Trip to Belgium 4/11/19

On Friday 18th October, fourteen very excited Year 8 students gathered at Rosedale College at 6:00am for the start of an unforgettable trip to Belgium. Although a storm was raging outside the minibus, the mood inside was one of excitement and anticipation. Torrential rain and gales buffeted the minibus en route to Folkestone, but since we were using the Eurotunnel and not the ferry, it was a calm and enjoyable crossing to Calais.

The first stop was the Hill 62 Sanctuary Wood battlefield and museum in Belgium. Just as we arrived, providence smiled, the rain stopped and the clouds parted. Here, students had a look at some of the actual weapons and uniforms used over one hundred years ago, along with photographs, posters and medals from World War I. Afterwards, students were taken to the actual trenches which had stood for over one hundred years, and they were able to walk around in them and see the conditions in which the soldiers stood for much of the war. Much reverence was shown by the students when we visited the cemetery next to the battlefield and the students were amazed to see how young some of the fallen soldiers were, and that some were from Middlesex.

The next stop was the pretty town of Ypres with its famous chocolate shops and waffles. The students hurried into the local Belgian chocolate shop to buy gifts and snacks. After lunch, we visited the impressive Menin Gate Memorial which lists the names of 54,000 soldiers who fell in battle but whose bodies were never recovered. Many of the students recognised the famous arch from the presentations they had made in preparation for the trip.

As the clouds were gathering, we headed back to the minibus and off to Calais to the Cité Europe shopping centre where students were able to practise their French in the many shops and cafés.

The final leg of the journey back to the school was wet but spirits were not dampened. It was an enormously successful trip and every student gained a great deal in terms of their learning and cultural understanding.

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