The group of 24, including 18 DGPS students and six faculty members went on an enriching seven-day educational trip to the United Kingdom during the Spring Break of 2017.
Organised by the English and Mathematics Departments, the trip was aimed at providing students with a gamut of opportunities to link the skills in Mathematics and English to the real world, to enhance critical thinking skills, to enable students to walk in the footsteps of acclaimed English Literary figures and authors and relive significant moments in their lives, to explore how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the modern world, to gain new global cultural perspectives and to inspire students to learn, long after they return home.
The trip began with a guided walking tour of the Edinburgh Castle, to explore and gain an in-depth insight from our scholarly Scottish guide of the iconic castle that has played a vital role in Scottish military history and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was an enriching experience to walk through the castle that had housed royalty for years, discover the stories of the battles and sieges that took place there, look in awe at the country’s Crown Jewels, and soak up the history that was tangible in this colossal fortress.
This was followed by a visit to The Palace of Holyrood House, Her Majesty the Queen’s official residence in Scotland. Standing at the end of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, this fine palace is the home of Scottish royal history. At the Palace of Holyrood house, we explored the magnificent historic and State Apartments, the ruins of the 12th-century Holyrood Abbey and the remarkable royal gardens.
Stepping aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia,( which served Britain’s Royal Family for more than 44 years) and led by an informative audio-guide, students explored the opulent State Apartments where Her Majesty once stayed, saw the quarters of former officers and captains, and learnt about the ship’s legendary trips around the world. They toured this opulent yacht that had hosted state visitors and official receptions and had welcomed some of the world’s most influential people, including Sir Winston Churchill, Rajiv Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela.
After exploring indoor locations, it was time to explore the outdoors. The astounding views over Edinburgh and out to the sea after a steep climb to Calton Hill was as exhilarating as the distinctive Nelson and National monuments that were located at the top of the hill.
The group spent over two hours at the Outlook Tower and Camera Obscura, enjoying unique 360 degree panoramic and enthralling views of Edinburgh from the mesmerizing Camera Obscura and rooftop terrace. The five floors of interactive hands-on optical illusions and exhibits, including the vortex tunnel, mirror maze and shrinking room, among others, was truly an exceptional and fun-filled learning experience.
Another thoroughly novel experience was the visit to the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune which is home to a large and impressive collection of over 50 complete aircrafts, including several aero-engines, aircraft parts, models and a large reference library of publications and images. The highlight of the visit was the Concorde Experience with the dramatically lit Concorde which made an epic journey from Heathrow to East Fortune by land and sea in 2004. A range of displays gave an insight into all aspects of Concorde’s development and operation.
Leaving the beautiful terrain of Edinburgh, the group travelled by coach to Glasgow and after an overnight stay visited the Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel which is home to some of the world’s finest cars, bicycles, ship models, trams and locomotives. Interactive displays and the hugely popular historic Glasgow street scene brought the objects and stories to life.
The next destination was the picture-perfect countryside of Lake District with its shimmering lakes, lush pastures dotted with grazing sheep, and hypnotic swathes of golden Daffodils. Students led by our guide recited the poem, Daffodils by William Wordsworth as we drove past the location of his residence. The Cruise on the Windermere Lake, the invigorating walking tour of a village in Windermere amidst soaking up information furnished by our guide on the poets of the Romantic Revival made the spectacular trip through the Lake District all the more memorable and magical.
A guided tour alongside the Cambridge University and Trinity College provided a glimpse of the River Cam, the imposing buildings, the Wren Library and information on its illustrious alumni such as Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Charles Babbage, Prince Charles and Prince William amongst others.
A high point for the students was the much anticipated Warner Brother’s Harry Potter Studio Tour which gave students a wonderful opportunity to step on to authentic sets and relive the magic through the eyes of the filmmakers who brought the Harry Potter film series to life. This unique walking tour revealed some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that contributed to its world-wide popularity.
Madame Tussauds Museum with its life-size waxwork figures of celebrities, superheroes and even world leaders, with the Spirit of London Taxi Drive and the Marvel Super Heroes 4D movie experience was yet another site that was well worth a visit.
A visit to The Sherlock Holmes Museum located at 221b Baker provided students with valuable insights into the life and times of Sherlock Holmes, as its interior has been faithfully maintained for posterity just as described in the published stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.
At Stratford upon Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, students got a chance to walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps and explore the house where he was born and grew up. They were able to listen to tales of Shakespeare’s family life, enjoy live theatre on demand and get up close to rare artefacts from the Trust’s world class collections as they discovered how the extraordinary William Shakespeare continues to shape our lives today.
Students enjoyed a ride on the 135 metres Ferris Wheel, The London Eye, gracefully rotating over the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. At, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the world’s tallest observation wheel, offering breathtaking 360 degree views of the capital and its famous landmarks.
Besides gaining a wealth of knowledge from the Science and Natural History Museum, at the thought-provoking new Winston Math Gallery, designed by ZahaHadid Architects, students were able to examine the pivotal role mathematicians, their tools and ideas have played in building the world we live in.
Students also got to experience the wonderful world of live theatre in the thrilling stage version of the award-winning musical, ‘The Lion King’, with its 40 strong cast including dancers, actors and singers , its spectacular music, stunning costumes and breathtaking set designs.
The final day began with a quick London city tour of the Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square, Buckingham palace, West Minister Abbey and Big Ben before proceeding to the London Dungeons.
Students thoroughly enjoyed 90 minutes of suspense, surprise and physical thrill in the London Dungeons which brought alive significant turning points in British history: students walked the plague ridden streets of 1665, escaped The Great Fire of London that engulfed the city in flames in 1666 and faced trial in an 18th century judicial system.
The final stop over was Stamford Bridge with a guided tour of Chelsea Football Club Stadium which took the students on a journey of exploration behind the scenes of the football stadium including visits to the press room, dressing rooms, various stands in the stadium, a chance to run out of the tunnel into the dugout area and finally souvenir shopping at the stadium megastore.
As the bus rolled into the Heathrow Airport, students expressed their reluctance to leave London as they had thoroughly enjoyed the seven action-packed days of spectacular views, building on social skills, savoring novel experiences , acquiring global perspectives and most importantly, learning, beyond the classroom!