Leila Berishvili

Nino Nijaradze

If you have studied English for years the greatest dream you can have is going to great Britain. Even when our plane landed at Heathrow on May 10, we could not believe that thanks to the Newport-Kutaisi Association this dream was coming true.

Mrs. Rosemary Butler, the Chairman of the Newport-Kutaisi association was so kind as to meet us at the airport herself . If was on our way to Newport that  she showed us the programme of our visit and we realized that it was not going to be a holiday. It did not take us long to see that we had to live up ti the image of the ‘wonderful Georgians’ who speakers and know more about British literature than anybody else in the world.

Fortunately our first day was Sunday, according to our programme an ‘informal day with the Ford family’. Any feeling of awkwardness and natural fear of making a mistake disappeared from the firs minute of  meeting Rosemary and David Ford. Their amazing hospitality and kindness served as a beautiful beginning to the visit that turned out to be even more exeiting  than we had expected.

Real work started  the next day when we met Mr. Graham Bingham, Director of Education Newport County Borough Council. He gave us an overview of the Education System in Wales. This introduction was followed by days spent in different types of educational institutions. This included Nash Tertiary Collage, duffrin Primary School, ysgol Gymraig Cwmbran (Welsh schol), Pillgwenly  Primary Education Centre, Ystrad Munach Tertiary Collage Newport. Being prepared to see a striking difference between Georgian and British schools we were still astonished at the facilities that  were available for the pupils: wonderful sports facilities and art suites, well-equipped science laboratories, school orchestras and of course, access to the latest computer technology. It was  an invaluable experience for us to meet teachers whose expertise and commitment we greatly admired. However what impressed us most was the atmosphere of fellowship , mutual respect and  understanding between the teachers and the pupils.

Our programme included attending the Presentation of Awards at Caerleon Comprehensive school,   a visit to Occupational Therapy Department at St. Cadoc’s Hospital, invitations to Caerleon Rotary club and Soroptimists international. We were honoured to attend the mayor Making Ceremony at Newport Civic Centre and take part in the Mayor’s Parade.

Busy days were followed, by pleasant spent with wonderful families who kindly invited us giving us a chance to relax in a friendly warm atmosphere. These evenings, when we met lovely people, got to know British home and family life and enjoyed delicious British food, meant a lot to us.

Our Newport friends arranged unforgettable visits to London, Oxford, Stratford and Cardiff which gave us an opportunity to see with our own eyes the places we had been dreaming of for years.

We do hope that our friends will forgive us if we do not manage to mention all the people who gave us a warm welcome to our twin town and who saw the sights with us, introducing their culture, giving us invaluable lessons in English and patiently waiting for us when we slipped into shops.