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Student Guest Blog: A Dream in Porto

Guest bloggers and full-time school students Aubrée and Francesca give us a debrief on their participation in our exchange programme with CDVS in Porto, Portugal.

In March 2024, LVBS announced that two students from Year 9 would have the opportunity to go to Porto. The two students were to be chosen based on a project they had to prepare and present to school directors about Porto as the destination city and its culture. One month later, we presented our projects. All students went above and beyond with their projects: Francesca brought in some traditional doughnuts called malasada’s and Aubrée presented a dream-like adventure where she whizzed through Porto and its beautiful historical buildings. Some even performed a Porto-inspired rap! Soon after, the winners were announced and we discovered we had been selected to represent our school in this incredible city.

In May, we boarded our flight to Porto. When arriving there we met our families and set off on a week of fun and thrilling adventures. During the week, we trained at CDVS where we joined Iris and Maria, our lovely hosts in Porto, in all their vocational classes. We were able to experience different ways of teaching and even variations of teaching methods within one style. During our stay, we went to the Casa da Musíca which is a wonderful concert hall with exquisite architecture. We were lucky enough to be able to attend a jazz concert there which was absolutely fantastic. On our day off being Saturday, we went to the Sao Bento train station and saw the amazing azelujos which ornamented its indoor façades as well as many other outdoor murals in Porto. We went to the Douro River and saw the Ponte Dom Luis I. The grandeur of the bridges seen was unbelievable. Then we walked towards the most beautiful bookshop in the world… the Livraria Lello! On our walk through the cobbled streets, we passed one of Porto’s cityscape highlights: the Torre dos Clérigòs. This is the name of the Baroque tower attached to the eponymous church. We then walked back towards the station and took the train back to Parades.

A bit less than a week later, we were back in sunny London and switched the roles. This time, we were hosting Iris and Maria in our home city and at LVBS. They joined in our ballet, history of dance, musical theatre, jazz, drama, and art classes at LVBS. On the last evening at school, they also attended our school’s “Music in May” concert where we were both singing. We toured Iris and Maria around London’s most beautiful cityscapes and the spacious countryside. We went to Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark and the magnificent maritime buildings, we went on the river and introduced them to the London Eye, the Tower of London, Big Ben… We made acquaintance with the most wonderful art displayed at the Wallace collection. We sunbathed amongst the daisies of St James’s Park, admired the royalty of Buckingham Palace, and enjoyed some playful badinage with the koi carps of Kyoto Gardens who were very admirative of our arabesque lines. The girls were extremely excited to get a taste of London’s famous West End when Maria went to the “Wicked” musical and Iris to the ballet at the Royal Opera House. On the last day, we made sure that Iris and Maria wouldn’t leave London without having succumbed to the delicacies on offer at Fortnum & Mason, the best shop in London.

Students from CDVS bid farewell to LVBS students and staff. Image courtesy of CDVS.

We would both like to take this chance to thank the school for giving us this amazing opportunity and take this as a moment to acknowledge all the hard work done not only by the heads of the school but also to our chaperone, Josephine Holling for making this exchange possible.



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