AKS Students Leading the Way in International Relations
Our annual, tri-nation, International Science Seminar, in collaboration with Gymnázium Boženy Nĕmcové (Gybon) in Hradec Králové (Czech Republic) and the Siebold Gymnasium in Würzburg (Germany).
“I could go on for hours about what I’ve learned. It was truly an irreplaceable experience and I’m already looking forward to the next seminar in Lytham” (student comment, further student comments in italics)
At AKS we believe that, although we are incredibly successful academically, the education we provide is far more than grades alone. Moreover, it is these additional skills that will prove to be invaluable when our pupils leave AKS. Our annual, tri-nation, International Science Seminar, in collaboration with Gymnázium Boženy Nĕmcové (Gybon) in Hradec Králové (Czech Republic) and the Siebold Gymnasium in Würzburg (Germany), provides opportunities for pupils to further develop themselves and highlights many of the attributes that we believe make AKS students so special.
We believe that an AKS student is knowledgeable; they can think critically and creatively, with well-developed skills of inquiry and the capacity to solve problems. Nothing highlights this more than our involvement in the scientific and historical aspects of this seminar.
During our first day in Hradec, we were fortunate to spend much of the day studying the science of our solar system and the properties of dry ice. Using this knowledge, pupils then created their own realistic, venting comet. This was a real highlight of the seminar and enjoyed by all. On the second day, we were able to expand our horizons further through our visit to the University of Hradec Králové, conducting many experiments, including observing alpha particles and electrons in a cloud chamber. On the Friday we visited IQLandia in Liberec. After a wonderful, bright and vibrant demonstration by one of IQLandia’s scientists, pupils were able to explore the exhibits further for themselves - a particular favourite was the lightning cage. During our trip to Prague, on the Saturday, we were able to visit Prague Planetarium, where pupils were expertly guided through the development of our universe by Jan Vesely.
“I found the focused astronomy side of the trip interesting and the experiments incredibly engaging”
“It was really cool experimenting with dry ice to make a comet (and our own ice cream)”
At AKS, we also strive to provide opportunities for pupils to develop their communication skills, whilst being mindful of their own wellbeing and that of others, acting with responsibility and compassion. Much of the science and history was done in groups of four, comprising of two Czech pupils, alongside one German and one English student. This was both interesting and challenging, and meant that pupils had to develop relationships and communicate well to solve problems. Many of these initial working relationships quickly developed into friendships. During our visits to Hradec Králové’s historic White Tower, a bell tower completed in 1589, as well as The Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock in Prague, our Czech friends become excellent tour guides. We learnt an incredible amount about the history and culture of the Czech Republic from these trips. Our pupils felt pride in being able to help the Czech and German students with their English, whilst practising their own German and learning a few phrases in Czech along the way.
“The trips, along with the hosting, allowed us to discover the absolute core of the Czech history and culture, something I am particularly interested in. The key roles, which this area has in global history, were fascinating. Genuinely, there is so much underrated beauty outside of Prague in Czechia. I am convinced that everyone should witness it”
The nature of this exchange highlights the tenacity and courage of our students, who have all taken themselves out of their comfort zone by staying with host families for the week. In a time, where these types of exchange are becoming increasingly rare, we feel lucky to be able to offer this incredible opportunity to our pupils, whilst saluting their bravery for participating. Our hosts were wonderful and so generous with their time, attention and money. Outside of the school-based programme, our pupils were taken to the cinema, museums, stately homes, on walks around the area, and to an ice hockey match, to name but a few. Despite Mountfield Hradec Králové losing, the ice hockey game was a highlight for many of the students, getting involved in an electric atmosphere, developing another common bond with our Czech and German friends, whilst finding a new sports team to support.
“During the ice hockey match, while we were chanting, it felt as if we are all linked or related (English, Czech and German). An amazing feeling was when Hradec Králové scored and we all screamed and waved our scarves, it cemented a true friendship between us all”
“The (host) family were so accommodating, it could feel like home at times, and the food and comfort were notably exceptional”
“My favourite part of the trip was making new friends and learning a little of a new language. I got invited to stay for a week with two of them next summer”
“On Sunday we had a great time in the mountains with our host families”
We believe that these are the unique experiences that make an AKS education special. It couldn’t have been possible without our continued cooperation with our Czech and German counterparts. This is a relationship that has been in place for over 25 years, since Julian Wilde (ex-Headteacher of KEQMS) first visited Gybon in Hradec Králové. Our 2019 visit to The Czech Republic only cemented this relationship further whilst highlighting to a new crop of AKS adventurers what a special place Gymnázium Boženy Nĕmcové is.