CERN (Geneva)

Last week was the time: I was able to take my students to Geneva, again. Just like before, 3 years ago, we would be visiting CERN, the nuclear research facility for particle physics.

The previous two years I did not organise this excursion, last year because I had just given birth so I wasn’t at school. But this year, the students showed some enthusiasm and asked, no begged me to go. So we did!

Tuesday, March 8th, we left for the airport after school. Like last time, there were occasional moments of stress. We almost missed our flight because we got caught up at Starbucks. Whoops! One of my students got me a free coffee though. Finally some recognition for my commitment! 😉  At the gate, one of the girls discovered she had left her boarding pass at customs. Thankfully we live in the age of smartphones so I was able to download it to my iPhone.

For two of the girls it was their first flight but apart from some turbulence in the beginning, it was an uneventful flight.

We spent the night in the Geneva hostel, the boys in one dormitory and the girls in another. I shared a double room with my colleague. This was the cheapest and most sociable solution. I had booked us a table in advance, in an affordable restaurant not far from our hostel so we enjoyed a nice dinner. The ambiance in the group was great. After a yummy cheese fondue (for my part) and, of course, some unavoidable selfies (*sigh*), we walked into Geneva by night.

We entered a cozy bar and had a cocktail, some of us less ‘virgin’ cocktails than others (guilty!), before we went to bed. Turned out sleeping wasn’t in their plans before 2:30 am and it took an intervention from the hostel staff to finally get the students to sleep.

We appeared at breakfast, barely awake. Our eyes opened up soon though, when we took a walk beside the Geneva lake in the sunshine. Such a lovely day! Here too, the necessary selfies were taken… But at least the group dynamic was good!

 

 

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After a pit stop at the Starbucks (coffeeeeeeee and mmm cinnamon buns!), we were finally ready to take the tram to CERN.

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They welcomed us in our own language, something they take into account at CERN, which is really nice. We had a quick lunch in the CERN restaurant (because the prices here are much more agreeable than in Geneva city) and were given an introductory presentation.

We were told we would be visiting the data centre (where they keep all the computerservers) and the antimatter factory. That was great for me, because those were parts of CERN I hadn’t  yet seen. The data centre was perhaps less interesting for my students, because this isn’t something they learn much about in school. Unfortunately, you can’t choose which sites you’ll be visiting. All’s said and done, you’re at CERN, there’s no cause for complaints!

It was the first time giving a tour for our guide. She tried her best and did well, but not everything was clear to my students I think. But they did find it an interesting tour!

 

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Such a fun group!

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After the tour we returned to they airport and then home without any trouble.

My fifth year students can’t wait until they’re seniors so they can go too, next year. I better start planning then, I guess…?

 

Turns out they have some cool technology at CERN (shocker, right?!). I just have to share this video with you:

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