Erasmus visit to Birmingham – a host’s review

Erasmus visit to Birmingham by Jack Hanley  
I took part in this Erasmus Project and acted as a buddy to Daria from Poland. This is the fourth time I have taken part in an Erasmus project and it was just as s on the previous times.
Sunday – Met up with Daria who was staying with my friend James. We then met up with my friends who were also hosting/buddying with guests from Poland and Portugal.   We went up to Solihull shopping centre and spent a day shopping, which the guests loved as they didn’t have a lot of the shops we have in Solihull.   We then went for something to eat.   Following that we all went back to my house and I taught everyone how to play ‘Pool’.   We all had a very nice time as the day allowed the guests to get to know each other and to get to know all of us very well.
Monday – James bought Daria to school and I met up with them. Daria stayed with me for the duration of the day.   We all met up (the English and the guests) in the library and played some games to get to know each other’s names and a little bit about each other.   We then all split off into smaller groups and my friend Aneta and I showed our guests around our school, their teachers also came along.   They seemed to like the school and noted that they don’t have the space/facilities that we have at Ilsley.   This was an interesting perspective.   Following the tour, all the guests and English hosts attended our school pupil Parliament.   This is a group of nominated students who represent their peers’ concerns by raising them to the senior leadership team of the school.   The guests all seemed very interested and their teachers liked our format of the pupil parliament and wanted to take this idea back to their schools.

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Then Daria and I went to my media lesson, she seemed to like this subject.   We then had a 2-hour Art workshop to create something which we thought represented the word Embrace.   We drew a love heart into clay as we thought this was the most suitable symbol for the word Embrace.
After school, I took the guests to our rehearsals for the school pantomime “Cinderella”.    After that, we all went to Laser quest which the guests enjoyed as they had never experienced it before.
Tuesday – Started At 5am.   We arrived at school for around 5.45am and left on the coach for 6am and headed down to London.   We arrived in London for 10am and made our way straight for the Houses of Parliament.   We had a tour around Parliament and even had the opportunity to see a live session at the House of Commons. Everybody was impressed by it.   After this, we were given a tour around some of the main monuments/attractions in London such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and The Mall.   This was a great experience for not only the guests, but also for some of the English students who had not visited London before.

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We had lunch and started our return journey on the coach.   The traffic was horrendous so we started to play music and had a ‘sing song’ on the coach.   Everybody joined.    We had fun.    Arriving back at school around 8pm, everybody was tired.
Wednesday – Daria stayed with me throughout the morning as her flight was later in the afternoon.   She stayed with me for 2 lessons and then her teachers came and picked her up along with her friend.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this project as it allowed me to make new friends and talk to people in my own school to whom I wouldn’t normally have spoken to.
I would thoroughly recommend that students at Ilsley get involved with this project or something similar as; you make lots of new friends that will be potentially for life and you can meet new people and get to understand how they live and what is similar in our lives to theirs and what is different.   It allows you to also get to know people in your school community whom you would not normally get on with or talk to.   It is a great project which will leave you with memories which you will remember forever.
Some Photos of the trip: