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Trail blazers: A new way to tour

| January 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

BY ANDREW BISHOP

At St Andrew’s School for Girls in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, we aim to
empower our girls, teaching them not only academic content, co-curricular skills and values, but also developing them as brave women who can become pathfinding game-changers.

In the months leading up to our recent overseas tour, the girls were involved in researching and planning the various activities and excursions. They designed their own itinerary and made the relevant arrangements – from negotiating prices and securing bookings to working out the public transport required. The girls were also involved in the budgeting of the
tour – a task they did exceptionally well, considering they came in 40% below predicted figures.


# NotThePrincessTour


In that spirit, August 2019 saw 41 girls embark on a 14-day trip to Europe. The tour was quickly dubbed #NotThePrincessTour! All cities were conquered by walking and the use of public transport systems, trams and metros. Thanks to some cool apps, the girls soon moved around like locals.


They were given daily budgeted allocations around which to plan meals and activities and quickly learnt to make use of supermarkets and just how far the euro can go. The focus of the tour was to explore large institutions, to research their beginnings, and to see how things had grown and
how they function today. The young St Andrew’s tourists went to see big businesses in logistics, sport, religion, education, tourism, hospitality and
manufacturing. However, as the tour progressed, they explored other subjects such as history, geography, drama and the visual arts. They learnt about the origins and similarities of local vernaculars, and tried their best to communicate in Italian, German and French. The tour group made the following summaries:

In Rome we saw and did:

• St Peter’s Square and Basilica (and we climbed the Dome!)
• the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel
• an amazing race on the Red City Bus that took us past the Spanish Steps,
Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Venezia, Circus Maximus and St
Maria Maggiore

• the Lasallian Education Institution’s Generalate and Museum with presentation
• the Colosseum and Catacombs of St Callixtus
• the night market along the Tiber River.

In Munich we visited:

• the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Marienplatz and the Viktualienmarkt
• Dachau Concentration Camp and Bayern Munich Allianz Arena
• the BMW Welt & Museum and the Olympic Park and Tower.

In Paris we experienced:

• a walking tour to Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Montmartr and the Moulin Rouge

• Disneyland Paris: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios
• a ‘Le Corden Bleu’ experience and a picnic under the Eiffel Tower
• the Eiffel Tower and a Seine River cruise
• the palace at Versailles and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery
• the Louvre.

The most special moments turned out to be the unplanned ones: singing in the small town square just outside Rome while meeting people from the South African consulate, the picnic and swimming in the river at the English Garden in Munich, and the final night dinner with friends in the Latin Quarter of Paris.

We loved the street performers so much that we regularly joined in
with a few South African songs and dances. And although we often
heard, ‘Shopping? Really? On this tour?’, we did manage to sneak a little in.


After two weeks abroad, we returned safely from our adventure, having achieved not only the tour objectives (below) but our own personal growth. Our girls are now more ready as young women to be brave in taking the lead to create big things that will contribute to our society.

Tour objectives achieved:

• to tour differently, to create a unique selling point (USP) and marketable concept for St Andrew’s
• to be trailblazers with regard to this style of touring
• to provide a cost-effective, value-for-money, behind-thescenes opportunity for our parents
• to expose our girls to international educational institutions with regard to further studies
• to expose our girls to opportunities for an international gap year that would include volunteer work

• to create vision and entrepreneurial thought for and in our girls through exposure to big international institutions
• to allow our girls to dream ‘unrealistic’ dreams with regard
to potential opportunities that can be achieved in South Africa
• to incorporate as many subject areas as possible into the tour
• to upskill the girls with regard to their independence and international awareness
• to meet the objectives through our experience and thinking of our school’s 2019 six strategic visions1
• to reinforce our values of balance, integrity, grace, community, accountability and trust in a large community group on an international stage.

The girls would like to thank all those who made this possible – from the teachers who toured with them to the many people behind the scenes who helped organise and coordinate the various events. A very special thank you also went out to their parents for affording them this once-in-a-lifetime, lifechanging experience.

Category: Summer 2019

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