independent

Friday 23 August 2019

German students will learn about Irish culture, history and language

German students who are staying in Gorey for the next month, at Gorey Community School with leader Lea Rathmann, group leader Ulf Brix (centre, back row), caretaker Martin Bolger and leader Elisa Holst
German students who are staying in Gorey for the next month, at Gorey Community School with leader Lea Rathmann, group leader Ulf Brix (centre, back row), caretaker Martin Bolger and leader Elisa Holst

Cathy Lee

This month 24 German teenage students are visiting Gorey with their leaders and staying with local host families, for 25 days of learning about culture, history and language as well as taking some trips around the county and surrounding areas.

The annual trip is now in its twenty-ninth year and already, the main leader Ulf Brix (70) is thinking about how to mark the thirtieth anniversary next year.

'Next year I'd like to have the same style as we had during our 25th anniversary in 2015, we had a reception in Gorey Civic Centre and there were members of the German embassy there, as well as one of the first students,' he said.

Describing himself as 'nearly a Gorey man,' Ulf found his love for the area when he first visited in 1976.

'What I love the most is the people's hospitality, they are very friendly and open. I feel when I come here it's like coming home,' said Ulf.

'I came as a young teacher to hitch hike through Ireland. I got picked up in Bray by Bruce Copeland, and later met Father McDwyer. He brought me to Copelands family farm in Huntington, Clogh and I met all the family. I felt very lucky'.

Over the years, since the student trips began in 1990, students have kept coming back and some have even become leaders themselves.

'What parents expect is that when the students come home, their English has improved but besides this that they have seen a new culture, a new style of living and food, sites and hospitality and open heart of the Irish people,' said Ulf.

This time around the students and their four leaders will visit Enniscorthy, New Ross, Dunbrody Abbey, Wexford Heritage Park, Hook Head, Ferns, Kilkenny Castle and Glendalough as well as attending classes at Gorey Community School.

'We want to say a big thank you to Gorey and all Wexford people, Enda and Declan from Gorey Coach, all the host families, from the Copelands to Fitzpatricks, McQuillans and Hughes and especially Gorey Community School as all staff that look after us very well,' said Ulf.

Gorey Guardian

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