On 27 April, the Australian Science and Mathematics School exported seven of its most intrepid travellers to Cornwall, England. Their journey began at the Adelaide Airport, where Lillian, Nevie, Amber, Rosey, Renato, and their two teachers; Charlotte and Kyran, stood with their plane tickets clutched eagerly in hand.

Charlotte and Kyran had spent many conversations discussing how to best steer the group through the various airports on the journey there. It quickly became apparent that the real challenge would be keeping up with the students, who proved more than capable of navigating the airports of Adelaide, Doha, Heathrow, and Newquay without assistance.

ASMS students visiting Geevor Tin Mine in Cornwall

The students’ independence was quickly put to the test. Within minutes of arriving at the Camborne Science and International Academy, the students were introduced to their host families with whom they would be staying during their ten days in Cornwall. We also met a local, who upon hearing our accent, came and struck up a conversation about how he actually grew up in Australia as a small boy before moving with his family back to Cornwall. “A tiny place it was”, he mentioned nonchalantly. “Somewhere you’ve never of heard of probably. Torrensville, Adelaide”. The emotional and cultural connections between our distant lands were forming quickly.

The following days began to pass rapidly as we were constantly presented with opportunities to explore both the Academy and the local countryside. On our first day we were taken to a seal sanctuary and the following day to the local ‘Obby-Oss’ festival at Padstow. The countryside was exceptionally beautiful, with the students constantly glued to the vehicle windows regardless of where we travelled. Some things we learnt quickly about the Cornish, such as their love of clotted cream, pasties, and the peculiar greeting “alright there me lover/handsome?”. Other Cornish traditions, such as the Obby-Oss festival were less straight-forwards and we are still trying to figure them out to this day.

We also learnt some more subtle things about the Cornish, such as their strong pride regarding their historic role in the development of tin mining. We visited one of the largest mines, Geevor Tin Mine, to learn more about what was once the area’s most important industry. After delving into one of the tunnels, we went to visit the locker room, colloquially known as the ‘drying-room’. Following the collapse of the tin mining industry, on 16 February 1990 the miners were collectively laid off and simply walked out of the building in disgust, leaving almost all of their belongings behind. The room hasn’t been touched since that day, and the ghosts that haunt what was once the hub of social and economic activity for the region felt very real indeed.

After spending an amazing ten days in Cornwall, it was time to take the flight to London. Many tears were shed on our final day, as the students said goodbye to their host families. It was plain to see that lifelong friendships and memories had been forged.

The evergreen undulating fields of Cornwall were quickly replaced by the bustling streets of London. We had only two and a half days to experience as much as possible, so we began learning the ins and outs of the London Underground, more commonly known as ‘The Tube’. This quick learning paid off, as we were soon tubing non-stop between Buckingham Palace, the Natural History Museum, Trafalgar Square, Harrods, the Tower of London, the London Eye, the Apollo Theatre to see Wicked, and many, many more destinations. We budgeted our money and energy perfectly to get back on the plane to Adelaide and promptly fell into exhausted sleep.

We would like to extend our endless gratitude to the parents, organisers, teachers and host families that made this once in a lifetime opportunity possible. It is an experience that will be forever cherished and never forgotten.

~ Lillian, Nevie, Amber, Rosey, Renato, Charlotte, and Kyran.