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:

 

 

My experience during the Erasmus project by Sofi Haroon

I took part in the EMBRACE / Erasmus project this year and honestly, it was one of the best things I have ever done.

When I first heard of it, I didn’t think it was going to be interesting but I took the chance and told Miss Saggu I wanted to help out. When I got the profile of my buddy, Marin, I was kind of scared that he wouldn’t like me.  However, when I met him he was very polite and we went to walk around the city centre.  He said he had thoroughly enjoyed the day and I was very pleased that he was really nice; it was a fantastic opportunity to bond a little and to get to know each other.

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When we went into school on the Monday, we got to know all the other visitors as well as the people we already knew. This was great because I hadn’t really talked to anyone older than me before at school.   I got to know people older than me, including 6th formers. Initially, whilst we were in the library, we all did some ice-breaker activities to learn more about each other  – such as their favourite colour, their hobbies (even though Callum didn’t have any!) and about their family. We took the guests on a tour around the school and they told us how different our school was for them, as they don’t have a swimming pool, a pupil parliament  WP_20161107_10_22_27_Proor some of the other facilities we enjoy.   After school, we went to the laser quest and that definitely helped us to become closer as a group. It was such a good experience as it involved us doing teamwork.

We had the opportunity to go London on the Tuesday – something I was looking forward to very much.

On Tuesday, we went to London and it was absolutely amazing! We had a tour of the Houses of Parliament and it was quite an exciting experience as we got to watch a live debate in the House of Commons.

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We had a walking tour of a little bit of London from Miss O’Connor and I learned so many things, it was great.  We had lunch and it was honestly probably one of the best parts of the day!

When we were on our way back to Birmingham, we stopped at a service station and I was surprised that it had so many shops!

We finally arrived back in Birmingham and I was exhausted but I enjoyed the day and I’ll always keep memories of it.    Fortunately, I did take a lot of pictures. The coach ride was the best part of the Erasmus project for me and we all had laughs, giggles and fun.

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We were very lucky that Jack had brought his speaker as we could all listen to music -however Callum had been complaining that he couldn’t hear the music for most of the time!

I would definitely recommend the Erasmus project to anyone who has the chance to host/buddy as you can learn a lot of things from doing it. Also it gives you a chance to speak to people you have never spoken to before.

 

 

 

 

Friendship, which was born in Birmingham

Since I’ve first heard of Erasmus+ I wanted to be included in the project. This year I have been given an opportunity to be a part of it. Personally, I think that it’s been such an amazing experience which will be helpful in my future life.

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On the first day I met my hosting family and I spent it on shopping with them. Nothing special happened, it’s because we were just supposed to know each other better.

At the beginning it turned out to be hard as I wasn’t able to understand everything because of the British accent.

Next day was much more fun as I met my “Erasmus buddy”, Jack and his friends, Aneta and Shona. We went to the city centre where they showed us a Bullring shopping mall to let us buy some souvenirs and spend some time together.

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As I wouldn`t like to describe every single day I will do it more generally. So we attended lessons in Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School daily. The one I liked the most was art class. We could show how creative we are. There is also a theatre group and the students are rehearsing a play “Cinderella” in order to give a show soon, Jack took us to see the rehearsals, I think he is such a talented person!

What’s more, we wanted to go bowling but unfortunately the bowling alley was full, so instead of going there we went laser quest. In my opinion it was really fun!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  img_20161108_135225                                The best day was the one we travelled to London, an opportunity of seeing my favourite place on earth made me the happiest person alive! We could see lot of monuments such as Westminster, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace or Big Ben and man more. img_20161107_092104

 

All things considered, I feel as if I’d love to go on another Erasmus+ exchange, as far as there is a chance. The best thing about the journey was meeting amazing people, I hope to keep in touch with them. I absolutely think that Jack was the best “Erasmus buddy” I could have ever get:) I wish everyone could get the chance to  experience something like this.

Daria Woźniak,Szczecin

 

Erasmus in Birmingham

Erasmus visit to Birmingham by Lauren Weston

I was a buddy to a girl from Spain called Irene. She had a host who didn’t go to this school so I offered to look after her during the day. I met her on the Monday and stayed with her for the whole day and on Tuesday when we went to London.

Monday

I met Irene Monday morning before school in the library where all the Erasmus students gathered. Even though we had talked a little before through Email, she was quite shy but a very lovely person. We played a few games in the library so we could get to know everyone and we had a lot of fun. We then took our buddies and a few of the teachers on a tour of the school which they seemed to enjoy and said that our school is a lot different to their school. The Finnish teachers whom we were showing around also gave us Finnish chocolate as a thank you – it was delicious.

After break, we took our students to our lesson which, for me, was Media Studies. It wasn’t the most interesting lesson as we were preparing for a test but Irene said she enjoyed it nonetheless.

Then for fourth and fifth period we went to an art workshop where we worked with our buddies to make a puzzle piece out of clay with a few meaningful symbols carved on. Ours went well; we had a good laugh and learnt a few things about each other. Even though we picked quite a complicated symbol, it turned out well in the end.

 

Tuesday

This was the day we went to London; we had to be at school for 5:50 in the morning. Ten minutes later we were on the coach to London. The trip took around 4 hours but it went quite quickly as we played games on the coach like I Spy and would you rather. It was really fun and most kids on the coach got involved.

We were a little bit late as London traffic was a nightmare that morning but we still got the tour of the Houses of Parliament. It was a little rushed but it was really interesting and we learned about lots of different, weird, traditions that Parliament have. Shona sadly wasn’t feeling well that day and ended up getting sick in the Princess Room, one of the rooms that the queen walks through when she goes to open Parliament. It was pretty funny.

Then Miss O’Connor took us on a little tour of London to all the main sites. We saw a few famous sites as we walked, including the back of Downing Street, until we ended up at Trafalgar Square where we had lunch. Some of us went to MacDonald’s whereas some of us had our own packed lunch.

After lunch, we walked to Buckingham Palace, which was really pretty, but sadly the Queen wasn’t in as the flag was half raised. We all took a group selfie with the palace in the background.

We then walked back to the coach to return to Birmingham. The journey back was as much fun as the journey there as we all sang along with songs playing out of Jack’s speaker. Even though the songs we played were English, all of the foreign students knew the songs, which shows just how universal music is and how it can bring people together.

Overall, the experience was great. I really enjoyed it and I met some new people while learning about their culture and how it differs to ours.

MY TRIP TO BIRMINGHAM

This year our school has been chosen for a partner in two European Union Erasmus Plus projects. The aims of the projects are meeting students and teachers from other countries in EU, exchanging the experiences, improving our knowledge and presenting our country, region, town and school. It was a great pleasure and honour for me that I was chosen to take part in the „EMBRACE“ project. Together with our school pedagogue, the headmaster and my school friend Dora Klaić I travelled to Birmingham, UK.

We started our journey in Višnjevac, and we went by car to Belgrade where we took the plane for Frankfurt, and then for Birmingham. It was the first time I flew by plane. I was fascinated by the beauty of the sky. It was a great experience to land in Frankfurt, the biggest European airport. I don’t think I could ever imagine how big it is, until I saw it myself. In order to catch the flight for Birmingham, we had to take a bus, a train and run a lot. Our excitement grew as we took our seats in the plane for Birmingham. I was thinking about all the people who would meet us there, about children who live there, about so many things I was about to see.

Our hosts welcomed us on the Birmingham airport. My host was a teacher, Regina Darcy, from the Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School, our host school. She teaches cooking. I met her family: her husband John and her sons, Eidin and Kiren. They were so kind and caring. I felt so comfortable in their home. Mrs Darcy’s family hosted two other girls, who also took part in the project: Klaudia Hyzorek from Poland and Sofia Illikainen from Finland. We spent our free time hanging around, exchanging information about our countries, customs, people, teachers, schools… I was proud to find out that everybody knew a lot about our Croatia: about Dubrovnik, our beautiful sea, our famous football players. A student of the host school Sofi Haroon and her brother Sami were keeping me company while going round Birmingham. It is a city of a great history, beautiful buildings, big malls. Birmingham is an industrial city with the population of more than a million. It is the second biggest city in Great Britain. I had especially great time in Quasar Elite entertainment centre. I met a lot of young, relaxed and smiling people fond of dancing and having fun. I was among so many new people, so different, and yet so similar when it comes to fun, playing and hanging around. I realized that under this big sky we are all equal. I felt like a real European and the citizen of the world.

The day spent in Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School, which counts 1400 students, was rich with interesting activities and the kindness of our hosts. I was surprised by the size of the school, by the equipment in the classrooms. The school has a swimming pool and a beautiful large canteen for students. All the students wear the same uniforms, as well as the same PE clothes. I really liked that. I specially enjoyed taking part in baking muffins with teacher Regina, which we made for the project participants.

Our host and the project coordinator Polly Saggu organized one-day-trip to London for all of us. Streets of London are unbelievably crowded. We first visited the Houses of Parliament, the centre of the political life in the UK. The parliament meetings are public and everybody can watch them from the gallery, which we also did. Later on we saw Big Ben, which is the most popular tourist attraction in the city. There were many other great places: Parliament Square, The Cenotaph, 10 Downing Street, Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Buckingham Palace, Imperial War Museums, Churchill War Rooms and Westminster Abbey. Our tour guide was Karen O’Connor, the teacher from the host school.

It was all so impressive! I was surrounded by famous buildings that we learned about at school.

Our trip was soon at the end. I was a little bit sad because we were leaving, but at the same time impatient because I wanted to share with my friends all my experiences, excitements and unforgettable moments from this trip.

New acquaintances, friends, their way of life and education enriched my life. I wish I could see them once again and give them a big hug. I believe my wish will come true!

Here I would also like to thank all our donors who helped us with their donations and who gave a great contribution to this and other future journeys: Saponia Osijek d.d., Kandit d.o.o., Belje d.d., Velpro centar Osijek, Sygma d.o.o., Školska knjiga, Merkur osiguranje and Grad Osijek (The City of Osijek). All the Croatian products we took with us to Birmingham and gave to the teachers and students of other partner countries presented our country, our region, our town and our school. Thanks a lot!

Marin Rašić, student of class 7a, Primary school Višnjevac

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IRENE’S REVIEW

I’m going to talk about my experience during the “Erasmus” trip to Birmingham. Mainly I’ll start by saying that it was a fantastic and unforgettable experience. The thing that I enjoyed the most was to know other people from different countries because it helped me to learn something from other languages or traditions. Honestly, I can’t write anything bad about the project because I loved it. I would like other people to enjoy this project as I did. I’d like to thank my teachers and my school for making this possible. My international team of students was wonderful and we became very good friends.

The weather in England was different from the weather in Spain. It was very cold and almost always cloudy, whereas in Murcia it is hot and always sunny.

The houses were very beautiful and the streets were characterized by the green color of the trees and the grass.

The routines of the family were different from my routines too. They had lunch at around one o’clock and they had dinner at six o’clock more or less. Breakfast time, in my case, was similar, at around seven o’clock or half past seven in the morning. They had the tradition to go to church every Sunday because the family was catholic and they sang in the choir. At home I felt very comfortable. When we arrived home at night we sat down to talk about the day and saw series. I ate typical food like roast beef and I visited the centre of Solihull and Birmingham too.

The timetable in the school was confusing for me: they have a break time of fifteen minutes and another one of twenty or thirty minutes to have lunch. In my school we have three lessons before the break time, and it is around thirty minutes, after that, we have another three lessons.

They have some subjects that we haven’t got in my school, like Media or Psychology, and their way of teaching was different because they haven’t got textbooks, they copy the notes or the theory from the digital whiteboard. I think the rules were similar but they had to wear uniforms.

Thank you very much for this opportunity, I really would love to repeat.

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