Marion Norek at St George's School Edgbaston took her students on an enrichment trip to Seville for the time.
Where did you go?
This was our first trip to Seville. The city was always on my list of places to visit and 4 years ago I went on a personal trip and fell in love with Seville. What is attractive about Seville is the mix of culture you find there. The city’s Arabic heritage means that there are so many beautiful buildings and sites to see, the parks and gardens are inspired by north Africa and are very exotic.
Why did you choose WST to help you plan?
I choose to travel with a tour operator because it feels safe using a company, not only when it comes to accessing hotels, flights and visits but also I know that if anything happens then I have their help and support. I chose to travel with WST as I had been recommended by my colleague who had travelled to Sicily with them.
What was the aim of the study trip?
We took students from Years 10 and 11 on an enrichment trip with the aim that each student would have a taste of the Spanish language, even if they are not studying it. We also incorporated some Maths and Photography into the trip. The Head of Maths came along and encouraged them to look at the shape and symmetry of the buildings and gardens and the Head of Photography gave the students new techniques on photographing different types of buildings.
What were your favourite places to visit?
One of the best visits for the students was the Alcazar Palace. I told them how it was used in the past and how people used to live. They imagined how it could have been to live here. They also loved the Cathedral, particularly the rococo style with lots of gold everywhere, very bling! And they were very impressed when they discovered the remains of Christopher Columbas are there.
The Plaza España was fascinating. The tiled alcoves each representing a city in Spain taught us more about the country as a whole. I pointed out to the students that this spot was used regularly for wedding photography and amazingly two minutes a later a wedding party arrived to be photographed! They were also surprised to hear that this area was used for the filming of a Star Wars film.
The students loved the flamenco show which totally surprised me as 15 of the 18 students were boys. Our seats were close to the stage so they were really able to appreciate the details and the style of flamenco. Some even said next time they would like to do a flamenco lesson.
Whilst in Seville our students learnt a lot of cultural awareness. They tried all the different food on offer. They learnt respect for a different culture and realised that they can enjoy a different type of trip.
Some have been to Spain on a beach holiday and they have now discovered that sightseeing there isn’t boring. The Arabic influence meant that the location was exotic and very different to anywhere else they had been before and they really appreciated seeing somewhere new and different. Some students said they would like to take their parents there.
Reflecting on the trip...
Reflecting on the trip now we are back, if I could change anything I would add on an extra day. Our trip was 4 days and some extra free time to appreciate the sights would have been good. We are planning an assembley where the students will share their photographs, videos and highlights of the trip to the rest of the school.
The service from Carole at WST was outstanding. She was very understanding all the way along, was easy to get in touch with and always replied to me straight away. With Carole, everything was possible!
Marion’s Top Tips
- Always ensure the students stay together in small groups.
- Organisation is key - I produced some pocket files with useful phrases, maps and photos that the students took around with them. They can then keep all this to use back in the classroom.
- Give your students some free time. In Seville we did a lot of walking and it was very hot so the students really appreciated some free time to relax before evening meal. They could go for an ice cream, do some shopping and some even found a Starbucks!