“Wouldn’t it be a great idea to take students to England to experience English literature.”
What began as pondering out loud by Tawa college English teacher Camilla Bourne last year became an epic three-week immersion in European culture and arts last month.
In the first cultural trip of its kind by the college, a group of 29 students and three teachers travelled to England, Scotland, Belgium and France, filling their minds and camera memory sticks with enriching, unforgettable experiences, Ms Bourne says.
There were theatre evenings at London’s Globe, Stratford-upon-Avon, and The Theatre Royal at Bath, while sites such as Buckingham Place, The London Eye, Tower of London, Windsor Castle and St Paul’s Cathedral saw time in London well occupied.
‘‘We were the first New Zealand school group through Warner Brothers’ Watford Studio [where the Harry Potter movies were filmed],’’ said Ms Bourne, ‘‘which was a fascinating tour and one of the students’ favourite sites.’’
The group toured the Lakes District, home to the Romantic poets, travelled to Haworth to pay homage to the Brontes, and took a morning at the new Museum of TV and Media in Bradford.
‘‘We went to Bruges and Ghent in Belgium where the students became duly sensitive to the reality of the war as they listened intently to our guides take them through the works of the war poets. Here Tawa College laid a wreath to honour our fallen.’’
On the return trip from Paris, Ms Bourne said the group were wiser and ‘‘richer in spirit’’, having developed skills they never thought possible.
‘‘As teachers we saw the best in every student during this trip, which is food for the teacher soul.’’
The tour cost students $6250 each. Ms Bourne says they were given targets of fundraising one-third, earning one-third, and seeking one-third contribution from parents.
‘‘Obviously what families chose to do was up to them but most students contributed the two-thirds we set them as a target.
‘‘This was to encourage a sense of the value of money, the reality of working and balancing school work, and the fundraising to build a team, ready to travel 24,000 miles.’’
Fundraising efforts included a quiz night that attracted more than 100 participants, an international food market, sausage sizzles, raffles, chocolate sales and an Easter hot-cross-bun drive.
Ms Bourne says any schools or groups thinking of such a trip, are welcome to contact them for ideas and tips.
In Bruges: Tawa College’s culture collectors strike a pose outside St John’s Hospital.