Design for Change “ICAN” Global Summit – ITALY

Group picture in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

With months of preparation a team of 42 student and teachers set out from India to Italy full of excitement and eager to see all that this trip has to offer. The details below are the accounts of the trip written by the student themselves:
November 24: We took our breakfast and left the hotel around 9:30. We reached Venice soon,  and it took only about a mere 30 minutes to reach there. Then we went on a water taxi ride . We got to know many things about Venice , like it has 108 islands and 64 districts! We really enjoyed the rainy weather.

For lunch we ate pizza and the quantity was more than sufficient! We loved it. Then  we went to the church, and Piazza San Marco which means Saint Mark’s Square in English which is the largest and most important square in Venice. It has  been a popular meeting place for Venetians and visitors alike for long . We also went to Vecchia Murano Glass Factory. During this visit master glass blowers sculpted a vase and horse right in front of our eyes. Their technique was flawless and we learned that they had to finish each piece within 3 minutes and then place it in the cooling unit for 24 hours with a high breakage rate of 75%. That means that each piece has to be made over 5 times  before a successful one is created. After the glass factory , we went shopping in the small lanes that spread out from the Main Square.  We were so tired after that. We ate dinner at 7:30 at  the same wonderful  place!

Masters of glass making in Venice Island. This trade is passed from generation to generation for the last 700 years. AMAZING!!!

November 25 : We woke up  early morning today at 5 am we had our breakfast and checked out from the hotel and left for Pisa. It was a four hour long journey. We reached Pisa then we had our lunch as we were very excited to see Leaning Tower Of Pisa so we had finished our lunch very quickly.

We all were busy taking pictures of Leaning Tower. Then our guide of the day arrived and he told very amazing facts about Leaning Tower. It was built from 1173 to 1399. Its height is 60 metres. The Leaning Tower is  actually the Bell Tower of Cathedral which is beside the Tower. It sinks every year by 1mm because its constructed just 2 metres above sea level. The Government has taken various steps to restore this precious monument.We went inside the Cathedral We were allowed to click photos of different paintings which depicted various stages in life of Jesus.Then we sat for a while in the Cathedral and enjoyed a peaceful state of mind. Then the guide also told us about the Pisa Baptistery and we also saw the cemetery where Christians were buried. We were free for thirty minutes for any shopping and clicking photos.Then we left for Rome. We reached Rome after a long journey. We had our dinner then we checked in the hotel , it was a tiring day but a exciting one.

Then we sat for a while in the Cathedral and enjoyed a peaceful state of mind. Then the guide also told us about the Pisa Baptistery and we also saw the cemetery where Christians were buried. We were free for thirty minutes for any shopping and clicking photos.Then we left for Rome. We reached Rome after a long journey. We had our dinner then we checked in the hotel , it was a tiring day but a exciting one.

Tour Guide speaks about the history of not only the Leaning Tower of Pisa but also the surrounding monuments including the Cathedral of Pisa and the graveyard that is next to the Church.

November 26 : After sleeping for a sweet amount of time, our first day in Rome had an early beginning, with the reporting time at 6:45AM! We had a quick breakfast and discovered that we have several other Indian schools staying at our hotel as well for the Design for Change conference! It was amazing to finally find other Indians in Italy! This was followed by us boarding our buses and starting our day with a tour of Vatican City!

All of us were super excited as we all were aware of how its the smallest country in the world, 44 hectares only; smaller than Berhampur and were curious to see how it was in real! After a one-hour drive with a beautiful view of amazing graffiti and aesthetic scenery, we reached the city! All schools from India assembled in one place and we finally got to talk to them. After collecting our tickets and being briefed by our tour guide, we headed towards the beautiful, one of a kind, terrace. Having taken loads of pictures, we moved towards the museum. The greatest paintings and sculptures of Romans were displayed. We were astonished to see the finest work of Michelangelo, one of the world’s most famous sculptures. Even more fascinating were the stories behind each detail in each sculpture. He had truly brought the sculptures to life. We were told by our tour guide about how the Pope forced Michelangelo, famous for his sculptures, to not sculpt but to paint. Michelangelo did that with perfection as well. Next we moved towards the most important church in Christendom, Saint Peter’s Basilica. The dimensions of the church, along with the embellishments were absolutely mind boggling. It was a peaceful place.

Just a glimpse of the magic of the Vatican City. Students explain and describe what they see and what they think about this ancient city.

We had the opportunity to endure some of the world’s greatest artistic treasures, including the Sistine Chapel which has the second most important painting in the world after Mona Lisa. The history of these beautiful places were amazing to know about. This plethora of history was followed by delicious lunch after which we again started a walking tour around the Vatican City. We had another tour guide, another pair of headsets and another beautiful place to discover. We walked around the streets of Vatican with our guide explaining to us the history of the neighbour hoods, their culture and the people. We got to Trastevere, the south of Vatican City, and had a little free time there for pictures. We even got some ice cream! We headed back to where we had begun our walking tour from, handed over our headsets, boarded our bus to get to the opening dinner of the Design For Change conference with all other schools from India. We were shocked to see the preparations made for us at a place close to out hotel, with a DJ and amazing food! We danced our hearts out and ate till the point where we couldn’t get up anymore! It was an amazing and a very happening day and we were very tired, we returned to our beds to get a good nights sleep-we had to restore our energy for the next day.

November 27 : Our first day at the conference was amazing and even included the ICAN dance that was done by students from all over the world. It started out with a beautiful sunrise and then a bus ride to the Summit. After that we joined the main opening session which was enormous and had the opportunity to introduce ourselves to other change makers from all over the world. We also received our Design for Change ‘ICAN’ conference packets name tags.

The entire ICAN student summit dancing to ICAN Theme Song

After the introduction session to the conference we headed to the Roman Colosseum. What an amazing adventure. Finally got to check off something from our bucket lists. seeing the Colosseum with our own eyes was a wonderful way to bring history to life, making our text books tangible.

SAIONEER, Jhankruta, explains the harsh yet glorious history and interesting facts about the Roman Colosseum during our visit .

The day ended with a walk up to capital hill and then finally dinner.

November 28: Today we woke up to the fact that we would be having lots of fun playing different games and activities at the Second Day of DFC and, also plenty time for shopping!!! But this feeling wasn’t the same after breakfast! Our group was split up into parts- SIS and SIRS. As soon as we finished our breakfast we headed towards our bus which would lead us to our destination! The SIS group was really late at reaching the destination i.e. Instituto PIO. Upon reaching there we had a few presentations from different groups of various countries and there was a question and answer round too. Once a few presentations were done, we played fun activities in groups of many students from different countries. The game was more than fun!!

Finally after a long wait which felt like years, we stuffed our stomach with some tasty lunch and headed off for shopping!!! We were given 1.5 hours to lighten our wallets. We all a great time in the mall and were headed to a ristorante (Italian for restaurant) for our dinner. A typical Italian dinner, is what we had, pizza and pasta. With filled stomachs and tired bodies, we headed to our hotels to retire and refresh our mind and soul with lots hope and excitement for the next day!!

SAI International School students meeting and participating in ice breaker activities with ‘ICAN’ Superheros from all over the world.

November 29 : So our day started with a very lazy morning and all of us had to get up early in the morning and come down for breakfast and then after breakfast we went off for the 2nd day of our design for change conference. All of us were absolutely excited for the day because we had to present our project in front of a very happy and cheerful crowd. We had a blast on the stage because we were completely mesmerized by the reaction of the audience. We also had fun games and activities. We met a lot of students from different countries. It was an amazing experience talking FB to them. Then we had our lunch over there and after that we headed towards Spanish steps which entranced us with it’s scenic beauty. Trevi Fountain was next, we all made a wish and we hope they get fulfilled soon. We had even gone for shopping on the nearby streets of Paizza del Popolo . We had a fabulous evening. Then, we had our dinner in maharajah restaurant. The food was nice. After we finished our dinner, we came back to our hotel and that was the end to this amazing day.

SAI International School presents their Design for Change Project “Adopt a School”.

November 30 : Just as the darkest of mornings lead to the brightest of days , a grey morning lead to the brightest of days with a morning visit to the pope himself in the Vatican. We had an early start to the day and soon headed for the closing ceremony of the DFC GLOBAL SUMMIT addressed by some of the youngest presenters,the children themselves. We had a talk about problems all over the world and how they can be resolved all while creating peace and harmony. Soon the leader of the biggest religion on earth, the Catholics arrived. Thousands had come to visit their father. The programme ended soon but not without smiles plastered on our faces. We headed to lunch for a hearty meal on a full bus.After filling ourselves up we headed toward the pantheon. It was a rather intriguing place. We got to know some fun facts like it had the tombs of all the popes and emperors of the past and had an open ceiling designed in a manner to not let water enter , along with a dome shaped structure on the top kept aloft with huge pillars and massive walls. We then had time to go on a shopping spree in one of the most famous streets of Italy, Piazza  Del Popolo.

Namrata, SAI International students talks about her excitement to hear Pope Francis speak. There is also a beautiful dance performance by a famous young dancer.

All this walking had caused our stomachs to roar in protest. Following its wishes we headed for dinner to an excellent Indian restaurant missing our homeland’s delicious food with extraordinary spices.It was already quite late and hence,after dinner we decided to head back towards the hotel, but we soon changed our minds and headed to the mall instead to buy presents for our loved ones and to buy souvenirs for ourselves to always keep this trip in our hearts and minds forever, this being the last day. Soon being tired and exhausted we drifted off to sleep after a great day.

Our last few hours in Rome were spent waiting on our flight.

This was truly a life changing trip, from standing in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to walking the streets of Rome and getting a glimpse of the wonders of the Vatican City and finally seeing the Pope. We can’t wait until our next adventure.


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