More than just a school - we're a community!

Today we hear about another wonderful initiative taken by an International House school to save harmful carbon emissions.

Our school in Arezzo, Italy, told us about their challenge to virtually walk to Spain and back before Christmas! 

'At Accademia Britannica IH Arezzo, we feel that we’re more than just a school – we’re a community. When we saw the 40,000km challenge, we knew wanted to take part!

Maria VittoriaAt first, we weren’t sure how to implement it. Would it be a competition between classes? Or maybe something just for staff and teachers? While discussing during a team meeting, we realised just how much we loved being outdoors. Teacher Maria Vittoria shared:

“I've always liked walking and cycling ever since I was a child. Arezzo is the perfect city for cycling/walking: there are many paths which connect different parts of the city and you don’t have to worry about finding a parking space! Besides that, every time I use my bike or walk I reduce the impact on the environment and I also exercise and enjoy the beautiful sights of the city!”

In the end, we wanted it to be a nice bonding project for all staff and something to showcase to our students and their families to encourage them to take up more walking and cycling. We decided to think of the project as one big collaborative task with each person doing their part to reach the goal!

Then came the hard part – where do we walk to? We brainstormed ideas but nothing was connecting with us, which meant it wouldn’t connect with our students. Then finally we had the idea to “walk” to our friends in IH Lacunza where we’d meet a surprise VIP to share with our students. The walk from Arezzo would be 1,391km and we thought we just might be able to make it by December.

Imagine our surprise when we’d reached our goal in the first month! We couldn’t believe it and our motivation grew even more. We also got to share the surprise VIP – former IH Arezzo teacher Filip! We met some of his former students were surprised to see him in our newsletter and on social media!

Since reaching our initial destination, we’ve decided to continue our journey to Catalonia where we’ll “meet” the parents of Judit, one of our teachers. We’re nearly there and we can’t wait to give them a virtual hug! After that, we plan to return home just in time to celebrate Christmas.

Pat Clay - School DirectorIt’s been a wonderful experience so far for all of us on the Accademia Britannica IH Arezzo team. It’s brought a bigger awareness to use about the importance of reducing carbon emissions as much as possible. Pat Clay, our School Director, joked that it might take her about 2 hours if she had to walk to school from home, but participating in the project has helped her appreciate the time she does have the opportunity to walk.

IngaWhen asked about her thoughts on the project so far, Teacher Inga said, 

“I love going for walks and runs, especially in the woods, and if this challenge is motivating people to do more exercise and hopefully use their cars less, that can only be a good thing!”

Elisa from our Exams Office also had a playful insight to the project, saying:

“It’s a beautiful project. Who knows how it would actually be walking all around the world – how tiring!”

The 40,000km project has inspired us to make a long-lasting commitment to the environment and we’ve already planned events and activities for our students to raise awareness about sustainability issues. We plan to grow plants in the classrooms, complete school-wide writing projects, start a bulletin board to showcase the different countries we learn about in lessons, and start an art project in school to show the changes to nature in the four seasons'.

About the 40 k challenge

The IH Arezzo Team are conducting their walks as part of a network wide initiative to reduce carbon emissions by changing our habits and collectively walking 40,000 km instead of using carbon emitting transport. Find out more here