Our names are Liberty and Honor and we have recently taken part in the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme trip to Dr Nassau College in the Netherlands and we would like to share our experience with you.
We started the trip with an early alarm call of 6am for our flight. We got on the plane feeling a little bit nervous, and in just 45 minutes we were in the Netherlands! Without a hitch we went through customs with our Exchange Travel pack, grabbed our luggage, and met our exchange buddies. We then drove the 2.5 hours to Drenthe, the region where we were staying. We saw some beautiful views of classic Dutch countryside on the way there.
Dr Nassau College is very different. There is no uniform, it is co-ed and a day school. Most lessons were in Dutch, but our buddies and their friends helped us with translating. Honor impressed everyone with her grasp of the language. We also went to lots of English lessons, which were really fun to go to as we saw how advanced students were at English despite it being their second or third language. Despite all these differences, we both really enjoyed it.
After our first two days of school, we had an open day at Nassau, where we talked to prospective parents about our thoughts on Dr Nassau as exchange students and what our school is like. We also met another exchange student from Italy who was going to be there for seven months!
We were very lucky to go on an organised trip to Amsterdam. The city’s architecture was beautiful, and we went to the Rijksmuseum where we saw many pieces of art including The Night Watch and Van Gogh’s self portrait. We also went to the This is Holland experience where we got to experience the Netherlands in 5D.
At the weekend our host families took us to Groningen which is the capital of the north. We got to look around Groningen University which is very famous, as well as seeing St Martin’s Tower and the Forum. Honor enjoyed ice skating while Liberty tried a Dutch smoked sausage as well as churros.
The school had organised a volunteering day, where Honor went to a sister school of Dr Nassau, called Volta. She helped teach English with Elle and had some really interesting and fun conversations with the students there. Liberty went to an international primary school nearby and spent an entire day with a class of seven-year-olds. As it was Valentines Day, they spent time painting hearts and the children wrote valentines letters to each other. The whole day was a very rewarding experience.
Our last three days of school were so much fun. We were so lucky and made lots of friends – some of whom we are still in contact with. Our last day was a little sad because we knew that we would miss all of the people that we had met and become friends with, especially our wonderful buddies Elle and Lieselotte and their families.
Back in November 2022, Elle and Lieselotte came to visit us! We had a fantastic weekend seeing the sites of London, Oxford and Winchester.
We really want to thank Mrs Adams, Mrs Akhtar and Miss West for organising the entire exchange and being there for us and our buddies, both at Downe House and in the Netherlands!
Liberty’s final thoughts:
I definitely think that I have grown as a person from this trip even though it was only ten days. I learnt a different perspective on learning, how to learn more collaboratively with a group, and I learnt a different mindset in the Technasium class as we were forced to think on our feet quickly and about the target market. Culturally, I have learnt so much about the history of the Netherlands like the Prince of Orange and the monarchy, the Golden Ages, the architecture of the Martini Tower and University as well as a bit of the language. Additionally, I learnt about the Netherlands as a whole and about habits of the people. Socially, I genuinely feel as if I can handle more interactions with teachers and adults as I often had to discuss the differences in culture. I found these conversations very valuable and learnt lots from them.
Honor’s final thoughts:
I think that I have definitely become more understanding of social differences between countries and I understand now how people of different nationalities interact with people of the same nationality.
She has had exposure to a different way of living and education and has really benefitted from it. She has had to be adaptable, open minded and work to be a good host too.
– DH Parent (2023)
The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.Discover