This year was the 2nd time GIBS students visited The Emerald Isle, this year as part of a real school exchange. 6a students had an incredible time exploring the west coast of the country, immersing themselves in the Irish culture, and enhancing their language skills. It has become a tradition now to visit the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Ireland. We took a ferry from the mainland, rented bikes and cycled to the cliffs at Dún Aengus, an ancient Celtic fortress overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, a majestic view that will leave anyone speechless. On our way back to the mainland, we even passed the iconic Cliffs of Moher. On the Sunday we took a bus tour through the rugged landscapes of Connemara, where we saw the amazing Kylemore Abbey. The abbey is a beautiful, gothic-style building that is surrounded by lush gardens and a serene lake. The students were captivated by the history and beauty of the abbey.
In Dublin, we stayed with host families, attended Sandymount ETSS by the seaside, and participated in various cultural activities. We visited the EPIC museum, a really interesting interactive museum that showcases the history and culture of Ireland. We also attended an Irish Music & Dance show, which gave us a taste of traditional Irish music, songs and dance. Our walking tour of Dublin was also a great way to learn about the city’s history and culture. At the school, the students had the opportunity to participate in a traditional Irish Céilí dance and Gaelic football. These activities not only allowed them to learn more about Irish culture but also get to know each other and their new friends at Sandymount ETSS better! Everyone was delighted to get to know another country and to make new friends in Ireland!
Overall, our language trip to Ireland was an unforgettable experience that left a lasting impression on our students. They not only had the opportunity to enhance their language skills but also learned a lot about life in Ireland, its history, and its culture. Of course as an Erasmus school, promoting cultural and language exchanges is one of our main goals at GIBS. We hope next year the students will also get to experience the magic of Ireland!
As part of the language exchange in Dublin we were also delighted and honored that the Austrian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr. Thomas Nader, visited us at Sandymount ETSS to promote Austro-Irish relations. He made sure to emphasize the many similarities between our two people; our flexibility and relaxed nature, our fondness for the outdoors and nature and of course our fondness for beer. He also highlighted the impact the Irish had on the development of Austria going as far as back as the early middle ages to more modern times. We had some really interesting discussions with him as well about the differences in the education systems in Austria and Ireland. It was a really interesting and fulfilling visit! We hope to foster these links for the future as well!