I am pleased to say that the Barcelona 2017 was a large success, with much cultural and linguistic exposure had by all.
The students and staff were all worn out by a very busy schedule - one that packed-in most of what Barcelona has to offer in a fairly short space of time. They were given a fair bit of freedom and we could always rely on them to look out for each other and be back at meeting points on-time.
Amongst other activities on the second day, we visited the Olympic stadium, the Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, a typical churros cafe, the Boqueria market and the harbour - we got drenched by the rain but laughed our way through it!
On day three we travelled by Metro to the activity centre by the coast. I don't think anybody knew what to expect it, and it certainly created some interesting moments for everybody! The staff were so proud of the student this morning, watching so many people break through barriers that they never knew were possible. This demonstration of courage and determination was outstanding - and I am sure this will be an experience that many will never forget. After a spot of lunch we travelled to the funicular railway and then onto the cable car, which gave us a birdseye view of the city from Montjuic castle. This was followed by a trip to a local ice cream shop near the harbour, where we duly boarded a boat for the harbour and coast cruise. We then walked from the port at La Rambla for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Day 4 started with a short metro ride to the home of CF Barcelona, the Nou Camp. This was a spectacular experience, irrespective of the level of interest in football! After lunch in the sunshine and a team quiz, we walked down the road to a local dance studio, where we saw the students show-off their Flamenco skills.... and put the staff to shame!
Both journeys to and from London were seamless and I was delighted by the maturity that every student showed, from safety and awareness to engagement and appreciation of culture. I doubt there are many schools in the world where teachers can return from a trip with 32 students and feel truly blessed by the time they have shared with those young people. The good humour, manners and respect demonstrated from beginning to end made both the school, and you their families, intensely proud.
For many, sharing a room with a large group of peers was a new experience and one I am sure that they will not forget in a hurry! Along the way we experienced some schools that were not quite so perfect, and as often happens, Salesian School stood-out from the crowd.
Mr C Howell