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25 March 2018
The Alkmaar students visit to Bath Community Academy March 2018

Last year 11 Bath Community students visited Alkmaar to celebrate 70 years of the oldest twinning arrangement in the world between bath and Alkmaar.  That trip had a big impact on the students.

Between 8th – 12th March 2018 we returned the hospitality and were visited by 5 students and 2 teachers.  Those Year 9 students who had visited Alkmaar last year have had to move on to another school so 8 fresh faced new Year 9s took on the hosting role.

What was really great was that last year’s students, although educated

elsewhere, rejoined the group on Sunday morning, and as we made a community lunch together, friendships were rekindled and reminisences revisited again and again. Food technology is not on the dutch curriculum and some had never cooked before, so our ambassidor year 9s guided them through it. That chicken linguini bake was very tasty!

Over the four days we had completed some investigated quizzes on bath’s heritage, visited the Roman Baths and Mayor’s Parlour, sunk into the waters of the Cross Baths, waltzed under the chandeliers of the Assembly Rooms, visited the pagan centres of Stonehenge and Avebury and viewed Bath from on top of Solsbury Hill, and we visited many gardens, parks and museums.  With so much to see in Bath another visit will be needed by our Dutch to see it all, and hopefully that will be in warmer weather.  Arising from the Cross Baths thermal spring waters was very chilly!

The Dutch as a nation are very tall, tolerant and friendly and the whole group of students from the UK and Holland got on seamlessly. It was wonderful how even though they had never met, they were immersed together into the event for 4 days, got on, and then had to be parted after that short time. There were many tears shed Sunday lunchtime.

Summary:

Again there were tremendous benefits for the BCA students all of whom had never been to Avebury or Solsbury Hill and some had never been to Stonehenge.  The nerves experienced waiting to meet the other group dissipated almost immediately.  Everyone learnt loads about Bath, went places they had never been and we, as teachers, were amazed at those who could waltz around the assembly rooms floors.

The impact on the students has been immense and it has changed the outlook for some.  This week in school you can see a real bubbly exuberance from the individuals who took part.

Student comments:

 TW:  “The activities were cool.  I liked the Spa best.  I loved everything.  I have never been to Stonehenge before.”

MB:   “We got to see loads of interesting things.  The dutch were friendly and it made me realise I could find friends in any country regardless of the language barrier.  In the future, the process of things like showing people around, will help with my life experiences and maybe even getting jobs.”

CT:   “I am not exactly good at that.  I was really nervous before we met them as I am awkward with people but as they chatted I joined in.  I have never gone around town showing people places.  I had never seen the mayor’s parlour, Stonehenge, or assembly Rooms.  It has made me more confident.”

MD:   “When we went to the Cross Baths my make up ran and it was embarrassing and I had to wipe it off!  I never go for a walk into the countryside at home, so walking up Solsbury Hill and to west Kennett Long Barrow was muddy and great.  I learnt so much history in one day about Bath I would never have learnt that much in school.  I have never been to Stonehenge, the Holborne, the Cross baths, or dance in the Assembly Rooms.  I was nervous I wanted to dance with the Dutch but I ended up with Maria.  I have more friends now.  I have more confidence with people, talking to people.  In the future I want to visit another country and take photos.  It has opened my eyes to travel somewhere and maybe visit them.”

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