The Madras College German exchange

History of the German exchange - 60 Years of Partnership and Friendship

The Kiel Exchange is we believe the oldest unbroken school to school exchange between the two countries - having started up in 1957. A number of celebrations were held in St Andrews in June 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of the exchange between Madras College and the Kieler Gelehrtenschule. And in June 2017, we celebrated our diamond jubilee with a number of special activities in St Andrews during the 60th exchange visit.

The exchange was started as a result of correspondence between two historians, Dr John Thompson, who in 1955 had just become Rector of Madras College, and Professor Karl Dietrich Erdmann, Professor of Modern History at Kiel University. Dr. Thomson had introduced the study of German instead of French as the first foreign language at Madras as he had “an immense admiration for the Germans as people” he also said, “the more closely I came into contact with them, the more enormous my respect for them grew – and that respect continues to this day”.

The exchange has much to offer both on a linguistic and cultural level. Madras pupils who travel to Kiel stay with a host family, attend classes in school and take part in excursions. Visits take place towards the end of the summer term on a 2 year rotational basis; students from Madras go to Kiel one year, and the next year students from Kiel visit St Andrews.

A former participant wrote: “The Kiel Exchange was one of the most exciting, fun, emotional, interesting, character building experiences of my life.”

We hope that the exchange will continue to thrive as it has clearly had an impact on around 1,500 German and Scottish families over the past five decades.

Kiel 60th anniversary poster

We have decided to write a brief outline about each year's exchange - starting with 2010. Click on the links below.