At Avicenna we started in this year of 2023 to give our most dedicated and hard-working students unparalleled opportunities to take part in travel and study programmes in the so-called Erasmus Group Mobilities as part of our Erasmus projects, supported by the EU Commission, intent on a full swing internationalisation. These mobilities bring us closer to other EU high schools deepening ties at every level and building long lasting relationships for academic, career and friendship purposes.

On 19 March we took a plane to Rome with 10 very motivated AIC students to make Avicenna history as the very first group to travel abroad to participate in international projects. From Rome we took a hired bus to arrive in Foligno, our destination in the Central Italian region of Umbria also called the green heart of Italy for its many hills covered by thick forests.

We stayed at a refurbished medieval hostel Palazzo Pierantoni close to the city centre where we attended a local high school Liceo Classico Federico Frezzi-Beata Angela for classes of modern digital competences like Artificial Reality, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality conducted by a mathematician by trade Paolo Russo.

Our students also took part in various joint project activities with other schools from Greece, Cyprus, Hungarians from Debrecen and with pupils of some other Italian schools, 10 schools in total. These activities involving artificial intelligence and Lego play were carried out in other imponent locations such as in Palazzo Candiotti and Palazzo Trinci.

We cannot forget about the dining possibilities either as we got to eat out in various restaurants for lunch and for dinner alike to the delight of our students. With the exception of one single eatery, we are safe to say that it was one of a kind of a culinary pleasure where our students could discover new and authentic Italian dishes prepared in perfect Italian fashion with traditional standards in sight.

Cultural programmes were also high on the agenda when we visited nearby cities like Assisi and Perugia. In Assisi Dr. Shahrokh also accompanied us to the local school up on the hills and then for a city walk and Cathedral visit. The day after he delivered his speech back in Foligno at a conference organised by EGINA about the future of education.

The weekend organised and guided by Avicenna was also busy as on Saturday we went to Rome for a city walk to discover the historical city centre stopping by fascinating sites as the Trevi Fountain, Palazzo Barberini, the Baths of Diocleziano, state ceremonial church at the Piazza della Repubblica, Campidoglio, Palazzo Venezia, Monumento della Patria, Foro Romano and also the world-famous Coliseum (Colosseo). We walked up to the Spanish Steps ( scalinata della trinitá dei monti)  and entered the fashion district then took the metro back to the Termini train station to get back late in the evening to Foligno.

On Sunday we took another train ride (of 3 hours back and forth) to the Tuscan capital Florence when our students were shown around the city on both banks of the river Arno. We also went uphill to reach Piazzale Michelangelo that gave us a truly spectacular sight to the town.

On our last day we went to Perugia where our students tried out the mini metro that took us to the hilltop city centre. Here the students got a few hours of self-time to discover the chocolate shops this town is so famous for.

These two weeks of mobility experience went so smoothly and gave us such a rich heritage of experience, long lasting memories, newly acquired skills and deep friendships, true group cohesion in a wonderful Italian setting with mostly good weather that I am sure no one involved will ever forget about it, we will only promote it and repeat it with new Avicenna participants for many years to come. Mr. Reza’s contribution immortalised the whole trip as he was never tired of taking photos and shooting videos or register interviews. This Erasmus experience will only live even longer and will reach and affect thousands of people for his tireless and unrelenting efforts.

The second week we visited another school in another little town called Nocera Umbra where we spent 3 superbly successful working days with activities in the science lab, virtual reality lab, web radio studio and robotics and applied physics lab where the teacher even showed us a sizable Tesla coil at work. We were all knocked off our feet with the amazing hospitality on part of the Staff and Maurizio and Laura the two vice-principals. 

One week after our stay in Nocera Umbra a regional newspaper article and also an online article came out with a photo featuring some of our students and describing Sigismondi’s ground-breaking experience with us.

Upon returning our students did their mobility experience presentations one-by-one in front of Avicenna’s audience, including our Italian Erasmus students themselves from the same Umbria region, where everyone could hear their stories at first hand giving it a nice all-round finish.

Foligno, Umbria 19 March- 1 April

Article by Steve Szabó

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