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Escola Pia Tàrrega

Tom, the Conversation Assistant at Escola Pia Tàrrega, has written to us to share his thoughts on the Programme, and specially about the St. Patrick”s Day celebrations that the school held with his help. Tom is having a good time in Tàrrega, with the school and host family, and we know that they are also delighted to host them.
Thanks a lot for writing, Tom!


tomphillips2St Patrick’s Day: what a wonderful invention. A day that, for me, would otherwise be spent saying ‘potatoes’ and other mild racial slurs rather more frequently than is appropriate, became instead a musical, colourful celebration. One of my particular favourite activities was lacing a chocolate cake with healthy portions of Guinness, and serving it to the most ‘enthusiastic’ group in school.

Everything didn’t (as ever!) go quite as planned. One lesson started in the light hearted innocence of colouring in a shamrock, and ended in the finer theological details of the Holy Trinity and its consequences on Christian worship. Another lesson was lost in the overwhelmingly difficult pronunciation of Irish names in folkta.

tomphillips1I like to think I did at least a little good, though: I banished for one day the less-than-completely-tuneful panpipe renditions of the classics; ‘Hey Jude’, ‘The Sound of Silence’ and ‘Mamma Mia’, and replaced them with the liveliest Irish jig I could find.

Each class in Primaria prepared an emblem to wear on the day. I’m no Trinny and Susannah (insert other knowledgeable fashion person here) but bedecked in their Celtic crosses, leprechaun hats and horsey-pattern things, I thought the kids looked quite cool. I’ll let you judge for yourselves.

tomphillips3My vain attempts at festival organising aside, this school has been as enchanting and captivating as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The buildings, the relationships between staff, students and parents, and the atmosphere of love and community that flows through these corridors and colonnades have held their magic over me for more than two months now. It is a pleasure to spend every day working in this historical school, and living with everyone else who has been lucky enough to fall under its spell.

Tom Phillips, Tàrrega