Nicole’s Visit to Italy

My mom dropped me at the Digbeth coach station in the morning, since my dad had work and my brothers were at school, but they wished they could see me off.   At the station, I met Mr. Morris, Ms. Saggu and Samrain.

Our excited teacher and us waiting at the airport.

I said goodbye to my mom and boarded the coach as soon as it arrived.  I sat by the window and Samrain sat next to me. I was so excited because I was about to leave England and go to a different country, without my parents and no school.

At Gatwick Airport, we checked in – I’ve never experienced such a stressful check in. You see, we had to do it ourselves.

We travelled from Birmingham to Gatwick Airport near London.

We boarded the plane and Samrain and I tucked into the Italian pizza her dad had made.  It was really nice and it felt like I was eating something from Italy already.  We chatted for a bit and then went to sleep as we had got up so early in the morning.

After the long journey, we finally arrived in Catania – but we still had to catch the coach to Messina.

Finally, we reached Messina at around 11 o’clock at night so it was quite late.   The host families were already there waiting for us.  I couldn’t believe how tall Giulio and her family were.  She came with her parents and they seemed very nice people. We got into the car.   Guilia’s English was really good.   Her dad spoke a bit too but her mother didn’t speak much English.  They asked me questions about my journey and I called my mom to say that I had arrived safely in Italy – but I still couldn’t believe that I was in Italy at last!

When I finally arrived at their house I got a nice greeting from Muffin, their dog, he was very cute and didn’t really bark at me.   After checking that I had all that I needed, we said goodnight.

Second day in Italy. I woke up and went to have breakfast.  Although I would normally eat cereal for breakfast, I had fruit and yogurt instead.  At least it was healthy.  At this moment, I met Guilia’s older sister, Laura, who apparently went to England to study nursing.   I told her that my mom is a nurse too.   After breakfast, I gave the gift I had brought for the family – I was glad they liked it.

It was fun to explore Sicily!

After getting dressed, we went into town by car.  It was quite a long journey, but the funny thing is they had to pay to get into town which I thought was odd.  I told them that in England, going to town was free and all we had to pay for was the parking.

After seeing the view and walking out together, we went to eat a leisurely lunch.

Later, we went shopping. The shops weren’t very easy to find because they weren’t very close together like we have in England.

I remembered that I had to go to Guilia’s school the next day, so I prepared my things in readiness.  I dressed smartly because I wanted to make a good impression but I didn’t know that they are not allowed to wear skirts or anything short at school.  I was embarrassed when everyone stared at me in my skirt.

Third day in Italy –  I woke up, had breakfast and then got dressed. Before class started, I met with Samrain and talked about how different their school is to ours.  Guilia’s first class was chemistry but I really couldn’t understand much apart from the fact that they were talking about atoms and elements.   After that, we had activities for the project, met with other visiting students and went for a tour around the school.  It’s quite similar to some of the classrooms in our school but science was different because they had to change rooms for different experiments – which I understand and I think it’s safer that way.

Me and Samrain saw loads of interesting things on the different activities.

After the tour, we made our presentation about what we had to do for the project.   After school, we went by coach to a place called Taormina.  It’s where the old Roman theatre is and also the views are amazing because you could see the rest of Italy from where you were standing. We also saw the sea – I’m so happy that I actually got to see this place, I mean it really was beautiful.

Soon after, we had dinner in a place near the cathedral and we sat down together with some other exchange students and their hosts.  We ordered our food and drinks and had a chat which was nice because we were getting to know each other more.   Soon after we finished we went out to look at other things. We saw an ice cream stand. They had similar flavours but way more than we have in England. I had two flavours, vanilla and chocolate.

On the way back to Messina, I was really tired so I went to sleep on the coach.

Fourth day in Italy.  The first lesson we had was Physics.  The teacher could speak a bit of English so he said hello and asked me how I was doing.   Then we went to do another presentation about human rights.   Soon after we had to go to a room with computers where we had to work with Italian students who helped us to think about human rights because we were going to have a debate about it.  I nervous, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought.   I got closer to other people, to understand them more, the importance of human rights how we can solve the problems we have in our world today.  I thought that was fun and interesting.

After lunch, we caught a bus to go to a music museum.   This was bit boring but the view we had was amazing because the museum was up in the mountains.   On the way, back down the mountain it was fun because Samrain and I sang a song.

We went back home to rest for a bit before going out shopping.  After that we went to have dinner since we were hungry and also the shops were closing anyway.    I tried Italian traditional food –  it was really interesting.   That night, I was so happy that I was there in Italy.

We shared traditional food from each visiting country, our British food went down a treat!

Fifth day in Italy.   It was our last day before we had to go back.   So, I woke up and had my last Italian breakfast.   We went to class and this time we had history.   History to the Italians is important because they learn their mistakes from the past and try to make a better future for the next generations.   After the class we had another presentation about other countries and the problems they currently face.   Spain was quite interesting. Halfway through the presentation the Principal of the school arrived (she was really pretty I thought).   She couldn’t speak English but one of the teachers translated for her.  She was saying how happy she was to meet us all and hoping to see us all in the future.   Samrain went up to meet her saying how nice the people are and everything was lovely.  It was true! Everyone was nice, we had amazing food, I was treated well and everything was perfect.   After that we had art, where we tried our hand at origami.

We explained our In Their Shoes project when we wrote diary entries from the point of view of migrants on a journey.

After school, we visited another museum. It was about Messina and after the earthquake they had in 1909.  It was so interesting.

Unfortunately, after that we had to go back home.   After a couple of hours, we had dinner and shared some nice memories over the past few days.   Then I had to get my stuff ready so I could leave straight away.    I became more and more upset.

After double checking everything, we drove to the bed and breakfast that Miss and Sir were staying.    We had to say our goodbyes.   I cried and then everyone else was crying with me, I couldn’t stop.   I was so lucky to meet such people who treated me like their own and I loved it, and I loved them like my family.

That night we both agreed from now on, we will stay as friends and try to keep in touch with everyone we met in Italy.

There’s always time for a selfie with such lovely views!

Final day in Italy. Woke up at 2 am, was quite hard to get up because we didn’t have much time to sleep. We went downstairs to get our taxi to Catania, where we were going to catch a plane to Rome.  It was a long journey and Samrain and I tried to catch up on some sleep when we could.

At last, our plane to Gatwick was ready.

Having arrived in England, it was time to adjust again. I wanted to reunite with my family but we had to wait another hour for our coach to Birmingham airport.

After saying our goodbyes, it was lovely to finally be with my family.

And that was my journey, to be honest, one of the best journeys I’ve ever experienced.   I made the best choice signing up, it went perfectly.   I wish I could do that again, sometime in the future.  I’m so happy I’ve made such special memories; I’m glad that I made new friends and saw new things.   I would highly recommend taking prospects like this to anyone; it’s such a good trip. LOVED IT.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity, ERASMUS.


Samrain’s Visit to Italy

I went on this trip with our teachers Miss Saggu and Mr. Morris and one other student, Nicole. We went by plane from England to Catania. Then from Catania to Messina by a coach. It was a long journey and really tiring but it was amazing. We went there from 7 October 2017, till 13 October 2017. It was for 1 week and it was really worth it.

A group picture of all of the students that came with us to Messina.

This trip was more than amazing, it’s something I can’t compare with anything else. I loved every bit of it. I think my favourite part was probably the beach that I went to with my host family or when we all went by bus to Taormina – a small, historical town in the mountains.  It was so beautiful!  I loved the scenery. I loved the people there as well – they were really welcoming. I also had the opportunity to taste some traditional food, such as Granita (see picture) which is a Messina speciality.

A tasty Italian dessert! Yum!

It’s a type of flavoured crushed ice that is eaten with a brioche bread.

This was such a great experience. If I had the chance of going again, I would go immediately.

I would highly recommend that if you have the chance of taking part in this Erasmus Embrace project, you should and if you are offered the chance to go on the visits, go!

We did many activities including taking part in the Human Rights debate.  The Italians made a human rights tree and we made leaves with the human rights on them.   We attached these to the tree.

The Human Rights Tree that the Italian students made and we decorated with leaves.

It was really good. We also did IT work and started to write our diaries over there. With Martina’s family (my host family) we went to the beach and visited the lighthouse.  Martina’s grandma and grandpa – from both parents – were very welcoming. I loved staying with Martina’s family in Messina.

The lovely Italian family that let me stay with them. Thank you!

Another favourite of mine was the calming beach.

My new Italian friend and me by the sea!

Lauren’s Visit to Poland

During my time in Poland I learned a lot about Polish history- we visited a war museum and learned a lot about how Poland was affected in the war. We had lots of Fun and we are still in contract with some of the other exchange students.

We took part in the European Parliament and argued for and against important European issues.

There were many different languages between Poland and England: the food there has lots of different flavours. I tried a lot of the food my host’s family made.  We also played some traditional polish games and spent days at their school.  The polish school we visited was very small compared to Ilsley.  However, one thing which was similar were the shops and the size of the city centres.

We traveled to Berlin first before driving to Poland.

As a whole group we did a variety of activities such as bowling, playing ball games at a BBQ and creating a play, in which Hannah and I had to explain reasons why people should visit England.

Having lunch with other students.

We stayed in Poland for 1 week, during which time we completed a lot of activities. Overall I would really encourage people to do student exchange because it is a great opportunity to experience new things and learn about a different country.  I had lots of fun during my stay and my host and her family were very welcoming and friendly.

Hannah’s Visit to Poland

This was my first time going on a student exchange trip.  There were many things I enjoyed about the trip and a few things I didn’t.

I stayed with a girl who had 1 brother staying at home with her mom and dad and grandmother.  The house was very modern and nice, and her family seemed very sweet, however, it was really difficult to understand them as translation wasn’t the best on both parts.  I learnt a few words in Polish to help communication.

One difference is that many students took the tram to school every morning.

Going to school in Poland is quite different to school in Birmingham.  Their school starts later than ours by 15 mins.  The way their school is set out is also very different.  For example their classrooms are smaller and they have a yard and a small Astro.  In the yard they created massive posters to represent ERASMUS.  We worked in 2 groups and some people from the local news came to the school and we were filmed while we spray painted. This was such a fun experience and now I always have that video to look back on.

There were plenty of fun school activities with the other EMBRACE students.


We worked together to create massive posters about equality.

After school, some of the other visiting students doing ERASMUS and I participated in various after-school activities such as bowling, ice cream parlours, sweet factories, laser quest, cinema and different restaurants.  I found all of this very fun and amusing.  Some of the places I have never visited, so it was a completely new experience which I really enjoyed.

Food in Poland wasn’t what I am used to and it was a new experience. However, I did enjoy their hot chocolates, cactus juice and kebabs.  One day, at school, we all shared different foods from our countries in the International lunch.  Our food from England was everyone’s favourite.

We visited tunnels underneath the city that were built during WW2.

Finding new friends was easier than I thought, as I thought being from different backgrounds, we might not get on.  Lauren and I made some really close friends and I even keep in touch with them on social media.

To conclude, I had a very enjoyable experience in Poland and I will never forget that once in a life time opportunity with people who I wish to meet up with again in the future.

Italy by Luka Varga, Croatia


We travelled to Italy. We went by plane and liked it because it was my first time flying by plane. When we came in Messina my host was at the bus station and we went to his flat. I liked him and his family because they were nice to me. Next morning when we woke up we took breakfast at some caffie bar where we ate brioche and granita and we liked it. Then we saw their main cathedral, we climbed up on the clock tower and we saw the whole Messina. They showed to us the rest of the town: their museum, church, statue… Then we went to our host’s home. We had lunch which my host’s mum made and I liked it. Then Marco (my host) and I lied down for a minute or hour and then we went to my friend’s (Iva) host (Silvia) and we had a game night. We played Risik and Cluedo. Next day we woke up early and we went to school. Some students took us through school and we had some activities in IT and art lab and a presentation which I liked. Then we had international lunch. Some countries bring a lot of taste things. After that we went to an old ancient town Taormina. It was fun to see some old towns. We came home late because we had a diner there and we spend some time hanging near the fountain. Next day in school we had a presentation and we had an Europene parliament. And then we visit some museum about culture and music. Next day we also had a presentation and then activities at IT lab. After school we had  free time so went in shopping. We bought some suveniers and then we played Laser tag which I liked very much. We had  dinner in a pizzeria next to the Laser tag. Their pizza’s are the best. Next day was our last day there. We had some activities at IT an art lab. That was fun. Then we had  lunch at a restourant. After that we took a photo of all students and host’s. I was sad when we went home. Marco and his family were so nice to me and so good. We went home by plane which I also liked. That was my trip to Italy that I’ll never forget.


Luka Varga, 7th class

Osnovna škola Višnjevac, Croatia


Italy by Iva Komar, Croatia


 Saturday, October the 7th 2017, this day finally come.

I am very excited and happy. We said goodbye to our parents and started our journey. We were driving through Hungary to get to the airport in Budapest. We are really happy so we were laughing all the time.

When we got to the airport we took our bags and went to the airport control. After some time we got in the plane, very nervous because this was my first flight. We arrived in Messina around midnight. Our host families took us to their homes.

The next day, Sunday my host, Silvia and I went sight-seeing. Messina is really beautiful and i love it.

On Monday we went to school. We had presentations „In their shoes“ and international lunch where we tried meals and products from other countries who are also  included in project.

Then we went to Taormina – a city that had the most beautiful view.

On Tuesday we had „Human Rights Tree“ presentations and after that we had European Junior Parliament session. I really enjoyed that and I think that was really interesting.

We also visited Museo Cultura e Musica dei Peloritani. It was very interesting and I liked it, especially when we heard all their old traditional instruments.

On Wednesday we had some activities in the school. We went home to eat and then went to shopping. I bought a lot of things, most for my family. Later we went to Laser tag.

The Thursday come. The farewell day.

We had some activities in school and then we went to a restaurant where we ate different types of Italian famous meal – pizza. It was delicious.

Then we had to say goodbye. It was very emotional and sad but we were very happy that we met each other.  We exchanged phone numbers so we will stay in contact.

When the moment of departure with my host family arrived, I was really sad. We took a photo together at the bus station. We cried but we were happy we all got the chance to meet each other. We promised to see each other again.

The End,   Iva

Iva Komar, 8th class

Osnovna škola Višnjevac, Croatia