Memories for a lifetime

Tumut High representatives Josh Casey and Brooke Jeffery laying a wreath at the Anzac Day service at Polygon Wood on behalf of Darren Mitchell, head of Veterans Affairs.
Tumut High representatives Josh Casey and Brooke Jeffery laying a wreath at the Anzac Day service at Polygon Wood on behalf of Darren Mitchell, head of Veterans Affairs.

Year 12 students who embarked on the Tumut High School European trip have returned with memories that will stay with the young adventurers for a lifetime.

Here, they provide their final impressions and thoughts of their journey.

Andrew Wortes

From start to finish this trip has been a ride. It’s had ups, downs and amazing highlights and I think it has changed my perspective of how I see the world. I no longer just live in my small country town but am part of a much bigger picture. I’ve found out that I actually hate being a tourist, jumping from place to place and being part of a crowd of people who click with their cameras and don’t fully appreciate the statue or monument as a whole. It really makes me feel like I’m not giving anything back to the people.

That’s why I think my favourite place was Ieper as I really loved getting to know a person from another country. The town had so much history behind it and I really felt connected to it much more than I had with any other place.

Shevaun Halstead

Throughout this trip I’ve learnt so much, from the art history of the European countries, to how much the Australian soldiers really did give up so we could have the life we do in Australia.

Also how difficult it can be to live with the people you would usually only see for six hours a day for three weeks. All of these lessons have changed my opinion on my life in Tumut and how very lucky we are to live in such an amazing little town. I also love to be able to know where everything I need is and who are the people.

Unlike in places such as Rome and Paris where we knew no-one and it was a whole new experience to find places such as the Colosseum and Arc De Triumph. Europe Trip 2013 has changed me as a person, all for the good.

It has given me the confidence to travel to a new country and also a non-English speaking country and taught me how tolerant I can really be. I think that is why so many people from the group enjoyed Ieper, especially getting to meet kids our age and to see how different their lives are from ours but how they are sort of similar at the same time.

I would recommend this Europe Trip to anyone considering it in 2014. I would also like to thank the Blakeney Miller Foundation and also all the teachers who have made this trip possible for making it such a great time for all of the students.

Brooke Jeffery

I loved the trip. There have many been things that I know I’ll have to come back and visit, such as Venice, Paris and Ieper. They were my favourite places.

I’ve learnt a lot of things from coming on this trip, not only about myself but about everybody else too. It’s been an awesome opportunity to get to know the people I didn’t really know to begin with. I also love the fact that while we were in Ieper we got to meet students who were our age and we got to understand and learn their way of life. This trip has given me the confidence to travel when I’m older too. Thanks to everyone who helped this trip happen and thanks to all the teachers for being so great and supportive of us.

Aylsa Murray

This trip as a whole has been awesome, seeing so many different places in such a short period of time. Meeting new people and forming friendships with them, as well as with people on the trip, is something I won’t forget.

My favourite part of the trip would be Ieper and visiting the hill 62 museum, Tyne Cot cemetery, the Menin Gate ceremony and the dawn service in Polygon Wood. These all bring a realisation of how many people worked hard and gave up their lives to protect Australia and other countries. This was a really touching time for me, especially seeing all the unknown graves of soldiers. This trip has given me many great memories and the confidence to be independent and to travel in the future.

Amy Piper

The Europe Trip has been an amazing experience and one I will never forget. I have built stronger relationships with people I don’t usually interact with which makes the trip better as I can have a chat to anyone, which is awesome.

I enjoyed spending time just getting to know the students from Ieper on a more personal level and the relaxed atmosphere in Ieper makes me feel at home. I also really enjoyed the travelling aspects of the trip like bus and train rides as I just got to see all the country side through Italy, Switzerland, France and Belgium, it’s all very beautiful.

From spending so much time with everyone I have learnt that everyone can be a little frustrating (even me) but we all get over it really quickly and can’t stay angry for long. I have also learnt that I could be able to travel independently as this trip has given me the confidence to meet new people and interact with people in other countries. Overall I loved the whole trip.

Sarah Hall

The Europe Trip gave me so many experiences. I loved Venice, from gondola rides to Vivaldi concerts to mask shopping. It was a beautiful, relaxing place.

I can honestly say I wasn’t as excited for Paris as I should have been but the city won me over by being gorgeous and brilliant, Allonsy! Being away from my natural habitat and put with others 24 hours a day made me appreciate people, for all their good bits and their flaws.

They change you and the way you see the world and there is no-one, who has or will ever exist, who will be exactly the same. At the start, I admit I wanted to go home but now I couldn’t imagine living a life without these amazing memories created here. Viva la Europe Trip 2013!

Bridget Hall

This trip has been an amazing adventure from start to finish. Italy, Switzerland, France and Belgium many of these places I would never have even thought about going to but now I’m so glad I have had the chance to. Italy is by far the highlight of my travels, Rome especially. Being next to and even climbing the world famous monuments sends shivers down your spine. It has been tremendous to see the Colosseum, the leaning tower of Pisa, Eiffel tower and the Notre Dame Bell tower with my own eyes.

Trying each country’s unique food has been amusing and at times hilarious. I enjoyed watching the girl’s face when a plate full of snails arrived at dinner. Everyone at least tasted it; those who enjoyed escargot ate the rest of those.

Gelato was a big hit with our school group; some had at least four in a day! We met some amazing people along the way including our funny tour guides, random individuals we didn’t know and of course the children from Ieper with whom we all now have a close bond. All in all, I’m glad and very thankful to have been part of such an amazing experience of culture, history and art.

James Markey

This trip has been a life changing experience for me. I am so happy that I came on this amazing trip. I’ve been to so many places now and have so many stories to tell my family. Making new friends and having good times with them was also a highlight. The thing I learnt about myself was that I am not good with money. I only have 100 euro left in my bank account, but I got lots of gifts for my family so who cares. There is so much more I want to tell you but I am a guy and not so good at writing my thoughts and feelings down – so bye.

Alex Osgood

The highlight of the trip would have to be the historical value in the trip such as Pompeii, the Western Front and destruction of Ieper. Going to Ieper in Belgium and being able to meet the local students, who are the same age as us gave us a new perspective of the country.

We were able to feel less like tourists. It was great to have their insight into the culture and tour around Ieper during a ‘murder’ game.

I have learnt that I need to worry less about others and that I need my own down time. One thing I miss about Australia is obviously my family. I also missed being able to walk around the street and know the rules, the laws and customs and also being able to know that if I am lost, I will be able to communicate with the people.

Sam Simmonds

One of the highlights of my trip were the hawkers, for those of you who don’t know what they are, they are people who try and sell you things on the street like sunglasses, lasers etc. Coming from Tumut I had never seen or even heard of these kinds of people before. Another highlight of the trip was definitely our new Ieper friends, what could be a better way to spend our last few days in Europe then making new friends? It was fun, after the hustle and bustle.

Sarah Nugent

From beginning to end this trip has definitely been something special that I’m always going to remember. Ieper would have to be the highlight of the trip, meeting the students from the Technisch Institut Immaculata was a great experience. It was awesome to share each other’s lifestyles and languages. I made some good friends that I will hopefully be able to keep in contact with for years to come. I want to come back to Belgium next year with my family so if I can make that happen I’ll visit the friends I’ve made.

The Dawn Service in Polygon Wood was also something very special as I assisted Brooke and Josh with the laying of the wreath on behalf of NSW which I felt very honoured to do. Staying in Ieper for the last couple of days really gave the trip an amazing but also very emotional ending and I hope to be back soon.