Our Newtown and Welshpool ESOL learners went on an educational visit to the West Midlands Safari Park! | Adult Learning Wales

Our Newtown and Welshpool ESOL learners went on an educational visit to the West Midlands Safari Park!


On the 14th of May our Newtown and Welshpool ESOL learners went on an educational visit to the West Midlands Safari Park. This was the very first outing that the EYST (Ethnic Youth Support Team for Wales) and ARAP (Afghanistan Relocation & Assistance Policy) families had been on, and our tutor Chris Brookbank was very excited to share the experience with them!

Our tutor Chris Brookbank says, “We went to the West Midlands Safari Park, which is a two-stage visit. The first part is a drive through the Safari section of the park, taking approximately one and a half hours that includes herbivores and carnivores with free-roaming animals. This included a family of Rhino that we saw including two youngsters, longhorn cattle, various species of Deer and Antelope.

The highlight for many of our learners was the drive through the area containing the Rhino family (who does not love a young Rhino, too cute!) and the Giraffe that was free roaming. It was great to see a Giraffe adult that towered over the coach!

After the Safari drive, the families were all then issued ‘ride bands’ for adults and children, and then entered the amusement park area. This contained many rides from roller coasters and wet rides down to flying Hippos and Elephant rides for the little ones (don't worry, the adults went on these too!). This was great for the families as they were able to walk around independently (whilst still being escorted and viewed by us as tutors) and decide on what rides to go on with their children!”

During this trip our learners were able to interact with each other (having had only online learning sessions prior) and were able to see, learn and try out new things. We are so glad to hear of positive feedback, including:

"How can Giraffe be soooo tall"?

"Elephants just walk so calmly, don't they?"

"The Rhino skin on the adults looks like armour".

"We loved the rides including the water raft ride - we got wet but loved it".

"We are so grateful to you (Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales) for organising this trip - we met the other families face to face altogether, and when in the park, we saw so many different people from different backgrounds and religions. No one paid us any attention and we felt at home and just part of the park".

"We were able to move around, and no problems came up because of our languages, it was easy to get on and off the rides and our children loved the whole day, thank you"!

Tutor Chris Brookbank continues, “The learners and their families were able to bond together and experience their very first major trip out of their hometowns, to an environment that could have been (due to crowds, multiple rides etc) quite daunting, but all families adapted well and were able to be independent in the amusement park. This has given them confidence and shown them things (animals) that they have never seen before.

The learners have learnt that in the UK, rules do apply. The learners became aware of key health and safety areas including wearing seat belts on the coach, not standing whilst the coach was moving, line discipline whilst queuing for rides, and height and safety restrictions on rides (including safety restraints, limits to numbers on rides, not using mobile phones whilst on rides). This is an important area that in their home country of Afghanistan is often overlooked, or ignored, depending on the province, area or "who you are", and this example of everyone following the safety rules and regulations is a key part of ongoing integration into the UK.

The final impact of this trip on the learners was to show them that despite where they come from, and the hardships and traumas that they have faced, they are being fully supported by the UK, Powys County Council and Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales. There is a firm commitment to their wellbeing and safety, and their continued learning and development. At the same time, they have been shown a totally new experience by visiting this park, have been given an element of independence whilst walking around but also made aware of key health and safety requirements and lead and managed throughout the day.”

We’re glad to hear that this trip was a success for our learners, tutors and support staff!

Click here to see more photos from the trip on our Facebook page!

To find out more about our ESOL courses, click here.

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