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Educational Trips

Students from Arabska Gymnazium in Prague 6 on their annual visit to Bridgwater
School links are the other most important projects we are involved in.

Each year we organise several large groups from Bridgwater College and Richard Huish College on foreign trips. These have included Film & Media, Sociology, Health & Social Care and History students. We have also taken groups from Yeovil and Taunton College, Haygrove, Chilton, King Alfreds and King's of Wessex schools.

We organised an annual visit to the Czech Republic by Plymouth University as part of their teacher training course and we have taken groups from other parts of the UK such as Exeter College and Newcastle Heaton school.

We also regularly organise visits to the UK from Czech schools including Arabska Gymnasium Prague, Cesko-Anglicke Gymnazium Ceske Budejovice and the Agricultural College in Stare Mesto u Uherskeho Hradiste.

We also have school contacts in Sarvar (Hungary) and Radovljica and Koper (Slovenia) and would welcome more.



Czech students on an English Course at Bridgwater College

http://bridgwaterinternationalblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/czech-students-on-english-course-at.html

A new venture of ours is a partnership project with Bridgwater College whereby we arrange transport, accommodation, meals and touristic programme whilst the College provides teachers, classrooms and lessons for the week. Our first experiment was with the Moskevska Zakladni Skola in Kladno, Czech Republic. The group stayed at Model Farm.

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If it's June it must be another cultural-awareness-raising-English-language-practising-on-tour-residential

In 1992 Bridgwater twinned with Uherske Hradiste…but it was a close run thing as at the same town the South Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice also made a similar request. That’s how popular we were. We had of course already committed to UH so on June 18th that year we became the first British Czech post velvet revolution twinning. But that didn’t stop the boys and girls from Budvar keeping up their Bridgy link. Every year since then they’ve sent over their students on tour programmes which we’ve called ‘Practice your English in England’. The main conspirator in all this is English teacher and anglophile Eva Kordova and this year naturally they came again.

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Italian Twinning Backed by new Mayor as Bridgwater College students visit Priverno

February 2014 and Sedgemoor's floods are global news. Sitting on the plane heading from Bristol to Rome I spotted a copy of my neighbours 'Daily Mail'."Any news about the flooding?" I asked."Only more nonsense from that idiot MP" said the lady from Cheltenham. So Bridgwater was making it's mark again - well done Mr Liddell-Grainger. Not.

But as ILG was telling the world that there were apparently some intemperate, rude, name calling pseudo-dignatories in this part of Somerset, the Bridgwater College students, off to Italy on a study programme, made exactly the opposite impression. No less than 3 different people mentioned how polite, well behaved and cheerful the students were. First the bus driver, Augusto, was nervous when the singing at the back of his bus started, and had to be reassured that 'the wheels on the bus' didn't refer to a diversionary tactic to nick his hubcaps, then said he had never had such good natured students on board. Then it was Genny the manager of the aptly named San Francesco 'Charming' Hotel, the delightful wedding themed lagoon side accommodation where the students were staying. "It was lovely to have them, they were polite, tidy and looked after the rooms and each other".

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Coastal Mist, City Heat and Jamaican Reggae: Ceske Budejovice students introduction to England in 2013

For a long time now, Eva Kordova has brought students from Ceske Budejovice to Bridgwater, offering as it does that ideal bridgehead into an England you could only dream about in the books of Enid Blyton, the films of Malcolm Muggeridge and the mind of Nigel Farage. But is that fair? No of course it isn't. But Anglophile Eva keeps on coming and we keep on trying to show her the real England. So here comes 2013's version.

Flights from Prague to Bristol are late night. So despite a strong tailwind, the group still didn't get into Street Youth Hostel until midnight. And went straight to sleep. In everyones dreams.... So the programme proper started first thing next day.

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BRIDGWATER COLLEGE FILM AND MEDIA STUDENTS VISIT HUNGARY

It was only a year or so back that we started to develop links with Hungary. This came about through a meeting with Hungarian councillor and turkey magnate Nemeth Zsolt from the town of Sarvar at the Uherske Hradiste wine festival. He introduced us to school teacher Kovacs Beata from the Tinodi Sebestian High school and thereafter the links simply flowed.

Well, Kovacs Beata is like saying Smedley Brian, but the Hungarians seem to like things that way round, so this year I got Media teachers Hughes Vanessa, Woods Laura and De Francesca Mino to take College Bridgwater over there with 33 eager students.

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HUNGARIANS VISIT BRIDGWATER FAIR

Sarvar is the Hungarian twin town of Uherske Hradiste which is the Czech twin town of Bridgwater. Which has an annual Fair second only in bigness to the very very big Nottingham Goose Fair. But only geese are allowed to go to that one. So the Hungarians came to Bridgwater.

September is quite a busy time for schools in the UK - seeing as they're just starting back, and also in Hungary, so the Sebastian Tinodi school gave their intrepid adventurers just 4 days to explore the UK (in it's approximate entirety), civilise Bridgwater and be back in time for supper.

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CZECH CIVIL ENGINEERS SURVEY LONDON

If the Ceske Budejovice School for Civil Engineers had asked us to organise a programme in Somerset we could have shown them the collapsed wall at West Quay in Bridgwater and explained exactly why it has still not been rebuilt after almost a year and they could have witnessed four different agencies fighting desperately to deny their own responsibility for the collapse in the first place. But they didn't. They wanted to see London.

But we'll rise to any challenge and several weeks of emailing people who might know people who might know civil engineers eventually bore fruit and a full and absorbing programme was built, Brunel like, piece by piece, from one end of the capital to the other, suspended over a massive gap, filled by pie and mash shops.

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PRAGUE STUDENTS TOUR WALES

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is one of our less popular travel locations. Not just because half the holiday is spent driving past the signpost, but because there's so many other things to do in Wales that groups often don't get round to it. But on a rainy day on Anglesey what else is there to do - when the Electric mountain is fully booked, the National Slate museum is oversubscribed and the Holyhead to Dublin ferry has just left.

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CESKE BUDEJOVICE SCHOOLS 20TH ANNIVERSARY VISIT TO BRIDGWATER

Bridgwater Czech Slovak Friendship Society was formed in 1991 and in June 1992 the formal twinning with Uherske Hradiste took place. 1992 also saw the foundation of Antonin Machala's 'Altech' company which has been the backbone of our links with UH now for 20 years. However, it was a close run thing that we didn't twin with the South Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice - home of Budweiser beer and (slightly) nearer to Prague. On the occasion of the annual visit by Eva Kordova and her 'Buddies' we recall those early days.

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SLOVENIANS SPRING BREAK IN ENGLAND - TURNED OUT NICE AGAIN!!

A couple of years back when our first Slovenian group visited us they got caught up in the Icelandic volcanic eruption and had to be rescued by our fleet of emergency drivers, a mad dash through the Channel ports and a pick up on the French coast for a two day drive back to their Balkan bolt hole. We weren't sure Slovenians would ever come to see us again... However, they did.

And a good choice of season it was too! Normally in March in England we're sweeping up wind toppled tree trunks, laying gentlemanly cloaks over puddles of rain or closing down entire communities and declaring National emergencies lest a snowflake lands on the nose of a civic dignatory. This time, however, it was like mid summer. Excluding the murders. Well, most of them.

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HUNGARY - SOCIOLOGISTS ON TOUR

Hungary is a funny country. Even Hungarians revel in the fact that no-one can understand their odd language, totally unrelated as it is to any other. Apart from Finnish. And maybe Estonian. Then there's the weather. With the harshness of the winter over it seemed those thermal vests and extra layers wouldn't be neccessary. And then it snowed, temperatures plummeted. And then it stopped and turned to shirt sleeve summer.

So this was the country chosen this year by the Globe-Trotting Sociology department of Somerset's Richard Huish College for their study trip. Of course, it wasn't just the unfathomableness of Hungary that appealed to Sociology students, there's also been a lot going down there recently that has raised eyebrows around the world and which make the place ideal for further investigation.

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COLLEGE FILM STUDENTS VISIT TO ROME

Bridgwater College Film and Media students have travelled with us in past to the Czech Republic - where they visited the vast Barrandov film studios and to the smaller VIBA studios in Slovenia. This year they opted for the gargantuan Cinecitta studios in Rome, Italy and walked amongst sets of Biblical proportions and imperial dimensions.

Flying from Bristol to Rome Fiumicino in a snowy early February, the fifty-four strong group were met at the airport by coach and transferred to the beach hotel of Oasa di Kufra in nearby Sabaudia which they shared with rowing teams from Russia, Austria, Belorus and the Ukraine - mainly half their age and twice their size.

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PRAGUE STUDENTS IN TOWN FOR THE FAIR

The Arabska Gymnasium in Prague 6 has been an annual visitor to Bridgwater since the link first started back in 1996 when Dr Jan Soucek met Mr Andrew Pole in the Bridgwater Embassy in Prague (the 'U Capa' bar near IP Pavlova). Last year was the Doctors final visit as he has now retired, however, the link goes on and this year Mrs Pavla Pracnova turned up with a group of sixteen students eager to see what all the fuss was about.

Picking the right time to come - not only was it Bridgwater fair, but the English summer finally decided to arrive, the group also included on their itnerary a visit to the College where Media lecturer Mino De Francesca showed them several films made by the students, the YMCA where Jason let them have a go at archery and even a game of skittles was thrown into the cultural melting pot.

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CESKE BUDEJOVICE STUDENTS TOUR WESSEX

It's been an annual tour since the mid 90's. Eva Kordova from the Czech-English high School in the South Bohemian city of Ceske Budejovice brings over a group of students, they spend a few days in Bridgwater and then take a trip around the West country.

This year the group spent their first three nights at Huntstile Organic Farm in the foothills of the Quantocks whilst visiting Glastonbury, Wells & Cheddar and having a social night at the Bridgwater Arts Centre. During this time they also did some orienteering on the Quantocks, had a Coleridge themed tour of Watchet with Ben Manning and had a look at Dunster on their way through Exmoor to Dartmoor.

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SLOVENIANS EXPLORE WALES

Two Slovenian schools joined together with Bridgwater International for a short tour of Wales which took them from the Snowdonian peaks to Tiger Bay before finally popping over the Severn bridge to Somerset.

The schools, from Koper on the Adriatic Coast and Jesenice up in the Julian Alps, landed at Birmingham Airport from Trieste, visited Shrewsbury and stayed for two nights at Betws y Coed.

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YEOVIL CHILDCARE STUDENTS VISIT SLOVENIA

A small group of students from Yeovil College studying childcare have spent a few days before Easter comparing notes with their Slovenian counterparts and taking in the sights of Venice, Istria and the Julian Alps at the same time.

The group flew out to Venice where they spent a couple of days on the island of Giudecca at the famous Ostello Venezia. Travelling around the waterscaped city by Vaporetto the students also visited the Doges Palace and saw the catastrophe that was the total swamping of the famous Bridge of Sighs by a hundred square metre advertising hoarding for a Japanese car company....

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SOMERSET STUDENTS IN SLOVENIA

Richard Huish College 'Health & Social Care' students have travelled with us to the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia over the past few years. This year they chose the increasingly popular Slovenia for their annual fact finding mission.

Flying from Bristol to Venice - a couple of hours and a lovely rooftop panorama of the Alps then a swoop over the Venetian islands, they were whisked away by a waiting Slovenian coast to the border town of Koper.

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BRIDGWATER COLLEGE MEDIA STUDENTS VISIT LJUBLJANA

The 2011 Bridgwater International programme has kicked off with a visit by twenty-five Bridgwater College Film and Media students to the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. Along with their three staff members the students visited the Slovenian TV & Radio buildings and the Slovenian VIBA Film studios.

The group also spent time in the small town of Radovljica where they showed their own works to the Media students of the High school there and took part in a 'Slovenian Quiz' which they past with flying colours having taken a great interest in the small EU border country during their four day stay.

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SHROPSHIRE YOUTH WORKERS IN UH & PRAGUE

Shropshire Youth Worker Jo Cox - who came with us on the very first Bridgwater-Czech twinning trip back in 1992, recently achieved Leonardo Funding from the European union to take a group of Shropshire youth workers from the V-Talent programme on a two week trip to Uherske Hradiste and Prague.

The thirteen strong group linked up with the Akropolis Family Centre run by Dagmar Mega, in Bridgwaters twin town Uherske Hradiste where they spent a week working with children, studying music therapy, and on one occaision playing football against the factory team Altech, sponsored by co-founder of the Bridgwater-Czech link Antonin Machala. The Shropshire lads won the football 8-4 with a key goal being scored by guide and translator Cllr Smedley who takes all the credit.

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CESKE BUDSTERS TOUR WESSEX

Leading her 15th annual trip to Bridgwater, Ceske Budejovice teacher Eva Kordova, had terrific weather for the students who travelled with her from the Cesko Anglicky Gymnazium. The tour took them the length and breadth of the ancient kingdom of Wessex and naturally centred on the historic Somerset town of Bridgwater.

Flying from Prague to Bristol airport the group of 31 were met by two minibusses and a car and driven up the Fosse Way, across the Cotswolds to Stow on the Wold where they stayed the first night. The next morning they popped in to nearby Stratford on Avon then on to Blenheim palace and Oxford and spending their nexy night on the Ridgeway - the closest thing the Ancient Britons had to a motorway.

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PRAGUE STUDENTS IN BRIDGWATER WITH THE 'GOOD DOCTOR'

Dr Jan Soucek, from Pragues 'Arabska Gymnazium', has been bringing students to Bridgwater for 17 years and so with retirement iminent, this trip could well be his last.

The students had an action packed week which saw them explore Somerset and tour the West Country from their Home-Hosted base in Bridgwater.

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YEOVIL COLLEGE STUDENTS IN CZECH & SLOVAKIA

The first visit by Yeovil College to the Czech Republic and Slovakia for more than ten years was designed to study comparative Health & Social care provision in both countries and involved planes, trains, automobiles and 'Sound of Music' styles treks over mountains.

Flying from Bristol to the Czech Capital, Prague, the students - twenty-two girls and one boy plus four female teachers, visited a kindergarten, a secondary school and a Youth club during their three day stay.

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BRIDGWATER CATERERS IN HIGH TATRAS

Students from Bridgwater College catering course spent a week in East Europe visiting Slovakian college, sharing cooking experiences and learning something about the local culture and people amidst the sunlit landscape of the High Tatra mountains.

Starting their journey in the Southern Polish city of Krakow the students stayed in the Kazimierz area - once the hub of Jewish Krakow. With the help of Polish teacher Karolina Tymochowicz, the group had a guided tour of the city which included the famous market square and the Castle at Wawel next to the Vistula river. It was here that they visited the tomb of the recently buried Polish President Lech Kacynski who had died only the week before in the Katyn wood plane tradgedy. They were also told the legend of Smok the fire breathing dragon whose statue can be found at the entrance to his cave beneath the castle and next to the river.

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SLOVENIAN VISITORS CAUGHT UP IN VOLCANIC FALLOUT

Slovenian visitors who have just spent a week in Somerset hardly expected their first ever trip to our County to end with a rescue mission and a thirty hours journey home by land and sea - but thats what happened.

The students, from the high school in the Adriatic town of Koper, came to Bridgwater as guests of Bridgwater International. During their stay they were received by the Mayor Ken Richards, held a Slovenian Night at the Bridgwater Labour club with food,drink and music from their country and linked up with the Richard Huish school in Taunton who ahd recently visited them intheir own country. They also toured around the county to see all the famous sites including Glastonbury Abbey, Wells cathedral and Cheddar Gorge. Other highlights of their trip included a day orienteering on the Quantocks and a day trip to the Dorset coast.

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SOMERSET STUDENTS IN CROATIA AND SLOVENIA

Somerset students from Tauntons Richard Huish College have visited the former Yugoslav Republics of Croatia and Slovenia on a comparative Sociology and Law study trip.

In Croatia the students stayed in the Port city of Pula where they linked up with the School of Art and Design and their progressive head teacher Davor Klimann. The thirty-six students and five staff stayed at the Luxury Hotel Pula, with its own private Adratic beach. Sadly however, uncharacteristic rain put a damper on their stay which also included visits to the 2000 year old Roman Amphitheatre, the Istrian archaelogical museum and the city fortifications which dated back to the time of Christ.

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SNOWY CZECH FAREWELL TO SOMERSET STUDENTS

On the final day of the visit to the Czech Republic by Richard Huish College students winter had returned with a vengeance as can be seen from todays pictures.

Staying for two days in the South Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice (home of Budweiser beer) the Health & Social Care students from Taunton have been hosted by our partner school the Cesko Anglicky Gymnasium. Pictured coming out of CAG is trip organiser Liz Truman, who first came to Czech with us 3 years ago on a Plymouth University project and now takes annual groups to East Europe, her daughter Sarah and fellow teacher Gemma Wakefield.

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