Strasbourg Trip March 2018

Five Year 12 students; Adam Davison, Jack Dobson, Adam Murray, Matthew Smith and Cameron Tait won a competition to represent Consett Academy, County Durham and the more importantly the UK at a prestigious European Union funded competition called Euroscola.

Wednesday 21st March - Cameron Tait picks up the story of our trip.

“The first leg of the Strasbourg tour 2018 has been off the rails! Or rather on them. The day has consisted of travelling on three different trains. The first from Durham to London Kings Cross where we stretched our legs with a brisk walk across to London St Pancreas. From here, we steamed off towards the land of the baguette. France. We travelled via the Eurostar and completed the second leg of the journey, exiting the train at the city of culture, Paris. We then had a brief and exhilarating wait in the Paris station after making the short journey from Gard de Nord station to Gard de Lest. We kept a watchful eye on our belongings and being cautious of the air pollution emitted by the abundance of smokers puffing away. We then stepped onto the train to Strasbourg and embarked on the longest and last leg of the journey, a three-hundred-mile trip east at speeds of up to 200mph!”

The students arrived at the hotel at 9pm where we dropped our bags of and straight out to a traditional Alsace restaurant, where we were served a mixture of sausages on a bed of pickled cabbage.

Thursday 22nd March

A busy day started with our group leaving the hotel at 8am to catch a tram to the European Parliament.

The European Parliament hosts 751 democratically elected MEP’s from all 28 member states that debate policies and vote on a variety of topics that effect people not only in Europe but across the world. The five Year 12 boys from Consett Academy are part of a larger delegation of 22 students selected from four schools across the North East, here to represent the UK at this EU funded project. 550 students from 23 member EU countries are here to debate key issues that will affect all young people in the coming years.

The students divided up into groups and had to debate and plan policies on topics such as education, migration, renewable energy, policing and trade and then present these in very impressive Hemicycle, the 800 seat chamber where all European policy is debated and voted on. Our students took part in a variety of activities throughout which involved working with students from all over Europe finding ways to communicate, discuss ideas and ultimately co-operate with each other to find a common ground.

The day was rounded off with a European quiz in which groups of four students from four different countries had to come together to make over 120 teams. Matthew Smith was part of the winning team and managed to bring home some silverware for the UK, a European Parliament medal!

The evening meal was a pizza restaurant where sampled an eclectic mix of flavours from curried chicken and mushroom to mincemeat and mustard. Desert was served on the same pizza base and sauce, but this time with apple slices and cinnamon, an interesting concoction. We then had a walk through the lovely city of Strasbourg past the impressive Cathedral and then along by the canals and medieval buildings. The lads evening managed a quick late night McDonalds and were delighted to report it tasted just as good as the one in Consett, maybe even better and you get more sauce on the McFlurry!

Friday 23rd March

Friday morning gave us the opportunity to explore the city and  to do some sightseeing and shopping,  as well as stocking up with food for the long trip back to sunny Consett. We wandered the streets and spent some euros on presents to take home. Our return trip home will again go through Paris before we head to London and then onto Durham.

Overall, the trip has been a great learning and cultural experience for all of the students as it has given them a window into the lives of student’s from around Europe. This fantastic opportunity enabled them to converse, observe and experience a unique opportunity that students from the UK may not have the chance to do in a couple of years.

Safe journey home!

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