25th September 2014
Although the Junior Summer Programme officially came to an end one month ago our Junior Activity leader Alice remembers it like it was yesterday! She enjoyed her time with the juniors so much she has written a blog post to share all of her wonderful memories.
At three o’clock on the final Sunday of the junior programme only three students were left in the centre waiting for their taxis to take them to Heathrow to catch their flight to Japan. After some hugs and some tears, Matt and I waved to Mao, Kazuki and Chihiro as their car drove away. A whole month finished and it felt like it had only just begun!
The day that the programme began Nicola, Astrid, Matt and I arrived on a warm, sunny day at the centre and waited, excited for our new students to arrive. The first to arrive were our group of Saudi Arabian boys who arrived in the early hours of the morning followed closely by our Russian group who had flown all the way from Vladivostok! It was not fun for anyone to wake up early the next day for breakfast, bright and early before the first classes started in the morning but everyone made it to their assessment on time and were sorted in to April, Tina, Sharon and Paul’s classes.
After lunch Astrid and I took the first afternoon activity, a trip to see the amazing Millennium Stadium! There is a lovely walk in to town from Cardiff Bay and it was a beautiful day so all the students enjoyed really enjoyed their first glimpses of Cardiff in the sunshine. After pretending to be football players running out on to the pitch of the stadium and pretending to be royalty while sitting on the Queen’s seat, we made our way back from the centre for our amazing fashion show! Our three teams made crazy creations from some white t-shirts. I remember laughing so much at Igor and Abdulaziz’ performance and loving Anastassia’s outfit on the runway.
Since then, we have all done so much together and I have so many wonderful memories. I loved our trip to Caerphilly Castle, running around the big, old rooms with our students and discovering the secret room in the castle walls with the man who didn’t want to be disturbed (you know which one I mean!). I loved showing all of our students my favorite city, Bath, and eating our packed lunch in front of the beautiful Royal Crescent. The Saudi boys were in my group and my funniest memory of that day is all of them huddled around the toy stall learning magic tricks from the seller. I hope you’re still practicing your tricks in Saudi Arabia boys!
Half way through the programme we said a tearful goodbye to some of our students and new friends and we said hello to some new ones! After our new groups had joined us, Astrid and I arranged a scavenger hunt in Cardiff Market to test the English of the students and to get them introduced to their new classmates. We were so proud of them that day, as they talked to the stall holders and locals to find out the answers to the questions. Everyone Astrid and I met that day was curious about the students and told us all how nice and interesting they had been.
In the last week I was able to go with our students to the White Water Centre in Cardiff Bay and watched them take part in White Water Rafting. They all looked like they were having a lot of fun and laughed so much when they got stuck on the obstacles or crashed their boats in to each other! Everyone enjoyed that activity even on a windy, Welsh day! My personal favorite activity was the Salsa dancing and I think everyone else had a good time too. Although lots of the boys were wary at first nearly everyone started to dance and by the end had mastered the Passo Basico and the Fuelta (along with a bit of spanish: Uno, dos, tres…)!
I have met so many wonderful young people over the last month and although it has only been a month or so since they all left, I miss them all a lot and I know all of the Activity Leaders feel the same way. I have been so amazed by them all and how quickly they have picked up English and how well they have managed to communicate. For many it was the first time staying on their own in a foreign country and they dealt with it so well and thrived in this new culture. In turn I have loved learning about their cultures and I really believe they have taught me a lot. I have laughed so much with them and have enjoyed so many fantastic moments with them but I know the friendships they made here will last for a long time. There were a lot of tears when the students said goodbye so I know that these students have made very strong friendships and have had experiences that they will never forget. I really hope that they come back and see us again next year for more adventures and more new friends!
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