During the October half term break at 2:30am, 29 pupils and 4 members of staff headed off into the night towards Edinburgh airport, ready to set foot on the largest, and arguably the most beautiful, island in the Mediterranean: Sicily!
After a three and a half hour flight across central Europe, the group landed in Palermo and, wearing their Sicily Trip hoodies, representing the Italian flag, they made their way to their final destination: Cefalù, a scenic seaside town located in the north of the island. From then on in, pupils and staff were immersed in Sicilian and Italian culture; from the food to the language and the Italian punctuality… it was wonderful!
Every morning, pupils took part in Italian lessons for three hours where they learnt useful grammar, vocabulary and phrases which they used inside and outside the classroom to navigate the town as well as interact with the locals. Then, they ate lunch at a local restaurant where they enjoyed typical Italian food, followed by a cultural activity in the afternoon.
“Thinking back on the trip, it is incredible to think how much we were able to fit into the schedule! We went to two local businesses where they showed us the process of making their products and we then had the opportunity to ask questions and taste the products, namely cheese and honey. This experience not only displayed the value of promoting local businesses but provided true context to the IBCP and IBDP cohort in terms of the importance of professional communication in a foreign language in order to create business ties and opportunities.” Mr Vescio, Teacher of Modern Languages
As well as learning to speak and understand the Italian language and discovering traditional Italian food, the group also managed to fit in a number of cultural experiences, including a visit the historic capital of Sicily where they enjoyed a trip to Palatine Chapel and experienced the mix of cultures through the various civilizations which conquered and influenced the island’s architecture over centuries. The byzantine mosaic was breathtaking, and the pupils and staff then enjoyed a dinner with typical Palermitani cuisine.
The highlight of the trip for the pupils, apart from the Italian classes (and we’re not kidding!), was the coast-to-coast boat trip, where pupils were able to admire the scenic seaside town of Cefalù from the water. They also had the opportunity to go swimming and bond over their shared interest of Italy and Sicilian culture.
“I can honestly say that it was my absolute pleasure planning this trip as, despite the late nights, seeing my pupils experiencing the culture and language first-hand has been the most rewarding part of my job this year. Seeing them live the language, as I did when I studied it there myself, was wonderful. Thank you to all of the pupils who came of the trip and made it worth-while as well as to the staff who accompanied them. Grazie mille!” Mr Vescio
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