Exploring New Horizons. Experiences: Exchanges and trips away

Cultural exchanges




Located in Hampshire in the south of England, Thornden School places a special emphasis on the performing arts - theatre, music, dance, etc - and the pupils are known for their artistic talent.

An area rich in history and culture, there are lots of interesting things to do and see. Visits include Stonehenge, Salisbury and Winchester Cathedrals, Nelson's ship in the Battle of Trafalgar, etc. We also take the pupils on a sight-seeing tour of London.

They practise their English, and write about their trip in journals, which we use on subsequent trips and exchanges.



Over 300 years old, the Blue Coat School was originally located in the heart of the city. Today, it occupies an extensive site in Wavertree, a residential neighbourhood not far from Penny Lane and other locations made famous by the Beatles.

Liverpool is the perfect counterpoint to Southampton, city versus countryside, north versus south.

Since we first made contact in 2005, we have been taking pupils to the Blue Coat School in the Christmas term every year. It's a great opportunity to see what life is like there in winter.

The stay includes a trip to the port in the city centre, and visits to major museums and art galleries. Other popular excursions include Anfield Football Stadium, the Beatles Museum, etc.

Libourne (France)


Located in the town of Libourne, 28 km from Bordeaux, Lycée Montesquieu is a private, faith school.

Our relationship with its school principal, Annick Saunier, dates back to 2002. Thanks to his assistance, we have also arranged exchanges with Collège Anglade, in Sainte-Foy La Grande, and more recently with Lycée Montesquieu.

Aquitaine boasts an important cultural heritage. While cave-dwellers inhabited the region thousands of years ago, in medieval times, castles and forts were built there, and Bordeaux was raised on the site of an old Roman city.

Cultural exchanges give the pupils a opportunity to practise the language and share a valuable experience.

Class trips

From the 2nd year of Primary Education on, all pupils take part in at least one field trip per year. The length and complexity of the excursions are adapted to each age group.

St. Patrick’s English School believes that travel is highly beneficial to the pupils’ personal and academic development, and encourages responsibility, autonomy, respect, team spirit, and learning through experience.

Sendaviva (2nd year, Primary Ed.)

A trip to Sendaviva Adventure Park in Navarre is the fun way to end the school year and reward the children for a year filled with excitement and hard work.

For many children, this is their first night away from home with people their own age. After the initial nerves have passed, the experience is both exciting and memorable. Pupils begin to develop greater independence, taking on the kind of responsibility they’ll face as they get older: making their beds, taking care of their clothes, and so on.

They will be joined in this natural setting by another class of pupils, all of whom will be expected to treat each other fairly and respectfully.

The experience is one that they can share with their families once they’re home. Sendaviva, an unforgettable adventure!

IrriSarri Land (3rd year, Primary Ed.)

The pupils in 3rd of Primary Education travel to another location in Navarre. The IrriSarri Land adventure park is the perfect place to enjoy exciting new experiences.

Zip-lines, tree climbing, charcoal-making and trout-feeding are just some of the activities that pupils will experience in a safe and free outdoor setting. This recreational environment encourages pupils to develop close bonds with their classmates and with pupils from other classes. It is also an excellent opportunity for pupils to become better acquainted with their tutors and teachers, developing a relationship that will grow as the year progresses, and gaining the confidence they need to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.

PAL (Play And Learn) (4th year, Primary Ed.)

This extra-curricular trip is for pupils from year 4 of Primary Education. Pupilstake part in recreational and educational activities related to the history and customs of the indigenous peoples of the United States. The two-day activity, conducted entirely in English, takes place at the Juan Sebastián Elcano hostel in Hondarribia and surrounding area. The pupils learn all about Native American customs, including indigenous art, music and dance, as well as the topography and geography of the United States.

Baratze (5th year, Primary Ed.)

Observation and research are the keys to getting the best out of this 5th year primary trip.

Pupils go on environmental walks and take part in gardening, farming, food processing, mycology and wood-carving workshops.

Arotz Enea (6th year, Primary Ed.)

Pupils from the 6th year of Primary Education visit Arotz Enea, a welcoming and friendly environmental education centre located in Etxarri Larraun, Navarre, where they take part in a variety of activities aimed at promoting environmental awareness and stewardship.

Over a five-day period, pupils speak entirely in Basque, as they enjoy mountain walks and visit nearby towns. Other activities include workshops where learn to make natural cosmetics, study meteorology, observe birds of prey, and take part in shadow play activities.

As well as providing ample space for structured sessions, the extensive facilities allow the pupils to interact freely and bond with their classmates during the recreation periods.

Larraul (1st year, Compulsory Ed.)

Pupils from Year 1 of Compulsory Education spend three days at the Larraul hostel near San Sebastian, taking part in activities to enhance their fluency and accuracy in Basque. Their time here is used to consolidate previous classwork. They visit the museum, the village church, and an old watermill. They also go hiking, play traditional games, and most importantly, build group cohesion by sharing time together.

Barcelona (2nd year, Compulsory Ed.)

Every year in May, 2nd year pupils take a class trip to Barcelona, stopping first in Huesca where the adventure begins with activities such as rafting and tree climbing. After visiting the most important sites and famous monuments in Barcelona, the group heads to Port Aventura for a fun-filled adventure. This unforgettable trip combines sport, culture and leisure.

Ruta del Cid (3rd year, Compulsory Ed.)

In the third week of May, the 3rd year pupils of Compulsory Education visit some of the locations included in the course curriculum. Stops include San Millán de la Cogolla – cradle of the Spanish language and where they see the first words written in Basque – Burgos, Carrión de los Condes, Paredes de Nava, Villalcázar de Sirga, the Camino de Santiago, and the Canal de Castilla.

In addition to breathing life into classroom subjects, the experience helps to encourage the pupils’ interest in cultural tourism, showing them how to find information on their own, select places of interest and find their way around in unfamiliar settings. And, of course, the experience builds respect, autonomy and social skills.

The Quixote (4th year, Compulsory Ed.)

Over four days, the 4th year class of Compulsory Education embarks on a literary journey, following the footsteps of writers they have studied in the classroom. The route includes stops in Salamanca, the city of Lazarillo de Tormes and Fray Luis; Avila, where St. Teresa of Avila wrote her famous spiritual poems; Segovia, known for its role in the process of Romanization; Toledo, the city of three cultures: Christian, Jewish and Muslim; and La Mancha, home of Don Quixote. The journey ends in Almagro, where pupils see a play from the Golden Age of Spanish Drama at the Corral de Comedias theatre.

The Pyrenees (1st year, Baccalaureate)

In the 2006-7 school year, the Humanities Department proposed doing a trek in the Pyrenees with 1st year Baccalaureate pupils. A trek was chosen over a shorter hike because sustained physical effort in a natural setting seemed a better way of fulfilling the marked objective. The Pyrenees were chosen because of their proximity and natural beauty, and 1st year Baccalaureate pupils, because this seemed to be the right time to do this particular activity.

The aim of the trip, which St. Patrick’s still organizes every year, is to foster interaction with the natural and cultural environment, language development, physical development and social interaction.

The trek starts in the village of Echo and ends in Canfranc, with pupils staying five nights in local hostels including Bisaltico and Lizara. The days are spent walking in the mountains, surrounded by nature and rural life, appreciating the value of peace and quiet, discovering plants and animals, and reading or drawing during rest times. In short, spending time together, surrounded by nature, far from city life, modern technology and the comforts of home.

A unique experience. Pupils may find the experience daunting at first, mainly because they are often unused to the environment. However, the sense of personal achievement that comes with the physical exertion, and the range of new and enriching experiences make it all worthwhile.

Italy (2nd year, Baccalaureate)

This trip is the culmination of all the field trips and outings the pupils have been on during their time at St. Patrick’s. In an experience that will be etched forever in their memories, this intensive and extensive tour of historic Italy includes stops in Milan, Verona, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Siena and Rome. The experience is yet another part of St. Patrick’s humanistic education, the last before the pupils embark on future third level studies.