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Ruby returns to her old school to give talk on Germany trip

It was a case of “back to school” for York College A Level Languages student Ruby Drury after she returned from a month-long scholarship trip to Germany.

Former Tadcaster Primary School pupil Ruby gave a fascinating one-hour PowerPoint presentation to, and answered questions from, her old teacher Mr Sands’ Year Six class.

During her first year of studies at York College, Ruby won a place on the German Scholarship Programme run by Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD).

It saw her combine living with a German family for two weeks and visiting major cities and landmarks in the country, as part of a diverse international group of students from nations across the world.

During her talk, Ruby encouraged the class to compare the differences and similarities between their home town of Tadcaster and the small mountain village of Hohenstuafen, where she stayed with her host family.

The fully-engaged pupils asked a barrage of questions throughout the presentation, including:

Why is the Berlin Wall so famous?

How would you rate Germany out of 10?

How long did it take you to learn German?

Ruby’s answer to the second question was 10 and she estimated that it has taken her five years to be able to speak to lots of people in German and understand them.

Mr Sands explained that the talk was an opportunity to “encourage the students to consider the outside world beyond Tadcaster” and, for Ruby herself, the trip represented the first time she has been on a plane or visited another country.

She shared her experience of sitting in Maths, German, English, Art and Science classes as she attended the local school in Hohenstuafen.

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One of the highlights of Ruby's trip to Germany was going up the Zugspitze Mountain by cable car

The pupils learned that their German counterparts didn’t have to wear a school uniform, which was greeted with loud cheers.

Hearing that the school day started at 7.35am and ended at 4.35pm did not go down as well, however!

Ruby had such a good time in Hohenstuafen that she is planning to visit her host family again next year and has been invited to the parents’ wedding in Paris.

“I felt like part of the family,” she told the class. “I am really similar to my host sister.

“We like all the same things, so I was really happy there and cried when I had to leave them to go to Munich.”

As well as visiting Munich, Ruby also spent time in Berlin, Cologne and Stuttgart with her fellow scholarship winners.

During an exciting itinerary, she saw remaining parts of the Berlin Wall and visited the River Rhine, Germany’s Bundestag Parliament, theatres and museums.

She even watched a touring Arsenal Under-17s team play a football match, but Ruby’s highlight of her tour of the country was going up the Zugspitze Mountain by cable car.

Ruby, who hopes to go on to study German and History at the University of Edinburgh which would incorporate a year abroad, added that she also acquired a better understanding of the different dialects in regions and, reflecting on the whole experience, she said: “The trip completely transformed my confidence with new people and unfamiliar situations. It was really important to try and connect with people because we were all in the same situation, and now I have friends from all across the world. Also, now I have been to Germany. I can’t wait to return.”

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Ruby made friends from all over the world during her trip to Germany

When she does, she’ll look forward to her first Apfelschorle – “the fizzy apple drink that is served at every meal in every house”.

Ruby’s one slight complaint, though, as a vegetarian was the quality of Germany’s offerings for non-meat eaters.

“We went to one traditional restaurant where the only option was Celery Schnitzel, which wasn’t the tastiest!” she pointed out.

After the pupils had shouted Danke and Auf Wiedersehen to Ruby, Mr Sands explained how her visit will have inspired them.

“It’s been really nice to see Ruby again,” he said. “She was always very academic, driven and hard-working and she has matured into a lovely, young person.

“She is really good socially, speaks very clearly and is a real credit to the College. She put so much work into her presentation.

“We met in the summer to talk about the objectives and a topic that would engage our students and satisfy what she had to do for the scholarship project and she nailed that completely. I think the pupils will have learned that, while people outside of Tadcaster may look different, speak a different language and have had different experiences, they also share a lot of things in common with them.

“Ruby clearly had a close bond with her host family and I think making bonds across different countries is so important so I’m really pleased that the College encouraged Ruby to get involved in the scheme. We always want our young people to look beyond and I’m sure Ruby will go on and do well academically and wherever she goes to university, she will be successful, having now got that outward outlook.

“The pupils will remember Ruby and I will be bringing her up throughout the year, as an example of what you can do if you follow your passion. It can make your life more interesting, and you meet different people, which enriches your life, which is what we want for our young people.”

German trip

The German Scholarship Programme is administered in this country by UK-German Connection and is fully funded by the German Foreign Office.

To learn more about our Languages department, why not come along to our Open Event on October 19. You can register your interest here