MSG’s Jen Ellis makes Tour Manager debut in Italy

Lucy PorterGeography, History, Italy, MSG Culture, Study

My Time on Tour – Jen Ellis

Life on tour:  planning tours for schools is one thing, but being away with groups brings its own challenges and rewards.  MSG’s Jen Ellis tells us in her own words what life’s like leading a school overseas.

Waiting in arrivals for William Allitt School to arrive into Naples Airport filled me with the anticipation for the things to come on this History & Geography tour.

A jam-packed itinerary, which had started to become part my very being. The emails that went to and from various people to get this trip up and running. It all started to feel very real. Sitting behind the computer where you feel in control and organised can not necessarily prepare you for the big wide world.

I was so excited that my first tour away with a group was to somewhere I had visited previously and loved. It wasn’t difficult to get to students excited when I visited them for a preparation parents evening of things they could expect. I was nervous about wanting the trip to run smoothly and yes, there may have been bumps in the road, but we can’t blame the Romans for the tools that were available to them at the time!

The reason study trips are so important is watching the pieces of the jigsaw fit together. We can read, research and write about history & geography and other subjects in school. However, seeing the ground where the people of Pompeii walked, having the dust from Mount Vesuvius cover your shoes and see the light being bought back to the perished bodies of Herculaneum cannot be measured in the classroom. The adventure, the sights, sounds, laughs with friends, Ice cream and sharing stories are the elements that cannot be planned behind the desk in the office. These are the things that grow and personalise the trip with the memories that last forever. Walking the students down the street from their hotel to watch traditional Italian music being played really is delivering the unexpected.

Not only do we now have a shared experience with people who were strangers when waving the ‘Let’s Get Touring’ card at. But leaving the group outside Naples Archaeological Museum to the chorus of goodbyes and thank you and seeing the delight, yet slightly tired faces was worth all the hard work.

And as Pliny the Elder said on his Pompeii rescue mission – ‘Fortune Favours the brave’.