Hi, I’m Lou from Hamburg, Germany. I did the exchange program to Torquay, UK for two weeks. It all started out with my teacher Birte Oggesen talking to me and my class about a work placement in the UK. We would go to Torquay for 2 weeks, work in different companies and stay with host families.
We were very excited after we filled out the not too short application. We left on Sunday, February 23rd and flew from Hamburg to London. After a couple of hours of us hanging out at the airport we got on the coach that would bring us to Torquay. After the long ride on a bus we finally reached the Torquay coach station where our host families picked us up.
On Monday morning we went to the Torbay Innovation Centre for a Welcome Meeting, where the Training Partnership (TTPL) staff gave us some information about our stay. They told us about the cultural differences and some British laws that were important for us. They told us a little more about our work placement that we would start the next day. After that meeting our group decided to go to Exeter which is one of the bigger cities close by. We did some sightseeing in groups of 3-5 people. I really enjoyed seeing Exeter it is a very pretty town with a beautiful cathedral and nice cafés by the river.
The next morning we all started our work placements. I was placed at the exchange organization TTPL itself. From the first minute at TTPL I loved working there. The colleagues were all very nice and made me feel welcome the second I entered the office. I had a big variety of things to do like putting together some information about the new students on file and preparing information about their stay. After only four days I was told to answer phone calls which was really funny and interesting but also challenging job because of the strong British accent I wasn’t completely used to.
For me it was especially interesting to see what happens after TTPL gets the application of a student – what happens, how do they find the work placement and the host family? It was really interesting to look behind the scenes. But not everybody was as happy with their work placements as I was. They complained about doing the same thing the entire time and not being challenged enough. When they told TTPL about their problems they either got replaced the next day or the day after. After the replacements everybody was happy with their work and there were no problems whatsoever.
After work the students are completely independent for the rest of the day. We could do whatever we wanted to. Some days our whole group met up to go bowling, play laser tag or pool. Since you’re so independent it’s your own responsibility to keep yourself entertained. I used to just walk through Torquay and enjoy how different everything was. Or I went exploring with some friends. You can easily take a bus to drive through Torbay and look at the other small town around Torquay. My host mother never had a problem with me going out and being home not too early. She was laid-back as long as she knew if we were coming in for dinner or not. I really enjoyed the stay with her and her husband. A friend and I shared a room in the attic of their house.
All in all I really enjoyed the two weeks in Torquay. It is definitely a trip I will never forget.