Erasmus plus opportunity – Belfast Week
St Dominic’s students involved
• Aoife O’Boyle
• Lauren Fegan
• Gemma Heenan
• Lauren Mooney
• Brigitte Heim
• Eve McCavanagh
• Nichole Barnes
• Patrice Relf
• Carly Woods
• Caitlin Sheppard
• Dearbhail O’Neill de Brun
When we were selected for the Erasmus project we were thrilled. Not only by the chance to travel to Munich, even though that was part of the attraction to the project, we were also very enthusiastic to work with the German and Romanian students on something we were passionate about; drones and what makes them work. It interested us a lot as it was something we hope to make a career out of in the future. What made the whole experience even better was that we were getting to take part in this wonderful opportunity with a great group of girls and teachers who were just as excited and get to meet students and teachers from Germany and Romania.
This enabled the German and Romanian staff to become acquainted with the city of Belfast and settle into their new surroundings. The real excitement began on Day Two.
This was a day of great expectation as we all waited curiously to meet the freshly arrived students. We gathered in the Siena and had a delicious breakfast that allowed us to get to know one another better. We quickly became friends and found that we all had a lot in common. It was very interesting learning more about the German and Romanian way of life. Brigitte put us all to shame with her fluency in English, German and Romanian. Our first event of the day was ‘Strictly Come Drones’ delivered by Mr Geddes and Mr Mulholland. This is where we developed our coding skills and problem solving whilst learning what drones are capable of. We even had time to show off our school to our guests. Our guests then attended a talk to learn more about the History of Northern Ireland with some of our politics students. We were all extremely impressed by the German pupil’s determination to build their own drone, even using a 3D printer in the making of it. As well as academic, there was a social side to the project as we went bowling with our visitors in the evening where their bowling skills where put to the test too.
This was less about drones and more about the beautiful scenery Northern Ireland had to offer as well as seeing how the Film Industry worked. Everyone went on the ‘Game of Thrones Tour’ which included a trip to the ‘Giants Causeway’. We experienced sights like no other and the rain held off for our visitors and it shaped up to be a wonderful day. The Moving Image Arts students managed to capture the day beautifully and Marc, one of the German students, also captured the sights and excitement of the day through filming. It was also a wonderful opportunity for Ciara Donnelly to try out her German.
We got to learn more about the German and Romanian schools as they gave presentations offering insight to their culture and way of life which they presented to the year 11 and 12, the future of the Erasmus Project. Then we attended a talk on ‘Drone Mapping’ by John Hewitt showing us what we can do with all of the skills we were learning and where technology is being used in industry and for humanitarian expeditions. Then the German and Romanian students had some time to look in on our lessons enabling then to compare them to their own. After lunch we went to the ‘Titanic Museum’ to get further insight into Belfast’s history and how with improving technology the main industry changed.
Our guests went to RBAI to part take in a careers breakfast which they found extremely beneficial. Then they went to Ulster University Jordanstown where they met up with the Erasmus 5. We got to experience a physics lecture by Dr James Uhomoibhi and put what we had learnt into practice in the research lab. We also received careers advice which will help us in our future.
Our visitors returned to RBAI for a Memorial Day ceremony commemorating the soldiers who died in WWI and WWII. Then they had some free time to explore Belfast, which consequently led to all of the German students purchasing green Ireland hoodies to remember their travels here and to show their love of Ireland, of course. We had our final workshop on how the local authorities where using Drones in England and how they along with other technology can be used in the future. It was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone as it allowed us to be innovative and share ideas with different people who were able to add to improve them or come up with better ones. Then the German staff and pupils showed us their drone and shared with us their Action Plan to get it to fly.
In the evening we all made our way to Culturlann for our farewell dinner. The food was excellent and there were empty plates all round. Mr Morrison as usual did not disappoint and put on a fabulous performance for our guests beautifully displaying our Irish Culture.
The musical items included:
Traditional group: Zoe McGarry, Deirbhile Cleneghan, Caoimhe McArdle ‘St Anne’s and Sally Gardens Reel’
Soloist (Flute): Caoimhe McArdle ‘The Waltz of the White Lilies’
Dancer: Cliodhna Devlin ‘Reel’
Soloist (Harp): Zoe McGarry ‘The Musical Priest’
Dancer: Lauryn Kane ‘Set Dance’
Soloist (Whistle): Deirdbile Clenaghan ‘The Roaring Barmaid’
Trad group: ‘The Inver Bank and Headwood Crossing’
The St. Dominic’s traditional band played many wonderful tunes that had everyone tapping their foot to the beat. We had many solos too, with Zoe on the Harp and others Irish flute and tin whistle, highlighting their unique sounds. Nothing was missed, two younger students – Cliodhna Devlin and Lauryn Kane showed our guests that the Irish are ‘some movers’ as they performed traditional reels and even preformed in heavy shoes which in themselves are a treat as they produce their own rhythm. The night just kept getting better with each passing minute. Each Principal gave a brief speech reviewing the week. Aoife O’ Boyle spoke on behalf of the Erasmus 5 incorporating some Gaelic in it too. The night was a very positive and upbeat one even though it was the last get together as we knew we would all see each other again in February when the Erasmus 5 go on tour to Munich, Germany.
The Belfast Week is definitely an experience that we will never forget and the Erasmus 5 have all become good friends with the German and Romanian students and frequently message in our Erasmus group chat. But we also hope to arrange to skype our friends in Germany and Munich. Mr Mulholland runs a Drones after school club in which the Erasmus 5 act as mentors to help prepare the year 11 and 12 for their role in the project in the future. We are excitedly waiting to go to Munich and see if Munich Week can live up to the expectations that Belfast week has set!
Lauren Fegan and the Erasmus 5