March 25, 2024

It’s Not What I thought it Would be

In a recent article, reality TV star Gemma Collins recounted a formative experience at age 12, traveling with Theatretrain to the Czech Republic. While she saw it as a holiday, her former teacher reflects on the deeper significance of such trips, urging readers to embrace cultural differences for personal growth.

In the Sunday Times last week the reality TV star Gemma Collins, wrote of her experiences aged 12 when she went away with Theatretrain to perform in the Czech Republic.

She explained it as the shock of her life and remembered saying, “Get me out of here it’s disgusting.” She said the sink fell off the wall and there was an awful orange and brown carpet and the food was indescribably bad.”

But I think she missed the point. She described it as a holiday but it wasn’t – it was a theatre trip to another country and we were the guests of a little Czech town where I don’t think they had ever hosted an international event before.

When you go on such a trip – and over the years we have done many – you don’t go as a tourist – you go as a traveller and you experience another country different to your own.

What she was experiencing was a culture shock. Finding another country’s life, culture and food different from your own can be eye-opening.

Then you have two choices. You can see it as an experience, learn about other people and expand your thinking or you can close down on it and condemn it for not being like home. But that’s the point.

They say travel broadens the mind but if you expect it to be like home you’ve lost something. If you go to Spain and insist on eating British food you are shutting off the possibility of a different life.

It challenges you at a deeper level and shakes you up a bit and I think that’s good for you. New experiences may not always meet your expectations but they add to your understanding if you let them.

Back to Gemma – so there she and her mother were with the biggest suitcase and they simply booked into a hotel. But I still know some of those fellow travellers and although they might have agreed with her about the décor, the food, the surroundings and especially the language they just got on with it. Some of them tell me today that it helped them know themselves better and, in that way, it was a great experience for them – travel did broaden their mind.

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

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