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A Transatlantic Adventure

Over the half term, a number of students in years 11 and 13 aided by 4 teachers decided to bravely go where many have not before – “The Big Apple” aka New York City. Aided with our ESTA visas, covid declarations, mobile phones and a fully loaded itinerary, we were determined to not be overwhelmed.

How did we do?

The 6 am meeting at Heathrow Airport, saw Miss Cole, Mr Harrop, Mrs Hoskins and myself with cups of coffee in hand. I also had the pleasure of carrying multiple sheets of paper for student groups and a minute by minute list of what we were doing (courtesy of Sam). Thankfully all parents allowed us to take their child on our expedition and we successfully navigated our way through the necessary airport checks.

The Virgin Atlantic aircraft took off successfully with me being the last person to take his seat on the plane, just as the wheels left the runway! Our flight was made easier by a wide selection of music, films (my favourite was the New Doctor Strange film) and the ability to watch the plane (Mrs Cole!) as it made its way first across Ireland and then quite a few hours over the Atlantic Ocean.

With a five hour difference and a 7 hour flight, it felt quite strange to arrive in the USA at approximately 11 am having left the UK at 8 am. Thankfully we were greeted by Joe, who was our New York guide as the coach transported us from JFK to our hostel in Manhattan. Aiding and abetting 39 students to get their bags off the coach, whilst at the same time arranging their dormitories was tiring and my initial thought was that we would have the rest of the day to rest. How wrong I was! Within a couple of hours, we had to make our way towards Time Square where we would have our first meal of the day at the Hard Rock Cafe. I was soon to realise that walking and taking the metro was to be our main method of transportation, through the city that never sleeps.

Over the course of the next few days, the students, staff and I were overwhelmed by the amount of activities and sights that we were able to squeeze into 3 and a half days. The UN building, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, Madison Square Gardens, Wall Street, Grand Central Station, Macys and many more ensured that students and staff were able to sleep well, once we got back to our hostel each evening.

The last day saying goodbye to New York left a lasting impression on us all and allowed us to not only marvel at the city but also draw comparisons with our surroundings back in the UK. For me it was the realisation that even though we had travelled halfway around the world, the issues of wealth, aspiration, determination and hopes that are present in the UK are also found in New York.

 

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