A visit from our Finnish partner school
Alppila Sixth Form’s multicultural trip to London. The following article was written by one of the Finnish students who visited Sir John Cass in May 2013.
26 fellow Alppila Sixth formers, nine boys and 17 girls, and our two teachers organised a school trip to London, the capital of Great Britain… Well, honestly, our teachers and the principal of Alppila Sixth Form organised this trip; us students didn’t do so much in preparation. But before our trip our teachers had all the students work in pairs and assigned us different projects that we had to showcase to the other students before we left. The subjects varied from ‘’The architecture of London’’ to ‘’The culture of London’’ and even “The London Police Force”. We did our projects using PowerPoint slides. The learning objective of our project was to show the truly cosmopolitan nature of your capital city and also to improve our English.
We had students from the first year as well as the second year, varying between the ages of 16 and 19. At first we had over 50 students who wanted to participate in this trip, but in the end we could only fit in 26 students, so the students who were picked were the fortunate. A travel agency had a special deal package which included the flights to and from Heathrow airport and also our rooms at The Royal Bayswater Hotel.
It was a nice little hotel. It reminded me of what houses were like during the First and Second World War, with their narrow staircases and multiple rooms with multiple little bunk beds, in which l couldn’t sleep with my legs straight. But nevertheless, l enjoyed our stay in London. The weather was nice even though it rained on a few days. The days it didn’t rain were so beautiful and warm like the weather here in Finland two weeks after our trip to London, but 15 degrees Celsius warmer.
Our flight to Heathrow airport left early on a Tuesday morning, and we arrived after a short flight of a little less than three hours. Tired, we claimed our bags and went through security and customs at the arrivals lounge and then headed to the London Underground station to get to our hotel. Upon arriving we sorted out our rooms, unpacked and got ready to head out to Harrow- On- The- Hill. It was a pretty long journey to Harrow School, but it was worth it. We had a nice tour of their facilities and around the grounds of the school. Needless to say we were all impressed.
We saw a lot of the sights in London, for instance Big Ben, The London Eye, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and we spent a whole day visiting different kinds of museums, for instance the Natural History Museum, The National Gallery and other free admission museums.
One thing that we really enjoyed was travelling on the London Underground. It was so easy and swift to get from one place to another. It took some time to understand the layout of the map and at first it was hard to navigate through London. But when we got the hang of it everything went smoothly and stress-free.
Mr. Haydn Evans, The head teacher of Sir John Red Coat School visited our school in the spring of 2012. During his visit we came up with the idea of gathering up a group of students and visiting London in an effort to learn about other cultures and their differences. Our school had organized a similar trip two years previously and it had been a huge success and everyone had behaved and enjoyed themselves, so this year we wanted to take the trip again.
One of the highlights of our trip was visiting Sir John Red Coat School. The school staff had kindly made us a schedule, which included four lessons and lunch at the cafeteria. All of this was greatly appreciated. The lessons we attended were English literature, the basics of Bengali, RE and Stepney slang. We were very impressed by all we saw at the school. The students were so well mannered and neatly dressed as were the teachers. The school grounds were clean and spacious. The teachers were nice and lively and good at what they did. One of them even spoke a few words of Finnish: “Hyvää syntymäpäivää mummu!” With such knowledgeable staff on board, no wonder the school is well known for its high grades at the end of each year :-). Hopefully we can go on working together in the future possibly making use of the Internet in doing so.
We from Alppila Sixth Form wish Sir John Red Coat School all the best for the future and keep up the fantastic work! And let’s hope our paths cross again in the future. You’re very welcome to pay us a return visit here in Helsinki should you wish to do so.