A GERMAN teenager will soon say Auf Wiedersehen to his many friends in Morpeth after spending a year in the town.
Julian Benz and his mother wanted him to broaden his horizons with some English school education before he started his next level of study in his home country.
He stayed with a family friend in Kirkhill, and King Edward VI School headteacher Simon Taylor allowed him to attend from the start of the academic year last September.
He has enjoyed his time in the area and is very impressed with the facilities and support available at KEVI.
The 16-year-old, who will return home to a town near Stuttgart next month, said: “I had been to the town twice before and it was interesting to see the buildings with a lot of history, like the Clock Tower and Court House.
“We came here because my mum met Rachel Gill, from Morpeth, at a Bible school event at the Lake District and they became really good friends.
“One of my host family’s children, 14-year-old Abigail, goes to KEVI and I thought it would be a good opportunity to do school work in a different way.
“I discovered that media is used a lot more in the classroom in England than in Germany. We still use overhead projectors in my country, but here we use Power Point, the teachers have special whiteboards and students even do registration using a computer.
“In this country there are people with different speeds of learning in one class, which means teachers have to find the right balance. In Germany, there are four different types of school so people at the same level are in a class together.
“I was a little worried about how I would fit in, but all the staff and students have been very friendly and accepted me from the first moment. Some of the students invited me to their homes and events like barbecues and many were keen to find out the differences between British and German culture.”
Julian has studied Design Technology, maths, art graphics and economics and taken AS-Level exams in each subject.
“I really enjoyed art graphics because there isn’t a subject like it in Germany, and in design technology I learned about how to develop a product,” he said.
“But the most interesting one was economics because many of the terms were completely new to me and the teacher discussed what he saw as the main problems with the system in the UK.”
Julian is also among the KEVI students going to take part in the Youth With A Mission project in Mexico. They are setting off at the weekend.
The 12 days in the Ensenada region will include building houses for a few struggling young families, organising workshops on the beach for local children, such as sports, arts, music and a skate festival, and visiting a women’s rehabilitation centre.
His fund-raising activities have included coffee mornings, cake sales, a meal at Marabinis, taking part in running events at Druridge Bay and bag-packing.
Mr Taylor said: “The feedback I’ve had from his teachers is that Julian has an exceptional work ethic and a great willingness to engage in each subject.
“It’s great credit to a young man of 16 to come here for a full year of academic study and he has contributed a huge amount to our school in a relatively short space of time.
“We wish him all the best for his remaining studies back in Germany and hope that we will keep in touch to find out how he is doing.”
As well as the Gill family and Mr Taylor, Julian thanked heads of sixth form Chris Ramsay and Emma Familton and Kirkhill-based Morpeth Baptist Church for their support.
during the year.