10 Italian students accompanied by their three teachers from the Sigismondi High School in Nocera Umbra (Umbria region) joined AIC for 10 days in the framework of an Erasmus grant supported EU student mobility for the purposes of scholastic and cultural exchange between EU high schools.

Our Italian guests arrived on 7 December and were picked up at the Ferihegy International Airport to be taken directly to Cinkota Residence. In the afternoon of the same day, defying the harsh winter conditions we took them to the City Centre to visit the Heroes’ Square and its surroundings including the nearby museums and the Széchényi Bath frequented by thousands of Italian tourists every year.

The next day, on 8 December the students from Nocera Umbria joined our scheduled AIC classes in grade 10 that was previously selected by them. The classes were followed by them in a regular fashion every day until 16 December from 9 am in the morning to 2 pm in the afternoon save for a few occasions when the later classes had to be skipped to give space for an earlier start of our afternoon programmes.

Despite the cold weather and windy conditions, we have organised afternoon cultural activities for every day, many of these were also joined by our grade 9 and grade 10 AIC students. To kick off the joint programmes our guest students made their school presentation in front of the audience formed by our students, that was a resounding success, something we have to keep up with when going to Italy in March for a two-week international Erasmus project work. 

Among the many cultural programmes, we visited the Saint Stephan Basilica, the Christmas Fair in front of the Basilica that has just secured Europe’s best and most visited Christmas Fair award for a record third time in a row, the Budapest Central Market where we invited them for a traditional Hungarian strudel tasting. Talking about delicacies, the chimney cake won the day so much so that they wanted to eat one every day. Visiting the Hungarian Parliament was definitely a highlight of their stay in Budapest.

During the weekend we visited the Castle region on the Buda Hills and we also went to the nearby  city of artists Szentendre. Here we were set to try out the famous fried bread, the lángos but due to the rather wintery weather we had to look for shelter after a stroll down the main street full of fancy shops selling handmade artifacts. Thus, we ended up in a pizzeria where the pizza was really outstanding even for Italian standards.

The unforgettable highlights of the next week were without a doubt the so-called treasure hunt in town where we were set about to find the hidden miniature Kolodko statuettes scattered around important landmarks of this beautiful city, and a day trip to Vienna. Two important capital cities in the same week.

In Vienna we headed straight to the Schöhnbrunn Schloss that meant traversing the whole city by bus giving us the experience of a city safari. After the Castle of Elisabeth, we went to Albertina Palace to marvel at the one of the richest collections of paintings in the world. 

Bidding farewell the day after was not an easy sight by any means, our dear Italian guests found it very hard to depart, to leave us behind after such an intensely lived, busy 10 days spent in constant activities and joint engagements to the biggest delight of all of us.

It was a first time for us as well, the first time we welcomed a group of students from abroad and we had the honour to host these fantastic young people and their equally fantastic teachers at Avicenna making it a true community experience second to none!

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