Many societies at Warwick choose to go on either a domestic or an international tour during the academic year. It is a perfect opportunity for each society to bring their members out of the so-called ‘Warwick Bubble’, and be able to bond as a society through interactive activities, touring sites, and also maybe a little bit of bar crawling.
Tours usually take place during Reading Week, which is every sixth week of every term. Not all courses at Warwick have these, but for those students such as myself who study in the Humanities Department, we have the pleasure of this well-deserved break.
Last year, I wrote a blog about my experience on French Tour, when the society went to Paris. Whilst I had been to Paris previously – I have family there and I also au paired there during the previous summer – visiting Paris with a group of friends is an entirely different experience. As a first year, the grand majority of the people on tour were from my year group. Whether we were good friends or but mere acquaintances, it was a great time to get to know each other on a more intimate level, rather than the usual ‘hi’s’ and ‘bye’s’ exchanged in a busy corridor. Whilst we were all swept up in the Parisian magic, I found myself someone lost in the busyness of the capital as we were very much left to our own devices. This is why, when I became Vice President of French Society this year, I knew how I was going to improve the society.
Instead of going to the capital, this year the executive team made the collective decision to try somewhere different. We had a few difficulties in finding accommodation and transport, but we managed to pull together and overcome the problems with ease. It was a very different experience being on the inside of organising Tour; I never realised the number of logistics that would be involved in the preparation for it! There were many reasons to be stressed about the tour. I’m not going to publicly call who, what and where, but ushering a group of 30+ students was quite the challenge. Sometimes people were late, sometimes people got lost, and sometimes it was even hard to contact them. Nevertheless, I have learnt the importance of good organisation and leadership skills throughout this journey, which I will use later in life.
I know that I have been saying a lot of negatives about the trip, but all in all, I had an amazing time with my closest friends. The coach picked us up at 4 am in Leamington and we drove to Dover where we caught a ferry and arrived in Bruges at around 1 pm. We were met by a lot of snow and wandered the town until the evening when we frequented the hostel’s bar with its very reasonable priced Belgium beers. The next day, the execs and I visited many of Bruges’ local museums, such as the Dali museum and the Historium. We also, as a whole group, went on a canal tour, which was very informative and a perfect photo opportunity. In the evenings, we again paid a visit to the bar, and some of the students went to one of the local club/bars.
The third day was spent travelling to Luxembourg, which was approximately 3-4 hours away. Although we arrived quite late at night, a couple of my friends and I toured the city by night. Exploring an unknown area by night has always appealed to me, since it’s a way to discover a place without the normal hustle and bustle of the usual crowds. It was peaceful, and in some ways, surreal.
On the last day of our trip, we ditched the culture and went to the shops. It was fairly productive, but by the time we got on the coach back home, we were all exhausted. We chatted about the times we spent together, and looked back on the photos we had taken. All in all, I had an amazing time, and I would like to say a big shout out to Chloe and Hannah for organising it!