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Digital and Creative learners embark on exchange programme adventure in Aachen, Germany

Last month, six students from Oldham College’s Digital and Creative department returned from a study exchange trip to Aachen, Germany, where they delved into a new culture, refined their skills, and formed international friendships. These learners, along with their tutor, Mark Rigby, studied at BKGut, a vocational college specialising in digital and creative education.

The journey, initiated as part of the Turing Fund-supported exchange program, began on April 15th with a train ride from Oldham to Aachen. The journey took a full day, but inspired by Oldham College’s Green Week last month, they chose the more sustainable way of traveling. BKGut is also recognised for its commitment to sustainability, boasting an accolade for being a green-focused institution—an ethos embraced wholeheartedly by their students.

Throughout their stay, learners delved into the school’s comprehensive curriculum which included Politics, Economics, Maths, English, and Sports. Their main project focused on the “outside world,” with topics such as gaming addiction, water conservation, and sustainability. The work produced was entered into a wider competition across Germany funded by design companies.

Leading tutor Mark Rigby, remarked, “Overall, the trip was exciting, exhausting and inspirational. The learners have returned with a different mindset to education at Oldham College and knowledge of German culture. It has been a trip they will not forget due to the dedication and investment from BKGut and the learners.”

The learners’ engagement extended beyond the classroom, with visits to iconic locations like Cologne, Maastricht, Liege, and Brussels where they explored historical sites such as the Maastricht Museum, viewing diverse art and architecture.

In return, Oldham College hosted a student and tutor from BKGut. During their time here, BKGut learner, Aliyah, studied in our creative department and undertook a short project involving game design and illustration. Aliyah’s experience extended to sessions at both Oldham College and University Campus Oldham, providing a comprehensive understanding of the curriculum and campus. They both particularly admired the Digital and Creative Centre building, emphasising the encouragement of creative freedom and independent decision-making in lessons.

Reflecting on the experience, Oldham College Digital and Creative learner, Ellie noted, “It’s been an amazing experience, and I will be taking the commitment and problem-solving skills into my academic studies.”

Learner Asfar remarked, “Their (BKGut learners) time management was exceptional, they viewed school as an opportunity more then something that you have to do. I think that’s something we all need to learn and apply to our own lives.”

Oldham College looks forward to continuing its collaboration with BKGut and similar institutions to provide immersive educational experiences that empower our learners.

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