Ireland: The Land of Saints and Scholars

 

They say that 40 shades of green makes up the Emerald Isle, and we were looking forward to witnessing those impressions. It was not quite meant to be however, as our journey coincided with the arrival of the not so welcome ‘Beast from the East,’ a snow storm that brought quantities of snow not seen in Ireland since 1982! If this is the land of saints and scholars, the almost poetic irony to the circumstances didn’t escape us.

 

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Tuesday, February 27th 2018: Amidst some disruptions due to the weather, the most of us arrive safe and sound in Glenamaddy where we receive a warm welcome from our Irish hosts in Glenamaddy Community School.  Our empty bellies were soon filled with hot, delcious food and we enjoyed to sit together, introduce ourselves to the new participants and catch up on each-other’s news.

As it was our first LTT trip of this project, our students were excited to be involved; quickly becoming comfortable in getting to know each-other too. When they were safely settled with their host families, their exhausted teachers finally retired to their sleeping quarters; a guesthouse close to the school. After warming ourselves by the crackling open fire, we called it a night.

 

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Wednesday, February 28th 2018: After a hearty breakfast, we braved the snow to go to school. Principal James Duignan was there to meet us at the door with a warm Irish welcome! We were then divided into groups by Aideen Tormey, our very capable Irish colleague; and given a full tour of the school by the friendly Irish students. We were able to view the classes in action, explore the great school facilities and soak up the school’s vibrant atmosphere.

We were then lead to what would be our ‘conference room’ for the duration of our visit, and there we met with Tish McGann; our Irish colleague and business expert! Here, the ice was broken with a fun, interactive multilingual game.

After the break, we returned to our quarters re-energized and ready to work; delighted too by the arrival of our Italian colleagues! Each team of students from each country presented their experience and findings from the last few months work; evidence of interviews and questionnaires carried out by the students of each school. It was fascinating to compare the results from each country and to observe the various styles of presenting. Each group did a great job!

 

 

Having worked up a healthy appetite, we made our way to the school cafeteria for a delicious lunch. Straight after, Tish delivered a very practical and interesting presentation called ‘The 7 Sages in Developing a New Product.’ Following that, we were treated to a hugely informing and exciting work-shop by Galway Enterprise Coach, Garry Lowe entitled ‘Idea Generation.’ Our students drew a lot of benefit from this as it gave them a starting point to come up with their own ideas.

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After wrapping up a wonderful day’s work, our teaching team enjoyed a lovely meal in a local restaurant as we reflected on the activities of the day.

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Thursday, March 1st 2018: A day full of activity with very interesting work-shops entitled; ‘Documents and Legalities in Setting Up a Business,’ ‘Stakeholders in Business,’ and a brilliant tutorial in making spreadsheets with Excel.

 

After the break, our Romanian colleagues Ana-Maria (teacher) and George (student) delivered their work-shop on ‘Ethics in Business.’ The work-shop consisted of a presentation and a very impressive video made by their students which was very entertaining for the audience! We also had a nice group activity where the teams were mixed, so we had the chance to work with new members of the group. They really did a wonderful job!

In the final hour, we were treated to a great display of talent from some of the Irish students who performed some traditional Irish music for us! In fact, it was so enticing that we all found ourselves on our feet dancing in the ceilí together! Our Italian colleague even surprised us with a song! Memories to treasure.

 

The final surprise came when TD (MP) Michael Fitzmaurice honoured us with a visit. He presented each team member with their certificates of participation and enthralled us all with an inspiring speech. The perfect end to a fruitful afternoon.

 

 

Friday, March 2nd 2018: God laughs at those who makes plans they say, and never was this more fitting than on this day. Although we had a full and detailed schedule, it was simply not possible to follow it due to the snow storm. Therefore, our students enjoyed a cultural day with their host families; while we teachers worked in the school.

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Saturday, March 3rd 2018: Saturday resumed a full programme with our students able to come to school again! The work-shop from Romanian colleague, Christian, on ‘Copyright and Trademarks’ kicked off the day. There was a lot of theory to process which was nicely mixed with a fun game on identifying logos.

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For the rest of the day, we reinforced the learning on some essential business skills, and the transnational teams got together to work on developing their business idea.

 

Sunday, March 4th 2018: Cultural Day! We have an early start to get as much into the day as possible. The fantastic array of activities included a walking tour of Galway, a leisurely stroll along the strand of Salthill, and a delicious final meal together.

Group Pic.

 

With that, our week was gone in a flash; with memories created that will last of fun-filled learning, friendship and fascinating cultural exchanges.

Ireland

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