In 2008 I was planning a school visit to Russia...
We had been three times previously and I was becoming fed up with using a standard, well-established travel firm. Whilst prices looked reasonable, any addition to the trip was very expensive and in order to make the trip worthwhile educationally and culturally, costs would add up. So after receiving a brochure through the post from TCBC I made enquiries.
Our trip to Russia ties in with the OCR A level course covering the period 1855-1964, so we base the trip in Moscow and St Petersburg. The visit gives the student a hands-on experience of the places of history and revolution – standing on the very place of the first Bolshevik government, the arrest of the Provisional Government or the assassination of Alexander II really brings home the impact of events. We have also brought students on the trip who have been studying art as the access to the Hermitage, the Tretyakov or the Pushkin galleries has been invaluable. Whilst our visits have focused on the same elements I have always been impressed with the new museums that TCBC find to add new aspects to our trips.
What I found with TCBC was the willingness to tailor the trip to our needs, not what would be the easiest for them. So when we tasked TCBC to get us access to the Grand Kremlin Palace they did everything they had to for this. And this is what makes TCBC so different: an exceptionally individual approach to planning. I know that some of my students’ most cherished memories were attached to this particular part of the visit; it was as though we were being allowed into a secret part of the Kremlin away from the other tourists and it was TCBC that had made it happen.
Over the years the Bedales history department has built such a strong link with TCBC and we have asked them to organise other trips - in fact we have travelled with them 25 times now. Their careful approach has been maintained throughout.