Crossing Borders in the 21st Century

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On Friday 12th June nineteen pupils from Rainey Endowed travelled to Queens University Belfast to participate in a series of workshops.  All five schools in the Magherafelt area participated as part of the Magherafelt Learning Partnership’s (MLP’s) programme of shared projects.
When we arrived at the Medical and Biology Centre, City Hospital, we were all separated and put into three groups of thirty, six students from each school.


There were three different work-shops which covered different aspects of our topic ‘Crossing Borders.’  Each group went to a different room to begin with.  My group began at the ‘Refugees and Asylum-Seeking: Opening Borders in Hard Times’ workshop.
Here we discussed topics like equality and why people feel the need to leave their country. This helped us to know what other people have to go through and got us discussing in our groups (which contained pupils from each of the MLP schools) important topics which face society today.
We then moved onto the work-shop which covered NI’s borders. Here we got to test our general knowledge on ‘An Expansive View of Northern Ireland’s Borders’.  This tested us and most of us struggled as it was very challenging with lots of new information to digest.  However, research does require us to go where we haven’t gone before and this workshop certainly demanded that of us.
We then had a break for lunch, where we got to enjoy the light refreshments that Queens kindly provided for us and also to eat our own packed lunches. Some of us even bought an ice lolly from the café in Queens.  This also was a great opportunity for us to get a group picture.

Finally we moved onto the work-shop about ‘Immigration and Emigration Patterns in Britain and Ireland’. This work-shop covered topics such as population movement.  We discussed about how many people moved in and out of countries and why this happens. This was good fun and many of us already had knowledge on this topic from Year 9 Geography.
On behalf of all the students who visited QUB I would like to say a big ‘Thank You’ to the university staff who made us feel very welcome and gave us a very good day out which enabled us to learn a lot of new information on these topics some of which can be controversial.  This was a fantastic experience and it was great to be able to get to know other pupils from different parts of the community.
Mark Coyle Year 9 (Rainey Endowed School)

Full document is here