Sunday, 8 June 2014

Brighton, England + London, 19.-26.5.2013, Days 1-2

I'm still trying to catch up on my trips - this post will be about our class excursion to Brighton, England in May 2013. It was the first class excursion that I arranged completely on my own, and since I had an English class (who'd studied almost all of their subjects in English since the 1st grade), I wanted to take them on a language course in the UK. I chose Brighton as I'd never been there myself, and I booked the flights with Norwegian through KilroyTravels and the language course through STS. Only two people from my class chose not to go with us so we were a bunch of five girls, fourteen boys, and two supervisors (me and my workmate Tia).

Day 1




 We had booked a bus to take us from Hämeenlinna to Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Everything went well apart from the fact that we'd told the students to give us their phone numbers and never to go anywhere alone...and already at the airport it turned out that one student had given us his old number AND he went around on his own all the time. After a bit of lecturing, I think he got the point that this was something not to be done again.

We had fun on the plane, we played games on Tia's iPad until we landed and caught our bus to Brighton from Gatwick. STS had arranged a bus for us, but when we arrived, the bus wasn't there. Our contact person had to make some calls before the bus made its appearance. The bus driver, too, was a bit confused as to where he was supposed to take us in Brighton, and we couldn't help him at all as we didn't know. This was something that sort of sucked throughout the trip, by the way - these language course organisations are used to having their own leaders on their 4-week courses and obviously those leaders know what's happening around them, but since we were just regular teachers from Finland not working for STS, we didn't get any information and had to rely on all sorts of random people along the way to let us know where we were supposed to be and when. As teachers responsible for 19 students, we weren't impressed with this.

Anyway, when we arrived in Brighton, the host families were already there, waiting for their kids, and before we knew it, the students were gone, one group was even put on a taxi to their new family. Tia and I went home with our host Bryan, a single man in his 60s who talked way too much and already on our first day, he had told us everything about his ex-wife's alcohol problems, his kid's sexual orientation and whatever else. He seemed okay, just a bit too talkative, but this was to change later on. We still texted all the students to make sure they made it to their host families' homes, and then went to bed after having some sort of dinner with Bryan.

Day 2

We had breakfast with Bryan and then he took us to the school where our students would have English for three hours every day of the week. It wasn't a real school, though, but a place called Clarendon Centre, and the teacher, Michaela, came there with all the material. Michaela quickly got a new name, though, as she kept saying that everything was 'lovely'. So, all the students (plus Tia and me) called her Lovely throughout the trip :). Lovely was really nice but my class weren't really behaving at all. They didn't bring pencils, which didn't impress Lovely at all, and some of them were sort of loud and not concentrating properly. Anyway, Tia and I sat in the corner and followed the lessons and I really liked doing it! I also loved the fact that I, too, got the course books to keep. Extra teaching material is always valuable!

We had a break to go to Sainsbury's for snacks and then the kids had to find their way to One Stop Travel where we would buy our travel cards for the week. Then we had a townwalk with Lovely, went to see Brighton Pier (LOVELY!!!), and the students got to go their separate ways at 2 pm. Tia and I then went to Primark and to have a salad. We also went to buy dresses for ourselves for the last day of school as since my class would graduate, I'd have to be on the stage to shake hands with everyone and give them a rose each. We found the dresses, but then something came up as a concerned dad wanted us to go and check out where his kid was living. The boys were posting disgusting pictures of their UK home and the dad got freaked out. I called our contact person and we decided to meet up at the host family's place. So, Tia and I quickly took a taxi and even more quickly noticed that there was nothing wrong with the host family's place at all whatsoever. The boys had just been taking pictures of dirty details such as behind the toilet seat, some sort of far corner of a desk drawer and stuff like that. They'd then sent them everywhere online without realising that obviously their parents would freak out. I talked to the nervous dad on the phone and assured him that everything was okay. We also talked to the boys and made sure they were now alright with their host family after all. Then Ann the contact person took us back to Bryan's and we had dinner. He then wanted to take us to see Devil's Dyke, which was a really nice thing to do as it's sort of far away and there were no bus connections there for the time we were in Brighton. He also took us to his favourite pub The Long Man before we headed back home. I had a Skype session with Julcsi before going to bed, too. All in all, it was a pretty good day.

Find One Stop Travel!

Our townwalk in Brighton.




Some of our group, 9A.




The boys quickly found something to do...


Devil's Dyke




Wearing Bryan's clothes :D!

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