As part of an Erasmus+ programme called UNIS EN EUROPE Colaiste Choilm Tullamore welcomed students and teachers from schools in Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain from May 5-11.
Five students from each of these countries partnered up with students from Colaiste Choilm and stayed with them in their homes for the week getting a taste of what it is like to live and learn with a family in North County Offaly.
Activities both educational and cultural were organized during the school day including a guided historical tour of Dublin where they visited Dublinia, Christchurch, Dublin Castle, Trinity College, The Ha’penny Bridge and the GPO. The Irish students acted as tour guides giving brief descriptions in French of the historical importance of the sites visited.
They also got to admire the beautiful works of art in the National Gallery and still had time to absorb the uniqueness of a stroll down Grafton Street and a walk around Temple Bar.
Some of the highlights of the week included baking and eating their own scones at Tullamore Community Training Centre, a very competitive Mock European election, ceilidh dancing in Dun na Si Heritage park, breaking the Guinness World Record for wellie throwing and a guided tour of Clara Bog and the mass rock nearby.
All educational activities, group work and presentations were carried out in French, the official language of communication for this European programme.
At the end of each day, the students returned home to interact with their host families sharing meals, attending club hurling matches, going bowling and engaging in other activities that allowed them a real hands-on experience of what life is like in Ireland.
Their last day was spent learning the skills of hurling through both demonstrations and practice and then into group work to create video and photographic presentations on their week’s work with an emphasis on the different sports, gastronomy, voting systems and educational approach in all six countries.
The final farewell party, attended by both students and host families, was highly entertaining and quite emotional as strong
ties had been formed through the week’s activities and both young and old found it difficult to see it come to an end.
The school expressed a big thank you to its teachers Richard Egan, Jim Enright, Sharon Heeney, Naoibh Larkin, Ann
Molloy, Fiona Mc Mullin, Sorcha O’Oistin, and Janine Thomas for an action-packed week for the students.
"However, the success of this week was really down to the absolutely wonderful host families who opened their homes and their hearts to these visiting students and ensured that this week would be an unforgettable experience for all concerned. Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir. Merci à tous!" the school concluded.