STUDENTS with a love for learning languages and experiencing different cultures are reaping the benefits of a new Erasmus+ project involving King’s Ely and schools in Italy, France and Turkey.

King’s Ely has recently hosted the first student exchange element of ‘RISE the Life’, an exciting new, two-year Erasmus+ funded programme involving three partner schools – Liceo Roiti in Ferrara, Italy; Lycée Saint Cricq in Pau, France; and Erbakir Fen Lisesi in Denizli, Turkey.

Thirty students and members of staff from the partner schools spent a week at King’s Ely, enjoying a whole host of lessons and activities themed around renewable energy, including Science workshops to test and evaluate a range of wind turbines and a Geography project where pupils evaluated a variety of Geographic Information System (GIS) data to decide on the optimal location for a wind farm in the local area.

The busy schedule also involved King’s Ely and partner school pupils working together in teams to present their projects and findings to staff and students, a talk by Adam Fellows, an offshore wind energy expert, and the planting of a tree in the school grounds to commemorate RISE the Life.

The tree is a Liquidambar Styraciflua tree, also known as a Sweet Gum tree, which are regarded for their carbon dioxide absorbing abilities. The species can absorb up to 50kg of carbon dioxide in one year and they produce enough oxygen each day to support two adults.

Of course, no Erasmus+ exchange would be complete without plenty of cultural experiences and sightseeing, so visiting students and staff also enjoyed tours of Ely Cathedral, excursions to Cambridge and London, and trips to several local amenities.

RISE the Life is running until 2021 and King’s Ely students and staff will travel to Italy, France and Turkey for the next stages of the project, which will look at the roles of wave, solar and geothermal power in meeting future energy needs.

Jane Thomas, Vice Principal Academic at King’s Ely, said: “This was the first stage of RISE the Life and what a success it was! Whether it was collaborating together on research projects or enjoying a bowling evening with our newly made friends, it was a really fulfilling week and we are all thoroughly looking forward to the next stages of the project, investigating wave energy in France, geothermal power in Italy and solar power in Turkey. Thank you to everyone who made the first part of RISE the Life such a success, including all students and staff, and of course our host families, without whom the project would not be able to function.”

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