Three boys, Matthew, Bishoy and Karim made Malvern College Egypt history when they became the first, of we hope many, to visit Malvern College UK. Joining a summer camp of other students from Malvern College Qingdao and Chengdu the boys were under the stewardship of Paul Wickes, a Malvern College housemaster and politics teacher, as well as a team of seasoned activity assistants.
The nervousness of meeting so many new people in a new country was quickly replaced by excitement and anticipation of the weeks to come. The course offered two major opportunities for the students. The first was intensive English lessons taught by native speakers that, through the course theme of Harry Potter, made the learning both accessible and fun. The second was to put the language learnt into practice by regular activities and excursions. The result was that students were totally immersed by not just the English language but by British culture and tradition. There can be no more effective way of learning a language and the students quickly saw a rapid increase in their English language ability. As well as a skill that will enhance their long term educational prospects the improvement in English language will have a direct impact on their work at Malvern College Egypt by allowing them to express themselves more effectively and fluently.
For the first week and a half the activities and trips were centred around Malvern and the county of Worcestershire. Naturally first off was to scale the famous Malvern Hills; inspiration for Elgar’s ‘Jerusalem’ the unofficial anthem of England as well as the source of the Malvern water that the Queen herself drinks although sadly we did not see her! Later on in the day a traditional afternoon tea was enjoyed which included scones, cream first and then jam, alongside English tea. Later on in the week visits included the home of Shakespeare, Stratford upon-Avon, and the traditional English towns of the Cotswolds. Not only were students treated to extensive travel and opportunities but it was accompanied not with England’s infamous rain but with pleasant sunshine. The students even received an impromptu visit during this time from Mr Bailey and Mr Porter, our gap year student, who both live locally. They enjoyed immensely seeing the students and seeing how they were getting on.
It was however the last week that brought the most excitement. Early in the morning the students boarded a bus to the Lake District, a UNESCO world heritage site. The journey included both a ferry ride and a short stint on a traditional English steam train. While next to the iconic Lake Windermere we managed to get a bit of shopping in and see the Beatrix Potter museum. Nonetheless there was no respite and we were soon on a train hurtling up the North-West Coast towards the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh. For the next two days we stayed at Edinburgh University and were treated to a walk up Arthur’s Seat, a tour around the city, a traditional Scottish evening complete with haggis and bagpipes and finally the opportunity to enjoy Scotland’s shopping. We returned on a flight to Birmingham utterly exhausted at such a whirlwind tour but nonetheless delighted at such a fun time.
Not content with a visit just to one capital city the Malvern staff had organised a trip to another, the capital of the UK London. Staying at University accommodation we toured London including Buckingham Palace and Westminster, home of the British Parliament and British government. Perhaps less traditional was the opportunity to sample some Chinese food, such as a hotpot and dumplings, with the Chinese students however it was certainly enjoyed and appreciated by our students. Our trip culminated in a visit to the Warner Brothers Studios home of Harry Potter where we saw the famous characters, learned about how it was filmed and even got to ride our very own broomstick! Sadly, all good things must come to an end and the next day we were taken to London Heathrow, said our goodbyes to the Malvern staff and boarded our flight back to Cairo.
The staff and activity assistants of Malvern College remarked on the friendliness, politeness and charm of the Egyptian students. They formed strong friendships with students from around the world and stood out as leaders who were quick to represent the Malvern qualities. At all times our students acted as excellent ambassadors of Malvern College Egypt and led their fellow students from the front. We are extremely proud of their achievements and could think of no better way to begin an enduring partnership of exchanges between Malvern College Egypt and Malvern College.