International Links

Bringing the World into DHSB

Christmas Celebrations from around the World

Around the world Christmas is celebrated in many different ways. Here are some of the traditions that could be rather different to yours:

  • In South Africa a popular Christmas treat is to nibble on the deep-fried caterpillars of the Emperor Moth.

  • The Christmas pickle is an old tradition where a pickle ornament is hidden on the Christmas tree. The first person to find the pickle among all the other ornament is said to receive an extra present for Christmas. The tradition has stories originating from the Spain to Germany.

  • Catalonians may choose to have a Tio de Nadal or "Christmas log". A log is decorated with a face and a blanket, placed halfway into a fire and then beaten with sticks.

  • Thanks to a 1974 campaign, many Japanese families eat KFC on Christmas Day.

  • From December 16th to December 24th, there’s a very unique tradition that takes place in Caracas, Venezuela. The busy city streets are closed off to allow everyone to roller skate to Misa de Aguinaldo (Early Morning Mass).

  • On Christmas Eve, Estonian families traditionally head to the sauna together.

  • Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January the 7th. People wear white and the men play ganna - a fast paced game with sticks and wooden balls.

  • The Parrandas Festival is held in Cuba every December and involves the city dividing into two halves, each building a sculpture out of lightbulbs.

  • On a Ukrainian Christmas tree you may find a spider or a spiderweb. The folk tale that led to this tradition is that a poor family woke up on Christmas morning to find their bare tree decorated with spider webs that shined silver in the sun.

German Exchange Trip

The German exchange was quite possibly the best experience of my DHSB life. I had many new experiences which I hope I will never forget. It all started with a flight from Bristol to Amsterdam and then a short drive from Amsterdam to Rheine, in the northwest of Germany. That evening we met our partners and their families, and I am not embarrassed to say that we were all very nervous. We spent the next day in school before going to Bremen where we had a tour of this culturally rich city. The next day we went on a team treasure hunt around Rheine, before going to Osnabruck and the Felix Nussbaum Museum the day after. The next day we went to school again followed by a farewell meal with our partners. On Saturday we spent the day with our exchange partners before flying back to England on Sunday.

I loved the trip and it has definitely helped me with my German studies. I would recommend the trip to anyone taking German as it has definitely improved my language skill and given me a real passion for the subject. Anyone who is considering the trip should just give it a go and don't be nervous because everyone is so lovely and helpful. I am going back to Germany to see my exchange in the summer holidays because I got on so well with him.

The trip has allowed me to form my own opinions of German life and has given me a great insight. The one thing that amazed me and something that I hope will be the same when the German students come to England, is the fact that all the students were so kind to me and my friends and made us feel very welcome.

I would finally like to thank Herr Gomez and Frau Saunders for arranging such a fantastic trip and I hope that many people will also take the plunge and go on the trip, like I did, next year!

Henry Spencer, 10W

French Exchange Trip

When I arrived on the Saturday morning I was scared to say the least: my French was below par and I was confronted with spending a week with a complete stranger. That being said by time I'd arrived at the house in Paimpol and settled in, things were looking up: my partner spoke good English, the family were lovely and I had an English friend only 5 minutes away. My morning was really interesting, as I was able to meet all of my partner's friends and began to speak more French, and join in with activities that they do. The evening presented a new challenge however - I was going to spend a night in the middle of nowhere, with no wifi, and lots of different people speaking French - something very daunting for me. That being said the evening was great fun, and I really got to speak some French and have conversations - something that previously I didn't think I would be capable of! The weekend signaled the start to a great week of fun and I'm really looking forward to when my partner comes over in February!

Harry Futcher, Year 12 Campbell

The most outstanding difference between French meal times and British ones was the sheer quantity of them. It seemed that between each meal, another meal was required to fill the foodless void. These numerous in-between snacks often consisted of homemade crepes, made fresh on the crepe machine, followed by an assortment of cheeses and bread, which was often followed by an offering of yogurt or fruit. When it came to lunch or dinner itself, the meals were often compiled of meat, cheese and bread, simply prepared in varying ways. After spending a week in France, I now know cheese can be baked, melted on a miniature grill, broken off into chunks, as well as being sliced or grated and sprinkled onto every sort of meal imaginable.

A curious component of French lunches were discovered in the form of squeezy packets of fruit compote, or just blended fruit (with a strange likeness to baby puree) which were definitely not popular among the Brits. Although, with every dinner served, an irrefutable glass of unbearable strong homemade cidré (not cider) would be pushed forth and the family would look on eagerly as you had to pull a pleased face. I definitely didn't go hungry in France!

Alice Varley, Year 12 Priestley

Since my partner’s family hardly spoke any English, I was effectively forced to speak in French and listen to French for the whole week, which was actually really helpful, but hardly surprising – when in France, you should speak French. I found that while it was tiring, by the end of the week I was able to say what I wanted without having to think too much because I was even beginning to think in French. It really improved my language skills just by having to constantly practice using them, and it also gave me confidence in my ability to speak French. My partner’s mum has generously invited my family to visit them whenever we want, so I look forward to seeing them again soon.

Lucy Irving, Year 12 Campbell

German Christmas Markets

Thirty-one boys, mostly from Year 7, participated in the visit to the Christmas Markets in Germany during the school’s Curriculum Challenge Week at the end of November.

Our base in Germany was in the youth hostel in Monschau which is a spectacular castle. After arriving in this very beautiful little town in the Eifel region we learned a little about the history of the town and the boys were given some free time to explore and visit the shops. The boys were accommodated in dormitories and contributed to community life. On one evening the boys completed some language/cultural work in their trip booklets and on the last evening there was a quiz on German general knowledge.

From our base we made two day visits to Cologne and Aachen both of which have impressive Christmas markets. These are a very traditional part of life in Germany at this time of year and attract visitors from all over the world. Our boys were very impressed by the sights and smells that greeted them. In Cologne we enjoyed a guided tour of the Dom (cathedral), the symbol of the city, and discovered a lot about its history and architecture. Some boys also visited the Roman Germanic Museum to learn about the city’s Roman past.

In Aachen the boys couldn’t wait to experience the many delights of the Lindt chocolate outlet store – so much choice! Everyone came away with a box of tasty presents. In Aachen itself there was time again to explore the Christmas market, speak some German and buy something to eat – a Bratwurst or two. As a group we toured the cathedral which is a UNESCO world heritage site and where Charlemagne is buried. We later enjoyed the German tradition of cake and hot chocolate.

All in all, a brilliant trip and a great experience for all those boys at the start of their language learning. And finally a big thank you to Mrs Wilson, Mrs Witchell and Mrs Rasmussen without whom the trip would not have been possible nor would it have been so much fun.

“The trip was amazing, the Lindt outlet was amazing, the shops and the markets were fantastic and the cathedrals were really fascinating. Worth it.”

“The trip is very educational because we saw the tomb of the Three Wise Men from the Bible and also we had a guided tour of Cologne cathedral.”

“I had an amazing time in Germany and it was really fun.”

Mr Walsh

DHSB Celebrates Thanksgiving

On Thursday 4th December there was a creative cookery session to celebrate Thanksgiving, as Edwin Tsang of Yr 12 says "at DHSB we try to appreciate all the different national holidays celebrated across the world". Students of all years worked together to create American style pancakes which were then enjoyed with themed cranberry, maple and apple sauces. Thanks to the team of sixth formers who led this session, and Miss Hunns for the use of the food room.

Thanksgiving is often linked back to a 1621 feast held in Plymouth, MA, which was prompted by a particularly good harvest. Nowadays it is a national holiday and generally involves a large meal based around the serving of turkey. Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented the President of the United States with a live turkey in a ceremony known as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation, during which the President pardons the turkey from being eaten!


The Movember Foundation runs official campaigns in 21 countries, and has involvement in several more, so it is worthily entitled a global movement. It is committed to 'changing the face of men's health' by increasing awareness of both prostate and testicular cancer. DHSB was fully supportive by having a 'Muzzy Day'; voting to make Mr Huq endure a wisp moustache for 2 weeks; and playing 'Name the Movember Moustache'. A special thank you to Mr Huq, Mr Macleod and Mrs Witchell.

Israeli Youth Delegation

DHSB were visited by the Israeli Youth Delegation, Nina and Elijah, who gave a presentation on their lives in Israel followed by a discussion session. Several students asked lots of insightful and probing questions which encouraged debate and reflection on perspectives and ethics.

Upcoming Events and Things to Do

World Challenge - Malawi and Zambia!

A team for the school are taking part in an expedition to Malawi and Zambia in Africa for a month with World Challenge in 2015. This opportunity isn’t just about going to the destination; it’s also about how you get there. The fundraising is a tremendous part of what we are trying to do, to raise funds but also develop key skills and work as a team. We all have our different ways of raising the money as some have jobs, some organise little events, and we hold large team events too.

I set myself a personal fundraising challenge, where I also gained more knowledge on walking and self-sustainability. This will be a key part of our lifestyle whilst on expedition. I walked from Okehampton camp to Ivybridge, across the entirety of Dartmoor. It was 35 miles in bog - marsh simply doesn’t cover it. Timing was bad and options limited so I was drenched. However the hardship came from the fact that I was alone for it all. It’s a weird feeling being so alone. However after the two days, I finally completed it. The Africa expedition will allow is to challenge ourselves and experience things that are completely new and out of our comfort zone.

As a team we will soon be bag-packing, and with the Christmas spirit, I'm sure its likely to be a worthwhile time for everyone involved. If you would like to come along and support us, we will be at Sainsburys Marsh Mills on December the 22nd.

Michael Collingwood, 11E

18th December - International Migrants Day

"Let us make migration work for the benefit of migrants and countries alike. We owe this to the millions of migrants who, through their courage, vitality and dreams, help make our societies more prosperous, resilient and diverse." Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General.

Eco - Friendly Decorations!

Sustainability is becoming increasingly more important in our shrinking world. Here's how you can help out:

Miss Ball - International Coordinator

Please get in touch if you have any ideas for projects, events, general suggestions or if you want to get involved.