13th December 2023
Students from South Devon College said ‘Guten Tag’ to fellow learners when they travelled to Germany to take part in an interactive business project at a local college, aimed at developing entrepreneurial skills.
The A Level students visited RBZ Wirtschaft, a vocational school specialising in business and trade in Kiel, for two weeks, working on a collaborative project to design a business website used for a trading simulation.
Due to an unexpected but interesting initial diversion to Berlin, the group was able to take in the local tourist attractions such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial. They also explored the Reichstag and Checkpoint Charlie, the famous Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin, before heading on to Kiel.
Students taking time to reflect at the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism
The Devon-based teenagers were welcomed into the college, along with pupils from Norway, and worked in groups on the business venture, called the Business Game, using the college’s specialist IT equipment.
During week one of the Business Game, there were sports sessions and ice breaker activities in order to encourage introductions and relationships with the other students, as well as an introduction to the Business Game.
Students taking part in the ice-breaker sports activities
The participants got down to the nuts and bolts of the business world in Week Two – their businesses began trading using the online shops they built, and an offer was made for a fictional office in Norway, finalising the deal with a PowerPoint presentation on the whole experience given to the German students, before the final ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to new friends.
They also explored the local area, taking an early morning scenic train ride to visit the pretty, historical town of Lübeck, the southwestern-most city on the Baltic Sea, with its architectural landmarks.
The international project ensured the students (all studying A Levels in subjects such as Geography, Psychology, Law, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English Literature, English Language, Sociology, Business, Criminology, Art and Photography at South Devon College) developed their technical skills, as well as building other transferrable qualities such as confidence levels and independence.
They travelled around Germany on public transport and forged relationships with the other students they met, developing long-standing friendships.
Abi Mitchell, who participated in the trip, said: “We all developed our independence, especially in travel, by using the public transport system, as well as building our teamwork skills and teaching us how to adapt to different environments quickly. We also created lots of connections with other people, so we’ve all now got new friends from Germany and Norway.
“We also learned about different cultures and tried different foods such as schnitzel and currywurst!”
Visiting students taking part in the Business Game at RBZ Wirtschaft display their different nationalities, showing what a collaborative experience it was
The project was made possible through the Turing Scheme programme, the Government-funded project offering global travel and enrichment opportunities to students to boost their life skills and relevant career options, during work or study placements.
The trip was an opportunity to notice some differences between college life in Germany and the UK – most notably that the German students started lessons by 8am!
Tom Brookman-Skirrow, accompanying staff on the trip and Lecturer in Geography at South Devon College, said: “For a lot of the students, it was an unfamiliar environment but they all adjusted really well to it. It was a very multi-cultural setting, and the students were interacting with different nationalities, including German-Ghanaian, Albanian, Turkish and Syrian. It showed that students and people are exactly the same across the world – there are so many similarities in interests and social scene.”
The participating students, together with accompanying staff members Tom Brookman-Skirrow and Lynsey Mizen-Shaw