Rastrick High enjoy an intercultural experience

Last year brought the exciting news that Rastrick High school had been successful in their application to participate in an international project working with six partner schools in Europe and this year sees students entering the final phase of the project with a visit to Murcia, Spain and students visiting Rastrick High School from Nordheim in Germany.

Ms Diannah Miller, Director of Modern Languages recently supervised students in an Erasmus+ project called - Tell me where you live and I’ll tell you what you eat.

Erasmus+ supports activities in education, training, youth and sport across all sectors of lifelong learning including higher education, further education, adult education, schools and youth activities.

The project has promoted international collaboration between the project schools in England, France, Spain, Germany, Finland, Iceland and Poland. Students have had the opportunity to visit two of the partner schools during the project, starting with a wonderful visit to Finland in 2015 and we also welcomed students from Aútun in the southeast of France in April 2015.

Student exchanges bring together groups of young people from two or more countries, providing them with an opportunity to discuss and confront various themes, whilst learning about each other’s countries and cultures. It is based on a transnational partnership between two or more promoters from different countries and can help you learn new skills and increase your employability.

Throughout the project students will use their foreign language and ICT skills to create a website, a quiz, and a recipe book to share regional recipes and information. Students will visit neighbouring businesses and food specialists to research and share information with their fellow participants about the abundance of Yorkshire produce from local providers.

Ms Miller said: “The project is a fantastic opportunity and hopes to make the need for international trade skills a reality for students and raise their aspirations and ambitions in their chosen study and career plans.”

From Rastrick to Spain

This year, students have had the opportunity to visit Murcia and the Colegio Santa Isabel in Alquerias.

Year nine student Jade tells us about their experience:

Our hosts were students from the Colegio Santa Isabel. The school has students aged from six to 17 years old but we were staying with the families of students in their final year.

When we first arrived at the school, we were given a warm welcome by out hosts and their teachers. We broke the ice by joining in on team building activities - every minute drawing us closer to becoming friends.

We were then shown around their small town of Alquerias and even though most of the families know little or no English, communication didn’t run short as their liveliness, body language and posture told you everything you needed to know.

We visited a variety of places such as Murcia’s Cathedral, the city of Cartagena, a Roman theatre and even went on a boat trip to Mar Menor, a salty lagoon separated from the Mediterranean Sea by La Manga, a sandbar 22kn in length and ranges from 100 to 1,200 metres wide.

The cathedral in the city of Murcia is Roman Catholic and shows elements of Baroque design and has mainly a Gothic-style intrior. The design architecture of the cathedral is unusual because what appears to be the front of the building is actually hiding the real entrance to the cathedral.

During the visit, we were able to experience how our hosts lived and the typical things they did. A vast amount of our experience felt abnormal to us as they spent their social time outdoors rather than inside.

Most of us ended up tired by the end of the trip as they stayed out on the streets until past midnight.

Several of us had the opportunity to try Murcia’s cultural food. We ate things like octopus, squid, paella, chorizo and salchichon. We were curious when they started to use oil instead of butter on their bread, but by the end of our trip, we got used to the idea and some of us even liked it better, plus it is healthier.

Erasmus was a great experience and the project continues when we are to host students form Nordheim in Germany.

From the South of France to Rastrick

Last week saw a group of Rastrick High School students standing at a rather chilly Brighouse train station ready to welcome their French Exchange school partners. Our guests had travelled all the way from Marseillan in the south of France to spend a week with us discovering Yorkshire and its heritage and immersing themselves in British life and culture.

Our visitors enjoyed a range of experiences, from staying with host families to activities in school including sharing their culinary skills. The French students taught their British partners how to cook savoury crêpes (a type of pancake) while our students helped to prepare Fat Rascals and Bakewell tarts.

The group also enjoyed day trips to Hebden Bridge and to Manchester. The trip to Hebden Bridge was thoroughly enjoyed by students who admired the picturesque town and enjoyed visiting the independent shops. In Manchester, some students braved the tram to visit Old Trafford with their football crazy French teacher.

Not only improving their language skills, all the students gained an understanding of life, culture and education in a different country.

Year nine students, Abbie and Deanna said: “The exchange was really good in helping us practice our language and communication skills and to learn about another culture; all whilst having fun. We have made good friends and have decided to keep in touch. It really was an amazing and great experience.”

Rastrick High School is extremely proud of both the students and their host families as they have really put their all into making their guests’ first visit to Yorkshire unforgettable. The feedback we have had since their return has been very positive and I am certain that we have instilled a love of Yorkshire and British culture that will last a long time.