On Wednesday 11 April, 18 members from St Paul’s Catholic College, Booragul, took flight to Germany and France to discover more about themselves and the world
11 students from Years 9 to 12 were joined by family members and their teachers, Edwina Pichler and Cathy O’Gorman, who took part in the College trip.
An adventure offered biannually to St Paul’s students, the excursion gives students studying the French Beginners Language Course a chance to practise and broaden their skills, while Stage 6 Visual Arts students have the opportunity to visit a number of galleries.
Our first destination was Germany where we visited Heidelberg, Baden Baden and Freiberg, discovering the beauty of the old towns and the exquisite landscape of the German forests and rivers.
From here we headed to the South of France visiting beautiful Lyon, Montpellier and Nice. While day trips to Monaco and Cannes provided us with the opportunity to experience the luxury, decadence and natural beauty of these places as well as being able to enjoy city life, including the shopping and food within these busy cities, Montpellier provided us with sunshine, history and time to visit the ancient cities of Nimes and Arles.
Our days were filled with lots of walking, fashion-spying, gelato eating, pastry tasting, coffee (in all its forms) and brave attempts at language and communication.
The final leg of our journey took us to Paris for six nights where we stayed at the Paris Youth Hostel, along with several other school groups. In the city of Paris, we saw architecture, art, fashion, icons, trains, churches, people, dogs, berets and more sunshine. The day trips to the Loire Valley and Versailles were highlights of this time, introducing us to troglodyte dining, wealth beyond imagination, decadence, gardens and history.
What did we learn as we read the “book” St Augustine referred to so many years ago? We learned that the world is a place filled with natural beauty, creativity and inventions of the human mind (Leonardo’s final house was proof of imagination at its finest).
We “read” about how others live – small villages, great cities, bikes, metro, stairs and MORE stairs! We saw how simply some people live, engaging with farm and coastal life, walks and wonderful food; we “read” about opulence and decadence, cruelty and history; we saw how some live in fear whilst the security and presence of the military in many cites brought us to a new appreciation of our own freedoms in Australia; we “read” about the power of religion, the beautiful creations and places of human worship, the power of art to move humans to tears, laughter and joy (so much fun to be had in the Louvre!).
Finally, we learned how to be tolerant, to look out for each other (even on The Metro when we couldn’t see each other through the crowd), to share meals, to celebrate and to encourage each other in the challenges faced at times.
We have turned a few more pages of St Augustine’s “book” – my hope now is that those who participated in the trip will continue to “read” from the world and that others, in the future, will also have the opportunity when next we read another chapter in 2020.