Just before May half term, a number of our Year 9 and 10 students were fortunate enough to travel to Italy as part of the Erasmus programme. Working with students from Germany, Italy and Spain, they had a jam-packed programme for the week. Blake and Emmanuel have written a diary for the week to give you an insight into what they got up to.

Travel day! We met at school at 7.45am and had a minibus take us to Stansted. We got through security and waited for our flight. Once we landed the Spanish group were waiting for us. We then had a 2-hour coach journey. The Spanish are very friendly and we joined them in their singing!

We got to the hostel and they had prepared some food for us. The weather was very warm! There was thunder heard in the mountains but only a little rain.

Gathering data for our presentation
A stream that feeds into Lake Garda

Monday 23rd May

We had breakfast at 7.00am, then walked to school for 9am. We had some ice breaking activities with all the other ERASMUS students and teachers from Germany, Italy and Spain.

We were then briefed on the activities and goals we would achieve throughout the week.

Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals, about our cities was our main focus, in particular about the sustainability of the town Riva.

There was a supermarket opposite the school where we usually bought our lunches, then we walked along the lake and had a paddle!

Finally, we went back to school for a workshop with a professor from the university about systematic thinking, it was very tiring but nevertheless interesting.

We finished school at 6pm then had gelato (ice cream)!

Dinner was at 7pm, and then it was time for an evening stroll by the lake.

Gardens by Lake Garda
By Lake Garda

Tuesday 24th May

It was a 9am – 6pm day for us. We were at school for the majority of the day but also went around town conducting interviews. For lunch we went to the supermarket, again! We ate lunch in the garden by the lake.

Later on, we walked to a gelato place then walked around the town away from the lake.

More gelato was eaten before dinner! After, we went for another stroll along the lakeside.

When we got back we had dinner. As we finished, there was thunder and rain! So much rain that there was dancing in the rain. Such a fun evening!!

Riva del Garda at night
Buonconsiglio Castle Museum

Wednesday 25th May

In the morning we went into school to continue working on the project, and finished off some interviews. Lunch was in various places as we went off in different groups.

Then in the afternoon we went to Trento, a mediaeval town. We went round the towers that are from the 1400s. It was a really beautiful city and the landscape surrounding Trento was even better!

After dinner…….we had GELATO! (there’s a theme here!!)

Buonconsiglio Castle Museum 14th century art
Buonconsiglio Castle Museum

Thursday 26th May

We had breakfast then some of us had an interview at 8.45am. From 9am – 12.00pm we worked on our presentations further. Lunch was at 1pm, then at 2pm we started to finish off our presentations. After this Professor Scolozzi checked them all. It was a very hardworking day with lots to do.

After school, we needed to relax, so we walked 4km along the lake to get pizza. Quite ironic, isn’t it? Then we walked back along the lake, returning to the hostel. We were aching and tired after that long walk.

Walking to Torbole for pizza
On Monte Baldo
Chilling with the German students on Monte Baldo

Friday 27th May

It was an early morning for us as we had to get to the town hall for 8.30am. At 9.30pm the public meeting began with a welcome from the Deputy Mayor. We then presented our research and findings plus ideas and solutions. We had to include BOTG an iceberg model and cycle connections plus use Loopy to show how different elements link together and how one change can affect the others.

After the presentations we went to catch the 11.40am ferry to Malcesine. The ferry called at Torbole, Limone and then Malcesine. We then had a short walk uphill to the cable car to ascend Monte Baldo.

We had to ride in two cars to get to the top. It was awesome to be so high – the clouds were below us! There were lots of hang-gliders jumping from the top! It was the hottest day of the week – about 30 degrees, but it was much cooler on the mountain.

We got the ferry back and had our meal at the hostel. Then, as the last adventure, we got the funicular railway to the Bastillion – an old fortress on the mountainside, overlooking Riva. We got to see the whole of Riva at night time which was amazing.

Presenting to Deputy Mayor Town Hall
At Riva Town Hall giving our presentations

Saturday 28th May

In the morning, we said goodbye to the German group as they left early to catch the train. After breakfast we went shopping – and had our final gelato of the trip. A quick trip to the supermarket and then saying goodbye to Antonio, the Youth Hostel manager, we got our bags and headed to the bus with the Spanish group.

We shared the bus to Bergamo where we said goodbye to the Spanish as they travelled on to their airport. The flight back was amazing as we flew over part of the Alps Mountain range.

It felt good to be back on English soil. The cold, however, was expected yet an unpleasant shock compared to Italy’s immense heat.

It was the best trip ever!!

In front of Trento fountain

A member of the Erasmus programme wrote an article about the work completed by the students. Part of it can be seen below:

On the Friday morning in the central setting of Palazzo Martini the students of the Liceo Andrea Maffei school and their peers (from Dortmund Germany, Dereham England, and Benegamin Spain) who are part of the Erasmus Plus project presented, to the municipal administration, a case study concerning a future Riva del Garda, being more aware of the behaviours of tourists and citizens, guaranteeing its conservation. 

Focused on sustainability, the fundamental theme for the United Nations 2030 Agenda, the project lasted a week and saw many interactions. The students had a workshop from Dr. Rocco Scolozzi, of the University of Trento, to learn about different methodological tools to aid the prediction of future scenarios. “After two years of the pandemic, the students were able to work together”, explained Maria Chiara Betta, a lead teacher with Laura Benzi, “sharing ideas and experience, they learned to be a team and built friendships.” The task was to rethink Riva in terms of environmental and social sustainability. The depth and the synergy of the group allowed them to get produce excellent work.

“The administration believes in working together with students”, said Deputy Mayor Silvia Betta alongside Vittorio Ferraglia, managing director of the school, “we must pursue inclusive and sustainable actions in respect of the environment as we are the custodians of the are destined for the new generations. We listen with interest to the reflections of the young people who analysed Riva through their eyes, a few identifying the negatives as well as the positives, this helps us to preserve what we have.”

Group Photo at school Liceo Andrea Maffei

View from the ferry