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Students have fun-filled fortnight with Estonian counterparts

Posted: 17 May 2024

From flying eggs to cakes on a plane, to a visit to the seaside and a noughties disco, activities staged by West Nottinghamshire College’s travel and tourism students were certainly varied for their overseas guests.

Students from Tartu Vocational College (VoCo) in Estonia have spent a fortnight in the UK during a visit to the college and enjoyed the hospitality of the travel and tourism curriculum.

Among the many things lined up for the Estonian students, who also study travel and tourism back home in Tartu, was a day trip to London, visiting many popular tourist spots such as Buckingham Palace and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The travel and tourism curriculum welcomed their special guests on board the Vision Air training plane, which students use to practice the many skills of cabin crew. They served their Estonian guests tea and cake while performing their practiced safety demonstration and hospitality skills.

The fortnight included a day at the seaside with time enjoying the arcades and a fish and chip lunch at Skegness sea front. Estonian staff and students learnt more about the history of Robin Hood and the county by experiencing a day at Nottingham Castle and other local attractions such as Newstead Abbey.

Team building activities and games formed part of the two-week visit, including a task which involved groups of students building the most secure structure from paper, card, balloons, string and Bluetak to form a cradle for an egg launch. The challenge was to ensure that the egg didn’t break when launched from a first-floor balcony.

The final day of the visit ended with a noughties style disco in the college’s Refined restaurant, complete with candy floss and popcorn stalls, pass the parcel game, ping pong games, cookie designing, a buffet lunch and dancing to popular songs from the last twenty years. The Estonian students delivered a presentation about their college and country to finalise the visit.

Programme area leader for travel and tourism Hannah Locke said: “We’ve had an absolutely fantastic two weeks with our guests, some of whom our students have remained in good contact with since their visit last year.

“I’m incredibly proud of how well the visit went and how professional our students were in playing host to the visiting students – they really shone and presented themselves as friendly individuals and responsible tour guides when called upon.

“They made great use of their event management skills to stage a brilliant final luncheon and disco. Students grabbed this opportunity with both hands and demonstrated independence, determination and excellent communication skills and have blown us away with the level of professionalism they have provided at every stage.

“Although this may be the last year of Erasmus visits, we’ve made wonderful connections with staff at the college which will support exchange opportunities for many years to come.”

Travel and tourism teacher Eleanor O’Hara added: “My colleague Hannah put together an outstanding itinerary for both the visitors and our students to enable them to get the most out of their visit to the UK and it’s been a pleasure to see staff and students collaborate together to welcome the Estonian students and staff and everybody had a great experience.”

Estonian travel and tourism and English teacher Margit Menson said: “It has been a marvellous time here in the UK. We have seen and experienced such a lot of things. There are many similarities between the training here and in Estonia and we also note how very polite your students are.

“We have encouraged our students to bond between themselves and the English students and to get involved in as much group work as possible as they have work to complete on their assignments and event management is a vital part of their assessments.”

This reciprocal visit formed part of the European social-mobility programme for education, training, youth and sport, Erasmus+, and marked the last of the exchange to Europe programmes, which have been organised with the college for over eight years.

Level 2 and 3 travel and tourism students visited Estonia back in October 2023, when they spent time taking part in teaching and learning activities alongside their Estonian counterparts. This allowed them to experience cultural immersion, and off-the-beaten-track experiences.

They participated in a cultural education course at the Estonian National Museum which they all successfully passed and were awarded a certificate for their achievements. They also visited Viljandi and Alatskivi to complete projects and enjoy gentle hikes, as well as visiting Estonia’s historical capital of Tallinn.

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