An unusual trip to Scotland

by Gabriele Schüttelhöfer

Edinburgh Casle

Edinburgh Casle

Since 1979 there was a pupil´s exchange between Realschule Hüsten and Deans Community High School, Livingston. This exchange was part of the partnership between the Hochsauerlandkreis and the West Lothian Council. Every two years pupils of Hüsten were guests in Deans and Scottish pupils stayed in Hüsten. Usually the young people and their teachers were guests in German or in Scottish families.

So 35 pupils and 4 teachers of Realschule Hüsten went to Scotland in June 1989 and they all stayed with families in Livingston. Many of these pupils never forgot their visit and it came back into their minds whenever they remembered their schooldays. One of them was Miriam Wilke.

Arnsberg

Arnsberg

20 years later in 2009 she tried to fnd her former classmates and their Scottish partners. Ten of them soon decided to go back to Scotland as an anniversary trip. The HSK helped to contact the school in Livingston.

On Wednesday June 17th; 2009 nine former pupils of Real­schule Hüsten and one of the teachers and her husband set off to Edinburgh where they were welcomed by Mr. Gordon Connolly a representative of the West Lothian Council.The following 5 days became an extraordinary event for  all who were members of the party.

Participants “Jubilieetrip” 2009. In the middle: teacher Gabriele Schüttelhöfer, right: Gordon Connolly, Community Facilities Manager West Lothian

Participants “Jubilieetrip” 2009. In the middle: teacher Gabriele Schüttelhöfer, right: Gordon Connolly, Community Facilities Manager West Lothian

On the first day the visit to Deans Community High School took place. Although there was the removal into a new school building ahead of the staff the German guests were welcomed heartily. The visitors could take part in some  lessons and have a look at the rooms they could remember so well from their first visit 20 years ago. But they also noticed changes: the pupils of Deans now wore school uniforms.

The guests also visited Edinburgh, Mill Farm, Glasgow, Stirling Linlithgow Queensferry and Rosslyn Chapel. Some places they had seen already 20 years before, some were new to them.

Official opening West-Lothian-Platz 2012

Official opening West-Lothian-Platz 2012

This trip was a fne experience for all members of the party and they felt that they were very welcome in West Lothian: at the school, in the community. They all agreed: this wasn´t their last visit to this hospitable country, they would all come back.