Student’s from St. Tiernan’s Community School, Balally Dublin, are preparing for the initial cultural exchange in Spain as part of the Sustainable Mobility, Sustainable Community Erasmus+ programme. Along with Green-Schools An Taisce and Cyclist.ie volunteers, six St. Tiernan’s students will travel to Corella in Spain to meet with students from Spain, Denmark and Lithuania.
The group of six students are part of the Green-Schools programme (Eco-Schools International) and are currently working towards achieving their green flag for Travel. The Dublin based secondary school have excelled throughout the Green-Schools programme and on achieving their previous green flag for Water, they were awarded the title of Water School of the year 2018. The school has already fully embraced the Green-Schools Travel theme, which involves encouraging more students, staff and guardians to reduce their dependence on car journeys and instead travel actively to school. Last year as part of an inventive project, students designed and created a ‘pedal powered smoothie maker’ which promoted an active, sustainable and healthy lifestyle. St. Tiernan’s are currently competing in the Green-Schools ‘Big Travel Challenge’, which sees participating schools aim to increase the number of students actively traveling to schools by one chosen mode of sustainable travel for 10 consecutive days in the month of February.
Almost a month has passed since Green-Schools Travel Manager Jane Hackett and Travel Officer Rebecca Flanagan met with the group of eager St. Tiernan’s students who would be involved throughout the three-year Erasmus+ programme. Sam, Leslie Ann, Sílvia, Liviu, Jakub and Adam make up the students who will travel to Spain, and they spoke to us about what motivated them to cycle and why they were so keen to be a part of this Erasmus+ programme. Sílvia shared with us, that for her, ‘’cycling as an emission free mode of transport can make a huge difference in our world’’ and she also added that she cycles ‘’because it’s fun and good exercise’’. Sílvia expressed that she wanted to participate in the Erasmus+ programme because she ‘’will get to meet and share ideas with people’’ her own age and ‘’with the same interests in our world’’. She is eager to see what international students are doing in their own communities to bring about positive change in relation to cycling. Each of the six students shared many of the same attitudes towards cycling. Reducing emissions, active travel and enjoying time outdoors were common motivators for the students.
In the classroom, we discussed together as a group, the new experiences we might have in Spain. Communicating in Spanish, trying local cuisine and having to cycling on the other side of the road will be a new experience for each of the students. We have as a group committed to learning a few important Spanish words for cycling (and if all else fails, we always have hand signals!)
The group are very much looking forward to hosting their new peers in June this year, where the same group will travel to Dublin for a week of exciting cycling-themed events.