Lucy: Ciao ……
Georgia: Hello everyone and welcome. We are going to tell you about our recent exchange to a science school called ‘Mattiolo’ in Vasto, a town in Italy. Fortutiously, Vasto is in the Central region of Italy so therefore it was in prime position to travel around the country and visit other cities such as Rome and Naples.
Heidi: Last December, around 15 boys and girls our age travelled to Birmingham from Italy where they were hosted by the GCSE and A-level students studying Italian. It was all very exciting as we were keen to make new friends with foreign students and meet who we were hosting.
Lucy: On December the 2nd at around 10 o clock, we eagerly waited in the school car park in the cold and dark awaiting the arrival of the Italians. Unfortunately we were informed that there flights were delayed and they would not arrive until 1 am. This was not conducive seeing as we had school the next day.
Rav: During schooldays, the Italians got a very good idea of life in England. They took informative trips to Oxford and the centre of Birmingham, and also joined in with some of our lessons such as Chemistry practicals, which they found both interesting and enjoyable.
Lulu: In the evenings, we took them to restaurants in Birmingham, and as requested, they got to try their long awaited pub meal, which they thoroughly enjoyed. It is fair to say that they enjoyed their stay in England, but unfortunately the week went by very quickly and soon enough they were boarding their plane back to Rome.
Lucy: However we kept in touch with our Italian friends over the months, and the 1st of April came around very quickly. Before we knew it, it was our turn to visit Italy. We flew via Brussels, making a few friends along the way, to Rome, at eleven o’clock at night.
Georgia: It was during the week that Easter is celebrated in Italy, so St. Peter’s square was filled with light and colour. Our hotel was a two minute walk from the Vatican city, so we were awoken early the next morning by Soporific church bells.
Heidi: The next day, we visited the Vatican City. Although the new Pope had been elected only a few days before, unfortunately we did not get a chance to see him. We managed to enter the crowded yet breath-taking Sistine Chapel, and saw here Michael Angelo’s most amazing work.
Rav: The rest of the day consisted in designer bag hunting around the city’s finest market stalls and we were up until 1 am having a guided tour around the streets of Rome by our fantastic hosts Paolo and Cinzia. On Wednesday, we awoke exhausted yet excited as we knew that today we would be visiting the Coliseum.
Lulu: It was beautiful and better than expected yet we only had an hour before we dragged our 25kg suitcases through Rome to our bus which would take us across the Apennini mountain range to the Adriatic Coast of Italy to a fishing village called Vasto. We highly enjoyed the long drive through the beautiful landscape which was typically Italian.
Lucy: We arrived in Vasto, a beautiful unspoiled town at around 11 o clock and we were met by our Italian hosts, who took us home to their beautiful houses. We meet all their relatives and had a quick bite to eat before we were shown to our bedrooms for the week. The next day we had a tour of the school and met our teachers, Fabiana and Roberta, who were going to teach us for the rest of the week.
Lulu: Four of the girls and their hosts partook in an interview for a local television channel, in which they were quizzed on their opinions on the process of the exchange programme. It was a surreal experience, appearing on Italian television, and the opportunity was gladly received.
Heidi: in the afternoons we had excursions to local attractions including the archaeological museum and the beautiful beach. We were fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to visit the vibrant city of Naples.
Rav: In Naples we visited the palace of the Napoleon king, which was extremely spacious and ornate. We walked around the streets of Naples, and stopped into a small café to enjoy a pizza, traditional to Naples.
Georgia: Whilst dodging the loud yet stylish Vespas, we stumbled into a quaint and very small ice cream shop – we ended up returning here five times in this afternoon due to most of the group taking a liking to a certain male who was working there.
Lucy: A few members of the group were highly embarrassed as they accidentally bought some pasta from a market in an unusual shape. After this experience, we visited the castle of the mythical egg, and legend has it, that an egg was placed in the foundations. When this egg is found, it is believed that the castle will be demolished.
Georgia: The castle itself had a view of Mount Vesuvius, which looked beautiful, but unfortunately we did not have the time to climb it. When we returned to Vasto, we took a drive to a national park in Vasto on the beach, and we enjoyed an Italian picnic here.
Heidi: Our tour guide informed us that a visitor can ski in the mountains in Vasto in the morning, and visit the sunny beach in the afternoon. This amazed us, and it spurred us to come again with our families to experience this ourselves.
Rav: We all agree that the trip to Italy was extremely rewarding, and it was a memorable experience for the whole party. Some of us have stayed in contact with our exchanges, and have arranged for them to come and visit us again in England over the summer.
Lulu: We would like to take this opportunity to thank Senora D’Aquila and Mrs Maloney for making this trip possible and organising our fantastic programme of events.
Lucy: In our moment of silence, let us reflect on how lucky we are to make such enriching visits and how incredible the opportunity is to be able to experience a different culture in this way………. Thank you for listening J