In March, Georgina and Annabel (LVI) spent ten exciting days attending Campus Manilla in Stockholm, Sweden.

5 April 2023

Our names are Annabel and Georgina and we have recently taken part in the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme trip to Campus Manilla in Stockholm, Sweden. Our exchange buddies, Maja and Jackie, came to Downe House in March, and we went to visit them in Sweden later that month.

Campus Manilla is not a boarding school so we both stayed with our host families and got to experience life in a typical Swedish family. We also found out that both the Prince and Princess of Sweden go to this school, and we ended up seeing them during the week!  

Day 1

Annabel: I got to know Maja’s family, including her younger sister Alice. Maja lives in a small community, and lots of her friends live close by. 

Georgina: Jackie lives in the same area, I met her 2 sisters and Dad and we enjoyed watching the Swedish equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing together! 

Day 2

On Sunday we got to know Stockholm a bit better.

Annabel: Maja and I went to the National Museum and the Palace, where there are lots of royal artefacts. This day was particularly cold, and the snow was blowing in our faces! 

Georgina: That evening, Maja invited us all over for dinner with her family. Maja’s mother made traditional Swedish meatballs for us, and they were so delicious. We went through their school year book to see who we were going to be in a class with. 

Day 3

On our first day of school we had an introduction with Gustav, who runs the exchange in Sweden, and we also had a couple of English lessons. We also had a PE lesson where we did something called boxercise. It was really fun, and their lessons seem to be a lot more relaxed than ours. Mainly we were helping all of them improve their English, and they loved talking about English football.  

Annabel: That evening, Maja and I went to see the Old Town, where there are lots of old buildings and architecture, as well as the Nobel Prize Museum.  

Georgina: Meanwhile, Jackie’s Step-Mum made us even more Swedish meatballs which were just as delicious and I was thrilled to meet Jackie’s dog.  

Day 4

The next morning, there was too much snow on the road, so the bus had to stop and we had to travel the rest of the way to school by foot. At this time of year it was still heavy winter for them. The snow storm even dropped to -8 degrees. When the sun came out, you were fooled into thinking it was warm. It wasn’t!  

That day we also met the principal, Robert. It was really weird for us to call all of our teachers by their first names, especially the principal. After School, Maja took us to the ABBA museum. There were lots of things to do there, such as karaoke, and learning about the members’ history. We took lots of photos, and also performed on stage with the hologram versions of the band. 

Day 5

The next morning, we started school quite early, and had a three and a half hour workshop with Maja’s class called mission security. Basically, we were split into groups and each group represented a country. We had to solve issues and make deals with other countries, whilst making sure we were investing our money in the rights areas. The workshop was really fun, and we got to know everyone better. Overall, neither of us really enjoyed the lunches at the school. They had a lot less options than at Downe House and the options that they did have were not particularly appetising. We were very grateful to come back to our school food!

Day 6

We went to Skansen which is a replica of what Sweden looked like in the past. The houses were very small to preserve heat, had little windows and there was typically 4 people in each bed, and the beds were about a metre long! In Skansen, there are also lots of animals – we saw reindeer, moose and seals.  

Day 7

We spent the day in Sodermalm where we went up to lots of view points to see the river.  

Annabel: That evening I went to a Swedish football match with Maja and her friend Nellie. They are really big supporters of the team Djurgården (juurgoorden). I had never been to a football game before, but the atmosphere was really fun, especially as our team won!  

Day 8

We spent the day together on the island Lidingö (lidingaa) we went on a dog walk and saw all the lakes frozen over, it was very icy on the hills so we figured out the best way down was on our bums!

Day 9

On our last day we took a class selfie and visited Vasa museum with Gustav. This is a Swedish war boat that sunk just 1.3 kilometres from departure. It was in the water for 333 years until it was taken out and restored into a museum.  

We would like to thank Miss West, Miss Adams and Ms Akhtar for organising such an amazing trip and we recommend everyone signs up for exchanges as it is an amazing opportunity.  

Find out more about the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme here.


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