A delegation of ten Norwegian inclusive learning students and their teachers visited West London College this week, 6 – 10 February 2023, on an exchange trip funded by Erasmus+. As well as seeing the London sights and experiencing British culture, the students carried out work experience and attended classes with West London College students.
The four inclusive learning students – Daniel Tiller Thoresen, Rikke Viktoria Wego, Malin Aleksandra Jensen and Emil Bjaanes Kristoffersen – arrived with three teachers, two apprentices and the Head of Inclusive Learning on Sunday 5 February.
The group stayed in an apartment they had rented for their London trip. The first big difference they noticed was how busy London is compared to their hometowns of Lier and Drammen.
Daniel said: “The buses and tube trains are very crowded here. We are not used to this in Norway.”
On Monday the Norwegian students enjoyed a pizza party with West London College inclusive learning students.
Malin said: “I am making lots of new friends. Everyone is very excited when I tell them I am from Norway.”
The Norwegian students study Retail at their upper secondary school, Lier VGS, which has a strong focus on vocational education and routes to employment.
The students spent Tuesday gaining work experience at Delta Hotels by Marriott Heathrow. Daniel worked in the food and beverage section, Rikke Viktoria worked in the fitness centre and she also worked at Kensington Library. Emil worked in the kitchen, and Malin worked in the housekeeping department.
On Wednesday, Turid, Daniel, Emil and Malin took over the Pod, an outdoor kitchen in the Hammersmith and Fulham College piazza. At lunchtime, everyone was treated to free waffles topped with a speciality Norwegian cheese, which is sweet and creamy, or chocolate and caramel toppings.
The students wore Marius patterned sweaters for their trip; Marius is considered an icon of Norwegian design. The sweaters are symbolic of the outdoor activities Norwegians love, such as hiking and skiing.
Head of Inclusive Learning at Lier Upper Secondary School, Elin Johanne Skibenes Aas, said: “It was wonderful for the Norwegian students to visit London, and it is important for exchange visits to be fully inclusive and offer equal opportunities for everyone.”
West London College Head of Inclusive Learning Janet Lucitt-Canavan and Inclusive Learning teacher David Loughery were part of the team who visited Norway to set up the exchange visit and inclusive learning partnership projects.
David said: “It was a fantastic experience to exchange resources and ideas. It was very eye-opening to see how far ahead some of their sustainability projects were. We want to aim for these too and to provide the different work placements on offer.”
Janet said: “For the future, we hope that West London College inclusive learning students will be able to visit Norway.”