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During the Easter break, a group of Year 10 and 11 pupils spent time in Russia’s second largest city, enjoying the sights and consolidating their learning.

Year 10 Naomi says, ‘On our first full day in St Petersburg, everyone was looking forward to visiting a Russian school. The pupils’ English was very impressive and it was a wonderful insight into the Russian education system and life in St Petersburg.

On Friday, we travelled to the Peter and Paul Fortress. It was really interesting to think about the Russian Revolution from the cells of some of the prisoners it took, whilst the cathedral was grander than any church I had seen before. We then visited the World War Two memorial with its communist figures, which was striking and dramatic, with the added fun of attempting to translate the Russian inscriptions. After that, it was a drive to Catherine Palace. This was very gold! Indeed, everything that could have a chandelier hanging from it, or a decorative stove against it, did. It does make you wonder if the phrase, “Less is more” made it to the Romanovs. For dinner, we went to a traditional Russian restaurant so sampled, amongst other things, the famous borscht, which tastes less like beetroot than you would expect.

Year 10 Maya adds, ‘Throughout the trip we visited many holy buildings, which were all beautiful. This included the Trinity Cathedral, the Alexander Nevsky Lavra and the St Isaac’s Cathedral. And a lot of our time was spent at museums like The Hermitage and The Political History Museum, so we could get a better understanding of the city’s past. Whilst one focused on the royals, the other was more about the lives in the city and who ran as president during the years. I’d definitely recommend The Political History Museum if you are studying history or just enjoy learning about the past, as it allows you to see and hear from the perspective of the Russians.

‘For me, the highlight of the trip was Saturday evening, where we watched a folklore show at the Nikolaevsky Palace. I have honestly never laughed so much. There was singing and acting and dancing; the whole evening was so fun.

‘Sadly, our trip ended quickly. It was only six days but we had so much fun and the time just flew by. I think I speak for everyone in saying that our visit to Russia was successful and enjoyable.’