Today, a Transition Year pupil shares her impressions about her student experience on the Camino, walking the last 110km of the Camino Frances with her classmates:
“The Camino gave me a chance to live in the moment and appreciate everything I have to be grateful for. I learned how to live with less” – Student Experience on the Camino School Trip
How to prepare for a Camino School Trip
I went on a Transition Year Camino School Trip with JWT Travel. It was an eye opening and unique experience that I will never forget! I’m going to tell you about my journey on the Camino and everything I learned from the pilgrimage.
We walked for several hours every day for 5 days with a small bag on our back holding limited items, and we also had a small suitcase each which was transferred to our next accommodation. We were given a delicious packed lunch to bring with us every day.
Before walking these ancient trails we followed a training plan to prepare for the pilgrimage. On the Camino, we walked around 20-30km each day.
We were advised to practice walking on flat and mountainous ground for 4 to 6 weeks prior to the Camino, and increase the distance gradually each week. We also had to consider the weight that would be on our back while walking during the training to get used to the weight. The training really helped me with endurance during the walk.
During the walk the weather was unpredictable. Most days were warm and humid which made it more difficult to walk, especially going up steep hills. However, there were days when rain was pouring down.
One of the days there was even a thunderstorm, so you should prepare for all weather forecasts! Make sure to pack sun cream, a rain jacket, and a waterproof cover for your backpack so your belongings don’t get soaked.
I had very sore feet after walking and got multiple blisters due to my walking shoes. When choosing shoes to buy for the Camino it’s essential that you size up in shoe size because when you’re walking for a prolonged period of time your feet will swell up a lot and cause blisters.
Along our journey, we collected stamps for our Camino passports each day from local shops, churches, hostels, restaurants and cafés etc, and when we reached our destination in Santiago de Compostela, we were awarded with Camino certificates to mark the completion of the pilgrimage.
In order to earn a Camino certificate, a pilgrim must walk at least the last 100km of any of the Camino de Santiago routes with stamps to prove it. My school walked a total of 110km. Receiving the certificate was amazing and gave us all a sense of achievement. The passport and certificate are both lovely mementos of the trip.
Practicing Spanish Language
On the Camino, those of us who study Spanish were able to practice by speaking to other Spanish speaking pilgrims along the trail, translating signs, and speaking to people in cafés, restaurants, etc. We also learned while walking in Galicia they speak a Galician language that was spoken there and differed from the Spanish we knew.
What I learned from the Camino
An aspect of the Camino that I truly loved was having time for self-reflection. The Camino gave me a chance to live in the moment and appreciate everything I have to be grateful for. I learned how to live with less. It was a fabulous opportunity for me to unwind from normal life and take on a challenging but rewarding journey.
Reaching Santiago de Compostela
Eventually, after long days of walking we reached Santiago de Compostela. It was such a relief and a weight off our shoulders!
We were all so excited when we caught a glimpse of the Cathedral from afar. When we arrived we took pictures outside the Cathedral. We then had free time to explore the city. My friends and I went and looked inside the Cathedral, it is open for anyone to have a look in. After we all had a look in shops along the streets for Camino souvenirs and gifts for our family back home.
I would absolutely recommend the Camino to anyone looking for a challenge and an opportunity to get to know new people and form closer bonds and deeper connections with friends.
We hope you enjoyed reading this first-hand student experience on the Camino de Santiago.
If you wish to organise a Camino trip for your school, you can find more information here: CAMINO FOR SCHOOLS
If you have always dreamt of walking to Santiago de Compostela but you didn’t want to do it alone or prefer the support of a group, our Camino guided tours are perfect for you.Contact Us