On the 20th June 2021, forty pupils from the Matrix Academy Trust, travelled from Birmingham for a trip to Frankfurt with the Turing Scheme. The Turing Scheme is a fully funded government initiative that funds a range of international opportunities for young people to go abroad and experience different cultures around the globe. Pupils for this scheme are selected via criteria provided by the Department for Education.
After 15 long hours of travel, we arrived safely in Fulda, a beautiful city one hour North-East of Frankfurt. Upon getting settled at the accommodation the first evening was spent relaxing and preparing for the excitement of the week ahead.
On Monday, the pupils travelled into Fulda for a guided walking tour. With three different tours on offer, each group was able to experience a different aspect of the city and share this over dinner in the evening. Pupils were taken to visit the oldest church in Germany and explore its history, the engineering around it and importance it has on the local community today.
Pupils also had the opportunity to meet German pupils from a local school with a meet and greet arranged in a local park. With a range of activities and games, some familiar and some new it was an opportunity to develop language skills and see how life was different for a pupil in Germany. During the afternoon, we headed to a local school for some German taster lessons and then to a lovely Italian restaurant for dinner, which would go on to become a firm favourite of the group! On Tuesday, pupils returned to the German school to experience a day in the life of a German pupil. Our pupils were fascinated to see how different school was in Germany, with one of the pupils even saying they would not mind going to school in Germany over the UK!
As the next few days followed, we had an action-packed schedule; visiting Point Alpha, a memorial to East German citizens and learned about the shocking history of the East German regime, pupils bravely conquered the high-ropes at an adventure park, which involved a range of obstacles and bridges suspended between trees, we were shown the sights of Frankfurt by a local tour guide, went swimming in an outdoor pool, explored the inside of a model heart at the Museum and visited Fulda’s very own palace!
Friday was a much more sombre day for the group, as we took a coach to Buchenwald Concentration Camp Memorial. Here, we learned about the horrifying actions that took place during the Third Reich and to reflect on what took place. After first watching a film explaining the history of Buchenwald, the pupils were led on an audio tour of the camp itself. This was an incredibly emotional day and all pupils showed the utmost respect while here.
It’s safe to say that everyone had a wonderful time on the trip. Although exhausted, we all returned to England with big smiles and new friends.
Comments from parents:
“We would just like to say a big Thank You to all of the Staff that organised and went on the trip. Without the staff putting in this tremendous effort and taking on so much responsibility many children would not get these experiences. They have certainly had extra challenges Covid restrictions and birds hitting planes to deal with.“
“I would just like to say a massive thank you for choosing my two sons to go to Germany as part of the Turing scheme. They had a wonderful time and haven’t stopped talking about it since they got back. Highlights for the boys were the high ropes, swimming pool and the heart at the museum. They also enjoyed trying the different foods. It was lovely to hear that they made some friends from different schools and spent this evening chatting on the phone and have even arranged to meet at the weekend. Please pass on my gratitude to the staff involved for organising and looking after the children, it must have been a challenge especially when things didn’t go to plan. Thank you once again for giving them this wonderful opportunity which I am sure they will never forget”.