In mid-October I was lucky enough to accompany 12 students and my colleague Claudia Vella on the school’s exchange programme to Prague. I joined the group half way through their ten-day stay and, like the students, I travelled to the Czech Republic by train. It’s an easy, comfortable journey.

My colleague and I were fortunate to stay with an amazing host family. Helena, the mother, is a teacher at our partner school and her two daughters go there as well. Although her daughters are young and don’t know much English, they used hand gestures, drawings and everything they could think of to communicate with us. The kindness, generosity and selflessness of this family totally sums up my experience of Czech people.

Our partner school is colourful, slightly chaotic, but totally full of heart! The teachers are devoted to their students and immensely proud of their school. They work long hours but always have a smile and a hug to share! Everyone made me feel welcome and comfortable, checking if I needed anything and helping me if I ever looked lost.

The school is packed with art, project work and boxes of every shape and size! The staff and students only have a small space to use and it is crammed full of as much as they can get into it! There were projects happening in every year group, with class trips planned into the city and a cafe run by the Year 9 students.

At the weekend we went to a school fair run by staff and students. Everywhere you went there was music, home-made food, stalls, crafts and laughter! Students put on shows, performed dances and showed skills they had learnt in school clubs. Everyone enjoyed themselves and was relaxed, but at the same time they also made money. Some, I was told, is going to be used for the Year 9’s end-of-year class trip.

I hope I speak for all our students when I sum up the Prague exchange in three words: welcoming, fun and inspiring. I’m really looking forward to the Czech students coming to Geisenhausen in March and I hope that I can accompany our students to Prague next school year. The exchange programme is a wonderful opportunity to experience a very special education, culture and kindness. I recommend it to everyone!

Emma Funnell