As the end of the year approaches, I thought I would send a summary of all the twinning events that have happened during 2014, as well as a forward plan of those activities that are being proposed so far for 2015, so that you have an idea of everything that we have been doing and everything we hope to do on the twinning front in 2015.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy new year and with thanks for your support during the year.
Best regards Annette
Twinning Officer : Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
tel 01242 264311
Democracy Assistant : Wednesday and Friday
tel 01242 775153
Cheltenham Borough Council
Working together to create a great future for Cheltenham
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11 March Prof Joachim Ahrens of PFH Private Uni Göttingen visited Uni of Glos School of Business and Management with view to Erasmus exchange of students and also met with GB and AW
18-21 March 2 CBC employees in Göttingen for Erasmus conference in conjunction with Uni of Glos and Göttingen uni on employability of sports graduates
29 March – 2 April Visit to Cheltenham YMCA by CEO of Göttingen YMCA, Roland Elsas, and 3 others. Reception 2 April
1-6 April Jonathan McNaught concert in Göttingen 4 April
15-20 May Visit by the Heinrich Boll (special needs)school, Göttingen – reception 16 May
29 May – 2 June Bridge club tournament in Göttingen – 4 teams (16 people) invited from Cheltenham Bridge Club
4-7 July Twinning weekend to commemorate WW1 centenary. Delegations from Annecy and Göttingen attended the Music Festival WW1 centenary concert on 6 July and other WW1 events
9 July Visit by 30 students from IGS Göttingen to Ribston Hall High School, Reception 9 July.
9 Sept – 18 Oct Göttingen Youth Sport visit – youngsters stayed in host families and visited London, Alton Towers and Gloucester as well as sporting activities in Cheltenham.
5-9 Nov 60 members of the Göttingen Stadtkantorei were in Cheltenham for 4 days and performed a joint concert of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Cheltenham Bach Choir and the Regency Sinfonia, at Cheltenham Town Hall on 8 November. A Mayor’s reception was also held on 6 November
9 Nov The first Deputy Mayor from Annecy Mireille Brasier and the conductor of the Göttingen Stadtkantorei laid wreaths on behalf of their towns at the Remembrance Service in Cheltenham
14-17 Nov Invitation to Göttingen to mark their National Day of Mourning. Andrew North gave a talk on commemorating WW1 and laid a poppy wreath at Gottingen’s WW1 and 2 war memorial as well as at the graves of 2 British soldiers.
20 Nov Everyman Theatre WW1 primary schools project – participation of Göttingen Geschwister Gesamt Schule showing of a DVD of a play of life during war time and Annecy Carnot primary school sent drawings related to WW1
5-27 Nov Cheltenham – Göttingen Exhibition on 100 years since outbreak of the first world war. Pictures supplied by Göttingen and Cheltenham Camera clubs and artefacts by Melissa Web from Cheltenham. Exhibition in the New Town Hall in Göttingen for 3 weeks. Melissa Webb travelling over to collect artefacts and stay with a host family for the end of the exhibition.
6-9 Dec Three members of Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra to Göttingen on a pre-planning visit for their concerts in 2015.
add text, images, and oth
It’s been a busy autumn and with working meetings having been held with both Annecy and Göttingen in the last two weeks, many more projects are in the pipeline to keep twinning developing from strength to strength over the next couple of years.
Youth Sport Visit
From 25 October to 1 November 2014, a group of 27 young people aged between 12 and 15 came to Cheltenham to spend their half term week exploring their twin town. The youngsters all stayed in host families so that they had the chance to learn more about the English way of life and practise their English. The group went on trips to Gloucester, London and Alton Towers, as well as enjoying the sports facilities at Leisure-at, exploring and shopping in Cheltenham and having a reception with the Mayor in the Council Chamber.
Sixty members of the Göttingen Stadtkantorei joined with the Cheltenham Bach Choir for a joint concert of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at the Town Hall on Saturday 8 November. The Göttingen choir were in Cheltenham from 5-9 November as hosts of the Bach choir with whom they have had a link for over 30 years. A Mayor’s reception was held for the group on 6 November and the conductor of the choir, Bernd Eberhardt, laid a wreath on behalf of Göttingen and its people at the Remembrance Day Service on 9 November.
National Day of Mourning in Göttingen
The following weekend Andrew North, Councillor Garth Barnes and Annette Wight represented Cheltenham in Göttingen at their National Day of Mourning on 16 November. Andrew North gave an address at the service and a poppy wreath was laid together alongside the Göttingen wreaths at the memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in World Wars 1 and 2 in the town’s cemetery. Wreaths were also laid at the tomb stones of two British soldiers who had died in world war 1 and who were buried in Göttingen in a moving and poignant show of unity between the Göttingen and Cheltenham people present.
Two other events have been taking place in both towns to mark the beginning of world war 1. In Göttingen from 5-27 November, an exhibition is being held in their Town Hall commemorating the outbreak of the first world war. Photographs supplied by the camera clubs of both towns of WW1 monuments and memorials in Cheltenham and Götttingen, together with many British artefacts and newspaper cuttings are on display, providing an interesting perspective of the war from both sides. The British artefacts have been sourced and supplied by Melissa Webb who earlier this year staged a WW1 exhibition at the Maxima Forum Centre in Lansdown Road. We are very grateful to Melissa for her co-operation with this project and Melissa is driving over to Göttingen to see the end of the exhibition and bring back her goodies!! She is kindly being hosted by a Göttingen family and Melissa plans to visit the Göttingen Christmas market and try some Gluhwein!
Cheltenham Schools WW1 Showcase
In Cheltenham on 20 November, the Everyman Theatre commemorated world war one in Gloucestershire through working in partnership with local primary schools. An evening show casing dance, drama, poetry and singing from the pupils of various schools was organised as well as a display of a variety of art and crafts all relating to WW1. Annecy and Göttingen had been invited to participate in this showcase and 40 pieces of art work from the Carnot primary school in Annecy had been sent to Cheltenham for display, and a video extract from a play that the senior school, Geschwister Gesamt school in Göttingen had produced on life during war time, was also shown.
"The Cheltenham Festival in Göttingen, often referred to as the Big Party Visit, will take place from 25 to 31 July 2015. This visit to our German twin town is open to everyone, young and young at heart, who wish to spend 6 days in Göttingen experiencing German culture and life. Accommodation can be with a family or in a hotel / guest house and a full programme of activities is organised for the group including a twinning reception and party, local sightseeing and tours to places of interest with time to spend with host family and friends enjoying the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Göttingen city. Further details on cost and transport will be posted towards the end of the year, but if you are interested in particpating please email the Twinning Officer to register your interest:
Annette’s email is email@example.com “
Future Twinning Events 2015/16
March – May 2015 Project on raising awareness of Europe in Cheltenham with Annecy and Göttingen reps invited to meet local media, students, residents
25-31 July Cheltenham’s Big Party visit to Göttingen Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra going to Göttingen as part of Big Party Visit
14-21 Aug 2015 International Youth for Peace Camp in Göttingen – invite for 8 young people and 2 leaders Source group and leaders by March 2015
20 Aug – 1 Sept 2015 Sport and Sprache visit to Cheltenham Host fams, & programme organisation
Autumn 2015 Apprentices from Göttingen to Cheltenham for 4-6 weeks 4 from Stadt Göttingen, 4 from Landkreis Göttingen Source placements by the summer
Heidrun Berger who came to Cheltenham with the Twinning Association last summer sent us this recipe for Poppy seed cakes. When I was in Cardiff with some Germans we unintentionally went into a Viennese café and I had a poppy seed slice. I thought it was a bit like carrying coals to Newcastle. I believe the Germans say “Eulen nach Athen tragen”. (Greg)
(Oben knusprig, innen saftig – das Reinbeißen weckt Kindheitserrinnerungen!)
(Für den Hefeteig)
400 g Mehl
1 Päckchen Trockenbackhefe
¼ l Milch
75 g weiche Butter
1 Prise Salz
(Für die Füllung)
250g Mohn (frisch gemahlen)
Scale und Saft von 1 Limette
1 Päckchen Vanillezucker
½ l Milch
100g feine Grieß
500 g mager Quark
(für die Streusel)
200g weiche Butter
1 Päckchen Vanillezucker
At a ceremony on 11th October Cheltenham Borough Council's Department of Tourism awarded the Twinning Association a trophy in recognition of all the work done to promote Cheltenham to our 7 Twin Towns. The July visit below, in which the German Club was heavily involved, was singled out for praise.
The biggest event of the twinning calendar took place in summer, with the visit of 121 people from Göttingen, led by the Bürgermeister of Göttingen, Ulrich Holefleisch. The visit was a huge success with some 30 or so members of the German Club acting as hosts or assisting with the programmed events and participating in the scheduled official meetings.
Our Vorsitzende, Bärbel, translated the whole programme booklet and this year it was a very handsome production, much more detailed and comprehensive than in earlier years.
Highlights of the visit included a Welcome Reception in the lovely grounds of Cheltenham Ladies College when our expert team of canapé makers and meeters and greeters circulated amongst the guests, whilst Helga interpreted the speeches, capturing perfectly the friendly, humorous tone of the occasion.
Then there was our truly spectacular Sommerkonzert at St Andrew's Church with music from Chorus Felum, Nella Hunkins and Angelika Campos de Melo. This was very well attended indeed and we received numerous plaudits for having put the concert on and for its very varied programme: there was something for everyone. And Bärbel got as many compliments for her speech as the musicians did for their performances!
A party at Dean Close school brought everyone together for a fun evening with a great atmosphere. Iris, charmingly dressed in a dirndl that had belonged to her mother, acted as interpreter for the speeches by the two Mayors.
Club members acted as guides / interpreters on the coach trips to Cardiff, Bourton on the Water, the city of Wells, and on guided walking tours of Cheltenham and (on the very hottest day) on the country walk from Burford towards Swinbrook.
Jenny had the most glamorous role of all, spending the day at the Municipal tip to interpret talks between Göttingen expert, Friedrich Jütting, and Cheltenham's Ubico about recycling, waste, rubbish, and street cleaning.
Michelle was our expert interpreter at the wide-ranging talks between the two towns' twinning committees - a challenge as speakers spoke at length without pausing for Michelle, so she had to précis as well as interpret.
During the week, productive contacts were made between representatives of the Göttingen and Cheltenham Local History Societies.
And most importantly for us we gained a lot of recognition and good publicity for Cheltenham German Club. Sadly it was confirmed that there really is no counterpart for us, no Göttingen English Club. Perhaps we have sown the seed?
As the group left, the deputy mayor of Göttingen invited Cheltenham people to Göttingen in 2015 for the next twinning festival. The date will be 25 - 30 July.
And now Bärbel says I have to include these words she has sent me:
"The overall organisation and coordination of the involvement of the German Club was taken on by Jo Dean who managed the different tasks brilliantly especially the execution of the summer concert. Without her determination and enthusiasm this event would not have been such a success."
Anne Irvine and Jo went to the reception in the Mayoral Parlour for these pupils and their teachers, Claudia and Horst, hosted by the Mayor and by Councillor Diggory Seacombe. After the reception the group went to the National Star Centre for a tour, followed by lunch. It was a very happy and worthwhile visit and here is the message that Claudia sent to Annette:
"vielen Dank für die Unterstützung bei unserem Cheltenham-Aufenthalt. Der Empfang beim Major war für die Schüler auch dieses Mal wieder ein tolles Erlebnis. Besonders beeindruckend finden Sie immer die schwere goldene Kette, die sie auch umlegen dürfen. Danke auch noch an die drei Mitglieder des Partnerschaftsvereins, die bei dem Empfang dabei waren und uns anschließend beim Ordern des Taxis behilflich waren.
Das National Star College hat uns alle sehr beeindruckt. David Finch hat uns sehr freundlich empfangen und uns die vielfältigen Möglichkeiten seines Colleges aufgezeigt. Ein älterer Schüler fand das Angebot so toll, dass er am liebsten dort zur Schule gehen würde.
Am Sonntag haben wir die Vintage-Ausstellung nebst Ruderregatta in Evesham besucht und am Montag haben wir in Gloucester die Kathedrale und das Waterway-Museum besichtigt. Die Schüler und auch Horst Konrad und ich haben den Aufenthalt in Cheltenham wieder sehr genossen. Vielleicht ergibt sich in der Zukunft ja doch mal wieder eine Partnerschaft.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Claudia Gunkel-Mann -Förderschulrektorin"
For a number of years these two schools have had a very successful exchange programme and in March 2013 a group of some 35 pupils and their teachers paid a return week-long visit to Ribston Hall. All were accommodated with Ribston pupils' families. On Tuesday 5 March a Mayoral Reception was arranged for them attended by Ribston staff past and present: Susanne Hauser-Braun, Jane Kennedy, Elise Forbes, and Bärbel of course. And Jenny and Jo from German Club went along to help out.
The students had gone for an early hike on Cleeve Hill and then came to the Council Chamber where the Mayor and Councillor Garth Barnes welcomed them very warmly. Then Bärbel spoke about the Club and the importance we attach to German language and culture. After refreshments and a chance to try on the Mayoral Chain of Office, the students had free time to spend in the town.
It was a fantastically sunny day and the students from both schools were a most rewarding group to welcome. There are some photos on the gallery page of this hugely successful visit to Cheltenham.
At the end of October Jane Kennedy went with the CBC for the Rückspiel following Göttinger Stadtkantorei’s visit to Cheltenham in 2009 when there was a joint performance by the two choirs of Mendelssohn’s oratorio ‘Elijah’. This time, in another joint performace, the programme included Missa Angelorum by Carl Rütti and Elgar’s The Music Makers.The Konzert was held in the Johanniskirche. Jane said it was a massive success with some 800 in the audience, and Carl Rütti himself present.
The visit included a reception in the splendid Altes Rathaus and a party at the Gemeindehaus. There was also a trip to nearby Hannoversch Münden, where there are so many colourful Fachwerkhäuser. And of course Jane made another visit to Cron und Lanz, the famous 1876 Kaffeehaus und Konditorei - who could resist?
This item sparked a very interesting email from one of our most senior members, Ronald Kay -
"Very many thanks for this account of the Bach Choir's visit to Göttingen. It triggered many memories. I first saw Hannoversch-Münden as a schoolboy in 1936, when my enjoyment of its pastoral charm was ruined by a local dignitary who insisted on using our visit to plug the Nazi party's line on Germany's need for Lebensraum. But we did then go on to Göttingen, where I enjoyed the lovely smell of lime-trees outside the Theologischer Sprachenkonvikt where we were quartered.
What we probably most enjoyed on that schoolboy visit was our handling of the ubiquitous Nazi salute. Our Quaker headmaster had advised us to conform by returning the salute when given. So, whenever approached by a German soldier riding a bicycle while always carrying his rifle, we gleefully saluted him with 'Heil Hitler' since he had to return the salute and inevitably wobbled about in a very undignified manner. There were far more soldiers in uniform in what was still peacetime than there should have been, and so we felt we had done what we could as a pinprick to the Herrenvolk.
I recalled all this with pleasure when I went with the Bach Choir to Göttingen in the 1990's and stayed with a welcoming family . The choir was not at full strength on that visit, and the report in the local paper was rather less fulsome than on this more recent trip. I am so pleased that the Deutscher Klub is now so closely linked to the choir of which I was a member for 30 years. Best wishes, Ronald"
As the German Club is affiliated to Cheltenham Twinning Association, our members assisted at the Mayor's reception for this group of visitors. They had spent time in London attending Olympic events each day and kindly paid Cheltenham a visit. This is taken from the DOG website about their visit to the Olympics:
"Die Bezirksstelle „ Südniedersachsen“ der Deutschen Olympischen Gesellschaft mit Sitz in Göttingen wird am 04. August mit 57 Teilnehmern und einem Bus der Fa. Randhan abreisen und bis zum Ende der Spiele am 12. August zahlreiche Wettbewerbe verfolgen können. Wir haben Tickets für die Leichtathletik im Olympiastadion, für Tennis in Wimbledon, für Fußball im Wembleystadion, für die Kanurennen am Dorney Lake sowie für die Spiele Handball, Tischtennis und Hockey im Olympiapark. Die Vorbereitungen unter Leitung der beiden bewährten ‚Olympiaführer’ Petra Reußner und Prof. Wolfgang Buss sind weit fortgeschritten und das Startfieber steigt nicht nur bei den Aktiven, sondern auch bei den Unterstützern der deutschen Mannschaft aus der Deutschen Olympischen Gesellschaft.
Wie immer ist unsere selbstorganisierte Fahrt von einem Mix aus dem Besuch von Wettkämpfen, der Suche nach freundschaftlichen Begegnungen mit Aktiven und anderen Olympiafans aus der ganzen Welt sowie einem kulturellen sowie touristischen Beiprogramm durch Besuche in der Göttinger Partnerstadt Cheltenham sowie der als Weltkulturerbe ausgewiesenen frühzeitlichen Kultstätte Stonehenge bestimmt."
So - Carol, Iris, Michelle, Emma (and Diane), Anne, Irene, Roger, Beate, Jennie, Peter and Jo all attended the Mayoral reception, followed by a buffet lunch and then we did the Stadtbummel for them. It was a lovely sunny day so Cheltenham was looking good.
Here is a message from Annette:
"Dear Jo - First of all a big thank you to you and all the members of the German Club who came along on Saturday and helped with the Göttingen Olympic group. I certainly was very grateful I had so many hands to help...So very many thanks. I think it was a very successful reception and visit and there was a lovely article in the Echo last night."
And this is an extract from the Echo article:
"When Professor Wolfgang Buss watched the Olympics as a young man, he knew he wanted to experience the atmosphere of them time and again. The sports science lecturer, from Cheltenham's twin town of Göttingen in Germany, decided to watch the Games every four years in the host nation. Four decades on from his first Games in Munich, he organises the trips for a regular group of sports fans...since then he has travelled with a growing group of people to Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing and now London.
The latest trip saw 57 members make the journey to the London Olympics and they decided to visit to their twin town of Cheltenham at the weekend. Members of the contingent, who met Mayor Colin Hay before touring the town, had nothing but praise for the event. Rainer Hald, who was part of the group coming over, said: "The people were all very friendly. "We were hearing in the press and on television that the security was going to be fierce. But everybody was very helpful and it was so well-organised."
Germany picked up 11 gold medals in London - putting them in sixth place - behind the 29 golds won by Team GB in third place. But the visitors were far from bitter, with one former Olympian admitting it was the best he had seen. Gunther Perleberg won a gold medal for his country in canoeing during the 1960 Games in Rome. He said: "The Games now are such a big event with more than 10,000 people coming to see them. "Back in 1960, there was a totally different atmosphere - it was more like a family."
And even the big wins by Team GB were not enough to crack a frown on the face of the Germans. Rainer Hald said: "Probably one of the best events was the equestrian event. Normally Germany would win, but this time it was Great Britain getting all the medals. Even so it was great to watch - and most of the horses were German."
Annette Wight, Twinning Officer for Cheltenham Borough Council, said: "It was interesting to hear about their experiences at the Olympic Games this week and we are delighted that they found the time to come and visit our twin town for the day."
And from the German Club standpoint it was a brilliant opportunity to chat (mostly in German) with them about their passion for the Olympics. We had all swotted up on names of sports - including "der Beach Volleyball" - which Germany won. It was a great pleasure to meet such a lively, interesting group and also to be able to assist the Twinning Association in this way.
Several DK members were involved in the visit by 29 people from Trier to their twin town Gloucester.The weather could have been kinder but the programme was packed with outings and events and the visitors were so appreciative of what had been arranged for them. Jean Dawes led walks around Gloucester and Sue Parker took the group around the Cathedral, all talks were in German of course. Chris Davies was also involved in the visit, although not hosting this time.
A number of the visitors were staying in a hotel rather than with host families and four of these accepted our invitation to come to Cheltenham for a German guided walk here. Anne Irvine and I (Jo) had a hugely enjoyable morning with Elisabeth, Maria, Ute and Gert doing the Stadtbummel. They were so interested in the history of the Spa and also in present-day Cheltenham. Over coffee we discussed the effects of the recession on both our towns.
I took a lot of photos of the visit for the website gallery without realising that the stabiliser on my camera was kaputt so they are all poor quality. If anyone has photos they could email me I would be grateful.
In late June Birgit Kepke and Maria Casan, the Göttingen co-ordinators of the EU MOVIDA project, came to Cheltenham again to discuss further development of the project. MOVIDA is a Leonardo da Vinci EU funded project which is concerned with offering short internships to students to gain experience of working in other EU countries. The first from Göttingen was Francesca who came in October 2011 to work at the Cheltenham Film Festival. There have been a number of placements since then working for the Borough Council, for local firms and at the Festivals. They have often come along to our meetings and Konversationsabende and it has been good to meet them.
Birgit and Maria were looking to extend MOVIDA beyond the twin towns, and were establishing new links. They had already been to Vitoria in northern Spain and were in Cheltenham to discuss with Carol Stephens of Delingua - UK & European Training - their plans for widening the project to include other towns in Lower Saxony and in Gloucestershire.
(Some photos of this visit in the gallery).
At the beginning of June Cheltenham Bridge Club hosted a tournament for players from the two twin towns. It was a massively successful event:
"Our French and German guests at our Town Twinning event have returned home with wonderful memories of their time with us. They complimented us on how well we organised everything and commented on the friendliness of everyone at our club.
Whilst with us our guests attended a reception by the Mayor, a guided walking tour of Cheltenham, a guided tour of Gloucester Cathedral, a coach tour of Cotswold towns and villages and played in pairs and teams bridge competitions."
The Cheltenham Town Walk was led by one of the town guides - Mike Ivory interpreted for the Germans and I (Jo) for the French. They put lots of very interesting questions to us, way beyond the content of the standard walk and talk.
None of our DK members play bridge at Cheltenham Bridge Club as far as I am aware - am I right?
Olympic Torch Relay Stopover - Wednesday 23 May
Official delegations from Cheltenham's twin towns - Göttingen, Annecy, Sochi, Weihai and Cheltenham Pennsylvania - came to celebrate this event. A very full programme was arranged for them by Cheltenham Borough Council Twinning Association headed by Garth Barnes and Twinning Officer Annette Wight. The visitors began arriving on Monday and left after lunch on Thursday. In addition to the officials, Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, brought Lubo, a quite stunning dance ensemble; and a "Randhahn" coach party of people from Göttingen came to join in the celebrations.
Four members of the German Club were involved: Anne Irvine, Carol Stephens (who runs Delingua Training, a company specialising in UK work experience programmes), Iris Ferchland-Howe and me, Jo Dean. We assisted with meeting and greeting, interpreting, and generally doing whatever we could to help make the week a success.
Highlights were the reception and dinner at Pittville Pump Room, a perfect setting on a warm summery evening. We were entertained by the Russian troupe and by young dancers from Janet Marshall Dance Studios – both groups were absolutely superb. (Simon Lewis’s daughters were dancing – but I'm not sure they are in the photos I took).
The Town Walk was fun: Anne looked after a group in Russian and French whilst Carol went with one group of Germans and I took the Randhahn party round. My group were brilliant, so interested in the buildings and the history of Cheltenham - and they helped me with my German too. This group is in the photo gallery - we were in Montpellier Gardens, very appropriately near to the statue of William IV. Iris went as interpreter for the same group on a day out to Stratford - she had used a day of her annual leave for this!
After a day out in the Cotswolds we arrived at the racecourse in style (if rather hot) on the steam train, and then waited for the Torch. Zara Phillips controlled Toytown splendidly, he had looked a bit resistant to the whole idea initially - the flame, the crowds, the noise - but it really was an impressive sight in the evening sunlight as Zara rode him right along the course against the beautiful backdrop of Cleeve Hill.
Thursday was given over to business and contact-making. Presentations were given by each delegation to show-case their town, with Cheltenham of course leading on this. Sochi had produced a stunning video and the town is now very high on Anne’s To Visit list.
Quite a week then - and quite amazing work done by Annette to pull all this together.
We all enjoyed the evening at Copa when we met Ole, who had come to Cheltenham to do a brief spell as an Intern at Spirax Sarco. This article from the local paper gives his impressions of his time in our town. He was great and will surely go far.
Praktikum in Cheltenham
Dass Cheltenham eine Partnerstadt Göttingens ist, wusste Ole Benstem anfangs gar nicht. Der 22-jährige Feinwerkmechaniker in Ausbildung war auf der Suche nach einem Auslandspraktikum, vorrangig in Skandinavien. Dort aber war es aus versicherungstechnischen Gründen nicht so einfach, etwas zu bekommen.
„Es gab Rumpsteak, das war nicht schlecht“: Ole Benstem nach seiner Rückkehr aus Cheltenham.
Göttingen. „Das war doof, ich bekam nur Absagen“, erinnert sich Benstem. „Aber in England lief es dann besser.“ Schon kurze Zeit später hatte er das Praktikum bei der Firma Spirax Sarco in Cheltenham in der Tasche.
Der Kontakt kam über die Partnerstadtverbindung zwischen Göttingen und Cheltenham zustande. Dadurch stand dem 22-jährigen Reinhäuser, der seine Ausbildung an der Universität Göttingen absolviert, auch eine Ansprechpartnerin vor Ort zur Verfügung: Carol Stephens. Die kümmerte sich sofort um eine Gastfamilie. Unterstützung kam auch vom Jobstarter-Projekt Movida der Volkshochschule.
Haus war mitten in Cheltenham
Stephens hatte schnell eine Gastfamilie gefunden, besser gesagt eine Gastmutter. „Das Haus war mitten in Cheltenham. Zu Fuß war ich in fünf Minuten in der Stadt, in der Firma in einer halben Stunde“, sagt Benstem. Er lieh sich ein Fahrrad. „In Göttingen fahre ich auch jeden Tag mit dem Rad zur Arbeit, 30 Kilometer hin, 30 Kilometer zurück. Das ist ein gutes Training für die Tour d’Energie“, sagt der 22-Jährige, so als wäre das das normalste auf der Welt.
So gut wie seine Unterkunft gefiel ihm auch die Firma, in der er während des fünfwöchigen Praktikums arbeitete. Ohne Bezahlung. „Aber es gab Gastgeschenke.“ Darunter ein Hemd, eine Krawatte, eine Tasse und einen USB-Stick. In der Firma („Der Chef war echt locker“) durfte der 22-Jährige einiges machen. „Ich hatte schon vorher ganz gute Englischkenntnisse, daher konnte ich denen gut helfen“, sagt Benstem. Das ging so weit, dass er den Ingenieuren nicht nur über die Schulter guckte, sondern auch eigene Teile entwickelte und herstellte. „Das hat Spaß gemacht“, sagt Benstem. „Ein Modell kann ich jetzt hier präsentieren. Und ein Zeugnis bekomme ich auch noch.“ Am Ende durfte er die Chefs sogar zu einem Geschäftsessen begleiten. „Es gab Rumpsteak, das war nicht schlecht.“
Jetzt ist Benstem wieder in Göttingen – und blickt gerne zurück auf die Zeit in Cheltenham. „Ein dicker Pluspunkt für spätere Bewerbungen“ sei der Auslandsaufenthalt, bei dem er nicht nur seine Sprachkenntnisse verbessert, sondern auch Einblicke in die Arbeitsprozesse einer ausländischen Firma erhalten habe. Außerdem weiß Benstem jetzt auch etwas mit Cheltenham anzufangen. „Eine schöne Stadt mit englischer Architektur, vielen Geschäften und kleinen Cafés und Pubs.“ In einem von diesen feierte er seinen 22. Geburtstag – mit neuen Freunden in einer doch nicht so fremden Stadt.
Weitere Infos zum Jobstarter-Projekt bei Birgit Kepke von der VHS Göttingen unter Telefon 05 51 / 38 43 83 34. Infos zur Städtepartnerschaft im Internet unter goettinger-partnerschaftsverein.de.