Through a programme of exchanges and visits abroad, Westminster tries to foster an awareness of other cultures. There is an exchange of pupils with schools in China, France, Spain and Germany.
Exchange programmes in the German Department
The department currently runs two exchange programmes, one to Berlin for Upper Shell pupils (Beethoven Gymnasium) and one to Munich for Sixth Form students (Gymnasium Puchheim). All pupils are strongly encouraged to take part in the programmes.
Lower School pupils spend 8 days in Berlin during our Play term Exeat and we welcome the German exchange students in November. The trip is extremely valuable in that it serves not only to introduce boys to a German-speaking environment – in most cases for the first time – and thus contextualizes their learning, but also to boost their confidence in the run up to the IGCSE examinations.
Since 1964 Sixth Form pupils studying German have had an annual exchange with a school in Munich. The 6th Form exchange students from Munich spend a month in London during February and March. The Westminster trip to Munich during our summer holidays lasts also one month, during which students are given a structured teaching programme, specifically designed to improve their cultural awareness and linguistic ability. Results in the Pre-U exams have been excellent, and it is clear that candidates have benefited enormously from their time in Germany.
Exchange programmes in the Chinese Department
The department currently runs a cultural exchange which is open to everyone in the Sixth Form. Pupils either with Chinese language skills or without are all welcome to take part.
This programme has being running for the last 8 years with Beijing No. 4 High School. With China becoming an ever increasing presence in the world, this is a unique opportunity to gain first-hand experience of an extraordinary country, its people and its culture. Beijing No. 4 High School, located in the Heart of the capital, is widely recognised as China's most prestigious secondary school.
Beyond Beijing, pupils will also visit another city/area for a few days. For the last few years, we have visited the ancient capital city Xi'an and Dunhuang on the Silk Road. Next year, we are going to visit Tanwan.
The educational and cultural benefits of such an experience are of incalculable value and this is a unique opportunity to visit a beautiful part of the world at a very attractive time of year.