My Woodhouse German

Orli Vogt-Vincent
Orli Vogt-Vincent
Orli Vogt-Vincent came to Woodhouse from the Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS) and lives in East Finchley. She studied German, history, dance and English Literature at A level and graduated in 2018 with A*A*A*A* as well as an A* in her extended project. She is currently at the University of Cambridge studying History and Modern Languages (German).
She spoke to us during her second year of A levels...
“I love the way the German language sounds and am interested in the culture and the history of the country. Studying German and history gave me the chance to put all of that together. I did the full German A level in one year and took all the exams around the same time, some of them on the same day! My father is German and I was brought up with it being half the language at home, so I’m fairly bilingual, although I have never formally studied it so my grammar wasn’t brilliant.
Because practically no schools or colleges offer German, I was limited as to where I could study it, so I came to the open day and really liked the German teacher. When I was first looking at sixth-forms, Woodhouse was on my list, but it wasn’t top, becausepeople told me, “Oh you won’t get any support, you won’t make any friends because it’s too big”. I’m so glad I ignored them, they were completely wrong.
As the class sizes tend to be small, German was a real good option to take, especially in the first year where you don’t really know many people, it was much more comfortable. And the way that the teacher organizes the lessons is very interactive, you really learn things and she’s so passionate and happy to be teaching German that it’s just a really happy class.
Some of our German lessons are grammar classes, we learn vocabulary or revise for a test. Other days we’ll be looking at the history of Germany since the Berlin wall, which ties in very well with my history studies. We use film clips, music videos, a lot of work sheets and a lot of computer work using the headphones. The language lab was exciting when I first came here, that you have the headphones on and the teacher can connect you with someone else in the class so that you can practice your speaking as you are going through different questions.
People saying that “you don’t get support” here was the biggest misconception because the teachers here are more dedicated than I have ever experienced. They are on hand at every point and there is always a voice willing to help you from behind the Modern Foreign Languages office door. Everything is backed up on the computer shared area, but if you need any help it’s just available.The biggest change is that you have to ask for it, because when you come to Woodhouse it is quite independent. Once you learn that you are in charge of your education and you are in charge of getting access to the materials… it’s all there for you.
We went on a trip to Berlin in the spring term and got to see so many sights - we did something new every day and saw so many museums. It was also a really brilliant bonding experience as well.
Woodhouse has one of the most positive atmospheres that I have ever experienced and everyone you ask here will say the same thing. Everyone wants to learn, and everyone wants to give themselves the best opportunity that they can. And the people here are so grounded and so down to earth, not necessarily what I had experienced before. I haven’t really got a subject that I dislike anymore (which was never the case at school) because every subject is so individual, and the teachers love what they are teaching. They love that they can do it in the style that they want, and they are always available and accessible. It’s just a really friendly college.
I took some mindfulness sessions for extracurricular, which was suggested to me by form tutor because when I first came here I was a very anxious person. Offering something like that in the first few weeks really helped me because it just gave me one moment in the week to slow down. When you start here there’s new friends to make, new subjects, new work load…So having that opportunity to do something different an hour week was a really good idea.
I’m applying to study history and German at Cambridge, Manchester, Warwick and Nottingham universities. I never thought I’d apply to Cambridge before Woodhouse, I thought I would go into dance. But I just find the A level German and history courses here so much more inspiring than I’d expected and I wanted to go out and learn more. When searching for a uni, Cambridge was the place that, for me, showed the same work ethic and values as Woodhouse, in the way that it teaches.
Woodhouse has changed my life. I’m a very different person now than I was when I started here. I’ve gained so much confidence and people are always saying that they see a change in me since I started here, a really positive change. I honestly think that Woodhouse has taught me to love learning. Before, I just thought education was something I had to ‘get through’, whereas here I Iove working every day because everyone is so excited and passionate about the process of learning that it’s infectious." 
Orli returned to speak at our Open Day last November and had this to add...
"I am so grateful to Woodhouse for the constant support and encouragement from my very first day - I have never come across such brilliant, dedicated teachers as we have at Woodhouse, and have absolutely loved my time here. I wish I could do it all again."