🇬🇧Twice As Fun: Learning Through a Twinning Experience

Hey there, readers!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to do a cultural exchange? Well, if you’re curious – this post is for you!

We recently hosted our German friends from the “Kardinal Frings Gymnasium” in Bonn, Germany — and we would like to share with you an account of the highlights our twinning experience.

Join us for this trip down memory lane!

Treasure Hunting in Treviso

(By Emma Sacchini, Bianca Carnio)

How could we introduce Treviso to our German friends if not with a treasure hunt?!

The teachers gave us a slip of paper with riddles and tasks written on it. We had to take a selfie and send it to our WhatsApp group from all the places that we were meant to reach. For example, one of the challenges was to reach and send pictures of three medieval buildings in Treviso. Our team photographed the Palazzo dei Trecento, Piazza dei Signori and the Loggia dei Cavalieri. We actually didn’t know that these buildings were this old!

Did you know that the Loggia dei Cavalieri was commissioned by the mayor Andrea da Perugia in the second half of the 13th century?!

In response to the second challenge, we had to interview some people about the typical local foods, and we came up with a nice list: tiramisù, pasta with beans, radish and obviously the spritz, a famous drink in Veneto.

Unfortunately on that day it was raining, so some groups weren’t in the mood for going around Treviso, but we were still competitive and we all wanted to win that treasure hunt. It was funny and a very creative way to show Treviso to our German friends!

A Day in Venice

(By Carlo Donati with Alberto Berizzi)

On October 25th, we went on a trip to magical Venice, accompanied by Ms. Zandonadi, Mr. Professor Crosera, and Ms. Cibin.

Many of our German classmates had never seen Venice before and —already at the station— their amazed looks reflected our own wonder at the beauty of this place.

Our tour consisted of four stops at as many Venetian wonders:

  • Teatro La Fenice, one of the most beautiful theaters in the world. The guided tour was very helpful and interesting because we discovered many things: the name ‘La Fenice,’ given after the first fire, means “phoenix”, symbolizing its capability to rise from the ashes. Inside the theater, we had fun taking photos, and our guide was truly skilled and a right fit for us.

Zairon, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

  • Piazza San Marco is a “must-see” for tourists, being a focal point of culture, fashion, food, and religion. The essential highlights in St. Mark’s Square include the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, and one of the most beautiful and famous bars in Venice, “Caffè Florian.” It was very enjoyable to hear our schoolmates present the various monuments and places. Our German friends had a lot of fun and were enthralled by the beauty that the square offers, especially those who had never seen it before.
  • If you come to Venice, it is highly recommended to see how glass is made. For this reason, we all went together to Vetreria “Vecchia Murano”, where a master glassmaker created a simple but beautiful vase right before our eyes. We were all surprised to discover that many of the glass sculptures on display or kept in a protected room were worth millions of euros!
  • Libreria “Acqua Alta” is the most distinctive bookstore in the city. Its name comes from one of the major issues in Venice, namely “high water,” i.e. the recurrent floods due to heavy rainfall. In these picturesque bookshops, you can find unique prints, common or trendy books, old vinyl records.. and —right in the middle of the bookstore— a gondola filled with books! In the outdoor area there’s also a “staircase” made of old books. People can climb it and take a photo from its top… which many of us did! For our German friends and us, it was a real surprise to find cats among the books, regular guests at the library.

GodeNehler, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Even though it was a very tiring day, it was wonderful to explore one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Us locals often forget that we have a cultural and artistic “treasure chest” just 30 minutes away from where we live. It was beautiful to share this experience with our German mates, for many of whom it was the first time visiting Venice. We also thank our teachers for giving us this opportunity and for accompanying us on the trip.

A Deep Dive in Each Other’s Cultures

(By Elisa Gentile, Petra Franzoi. Vittorio Di Donato with Giacomo Marelli)

After the lovely trip to Venice, we were asked to make a presentation, in groups, about some legends and fun facts from Treviso, Venice, Bonn and Cologne. Here are a couple of gems for you:

  • The tiramisù cake was born in the second half of the eighteenth century, in Treviso, thanks to the owner of a really famous bar, the restaurant “Le beccherie”, still open today!
  • The Castle of Collalto, a historical landmark of Treviso, holds a very fascinating and quite sad legend about a young lady named Bianca. She was a servant of the Collalto family, and she fell in love with Tolberto. Unfortunately, the Conte was married and his wife was very jealous. When she discovered their love affair, she locked up Bianca in the highest room of the castle tower, where Bianca died of hunger. Allegedly, her spirit still lingers there…
  • The Fontana delle tette, a historical monument in Treviso, was built in the 16th century to address drinking water shortages during an economic crisis. Its innovative design, with two large female breasts from which water flowed, symbolizes abundance and fertility. Today, the fountain is an important tourist attraction that testifies to the history and resilience of the Treviso community.
  • Did you know that the first type of eyeglasses were developed in the city of Treviso, back in the late 13th century? This invention has significantly improved the quality of life for those suffering from poor vision!

We had a great experience sharing fun facts and legends, as it allowed us to get to know each other’s background culture better.

An Interesting Tourist Trip along Restera

(By Emma Malasorti, Elia Mucci)

The beauty of Treviso is indisputable: with its surprisingly preserved historic center and surrounded by picturesque landscapes, it is a perfect place to discover by bicycle.

Precisely for this reason, we decided to organize a bike ride to explore this wonderful Venetian city.

Our Wednesday started early in the morning, we all met in the school courtyard with our equipment: bicycles, helmets and water bottles, ready for this outdoor adventure.

We felt immersed in a fairy tale as we pedaled along the Sile river, which runs through the city.

During our ride, our teachers shared with us stories and curiosities about Treviso, thus enriching our experience.

As we left the hustle and bustle of the city center behind us, the streets widened and became quieter, allowing us to appreciate the beauty of nature around us. The sun shone high in the sky and lush trees lined the road.

Along the way, we took a short break to eat something and refresh ourselves. We take photos of ourselves as a souvenir of this unforgettable day on the bike.

The atmosphere was cheerful and relaxing both on the way there and on the way back to the city center.

At the end of our ride, we were tired but happy to have undertaken this adventure.

The bike ride with in Treviso was an unforgettable experience… we will never be able to forget when our classmate Petra fell into a ditch with her bike — luckily, no one was hurt! We returned home with many good memories and certainly with a greater awareness of the importance of outdoor activities and respect for the environment.

Time to dance!

(By Elisa Gentile, Petra Franzoi)

On the last evening together everyone was really excited! We met at school at 7 p.m. to eat pizza all together. At first Italian and German students stood on their own, but then — leaving all the embarrassment behind— we mixed up and we were able to talk about the experiences we had together.

Our eventful night continued in Sala Pio X, where nice awards were presented to the winners of the competitions and of the activities we did together. There were prizes for the

best hand-painted masks, for the treasure hunt and the Venice Kahoot game. Carlo announced the winners on the microphone, while Ms. Zandonadi handed out the prizes. Then we played some German and Italian songs for karaoke and set up a small disco, to make everyone feel more included.

In a nutshell – what did we gain from this experience?

Our takeaway from the twinning is definitely new friendships.

Furthermore, we have discovered different customs from ours and we learnt to appreciate other people’s culture and habits.

Having to host someone in your house for a week can be challenging, as you get to live with another student for a week, share your daily life habits, food and maybe a room with them. But it is also enriching and fun!

And that’s it about our cultural exchange, we hope you enjoyed our account as much as we enjoyed the experience!

Have you ever experienced something like this? If not, would you like to?

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