Biennial debating tour has a few words to say about touring.
Words: MINH-QUAN NGUYEN (DEBATING CAPTAIN) • EDITED BY RYAN JOHNSTONE (DEPUTY HEAD OF ENGLISH AND TEACHER IN CHARGE OF DEBATING)
Debaters and staff outside Windsor Castle
Debaters Sam Myers, Nivae Anandaganeshen and Allan Quanchi enjoy afternoon tea with our new Principal, Mr Tom Batty
Last December, 20 students and three staff members took part in what is starting to become a biennial tour to England and France. For two weeks, we raced through the sights of the two countries, seeing many of Europe’s most famous landmarks and managing to debate against some highly competitive schools.
During our stays in Oxford and Cambridge, we visited many of the famous Oxbridge colleges, such as Christ Church College, Trinity College and King’s College (famed for its chapel). Tours of each town took us to places such as the Bodleian Library. While in Oxford we caught the train down to Windsor, where we spent a morning touring through the castle.
Between stays in the two university towns, we spent a night at Stratford-upon-Avon, where we passed Anne Hathaway’s cottage and watched a theatre performance of Noughts and Crosses (a story inspired by Romeo and Juliet) at Civic Hall.
The final five days of the UK leg of the tour were spent in London. Among the many places we visited were the Houses of Parliament (where we were lucky enough to watch a debate), Covent Garden, the Globe Theatre and the renowned department store, Harrods. We also watched a live recording of a BBC radio play at Broadcasting House, and saw the acclaimed West End musical We Will Rock You.
Our explorations of London, Oxford, Cambridge and Stratford-upon-Avon were highlights of the UK leg of the tour, but the debating aspect proved to be just as enjoyable. We were privileged to debate against some of the UK’s finest schools, such as Eton, the Leys and Westminster, all of which have outstanding debating credentials.
Among the many debating topics were the merits and morality of stem cell research, the future of the Commonwealth, the decriminalisation of cannabis and a ban on nuclear weaponry. The experience of arguing against debaters of the highest standard was enjoyable and of immense benefit to everyone, as illustrated by the very competitive nature of all the debates.
From England it was on to Paris, which proved to be an entirely different experience. In the space of a few busy days, we ascended the Eiffel Tower, toured through the magnificent grounds of the Palace of Versailles, passed by myriad famous sights on a Seine boat tour, and visited the Louvre and many other galleries and museums.
Perhaps the highlight was watching the Eiffel Tower lights display from a superb vantage point on the Arc de Triomphe. While in Paris, some of the students also had their first taste of snails, which by all accounts tasted like chicken.
Thanks must go to all the staff members who were involved in planning and organising the various aspects of the tour. Their tireless efforts ensured that the trip ran smoothly and was as enjoyable as possible. In particular, the efforts of the three accompanying staff members – Ms Suzette Boyd, Mr Ryan Johnstone and Mr David Brown – were much appreciated by all. GS
Scotch College: ABN 86 852 826 445 ACN 005 650 395 CRICOS 00624A (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students)