Since 2009 Balbriggan Community College has successfully grown a friendship with our friends in St. Wendel, Saarland, Germany, arising from the partnership established by Balbriggan Town Council. Hundreds of back and forth plane tickets have been clutched by our wonderful, brave and curious students, as they join our European neighbours on a fun and educational journey of discovery. Knowledge has been extended, cultural awareness expanded and significant connections have been forged. We may look a little different on the outside, have different style homes and families but most would agree that it’s how a place/person/situation/experience makes you feel that matters. The Exchange encourages people to open up their front doors, their lives and their eyes and see the vast possibilities that exist, especially when one overcomes the fear of trying something unfamiliar. Balbriggan Community College students really enjoy the way of life in Germany. They are highly impressed by the freedom and ease of the experience and the generosity of their German hosts. In truth Balbriggan Community College students, together with their families, have demonstrated outstanding hospitality again and again, so much so that the exchange visit now lasts 6 nights, having been extended by popular demand. BCC students travel to Germany/France in March every year and our German friends arrive in Balbriggan in September. As well as attending school, which provides an opportunity to compare and contrast education systems, students sight see, play and go on adventures with their peers in the host country whilst living with the host family. In addition having established the connection, a number of students have visited each other outside of the exchange, attending debs for example, working, even completing longer stints attending school in Germany.
The wonderful photographs demonstrate the warm welcome and fond friendship which has developed over the years. Thank you Ms. McGrath for your photographic expertise and to all other contributors for recording the story of our European Exchange.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain)