This weekend we really started to come together as a group.
The first activity of the weekend involved a presentation from the local Europe Direct
on the function and history of the European Union. This was really interesting to learn about, especially directly from some civil servants to the EU, and I realised I knew virtually nothing about the EU before! It was great to understand more about the union we are a part of, especially in light of recent political conflict over membership of the EU.
And do you remember me getting all excited about a castle nearby? Well, we actually got to visit it! It was so cool! It turns out that it was destroyed in a battle and then reconstructed hundreds of years later. It's a museum inside, which was even cooler, but the coolest part by far was the fact that it's the castle where BBC's Merlin
series was filmed! I couldn't believe it. So I guess you could say I've been to Camelot...
Then on Saturday we went on a boat ride on the River Oise
and learnt about the historic boating industry of the area. We all sat up on the top deck and chatted, I got to know anyone I hadn't properly talked with yet. It only seemed right to take a load of ridiculous group photos and selfies. My friends from Ireland have picked up on my northern accent and started asking me to repeat phrases for them, mainly “no likey no lighty”, which I don't mind because it's fun to watch them crack up over it. I have to admit, there's something brilliant about different accents, and it's so fun to be able to share them together like this.
Then we experienced some of the local culture by playing traditional games of the region which was actually pretty fun, but it was made even better when the sun finally came out! I couldn't believe it, after almost a week of awful rain, the sun has finally come out!
And last night we began practicing the Irish dance that the whole group will be doing on the soirée finale. The first run through was a bit of a disaster, but by the end of the evening it was notably better. It's brilliant how all these people have been able to come together and share their cultures and traditions, and we end up with a bunch of mainland Europeans Irish dancing. Amazing.
This morning we were split into teams and sent across the town of Rémy
in search of hidden land marks. We also had little activities at certain checkpoints to get extra points, and it actually became bizarrely competitive... I'm still waiting on my Oscar after smashing the charades activity.
Whilst we were on our mission across Rémy, I took the opportunity to learn some phrases from my friends from Germany including my favourite: “Ich bin glücklich
” which means “I am happy” - I like it because saying it physically makes you smile!
However, by far the most amazing experience of the year (if not my life) so far was not actually a planned part of the programme. I am of course talking about the World Cup Final. If the atmosphere of the semi-final was incredible, then this time round there are no words to describe it. The coach wouldn't have got us back from Rémy in time, so we all piled in to (and took over) a garden pub and cheered for Super Deutschland.
And then when the Argentina supporters started singing back, we sang even louder. It was so intense waiting for that one golden goal to happen, but when it did, the noise of our cheers was physically painful. We all jumped up and screamed and hugged each other and danced around because, you know, we just won the World Cup! I had to remind myself that I wasn't actually German and that England failed just as miserably as always, but I didn't care. In that moment, we had just won the World Cup, so we were going to celebrate it!
(And let's face it, I'm English – it's the only chance I'm going to get!) It was absolutely incredible and pretty much indescribable, but I think the reason it has touched me so much is because it was a simple but overwhelming display of unification between people of all sorts of backgrounds, coming together, going completely crazy, and celebrating over a common interest.
Well, I can hardly believe it, but my first week here is over already. That means half way through, which is a sad thought, but if this week is anything to go by then I can only look forward to next week! But until then you'll have to excuse me, because we just won the World Cup and I'm shattered.
Source Url: http://www.burnley.ac.uk/days-5-6-7-cat-fothergills-european-summer-school-blog/