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28 May 2017
Bath Community Academy students visiting Alkmaar

Eleven year 9 Bath Community Academy students (with 2 staff) visited Alkmaar from 15-19th of May.  For quite a few of them, it was their first flight, first travel or holiday abroad, and first time away from their parents: the good news is - they had a fantastic time!

The students spent a day in Amsterdam, a day in school learning, amongst other things, some Dutch, a day in Den Haag at the miniature city (Madurodam), Sea Life Centre in Scheveningen and the IMAX movie theatre; followed by another day in Alkmaar on the canals, meeting the Mayor himself, paying a visit to the City Museum and a final morning watching the famous Cheese Weighing Market ceremony.

The students felt a strong connection with the 1946 children who first visited from Bath; two of those original Bath children, Monida and Bridget, visited the BCA students before their trip, and spoke about their own experiences. Consequently the BCA students looked for differences between Bath and Alkmaar and between 1946 and 2017.

At the end of a busy but exciting week, there was a farewell party/barbeque at Langedijk. on one of the 'thousand islands', which was a fabulous experience and showed just how well the students from Netherlands and the UK had mixed and got on.  There were some finishing speeches, some ‘thank you’s’, and not a little emotion.

The Dutch hosting families put themselves out tremendously – one taking a week off work – to make sure the students had a good time, and we, the school and the children are hugely grateful for their efforts.

The trip was a huge success, including the mixture of cultures, visits to art and history museums, civic events, ancient cheese ceremonies, working and spending time at the Dutch school who hosted the children, cycling to school every day and eating "very tasty " foreign food!

The impact on the students has been immense, their teachers report.  There is a real buzz amongst them in school now and  several have mentioned to teachers that this is the best thing that has happened to them.  This was a potentially life-changing opportunity, and we are delighted to have played a small part in helping make it happen. 

See also an article on the Families in Bath website