Friday, 15 February 2013

3 more months to go!

So as you all know from my last blog, I went to Amiens, France, last week from Monday to Wednesday for the research project I’m involved with. The research was on widening participation and social cohesion and involved research fellows, student mentors (one of them was me), teachers (English and French) and a large number of English and French children/teens! The trip was awesome and we did a lot considering we were only there for 3 days! The kids loved it too, although they seemed shattered by the time we were back in England!  Speaking of which, I think everyone was tired by the time we were back, and us mentors only got about 5/4 hours sleep every night as we worked from 7:30 in the morning until about 11 at night! The first day was exciting as we had to be at the Greenwich campus at 4am (which meant us lot had to be up at 2:30ish, some even earlier!), we went to pick up the kids at 6am and then we were on our way to the Eurotunnel and off to Amiens. We met with the French children in a university Business school which was interesting to see, we sat and had lunch with them and had an ‘ice-breaker’ exercise so that we could get to know them. Later that day we had numerous tasks to do and place’s to visit in the town which was interesting! Here’s me and the other mentor’s (I’m at the front!) ---------------------------------->

<--------------------- The second day was good too; all of us, around 40 of us, went to a WW1 battlefield, the battle of Somme, which was really interesting and I think it opened up not only the children’s eyes but ours too! We saw no man’s land and the front lines. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great; this was the North of France so it was bitter cold with sleet and snow! We also went to a museum for a bit of education on the battle of Somme, looking at trenches and the machinery/ weapons they used. That night we all got together (English and French) in the hostel we were staying at and had ‘free time’ all evening. There were loads of games and snacks and it was really relaxed, which was nice as we had to stick to a strict schedule for both days! It was lovely getting to know the French children and I think the English kids loved it, just to get out of their home town and go on a free trip! :P 

The next day was more relaxed, half of us went to a French sixth form nearby Amiens and the other half attended a secondary school. We got to learn all about the different subjects they get taught as well as their culture and foods they eat for breakfast/ lunch. After attending the schools we all met up again and were on our way back to England! Overall it was an amazing experience; we mentors had an amazing time and such a laugh! I have never experienced anything like it and was a great opportunity for all of us to be involved within such a large scale EU funded project. There will be an English exchange too in March; the French children we met are coming over to us for three days, so that will be awesome! I’m sure I’ll update you all on that ;)

As for university work, I came back from France and had to conduct my focus groups that week. The first group was 5 girls and the second group involved 6 boys. I got a lot of useful data for my analysis, which I’ll be starting next week (scary stuff). I saw with my supervisor yesterday, who is extremely helpful, and both decided that I will finish my analysis and my discussion (so around 4000 words) in 4 weeks! Once they’re done I have the introduction and abstract to do which isn’t so bad. However, I have to edit EVERYTHING as I need it all to be perfect! Not only do I have this to worry about, as for third year that would be letting us off lightly :P, I have a 3000 word essay to do AND 3 exams in May, 2 of which are worth 100% of my 15 credit modules *cry*. I will miss uni but I really need a break which involves a nice long holiday sunbathing on the beach! 

Other than all of that, I have had a bit of a social life :P. As it was Valentine’s yesterday I was treated to TGI’s in central London which was nice J and next week I’m seeing some friends who I haven’t seen in forever! Oh and I’m going to Coventry university in a couple of weeks with all my college friends to visit a friend who’s there at the moment, so that will be really good!

I will inform you all soon on how I’m getting along with all this work and what I’m getting up to next time!
Speak soon J

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