Dresden Trust Scholarships for UK pupils 2024

The Dresden Trust is a British charity dedicated to fostering relations with the city of Dresden in Saxony, Germany, one of the greatest centres of European culture, which was destroyed by Allied bombing in February 1945. Since then, the city has been painstakingly rebuilt and restored. The Trust has done much to encourage reconciliation between the peoples of the UK and Dresden – by, for example, participating in rebuilding projects and through cultural and educational initiatives. See https://dresdentrust.org/

The Trust believes there is no better way of furthering harmonious relations between countries than encouraging contacts between their young people. To this end, it offers a number of scholarships each year to enable British pupils to spend several weeks at a school in Dresden, giving them the opportunity to improve their German language skills, experience life in one of Germany’s most beautiful cities, and make new friendships.

The scholarships
The scholarships cover the cost of travel between the UK and Dresden, and expenses and pocket-money while in Dresden. The Trust offers the scholarships to suitably qualified pupils in schools participating in the British-German Association’s Youthbridge Scheme, which supports the teaching of German in UK schools; any school which teaches German is eligible to join Youthbridge. Membership is free; e-mail Paul Stocker (address below).

Dresden, Saxony / Germany - 3 September 2020: the Semperoper building in Dresden with the Quadriga above the entrance

Teachers are invited to encourage and nominate one candidate per school, who must be:
• a native speaker of English, resident in the UK, and holder of a UK passport.
• studying German for A-level or equivalent, and likely to achieve a top grade.
• an engaged and committed pupil who will benefit from a stay of several weeks in Dresden.
• able to take up a scholarship in the autumn term of Year 12 (S5) or Year 13 (S6). Applications from pupils for the autumn term after leaving school will no longer be accepted.

How to apply
We ask teachers to collate and submit all elements of the application as one set of separate Word documents, consisting of the following.
• the applicant’s CV, briefly setting out their school record and personal interests.
• a letter (including the applicant’s home and school email addresses), in which the applicant explains why they are applying for a scholarship, and how they expect to benefit from the experience.
• a reference from their language teacher or head teacher, indicating in particular the applicant’s ability and current level in German, and the school’s support for the application.
• A note of support (just a sentence or two) for the application from the applicant’s parent(s) or guardian.

What’s it like?
Typical comments include:

“This has changed my life!”
“This is the best thing I’ve ever done!”
“I’ve made new friends for life.”
Reports from several previous Scholars may be found on the Dresden Trust website https://dresdentrust.org/ under Scholarships. This is not an exchange; accommodation and hospitality are generously provided by families of current pupils at the school.

Although scholars attend school in Dresden, and participate in a wide range of activities and visits, there is time to continue with at least some of their UK studies; there have been no complaints in this regard! And in return, we ask scholars to complete two simple pieces of written work during or within a month of their stay:
- a short report in English on their time in Dresden;
- a brief reflection in German on some aspect of friendship, co-operation or Versöhnung (reconciliation), which are the basis of the Trust’s work. We’ve had, for instance, short essays on the rebuilding of the cathedral, the Stolpersteine pavement memorials, even the vocabulary of reconciliation; and why we need to look forward from reconciliation itself.

Applicants are expected to be able to spend between three (the minimum) and four weeks in Germany during the autumn term of Year 12 or 13. On their return, they should have at least two terms remaining of their UK school education. It is not possible to go during the summer term.

Our partner school in Dresden is flexible over dates, with the proviso that the visits must largely be in (the German school’s) term time. The 2024 Autumn school term dates for Dresden are:
5 August – 4 October
21 October – 20 December
We are sure that would-be applicants will as usual, with the help of their teachers, be able to negotiate the time necessary to take part in such a prestigious and valuable programme so closely linked to their studies – as all our past scholars have done so, even those preparing for Oxbridge applications.

Closing date for applications
Please email applications to Paul Stocker (paulstocker@gmx.co.uk) by Friday 8 March 2024. Contact him too, if you have any questions about the scholarships.