Siobhan K., 16 years old
Type of holiday: School trip / language holiday
Destination: Hastings (England)
Population: approx. 90,000
Duration: 6 days
Siobhan, what kind of holiday did you go on exactly?
Siobhan: It was basically a language holiday offered by my school. It wasn’t a proper exchange, we did stay with host families, but we didn’t do anything with them and the English pupils didn’t come to stay with us. Our school offers the trip to year 7 and 8. You join a school club, which meets once a week for a year and then you go on the trip itself.
Oh right, and what do you do in the club for a whole year?
Siobhan: Lots of different things. For example, we made plans about what we really wanted to do and see. We also practiced the language a bit, but that was not the main thing, we have English lessons already. We mainly practiced certain phrases so that we could talk to our host families and things.
And then it was finally time to go?
Siobhan: We went by coach to Hastings and then were always in pairs or threes with one host family. I was in a host family with one of my friends. We didn’t go to school over there, but we always did some activities with the class during the day. At first we did a tour of the town, it is a harbour town. We went to the museum and also visited the ruins of Hastings Castle. And we went to the sea. There is a very long beach promenade there, where an old pier burnt down in 2010.
Did you also go a bit further afield?
Siobhan: Yes, we went to London twice. The first time we did some sightseeing, e.g. Buckingham Palace. We split up into groups of 5 and could look at the different things there. The second time we went to the city centre and visited Madame Tussauds Waxworks. That was pretty fun, but it was really packed. And it was really confusing in there so I didn’t get to see everything. Afterwards we were allowed to go shopping on Oxford Street!
And what do you think of English food?
Siobhan: I really like it! I love how they always put vinegar on chips. But lots of the others didn’t really like that or the packed lunches that the host families made us. So I always ate what the others didn’t want! Or we swapped things. I also asked the host mother once if she could make a traditional English breakfast with baked beans, bacon, eggs, sausages, etc. She did make it and I really liked it!
What was the best part of the trip for you?
Siobhan: The whole experience of living with a host family. We didn’t do that much with them, but we always had breakfast together and dinner in the evening and talked about the day. What I didn’t really like was that we were there with school and we did almost everything together. That meant that we just spoke German to each other because it was easier. That’s why it was so good to be staying with host families, because none of them could speak German so we HAD to speak English. That really helped with my English.