‘We were made to feel very welcome’

German students Sarah Scheja, Livia-Marie Bartsch, Lara Becker and Foyle International European Programme Officer, Feargal Doherty pictured outisde Foyle International on Magazine Street on Thursday. (FI2807AQ02)

German students Sarah Scheja, Livia-Marie Bartsch, Lara Becker and Foyle International European Programme Officer, Feargal Doherty pictured outisde Foyle International on Magazine Street on Thursday. (FI2807AQ02)

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If you’d like to know what happened when three German girls took to Derry’s streets to ask questions, read on.

Lara Becker (21) and Livia-Marie Bartsch (18) are both from Berlin while Sarah Scheja is from Linz am Rhein near Bonn.

The three girls have spent the last four weeks living in Derry where they have attended English classes at Foyle International on Magazine Street.

Lara, Livia-Marie and Sarah have all left school in Germany and are currently working towards securing a job with the Federal Office of Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues back home.

Their time in Derry has been sponsored by the European Commission’s Leonardo Da Vinci programme.

One of the main reasons the girls came to Derry was obviously to improve their English but according to Foyle International European Programmes Officer, Feargal Doherty, their visit has helped to enrich an already thriving local cultural exchange.

“Through Leonardo Da Vinci and the Life long Learning programmes it helps promote and incorporate different cultures into our daily routines and enhance the ethos behind the City of Culture 2013,” said Feargal.

The direction and the tasks set out on the programme were decided upon by the three girls.

One such task saw the girls take to the streets of the city to ask local people about their knowledge of Germany and to see if they recognised photographs of famous German people.

“Only one woman knew all of the German people - but she has a sister who lives in Germany and visits her often,” said Sarah in perfect English.

“Most of the other people who we stopped and talked to didn’t recognise people like Angela Merkel [German Chancellor] and Lucas Podolski [German international and Arsenal footballer].”

Livia-Marie and Lara operated the video camera and managed the sound whilst Sarah conducted the interviews.

After showing photos of famous Germans to the people of Derry, they then went on to quiz locals about their knowledge of Germany and ask them for their thoughts on German women.

“One man said he thought German people to be nice but serious - I am not sure if he ever visited Germany before,” smiled Lara.

“It was an interesting task and one we really enjoyed doing - we found the people of your city to be very friendly and polite,” added Livia-Marie.

Expectedly, the girls were able to soak up the local bar scene and cuisine and availed of the recent good weather when the y visited Benone Strand.

“Your landscape and beaches here are amazing - it’s a beautiful country - it’s the first time I have ever visited here and it’s certainly a place I would recommend to my friends,” said Sarah.

“I am not so keen on the Irish food - there’s too much fast food on offer here - the German food is definitely better,” said Lara honestly.

“I really enjoyed some of the pubs here too - Peadar O’Donnell’s and Sandino’s were our favourites,” she added.

The three girls returned home to Germany yesterday and they stated that they think the last four weeks spent in Derry will help them with their careers.

“We had a great time here. Everyone was so polite and I think Lara and Livia-Marie will agree when I say all of our teachers at Foyle International have helped to really improve our English,” said Sarah.