LAMP students abroad
PSHE tutor Luke helped create the opportunity for some of our students to visit Poland in the Easter holidays. As you can see from the reports on this page, this was a great success and something we’ll be encouraging more students to undertake.
My trip to Gołkowice Górne
Poland 11th - 19th April 2019 via Krakow
I was encouraged by my PSHE Tutor to apply for an opportunity to attend a youth exchange in Poland based on exploring self-development as a tool for inspiring change at a personal and societal level.
It was a relaxing and fulfilling experience where I met 40+ other people mostly from other countries. We spent the days doing workshops and learning about each other and each other's cultures.
The nights where spent similarly however with a more relaxed vibe and with a lot more partying.
We were split into groups of 5 per cabin and where given the key, we had to choose 1 member of the group to be as my group called the “key master” which I graciously accepted and upheld the title of.
I was grouped with 2 Italians, a Georgian and luckily another student from LAMP who I of course knew prior to the exchange. The first night I had a weird nervousness but after talking to the others I was staying with in the cabin that went away, this was mostly because one of the Italians father was from the same town in south east Italy as my grandad, it was also partly to do with having someone I knew prior to the exchange to talk to inside jokes and all.
One of the highlights of the exchange was when we went up into the mountains that are inside of a shared national park between Poland and Slovakia, we hiked for miles, stopping a few times to eat or drink. Everyone quickly moved into groups based on speed, I stayed behind with some of the people at the back because I got along with them like a house on fire. We ended up making the joke that we were the fellowship of the ring, trying to reach mount doom and destroy the one ring. This was partially because we had sticks to help us traverse the terrain and partially because the Greeks and the Italians seemed to absolutely adore lord of the rings like me.
Another highlight was nearly every day we would play/sing music with instruments and the use of tables and hands for drums/beats. This went surprisingly well, we were in time with each other and only a handful of times did someone miss a beat or go slightly out of time. It was both fun and acted like a bonding exercise.
In overview, this was the most fun I’ve had so far in my life, I met a ton of people, learnt about multiple cultures, had a lot of good food, saw some great views and now have at least 50 more inside jokes which I can laugh about and remember the great times I had.
This was the best experience I could of asked for and I hope that anyone reading this can experience the same or something similar.
It really has helped me to improve my confidence
Environmental project in Agros, Cyprus
August 23rd to August 31st 2019
This was my second exchange this year and ever, my last was also typed up and was in Poland in April.
This project was very different with a few similarities however I felt at home very quickly which is different from the Poland exchange but I feel that was only because Poland was my first project.
We stayed in Agros which is in the Troodos mountain range.
Me and the rest of the UK team flew from Birmingham airport to Paphos airport and arrived around 9pm Cypriot time, I immediately realised the humidity and warmth, it felt like I had dived into a sweat lodge. We waited for the minibus to pick us up and take us to Agros and not long after we were on the roads driving towards Agros. We where dropped off at a park where there was a local event with free drinks and some delicious food. We stayed for a while, meeting a couple members of the Romanian team and taking some photographs. We then went back to on the minibus and drove to the hostel. We where shown our rooms and settled in.
I awoke the next day and the first thing I saw out of the window was this amazingly beautiful view of Agros houses on the sides of the mountains, this is the first proper mountain side village I have seen and I was in awe nearly every time I saw such a view. I got ready and wandered downstairs and looked at breakfast, this consisted of hard bread, bad cheese and pretty grim ham however I did have ham for the first 3 days until I noticed the smell which put me off of it. Overall apart from the breakfast the food was absolutely the best and I wish we had more Cypriot and Greek restaurants in the UK, especially for the meats and pita which was near heavenly.
The first day was mostly spent getting to know everyone’s names and basic introductions. We had a few workshops and energisers to get to know each other’s names and also to get ready for the day.
There where 7 countries represented by teams of roughly 5, these countries consisted Italy, Poland, Estonia, Romania, UK, Czech Republic and Cyprus. My favourite thing about projects/exchanges are the fact I get to meet and befriend multiple people from different cultures and countries. This is made easier by the fact that most people who attend are all of the same or similar mind sets when it comes to the experience. We engaged in many workshops throughout the week that focused on environment and sustainability. I helped to facilitate one of the workshops led by UK group leader Luke Spate (who is also a PSHE/Support mentor at LAMP).
Also notable things outside of Agros that we did included visiting Nicosia and Limassol, Nicosia being the capital and the only divided capital in the world in the world (sadly because of the Turkish invasion of 1974, 14 years after Cyprus got independence from England). In Limassol we visited a castle then had lunch at pizza hut followed by free time. I spent my free time with 3 of the 4 other members of the UK team and 1 of the Estonian team were we looked for a burger place that turned out not to be open so we went to KFC. Then we headed to the beach and stayed there a while. Nearer the end of our free time in Limassol me and 1 of the other members of the UK team went to a shisha café on the beach front. It was my first time in a shisha café and I can say that the café was a very nice setup and was not only smart and tidy but also a lot cooler than the temperature outside. We then met up at the meetup point and got the coach back to Agros.
In Nicosia we visited a museum/castle then went to lunch at a local restaurant which had the absolute best food of my time on the project in Cyprus (so far) which was enjoyed immensely by everyone. Then we had free time, I spent my time relaxing with different groups around the shisha cafes. I then went into a clothing shop and bought a shirt which said large but was more like a UK extra small which nearly fit but was just a bit too short. Then I got a frappe at a shisha café which was better than any other I have had before. When I finished that I went with a member of the project into some clothes shops to help pick her out some clothes which was not as boring as I expected (didn’t feel like I was being dragged around shopping like I’m used to) then I went with a member of the Czech team to a shop which was towards the border of the occupied side to buy some snacks and drinks, I ended up buying a bottle of water for aforementioned clothes shopper which she was very grateful for since it was a particularly warm day.
We also visited the Troodos national park and found out not only about the conservation projects but also about ow Cyprus and the mountains of Cyprus were formed.