Pupils Enjoy Cultural Tour of Jordan
During the first week of the Easter break, nine pupils, along with Mrs Gregory and Mr Mason, spent a week exploring and learning about Arabic culture in Jordan. The purpose of the trip was for pupils to understand the Middle East and to build relationships with Jordanian people.
The cultural tour was organised in conjunction with the Bristol-based charity, Bridges for Communities. The trust aims to connect people from different faiths and cultures, enabling them to build friendships and grow in their understanding of one another.
The first three days were spent in Amman, a city that provided the chance to learn about the historical, biblical and cultural heritage of Jordan. The pupils were in awe of the bustling capital, home to the Temple of Hercules and the Roman Theatre.
A real highlight was spending a day at the International Academy Amman, where the pupils learnt about the refugee situation. In the afternoon, the pupils befriended Jordanian students, with the group attending lessons and a mosque together, a very special experience.
The following day, everyone visited a ‘pay it forward’ café which was nestled in the heart of Amman. The experience was made all the more special by Mahmoud, the owner, who shared the café’s history. Run by volunteers, the café sought to make a difference to the livelihoods of those on lower incomes. One volunteer, Bushra, left a profound effect on the staff and pupils by talking about her flight to Jordan.
The second half of the week was a little more relaxing, with the group travelling south to Wadi Rum, Petra and the Dead Sea.
Wadi Rum, a protected desert wilderness, was breath-taking. Upon arrival, everyone jumped into the tour jeep with Mrs Gregory and Mr Mason, the latter sporting a kaftan. Whizzing across the desert, the first stop was a sand dune at which boards could be rented. Lower Sixth pupils Ed Cashmore and Ben Baker could not resist the opportunity to enjoy some sand surfing.
After a night camping in the desert, Petra beckoned. The famous archaeological site, dating back to around 300 B.C, provided an insight into the history of Jordan. The tour guide explained how the city had been built and its significance on the ancient trade routes between the east and the west.
A quick stop at the famous treasury allowed for reflection before the big adventure – the mausoleum, with an 800-step climb to the summit. The view did not disappoint: a panorama of the southern mountainous region known as Edom greeting those who made it to the top. Following the challenging climb, the pupils found themselves using their bargaining skills to secure a camel ride.
Tired, but enriched after the day’s activities, the group returned to the hotel for their final treat. A candlelit walk around Petra proved the perfect end to a perfect trip. The group sat, in Arabic style, on the floor, listening to Bedouin music as they reflected on the week’s adventures.