adam and Noilin enjoyed a variety of social events with their host families (Gastfamilien), with Noilin even managing to attain VIP status at a local birthday party….
Alas all good things must come to an end and it was with heavy hearts and even heavier suitcases that June 19th approached and our time in Germany had drawn to a close. Everyone agreed that the trip had been a resounding success. A huge benefit to oral proficiency, fluency and colloquial vocabulary acquisition, another major advantage of the programme was the maximum exposure to the German culture experienced by all. Learning a language in such a fun and informal environment has proven to be a remarkable experience for our students. All involved report that the exchange has worked wonders building the confidence of the students with their German, while also developing greater independence and maturity as they broaden their horizons through travel. Enduring friendships have surely been made as some students will even be renewing acquaintances with their host families in Ireland before school recommences in September.
The students Adam Finnerty, Noilin Hennigan and Emma Lalwani would like to record their sincere thanks (Dankbarkeit) to their host families and to Frau Barrett (Roscommon) and Frau David (Augsburg) who coordinated the exchange. Heartfelt thanks are also expressed to Eilis Quinn, (Augsburg and formerly of Roscommon Town) who assisted as we forged our initial contact with Gymnasium Sankt Stefan. So although it may be “Auf Wiedersehen” for now, as another school year beckons, Roscommon Community College greatly anticipates the next step on our journey with Gymnasium Sankt Stefan, as we develop further our relationship (Freundschaft) with our new German friends. Tschüss bis später!
Euro Languages scholarship in German
Pictured is Emma Lalwani of Roscommon Community College, the 2015 recipient of the Euro Languages scholarship in German.
Katharina Sander from the Goethe Institute in Dublin came to Roscommon Community College on Wednesday the 12th of October. Katharina delivered a variety of German workshops to our students. Fifth and Sixth Year students enjoyed German music from the contemporary group Glasperlenspiel before competing with each other in translating song lyrics. Our Second and Third Year students learned more about German culture, geography, food and “redewendungen” or turns of phrases, all of which cumulated in a competition. The winning teams enjoyed a selection of prizes including the ever-popular Ritter Schokolade! We would like to say “Danke schön” to Katharina for a fantastic day; wir haben viel Spaβ gehabt!
The European Day of Languages is for Everybody!
More than ever language and communication represent central aspects of our society. Language learning offers a way of opening our minds to new perspectives and cultures.
The European Day of Languages is an opportunity to celebrate the linguistic wealth which is represented within the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. It is an occasion to celebrate all languages present in Europe, also those with non-European origins used on a daily basis around the continent. With some 225 indigenous languages in Europe and between 6000-7000 languages spoken around the world, the day is a reminder of the many benefits of language learning, not least to further develop cognitive competences, break down cultural barriers and open the door to new friendships and professional opportunities.
Recently, our language students at Roscommon Community College celebrated the European Day of Languages in style. Our students enjoyed a variety of activities including a table quiz and language games. Well done to all the language teachers in RCC for all their work in highlighting this day and to all the students who participated.