So far, we have been to Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and trips to Germany and possibly Turkey and Hungary are also being planned for the future.
During these visits, students have been asked to spread the word about British culture and talk about UK traditions. They have delivered a presentation about fish and chips in Slovakia, staffed a trade stand in Spain about what Derbyshire has to offer, demonstrated Morris dancing in Italy and performed Robin Hood in the Czech Republic.
The trips are part of the Comenius programme, a two-year project funded by the British Council and designed to broaden youngsters’ horizons. We are the only Derby school to have been selected to be part of the initiative which saw 3,000 applications received by the British Council.
Mrs Schiavone, Assistant Head Teacher and Head of McAuley House said we are honoured to have been selected for the programme. She said: “The Comenius programme has called it the Rainbow project and each city represents a colour in the rainbow. The idea is that we stay in smaller towns in countries rather than the larger tourist destinations to give students a real taste of what life is like there. “Students go to school in the country they visit and they go on a day trip. The aim is to promote tolerance, understanding and an acceptance of different cultures.”
Ellie McLoughlin thoroughly enjoyed her trip to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. She said: “I really loved it, it was great to make new friends and see what you had in common, like music. It felt very European and I didn’t expect it to be like that. “I enjoyed telling everyone about our culture and learning about other cultures, seeing the differences and similarities. When we did the presentation about fish and chips they couldn’t really understand why some people might eat fish and chips from a takeaway maybe once a week as they tended to have all of their meals cooked at home.”
Joseph Clarke went to Italy as part of the Comenius project. He said: “Going to Italy was a trip of a lifetime. The people over there were enthusiastic, happy and most of all extremely kind. Before visiting, life was very money orientated; I was always buying items, not always happy with what I had. After going I have realised the importance of life now my attitude towards people has changed, I am less focused on material goods, instead I believe that people are the importance and priority. I would like to say a big thankyou to the Italians because they have showcased their country in an entirely different perspective; we got to see what many other people will never see.”