Students get to sample Bavaria

East Durham College students on their exchange visit
East Durham College students on their exchange visit
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COSMOPOLITAN students celebrated two decades of an exchange programme with a special trip to Germany.

Fifteen young people from East Durham College spent two weeks with friends from Stattliche Fachoberschule und Berufsoberschule School in Altötting, Bavaria, as part of the exchange programme, now in its 20th year.

The students were taking part in an eight-day work placement which was relevant to their chosen course of study. This included working in the fields of Catering, Horticulture, and Beauty Therapy.

As part of their visit, students also got to take part in numerous activities and experience a number of great attractions that the city has to offer, including a traditional German evening in Altötting, go-carting, a trip to the BMW museum in Munich, a day down the Salt Mines in Berchtesgaden and a trip into Austria.

Staff at East Durham College in Peterlee say the exchange is a very important programme to both institutions and offers a wonderful opportunity for the students to experience a different culture. This was the first time many of the young people had travelled to another country

Bernie Timney, 16, a catering student from Horden who worked in the Plaza Hotel, said: ”It was really good, the best thing I’ve done since being at the college. I worked in the kitchen and restaurant in the hotel, it was hard not speaking any German though.

“We also did activities in our spare time like bowling. It was nice to experience the differences in culture, it was really interesting.”


Altötting is a small town famous for the Gnadenkapelle -Chapel of the Miraculous Image - one of the most-visited shrines in Germany.

This is a tiny octagonal chapel which keeps a venerated statue of the Virgin Mary.

According to the legend, in 1489, a three-year-old local boy who had drowned in the river was revived when his grieving mother placed him in front of a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary at the high altar. News of the miracle quickly spread, and the chapel became a massive visitor site.