STUDENTS from East Lancs have jetted out to Morocco as part of an exchange trip.

Year 10 pupils at Hyndburn Academy, in Rishton, travelled to the African nation as part of a new scheme - with another group heading to Eswatini in July.

The scheme is the UK’s global programme for studying, working and living abroad offering incredible opportunities for personal and professional development for students.

It replaced the Erasmus Scheme, which previously offered similar opportunities, following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Students were interviewed for places on the trip with their headteacher, Nicola Palmer, to set out why they felt they would benefit from the experience.

The students expressed a desire to broaden their horizons and spend time with people they would normally never meet.

Students also believed that participating in a trip would increase their confidence and give them opportunities to see a foreign country in ways tourists might not experience.

Twenty successful applicants were shortlisted with 10 selected for this month’s trip to Morocco, and another 10 chosen for the Southern Africa trip.

Both of the trips are being fully-funded by the UK government through the Turing Scheme. Students in Morocco got the chance to take part in Arabic lessons, authentic Moroccan cooking classes, had inspirational talks on women’s rights with local activists, and visited a middle school in the capital Rabat.

Lilly Stephens, a student, said: “The Turing Scheme has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have tried so many different things that I wouldn’t have even thought about trying in England, such as eating local foods like snails. “It has also opened my eyes to the disadvantages some people face around the world, including in Morocco."

Her headteacher Miss Palmer added: "Through the UK Turing Scheme, it was fantastic to be able to give some of our Year 10 students the chance to travel abroad and experience a different country and community.

“I know both from the initial interviews with students and their feedback so far how much this has meant to them in terms of bringing their learning to life and broadening their perspectives."