World Languages Department Trip to France

It was the early morning of May 3rd when forty Grade and Year Seven and Eight students gathered at the car gate to wish their parents “adieu” and board the busses bound for France. With cases stowed and seatbelts on the group of students, along with their four chaperones, set off for Cairo Airport.

Although headed for Normandy the group had a scheduled stop on Paris’ famous shopping boulevard, the Champs Elysee. From the Arc de Triomphe the students marched towards the amazing shops of Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani and the other top designers. They experienced some street performance before a circuit round the Eiffel Tower and onto the motorway headed for Normandy, a region in the North West of France. A long, five hour coach journey finally saw the group arrive at Le Chateau des Forges, a place we would call home for a week. After the very long journey the party was quickly in bed asleep, dreaming of the adventures ahead.

After a typical French breakfast of croissants, jam and juice the group were on the road again, travelling across the rural French countryside to another chateau, Le Chateau de la Baudionniere, an activities centre. We spent the day enjoying wall-climbing, archery and a new favourite sport for everyone, Aeroballe. Something like Volleyball on trampolines, this session produced squeals of delight from the students and an intense competitive edge. We would return to this Chateau again at the end of the week to have a go at Orienteering, Mountain Biking and Canoeing. Some relief from all of the physical activity was provided during a lesson on circus skills.

As the week progressed the group experienced a diverse and fascinating range of activities and excursions. In typical MES Cairo fashion, the Year and Grade 7s and 8s approached each new opportunity with enthusiasm and vigour.


Accrobranche is the French name for the thrilling activity of traversing a forest using platforms, ziplines and rope ladders. A full safety lecture was given before the MES Cairo students tested their skills on some practice routes very close to the ground. Once they had demonstrated their understanding of the “dos and don’ts” of the experience, the group began climbing up to the Level 1 course. Those that completed Level 1 were soon up to the higher Level 2 course, which included zip-lining across the lake. The staff at the Accrobranche course were amazing and our students were in very safe hands as they experienced a view of a forest most do not get to see.

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient Abbey perched on an island just off the French coast. At high tide the island is cut off from the mainland but when the tide is out it is surrounded by a sand-flat. Our mission on one of the days in France was to walk across the sand-flat, accompanied by our experienced guide, Woody. The students had their first taste of quicksand and learnt quickly how easy it is to get stuck in it. Fortunately there were enough hands to help those who had sunk in too far get back out. We waded through pools full of mullet, watching them thrash around our legs. Some reassurance had to be given that they were not little sharks and would not harm us. Then we experienced some of the worst weather the English Channel could throw at us, including hailstones. The courage of the MES students was remarkable, as they struggled on through the storm, soaked to the skin. The showers back at the Chateau were never so welcomed as after that adventure.

Marche du Villedieu

Villedieu, an old town famous for its bell-making, was the venue for a favourite French experience – the street-market. Souvenirs were bought and the challenge of buying your own lunch using the French language was met. The locals of Villedieu were even treated to some Egyptian music as the students performed some Arabic songs on the steps of the townhall.

La Fromagerie des Chevres

Mr. Martin is a French schoolteacher who, one day many years ago, decided to pursue his dream of running a Goat’s Cheese Farm. After an informational film about the process of turning the milk of goats into a delicious chees, the students entered the barn where Mr. Martin’s goats live. The group fed the goats, carried some kids and met the Billy Goat. Then Mr. Martin offered us a special treat. One of the friendliest goats came out to be brushed and milked by the MES Cairo group. We learnt the French words for the different parts of the animal and then the milking began. Many of our students tasted the milk as soon as it had come from the goat and most of them enjoyed it. After meeting the goats we all had the chance to taste the cheese they produce and to buy some blocks of it to bring back to family and friends in Cairo.

Les Plages du Debarquement

The region of France we visited contains the sites of the famous D-Day landings and so, after a History lesson on the Second World War and the courage and commitment of the soldiers, the group visited two sites of great importance to that stage of the conflict. All of the landing sites for the Allied forces were known by code names and we visited Omaha Beach. After experiencing the Visitor’s Centre, the students, with great respect and understanding, walked around the memorial garden, filled with white crosses to commemorate the 9,000 men who died there. We travelled a short distance to the Pegasus Bridge memorial to learn more about another crucial moment in the war. The students were proud to become the latest group to hold the memory of that sacrifice and the experience of actually standing on the beach itself will help that memory remain alive in their minds.

Les Escargots

No trip to France would be complete without sampling one of the country’s most famous foods. Halfway through dinner one evening, Francois, our resident guide, entered the dining room from the kitchen with plates of steaming hot snails. After a quick demonstration on how to extract the snails from their shells, the MES students, with huge smiles on most of their faces, tucked in. The reaction was good save for a couple of people who didn’t quite enjoy the experience as much as the others – but at least they tried!

Our week in France was a remarkable experience. With instructions being given only in French it was a pleasure to watch the students become more and more comfortable with the language as the week progressed. New friendships were forged and challenges met. Even the soaking we received during our walk across the bay at Mont Saint-Michel became something to be proud of.

Our journey back to Cairo on May 9th was smooth although tinged with sadness that our excellent visit to Normandy was at an end. The participants on the trip were great ambassadors for MES Cairo and Egypt and we all look forward to more trips with these students in the future.

Mr. J. Todd – Dean of Students, Grades Nine and Ten

Year Six Cyprus Trip

In Year Six April means only one thing: Cyprus! The countdown to Cyprus begins from day one in Year Six – for children and staff – such is the excitement. This year, the annual excursion to the pretty little island, in the Mediterranean Sea, was so popular that a fourth trip was organized for the first time ever.

Our journey begins as staff and children meet at Cairo International Airport and after some emotional farewells and photographs some children head for the departure gates without their families for the first time. Before the short one hour flight to Cyprus, there is much excitement as everyone heads to Burger King!

It’s not long before boarding begins and MES Cairo has landed at Larnaca Airport. Christos, our Greek bus driver for the week, meets us and transports us to Paphos on the south-west coast – where we will being staying for the duration of our stay. It’s dark by the time we reach the hotel so the students have dinner and then go to bed. Of course, being the first night away from home and staying in the same room with best friends, this can be exciting for most!

The first day we take on the challenge of the Avakas Gorge. The walk may start gently but it’s not long before we are all getting our feet wet, some more than hoped. A gorge is a deep narrow valley with steep sides which has usually been formed by a river or steam cutting through hard rock. For many of the children, it’s the first time they have seen, let alone experienced walking in such an environment.

As we emerge, wet and tired from the gorge it’s time to head on down to the beach. The local ice cream man arrives and we are all enjoying our chocolate covered ‘99’ (as we call them in England) by the harbour.

In the afternoon, the students explore the rock pools: these are small zones of sea water which are enclosed and separated from the sea by rock. Inside these pools, many creatures live and have adapted to their surroundings.

Even though they’ve been soaked enough, the students don’t refuse an evening dip in the hotel swimming pool. It’s all also time for parents to call and check on their loved ones. After dinner, it’s time to see who knows their ‘Rihanna’ from their ‘rivers of the world.’ It’s Quiz Time!

On the third day, we visit the small village of Kritou Terra, which is home to the Cyprus Environmental Studies Centre acting as the only practical field studies centre on the island. Catering for school visits from all over the Middle East and Western Europe, children come to study ecology, geography, tourism and other environmental subjects based always on the principle that there is no better classroom to learn about nature and the landscape than the country itself.

The river study allows the students to get up close to small water creatures that they are unable to find in Egypt but also very few places around the world as streams carry only 0.001% of the world’s freshwater. After collecting as many creepy-crawlies as possible, the children take the long walk back up the hill to study and classify them under the microscope.

The next day we visit Zephyros Adventure Sports, which was established in 2001 as the first, full time, professional adventure sports centre in Cyprus. As part of the outdoor adventure day, Year 6 students must demonstrate their ‘RISK TAKING’ and scale a sheer rock face and then abseil down; they must show their ‘RELATIONSHIP’ skills to help their team successfully orienteer across the Akamas countryside; and then be ‘RESILIENT’ in survival skills. Even though there are very few rock faces to climb in Cairo, our students put the teachers to shame as they scale the dizzy heights all too quickly, which then means it’s the teacher’s turn!.

Wednesday night means it’s time to get on your dancing shoes for the much anticipated Cyprus disco. With everyone spruced up in their best attire, who will win ‘Best Girl Dancer’, ‘ Best Boy Dancer’ but most importantly ‘Most Crazy Dancer?’

Our last day comes about quickly and coming to Cyprus from Egypt means we are tourists and it’s important to visit the local touristic sites before we head home…

In term three, Year Six studies the Ancient Greeks. Aphrodite’s rock, locally known as Patra tou Romiou, is a sea stack in Pafos that has earnt its status in Greek mythology as the birthplace of the Ancient Greek Goddess, Aphrodite. A local myth says that anyone who swims around the block will be blessed with eternal beauty. It’s also a good excuse for a group photo shot that will bring many happy memories in years to come.

Noted particularly for its stunning Greco – Roman theatre, originally built in the 2nd century B.C, Kourion is one of the most spectacular archaeological sites on the island. In its heyday, it may have seen theatrical performances from the best actors of the time but when MES Cairo come to town it’s our turn to take centre stage. Drama, dancing and singing is the order of the day for the children who are brave enough to step up in front of the paying public.

After all that sightseeing, it’s time for something to eat. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey, who have a home in Cyprus, we can fill our hungry stomachs in their local restaurant, voted number one on the island.

All too soon, it’s time to head to the airport and back to reality. A returning MES Cairo school trip is a sight to behold as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and even grandparents crowd the arrivals hall with balloons and banners. As we exit baggage reclaim, the cheers erupt and we know we are home.

But don't just take my word for it. Here are some words from pupils who ventured onto this lovely island:

Cyprus is a wonderful island, full of nature, plants and it is so clean. Rock climbing was on the back of a gigantic rock, which more of a mountain than a rock! Hana Ahmed (Y6G)

The thing I enjoyed the most was the gorge. We walked on stones, through water and climbed little rocks. I also enjoyed the survival stones. Amin Ali (Y6G)

Cyprus was a really fun and calm place. It is mainly for elders, but we as children also like some activities like hiking and abseiling because it is adventurous. We went exploring in the Avakas Gorge and saw different trees and insects. As well as that, we went looking for sea creatures and tried to identify them. Hana Hisham (Y6G)

Mr. S. Cole - Year Six Blue Class Teacher

Model United Nations

Nevsky MUN Conference- St. Petersburg, Russia
The final Model UN conference of 2013- 14 attended by MES Cairo students was in St. Petersburg, Russia, in March 2014. Even though we attend this conference yearly, the city and the hosting school consistently impress and amaze us. The Nevsky Conference is a fantastic opportunity for students to hone and display their skills in public speaking, debate, problem-solving, and diplomacy. They get to meet and become friends with students from Russia itself and all over the world. Beyond this, they enjoy the mesmerizing beauty, history and architecture of St. Petersburg--one of Russia's newest cities--and Novgorod--one of its oldest.

Ms. C Flake, MUN coordinator

While preparing for our conference at school, I was a bit anxious about going on the trip. I wondered about what we’d actually do in Russia and I scarcely knew many of the people going with me. It didn’t look good at all and I started to think whether or not I would be wasting my time going on the trip. I wasn’t exactly sure if I was ready to give a speech in front of hundreds of students.

Upon landing in St. Petersburg I realised how wrong I was for doubting the trip. St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cosmopolitan cities in the world. Combining architecture from all around Europe, I was enticed by all the great monuments and it was very interesting, especially for someone visual like me. I think the main purpose of this trip, besides the Model United Nations, is to get us to experience a country with such a rich history. Much like us, the Russians have a lot to tell about their country. The tour guides flooded our ears with information and as an ardent historian, I was really having the time of my life.

Something that really changed me was the conference. There were students from all around the world and I got to see the contrasts in all of our cultures. As a result, I received a stellar experience like no other. Something else that was remarkable was the school. The school where the conference was held was more than a hundred years old and still in pristine shape, which to me is astounding.

The conference taught me how to listen to others and be acquiescent to others’ points of view. I think it’s a very useful skill especially in today’s times where feuds are a constant burden for many. Another skill that I developed was public speaking. Despite not being a shy person I was a bit apprehensive about taking the floor in front of a large audience. I was okay with my anxiety because I’m sure giving a speech in front of hundreds of teenagers is worrisome for most people. I did it however; I really did overcome my fears and confidently took the floor to share my points. That, I could say, was one of the pinnacles of my trip.

At the end when we went out to Novgorod, the oldest city in Russia, which is ironic because Novgorod literally translates to New City. We got to explore the countryside and experience a different side of Russian culture. By this time, I found that I had really strong bonds with everyone else that came on the trip, so strong that if I don’t see them for many years I know they will still greet me with open arms when we meet again. I was now also better acquainted with Russian culture. I found that the Russians are some of the most hospitable people, much like Egyptians.

I came back from the trip being a more enlightened and complete human being. These seven days were tremendous and I could hardly fathom how at first I thought about missing such an amazing experience. I know that I’ll be looking back at this many years from now still feeling the same gusto I feel right now.

Omar Torky (G10R)

Being a part of the Model United Nations this year was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only was I able to discuss important political issues as a member of the Security Council, but I also got to know students from different parts of the world. Together, we were able to pose solutions to many of the pressing issues that cause a threat to the world, like, the crisis in Syria, nuclear weapons in North Korea, and the spread of terrorism into Africa. One of the many advantages of the Nevsky MUN trip is that it allows you to develop new leadership skills as you participate in complex debates.

Personally, the highlight of this trip was experiencing the enriched Russian culture and making new friends with other students that I still am in contact with today. Throughout the trip, I visited the Hermitage Museum, Nikolaevsky Palace, Catherine Palace, and some of the most beautiful and breath-taking attractions I had ever seen. I would definitely recommend anyone to go on this trip so that they, too, could be inspired by the beauty of St. Petersburg and learn many new lessons on global issues.

Finally, I would like to thank Ms. Flake for her efforts on making this trip even possible. My involvement in this trip has truly made me more aware of the problems and issues that different countries go through every day and is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my senior year.
Sandy William (G12R)


Upcoming Events

Wednesday 13th March
Y8 GP Enterprise Celebration Event

Thursday 14th March
Secondary Sports Day

Sunday 17th March
World Book Day
Y6 Cyprus Parents’ Info Meeting

Sunday 17th to Tuesday 19th March
DP12 Oral Exams

Sunday 17 to Thursday 21st March
FS1 Family Week
Tuesday 19th March
DP11 AUC Visit – 8.30am-2.00pm
Wednesday 20th March
24 Hour Run

Thursday 21st March
FS1 Mothers’ Day/24 Hour Run Finale

Sunday 24th March

Sunday 24th March
Whole School Production Rehearsal

Monday 25th to Wednesday 27th March
Whole School Production

Wednesday 27th to Thursday 28th March
DP12 Final TOK Presentations

Thursday 28th March
Primary and Y7-9 and DP11 Term 2 Reports Issued

Friday 29th March
IA Bronze Practice