Just before Christmas, eight Yr 12 and 13 students of German spent a week in Heidelberg with their exchange partners of the Hölderlin Gymnasium. They visited the Christmas Markets, Heidelberg Castle with the world’s largest wine barrel and the Apothecary Museum, as well as the former Heidelberg University Student Prison, and they attended a seminar on democracy and German history in the Friedrich Ebert–House, the birthplace of the First President of Germany. They also spent a day in Frankfurt, the highlights being guided tours of the European Central Bank in its new headquarters in the Sonnemannstraße and the brand-new Historical Museum Frankfurt, a traditional Hessian meal at the Apfelweinwirtschaft Wagner and shopping on the Zeil. Furthermore, they visited the Technoseum in Mannheim, where they completed a questionnaire on its many hands-on experiments and learned about famous German scientists, preceded by lunch in the town centre. They were extremely lucky to be able to participate in a guided tour of the famous Popakademie Baden-Württemberg, a highly selective but entirely non-feepaying state university dedicated to the study of Popular Music and Music Business, co-founded by no-one less than the legendary Mannheim-born singer Xavier Naidoo, followed by a song-writing workshop. They also attended a day of lessons at our partner school, experiencing the differences between English and German schools first-hand. They had a superb, informative and fun week, in which their German improved enormously, and they are already very much looking forward to welcoming their partners in March.