Twenty Binusians and two teachers hit the land of Great Britain on March 20, 2011 for an immersion program that aimed at letting students experience life in the United Kingdom for one week. The long journey from Indonesia took approximately 15 hours with a four-hour transit in Dubai. We all departed via Emirates from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on March 19, 2011 at exactly 5:45 p.m.
After transiting for four hours in Dubai, we directly flew to Gatwick International Airport in London. Some of us panicked a bit when we heard the announcement that the outside temperature was one degree Celsius. It was because it was already very cold inside the airport. However, when we first set foot on English soil, we slowly adapted to the weather.
Although at some point at the beginning of the trip, it was still a real struggle to cope with the weather, the excitement of being in London magically healed us.
An event organiser picked us up at the airport. We then had the chance to first go to Greenwich, where there was a platform that allowed us to see all the city sights at one glance. After taking a group photo there, we went off to explore the city. It was probably the most interesting part of the journey. One thing we noticed was the very well-organised traffic that is rarely or even never found in our country. Almost all people obeyed the signs and the traffic lights, and the public transportations were very comfortable that they encouraged people not to use their private vehicles to reduce pollution. The fresh air was one difference too. After seeing many London landmarks, such as Big Ben, London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and many more, we searched for a place where we could have lunch. Most of us had sandwich for lunch. Afterwards, we took a little tour around before meeting our host parents in Worcester.
It took us about two hours to get to Worcester from London on a coach. Mr. Harold organized us to be in pairs to be with our host families. But some went to a group consisting of three members. Only few had to stay alone. The host families were all very friendly, and we felt really welcome. We all got settled in very quickly, as we got home, and we seemed really tired that we just fell asleep right away.
On Monday, March 21, we got the chance to meet the Mayor of Worcester, Mr. Michael Layland. He welcomed us warmly, and some of us got to wear his personal attires, such as his golden necklace, which is worth half a million of pounds, and our beloved PIC got to wear the traditional clothes too, which fitted well on him.
One unforgettable moment is, we had his autograph on our banner using a permanent marker. Surely that would raise up its price if we were to sell it. After that, we went to the dungeon where prisoners got locked up. Afterwards, we went to see the Worcester Cathedral. So we knew what Great Britain had been famous for—ancient buildings. The next destination was a workshop about English Civil War at The Commandery. We were handed ‘cool’ equipment so we could a feel of how it was like to be in the war. Then, some of us got to try out the war equipment, including a very heavy helmet and cool spears. At the end of the day, we attended an English Lesson, led by a very good friend of ours named Caitlin.
The next day, we went to a local school called Christopher Whitehead Language College. We got to attend classes there and experienced how school was like in England. Apparently, the subject taught there is not so different from the one in BINUS Serpong. Some of us made real friends there and swapped phone numbers. We enjoyed the school a lot.
On March 23, we spent almost the whole day in a youth centre, where we had games with the local lads and watched a play. We also got to play football and basketball. We happened to have a Binusian friend who was celebrating his birthday that day, Gabriel Natanael (a.k.a. Noel of 10H). We surprised him by giving him a cake. We enjoyed the cake with some other pastries.
The day after that, we went to Oxford where we did a lot of shopping. We had a visit to the University and Cathedral too, in which a Harry Potter movie setting was located. On Thursday, we hiked to the top of Malvern Hills. It was very tiring and most of us weren’t used to this kind of activity, so we all struggled on our way to the top. When we reached the top, we had lunch there. The wind was blowing so strong so we had to go down as it also got too cold for us to stay there. Afterwards, we attended another English lesson at the Malvern Public Library.
We headed off to Top Barn, a big farm and activity center where we went through our first day of environmental service. We learnt how to be farmers there, and the instructors taught us lots of things. We did environmental services for two days. On Saturday, March 26, Clinton Thedyardi of 10E had his birthday celebrated there too.
On Sunday, we went to Birmingham for another shopping time. We then went back to Worcester for a farewell party, where we played Skittles (similar to Bowling) and had chicken, sausage, and scampi for dinner.
It was all very sad that we finally needed to say goodbye to our host parents. We can only thank them for making us feel very welcome during our one-week stay there, and we all hope we can go back there. On our last day in England, we went to a very popular tourist attraction in Windsor—the Windsor Castle. The Windsor Castle is considered the largest inhabited castle in the world, and is the Queen’s preferred weekend home.
Finally, before boarding the plane at the Heathrow Airport, we said our last goodbye to England. All this unforgettable one week was probably the best week of our lives. We will always hope we can go back there again soon. As what the English lads say to greet us, ‘Cheers, mate!’
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