Posted: February 17th 2020
What a day! After meeting at Doncaster College for a coffee and to fire off some last-minute emails at 07.30am, we have finally arrived in Ptuj, Slovenia (via Zagreb) at roughly 10.00pm. At Zagreb airport, we were picked up by our Slovenian Counterparts, Simona (International Co-Ordinator) and Danilo (Sports Tutor) who drove us into Ptuj center and treated us to our first meal of the trip – horse burgers were on the menu, but we weren’t feeling that brave!
On our first full day in Ptuj, we have been left to our own devices to explore the city until around midday. We have explored the options of potential work placements for our students, while taking in the sights of the red-tile roofs and huge whitewashed castle from across the Drava River. One of the oldest towns in Slovenia, Ptuj (p-too-ee) is equal only to the capital Ljubljana in terms of historical importance.
The time is now 8pm and we are in the back of a taxi on our way back to Ptuj from a busy afternoon in the large city of Maribor where we managed to catch the first half of a football game and dine in an authentic Bosnian restaurant. We were brought here by one of the schools Engineering lecturers, Tanja for an afternoon of sightseeing – something which would be perfect for our students on one of their non-working days.
Day 3 and a very early start for our first day at school! The hours for students are 7am-2pm so after a brisk 15-minute walk in the -5 degree snow showers, we are glad to have finally arrived in the warm safety of Simona’s office.
We have just had a full tour of the impressive Solski Center (one of only 4 mixed vocation schools in the whole of Slovenia) which included ‘helping’ fashion students with their competition, seeing firsthand the welding skills of the engineering department and also visiting the separate Catering school which is about 10 minutes further down the road.
Mark has now gone off with Danilo to teach a class of Slovenian sport students. The English language skills of the students is very impressive, and we have been invited to go with them and another sports tutor to attend a division 1 Futsal match later this evening – following a tour of the castle! I am now job shadowing Simona, sharing ideas around our respective Erasmus + trips coming up soon. Simona is pleased with our newly designed website which features Luka, an IT student who attended a recent Erasmus+ work placement with ‘Amy Computer Boost’ in, Doncaster.
Once we arrive at school we are met by Simona and Tanja, who with the help of Mark’s newly formed relationship with the sports department, have arranged for us to attend first team training with the Slovenian First Division side Aluminij F.C. Amazing.
Training has just finished, and we are on our way back to school with two of the students. We have also agreed a potential placement with the club when we return with our students in the future. Result. The evening has ended with us attending school Handball practice following a final meal with the school staff at a Slovenian restaurant.
We say goodbye to Slovenia followed by a morning exploring the city of Zagreb before our early afternoon flight. Ptuj is the coolest place you’ve never heard of. We will be back!
Ptuj has a perfect location, next to the motorway connecting northern Europe with Croatia.
The town and school have so much to offer for both staff and students: an interesting history, beautiful architecture, great monuments, a thriving culture, and perfect work placement options.
Liam & Mark.
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