Queenswood Italian Students visit the Amalfi Coast
Tuesday 28 March 2017
On a freezing cold Sunday morning in February, Ms Scopsi and I met our 14 students of Italian at Luton airport. It was literally ‘freezing’, so much so that we were delayed by over an hour in order to allow the plane to defrost. It wasn’t the good start we were all hoping for but I was already very impressed with the way the girls conducted themselves. Firstly, they were all on time, in spite of the fact that it was snowing. Also, they were all appropriately dressed, alert and positive. And they did not moan, not even when we were told by the captain to sit on the plane for an indefinite length of time, ‘relax’ and wait for the engines to defrost.
This was to be the very last opportunity to attend an Italian language and cultural awareness trip for the majority of the girls who are in Year 11 and, quite possibly, the two year 12 girls. They were all prepared to sacrifice their half-term break for this trip so it needed to be good and well worth it. This is why it was packed with coach tours along the stunning Amalfi Coast with its glittering gem of cliff-top villages, a hike to the crater of Mount Vesuvius, a guided tour of the famous archaeological site of Pompei and a ferry trip to the breathtakingly beautiful Island of Capri. In order to ensure a full appreciation of the region, we did several food-related activities, lots of walking and three hours of Italian language lessons every day.
On our arrival at our hotel, we only had a short amount of time to eat our lunch at a nearby Pizzeria and then we walked to a local Gelateria where we had an ice-cream demonstration. We learned how ice-cream is made and, more importantly, we sampled some of the best ice-cream in Italy and possibly the world – according to our Italian ice-cream expert. Making pizza, eating it and dancing the ‘tarantella’ were activities we slotted in at the end of one day, after a coach tour of Amalfi and Ravello and three hours of Italian lessons at the Sant’Anna Institute. That’s how we spent our six days in Sorrento – there was no time for the girls to get bored.
The girls fully appreciated everything on offer, behaved impeccably throughout, looked after each other at all times and generally made it a very pleasant experience. The hotel staff, the teacher at the Italian school, the guides at Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius and, in fact, pretty much everybody who met our girls, complimented us on their behaviour.
The most telling moment for me was the day of our guided tour of Pompeii. We had to prolong our stay as the girls showed so much interest in the history of Pompeii and asked to view different areas of the archaeological site.
This trip was a revelation. I have led many language trips over the years but I’ve never felt quite so proud of my students. I hope they don’t regret giving up their half-term break. I certainly don’t.