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Erasmus Trip to Turkey!

Istanbul.  Crossroads of Europe and Asia. Modern megacity and playground of the world’s ancient civilizations.  A melting pot of ancient religious sites, world-renowned cuisine and breathtaking views along the Bospherous Strait and for 6 plucky Fulston Manor students venturing on the Erasmus trail in Mid-March, home to the heaviest snow blizzards this side of the Arctic.

And so it turned out not Covid restrictions, but flight cancellations plagued the first leg of Fulston’s final ever Erasmus+ experience: Who’s Knocking at My Door? 2, a new project exploring the role of migration in modern Europe.  An Istanbul blanketed with snow awaited all our partners, with students and staff from schools in Sweden, Italy, Spain, Belgium due for weekend arrivals but constantly checking flight statuses.

Arriving under white skies, with thick slush underfoot, the FMS team traipsed through sub-zero temperatures to the Lionel Hotel, their accommodation for the week in the western district of Bayrampa┼ča, a stone’s throw from Tuna Anadolu Lisesi School, our hosts for the week.  With bags unpacked and materials organised for the week, an exciting itinerary was only a Sunday-night dip in the pool away.

Aside from opportunities to socialise and meet students from across Europe, collaborative activities focusing on group-work, role play, and public speaking would provide insights into the phenomenon of migration in all the partner countries.  Punctuated by exquisite selections of Turkish sweets and pastries, the FMS students navigated their way through the week’s project work and the impromptu blizzards. 

Traditional dance lessons tested the footwork of the entire group, Turkish tea kept late-night fatigue at bay and performances from the Tuna Anadolu Lisesi’s school bands would practically raise the roof of the local youth centre one afternoon in scenes that would rival any performance at the O2. 

True to form, Erasmus experiences provide opportunities to sample local culture and so the Turkish team prepared a kaleidoscopic program of visits; from the gravity defying chandeliers of the Sultan’s Palace to Hagia Sofia’s otherworldly domes; the winding alleys of the Grand Bazaar and heady scents of the antiquitous spice market, Fulston’s students ducked in and out of Istanbul’s relentless traffic to sample some of the capital’s finest sights.  

As the week drew to a close amidst swirling dervishes of snow, the adventurous 6 would feel the all-to-familiar pangs of heartfelt goodbyes.  With return trips looming, one-by-one the national teams departed with smiles and tears, ready for new adventures and committed to sustaining new friendships.  Having provided an exceptional welcome and disarming hospitality, our Turkish hosts had brought young people together from across Europe and sown the seeds for a project that will surely bring delight to everyone brave and lucky enough to take part.   

Following two years of lockdown-induced parochialism, the Erasmus program continues to provide life-changing opportunities for our students; young people committed to broadening their horizons, making friends and finding magic, not just in far-flung locations, but in the company of others...

"I felt the Erasmus experience really inspired me to work harder at school and travel the world while meeting all different groups of people from different places. It also taught me to be brave and take every opportunity" 

Lily Hanson

"The Erasmus trip allowed me to be more confident and gain new skills from the experience. By talking and getting to know, not only the hosts, but the other students from all the different countries it meant that I could learn about the various cultures. Our generation tends to be quite reserved and shy away from learning new things so this really pushed us all to do something out of our comfort zones, which ended up being really beneficial."

Jessica Bootes

“The Erasmus trip was the best experience I've ever had, I made friendships that will last a lifetime and experienced things that are incomparable. The culture you're invited to was incredible and enlightening to say the least, being in Istanbul connected with me personally and I adored every moment.” 

Alex McKnight

Click here to view the Erasmus photo gallery.