Gymnasium Nord goes Maastricht ’23

This year, the bilingual class again had the opportunity to partcipate in an exchange with the Porta Mosana College in Maastricht. Here are some – shorter and longer – impressions:

Have you ever done an exchange to a different country?
When we went to Maastricht, it was my very first time in the Netherlands and I was really nervous about living with a host family, which I had never done before. But I didn’t even need to be nervous because my exhange partner’s family was really kind and welcoming. In the evening we made pizza and played boardgames, as if I was part of their family! We cycled to school and it was interesting to see how most people went by bike. We got challenges for exploring the town and got to know each other better, when standing in a sweets shop or looking for merchandise.

Maastricht is a beautiful city with wonderful architecture, but personally I was more amazed by the nature that you can find there. There is always a park or a forest you can walk in! At school, we worked on the sustainability project together and thought about sustainable communities. In the evening my exchange partner and I drove to a nearby town which looked magical, there was an ancient castle and some lovely restaurants.

Back in Frankfurt, we went to a museum and Zeil, where we had to stay on a specific route to see as many sights as possible. Looking back, it was a lot of fun to see how differently our families lived. The focus on the exchange was sustainability but I think it was way more interesting to meet someone who I wouldn’t have met without this opportunity to go to the Netherlands. The students from Maastricht were friendly and quite funny, and I’d say I really enjoyed this trip and I am glad my class did this. Do you know what the best part was? You’ll never forget these people and the experience you created.

Daria (9a)

It was really fun meeting new people and I loved playing football together. It was a really fun and interesting experience. Frankfurt is way more chaotic than Maastricht, but once you get used to it, it’s a lot of fun. 

Tom (Porta Mosana College)

I really liked that the city was less crowded than Frankfurt. I could not imagine living there for my whole life, but going there on vacation would be very nice.
Lola (9a)

It fascinated me how many people travel by bike and the amount of cycle parkings in the school. I liked cycling in the nice weather  and liked that everything was much cheaper in Maastricht than in Germany.
Ivan (9a)

Its good that almost everyone in Maastricht uses the bike to get around and not the car or other transport. The city is small but still good looking and I like that there are many drinking fountains and the attractions are good.

Mateen (9a)

I really liked the city, the people were really nice. The Dutch games were also one of my favorite activities, because we made new friends and got closer with classmates.
Mina (9a) 

I really liked the school, it was really interesting. The people were extremely nice. The Dutch games, especially the ones with water, were fun !
Ana (9a)

I found surprising that Maastricht was so small and we managed to see all of it in two days. It was also interesting to see people on their bikes, no matter the condition (I saw someone riding their bike with a broken arm).

Emilia (9a) 

I was suprised that Maastricht is that empty, decelerated and small, but I liked the vibe of the city. The Stadspark was a really nice place where everyone could hang out. Everyone was going by bike all the time. 

Konstantin (9a)

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the Netherlands?

Bicycles? No mountains? Stroopwaffles? That’s what came to my mind when I knew that our exchange was going to be with Maastricht. I won’t lie, I was a bit apprehensive about the whole experience. What if I didn’t get along with my exchange partner? What if the family was rude? What if… and so on. Thoughts like that were going through my mind on the bus ride. But I worried for nothing. I meet my buddy and it clicked. We got along from the first second. We met the other students and walked around the school which unfortunately didn’t have an air conditioning. On the first day we also went to the city. Just to warn you, the Klischee of everyone going everywhere by bike is more than true. I think I’ve never seen so many bicycles in my life. They showed us the most beautiful sights of Maastricht like a book shop which was inside of a church. We also had some free time to get to know our buddy better and spend time with some friends. After that I met my host family and I don’t know why but I was incredibly nervous. And again I worried without a reason. Everyone was so welcoming and generous. The cats were the cutest and dinner was delicious. We hung outside and took a walk.
The next day all the awkwardness was faded away, we were making jokes, laughing and just getting along. We visited the city again. The teacher had a challenge prepared and obviously our group won. We even wrote a poem about the exchange:

We are doing an exchange
At the beginning it was kinda strange
But now it’s a lot of fun
And it only just begun
Making so many new friends
I hope it never ends

At the end we did some fun games at school.

Finally we got to show them Frankfurt. We had a few challenges in the city based on sustainability and even visited an exhibition at a museum but the best part was having free time. It was amazing to spend some time as a big friend group and show them our favourite spots in Frankfurt like the EZB Park. We danced, played soccer, ate some pizza and took some photos. Thursday evening we organized that everyone got together to have a little goodbye party without the teachers. It was great that almost everyone got together and spent the last couple of hours having a good time. We created unforgettable memories. I bond stronger than I imagined with my partner and we developed a beautiful friendship. We still think that we were the best match. That’s why saying goodbye on Friday was hard. It was full of nostalgia. We were grateful to share so many memories in so little time. We took the last couple of photos and then it was time to say goodbye. But maybe it wasn’t goodbye – more a see you later.

Daniela (9a)

We enjoyed seeing Frankfurt, it’s history and exploring a new city. We really loved getting to know all the people as they were very nice and we became friends. It was fun to get to know the siddert cultured and learn about stuff like green sauce and hand cheese. For the assignments we had to compare the cities and we found the cities were very similar even though there was a huge size difference. We found the skyline the most impressive because we don’t have that in Maastricht 

Sterre, Katrina, Nina and Lois (Porta Mosana College)

Frankfurt is a very nice city, it is vastly different from Maastricht. The high skyline is completely different from Maastricht, where everything is lower. The city itself is very walkable and easy on pedestrians.

Steven (Porta Mosana College)

I liked Maastricht because the weather was really good. The bus ride wasn’t boring and seeing many people riding a bike made me motivated to try the bike too. I would say that it wasn’t perfect because our program was full with activities and tasks to finish. I would come back to Maastricht and stay for more days to see things I missed. 

Jaskaran (9a)