Comenius Project

Migration - Chances and Challenges for Europe

This project is financed by the European Commission 

 

As our cooperation with the partner schools in Germany and the Netherlands had been very successful, we decided to submit another projects with these two and one more school in February 2010.

In June 2010 we were informed by our National Lifelong Learning Agencies, that the following schools can participate in the project:

-- Goethe-Gymnasium in Bensheim (Germany; this is the coordinating school)

-- VBS Schoenborngasse in Vienna (Austria)

-- Scholengemeenschap Tabor in Hoorn (Netherlands)

-- Ekenässkolan in Eslöv (Sweden) 

 

 

Here is our Project Description:

As the title already suggests, migration offers chances and challenges. The participating schools plan to draw students' attention to the high value of cultural diversity, to raise the young people's awareness of the importance of tolerance towards migrants, and also to invite students, who are either offspring of migrants or migrants themselves, to integrate themselves into the societies in which they now live. Integration does not mean to give up or lose one's own cultural identity. It means to also learn about the culture a person lives in.
A migration background can be very stimulating and enriching, if both sides make the best of it. The participating schools all have students with migration background, who will later on work in our economies. They can become a bridge between the culture they live in now and the culture they migrated from - thus enabling connections and facilitating understanding between the cultures.

 

2010-112011-12

 

 

MobilitiesActivities in Vienna
Comenius Project Day in Salzburg (September 2010)Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (September to November 2010)
Europa konkret - The European Dimension at School (October and November 2010)Visit of the Vienna International Center (October 13, 2010)
Meeting in Bensheim (November 17-19, 2010)Diversity Cooking (October 20, 2010)
Meeting in Vienna (February 27-March 2, 2011)Language diversity at the VBS-HAKIII Schönborngasse (November 3-15, 2010)
  AIESEC Workshops (November 16/17, 2010 and June 15/16, 2011)
  Christmas Campaign - German language courses for migrants
  Visit of the exhibition Migration on Tour (December 6, 2010)
  Workshops of the Asylkoordination Österreich (January - March 2011)
  Workshop Mahara ePortfolio (February 3, 2011)
  Erasmus-Presentation (March 17, 2011)
  Slovenia Excursion (May 16-20, 2011)
  Youth Parliament Josefstadt (May 26, 2011)

 

On September, 30 2010 a Comenius and Grundtvig Project Day for teachers and headmasters was held in Salzburg.

The participants were not only welcomed verbally but also with music. Al sub-sections of the Lifelong Learning Program were presented. Before lunch, the participants could learn more about some special projects and about the experiences the organizers had had with these projects.

 

After lunch, seven workshops were offered, three before the coffee break and four afterwards. The first three workshops dealt with ICT at school, evaluation and divercity concepts. After the coffee break, the participants could collect some more information about how to run the various LLL-Programs.

The seminar "Europa konkret" consisted of two parts. On October 12, 2010 the participating teachers could collect a wide range of information at the House of the European Union: Mag. Paul Schmidt, General Secretary of the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik, was the moderator of the event and als delivered one of the short presentations. He informed the audience about the attitude of the inhabitants of the various EU member states towards the union, which is published regularly by the so-called Eurobarometer.
Ambassador Mag. Walter Grahammer from the Ministry for European and International Affairs presented a wide range of up-to-date topics, which his department - affairs of integration and political economics - deals with, such as the Lisbon-Treaty, initiatives set by citizens, the so-called Strategy 2020, the Austrian anti-nuclear power policy, genetically modified food, the subsidiary checks by the national parliaments etc. Finally, he made us all laugh heartily about some really strange so-called EU-myths.

Mag. Sylvia Schrittwieser-
Tschach from the Ministry of Education presented some important initiatives of the European educational policy. Mag. Kühr , who works at the Representation of the European Commission in Austria is an exceptial specialist in his field: How can I find the relevant publication of the EU about a certain topic? He also had some very good hints, which will make it easier for us in the future to find what we are looking for.
After the lunch break, HR Mag. Dr. Franz Schimek, head of the Europe-Office of the Vienna School Authority, invited us to cooperate as much as possible with schools in other countries. His motto is: first get to know something, then tolerate it, and then appreciate and accept it. This is an exceptional motto for intercultural cooperation.
Finally, the participants of the event  learned a lot about the system of the European Schools from Mag. Harald Feix, who had for some time been principal of a European School and had later worked as Deputy General Secretary of the European Schools.

The
second part of the event took place on November 9, 2010 at the Pedagogical College Vienna. There participants could talk to representatives of the Lifelong Learning National Agency and the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik and they could collect information about the various possibilities for school partnerships and exchange programs, as well as about the EU Touring Exhibition.

In the first half of November 2010 we carried out some research on the language diversity of our school, which has appr. 600 students. 489 of them returned the questionnaire, and these 489 students speak 31 different mother tongues. 219 say that their mother tongue is German. The other 270 have got 30 different mother tongues - even if the big majority of them was born in Austria. This looks quite different, if you have a look at the generation of their parents. Only very few of them were born in Austria, while the majority comes from 37 states in many parts of the world.

 

The manifold migration backgrounds are fascinating. Our school is home to such a wide cultural diversity, which can serve a s a perfect pool - for students and teachers - to learn more about other cultures at home and to draw huge advantages from this knowledge.

 

The first meeting of the project group took place in Bensheim from November 17-19, 2010. We were all very grateful, that the Goethe-Gymnasium in Bensheim had again volunteered to coordinate the project. Unfortunately, my colleague Renate could not come with me. So I took a plane to Frankfurt alone on November 17 in the late afternoon. When I arrived, the colleagues from Sweden, Helen and Thomas had already arrived together with 4 students. Heinz first took us to the Präsenzhof in Bensheim and then brought the Swedish students to their host families.
At the hotel, Uschi already waited for us together with Caroline and Jaap from the Netherlands. We just checked in and then walked to a very nice restaurant, where we not only enjoyed a delicious dinner but also very interesting discussions. Hans-Walter and his wife as well as Stefan joined us there, and it was a pleasure for the "old" team members to welcome the Swedish colleagues to the team.
Helen and Thomas from Eslöv quickly integrated into the team and it working with them on November 18 and 19 was very productive. On November 18, walking around the Goethegymnasium  for some time gave us a very good impression of the school. Then Mr. Mescher, the principal, welcomed us and immediately afterwards we started planning various dates for meetings first. You can probably imagine, that this is quite difficult for four schools from different countries with different school and holiday programs.
After lunch, we continued planning the project, now concentrating on the manifold topics we want to explore and discuss with our students. First, all students should learn a little bit about the partner countries, their culture, their school systems etc. Then we want to discuss the various political parties in each country, esp. those which make it very clear, that they are opposing any kind of immigration policy. And of course, we want to encourage our students to try to find out, which are the reasons for this xenophobic attitude.
After having finished work at around 4pm, we took a two hours break. It was good, to relax a little bit. At 6pm, Heinz and Uschi picked us up at the hotel again, and we drove to Heidelberg, where we first walked around for some and enjoyed the atmosphere of the old city. Later we went to a very nice restaurant, where we not only had dinner but also continued exchanging experiences and making plans for our cooperation.
On November 19, students from Sweden and Germany presented their national parliaments and the parties, which have got seats in these parliaments. The main focus was on the attitude of all these parties towards migration and integration. Furthermore, the German students also informed us about small rightist extremist groups, which are not represented in the parliament, but which again and again make it very clear, that they would rather not have any migrants coming to Germany.
After the presentations, we had some more time left, before we went for lunch with Mr. Mescher, the principal of the Goethegymnasium, to a very beautiful and elegant Italian restaurant, which is located in the former city hall of Bensheim. Unfortunately, I had to leave rather soon, as I had a plane back to Vienna shortly after 4pm.

Now we can all continue working in the four schools. Caroline opened an eTwinning webspace for the project and a Facebook group, which are a very informal and welcome platform for exchange of views and experiences for the students.

From November 2010 until Juni 2011 the students drafted a number of presentations and collected some very valuable resources:
Zukunft Europa: Migration
Migration on Tour
Twin Space of the Vienna Meeting

 

 

The next meeting took place from February 27 to March 2, 2011 in Vienna. The guests arrived on February 27, so that we could start our program punctually on February 28 in the morning. The VBS Schönborngasse is in walking distance from the Youth Hostel Myrthengasse.   

 

The Swedish delegtion consisted of 14 students and three teachers: Thomas, Mattias und Annelie. The Goethe-Gymnasium Bensheim was represented by 7 students, accompanied by Uschi und Hans-Walter, who had already been guests at the VBS-HAKIII Schönborngasse in the course of our first Comenius project. The Dutch group was the biggest one: Jaap, Jan and Wendy came with 16 students.

The first event of the meeting on February 28 was a panel discussion in the festival hall of the VBS Schönborngasse. We had invited four interesting guests: Niraj Nathwani from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Alev Korun, Member of the Austrian Parliament, Anny Knapp from the Asylkoordination Österreich, and Alicia Allgäuer, Caritas Wien. Prof. Tunkel welcomed the guests, the teachers and the students in our festival hall. The VBS-HAKIII Schönborngasse was represented by the 2AK, 3AK, 4AK und 4BK.

After a short introdution of the guests and their fields of work, the students had the possibility to ask questions.
Some of the questions of the young people were: Do asylum seekers have the possiblity, to let their families come to the country where they apply for asylum? What is the average age of asylum seekers? How can NGOs support these people? Which rights do they have and which social security services does the government offer them? Which changes should be implemented in the Austrian laws concerning asylum seekers? etc.

We learned a lot about the various tasks carried out by the institutions, which were represented by our guests on the podium.
The Asylkoordination Österreich offers Workshops, in which participants are informed about the lives of asylum seekers. Caritas Wien also plans to offer similar workshops in the near future.

Alev Korun and Niraj Nathwani informed us about some numbers: Austria hat appr. 11.000 asylum seekers in 2010, Pakistan took care of 1 million refugees. Again and again, we can hear the prejudice, that asylum seekers are criminals. Unfortunately, we should also keep in mind, that these people are offered nearly no possibilities to earn a decent living and improve their financial situation by having a job.  The list of the duties of an asylum seekers is much longer then the list of his/her rights.
Niraj Nathwani, who came as a refugee child to Austria years ago and found a new home here, drew our attention to demographic developments, which could result in more poverty in Europe, if we do not offer highly qualified people, who have to leave their home country, the possibility to contribute to the success of our society.

The
argument, that Europe is a Christian continent and should remain so is not a very powerful one, because Europe is far more secular nowadays and none of the big world religions plays a decisive role.
Interestingly, most EU member states submit statistics to the FRA, from which we can learn, how many refugees are granted asylum from various countries wordlwide. Austria does not submit these numbers.

More than one guest on the podium drew our attention to the fact, that authorities need far too much time to deal with the asylum applications, because they do not have enough personnel. Niraj Nathwani also emphasized, that the member states should show their solidarity with other member states. Countries, which have got EU external frontiers, often have got overcrowded refugee camps, because due to the Dublin-II-Regulation other EU member states are allowed to return refugees to the one country, where these people first entered the EU. No wonder, that this results in inhuman conditions in the refugee camps.
We had lunch at the Pizzeria Ruffino, where we had already ordered our menu in advance. It was a pleasure for the project group, that Michaela, one of the head teachers, could come to lunch with us. Afterwards we left the restaurant in small groups and went to the nearby Parliament, where we had booked a guided tour, which was, of course, offered in English for our foreign guests.

But
the tour was, without doubt, also very informative for the Austrian students, who also do not have the possibility to visit the Parliament very often.
The guided tour of the Parliament was over at 4pm. Now our guests had some spare time to visit the city center. it goes without saying, that whoever comes to Vienna, wants to visit some famous places and buildings.

In the evening, the students of the 4AK, 4BK and 2AK (all 2010/11) met their German, Dutch and Swedish partnersat the
Youth Hostel Myrthengasse, in order to get to know them better and to show them Vienna at night.
The teachers had their own evening program: we met at the Siebensternbräu, where we could not only enjoy some excellent food, but could also continue our discussion about some details of the further plans for our cooperation. We had planned presentations of project results for the next day, and it sounded sensible to draft an exact agenda.
On March 1 the guests again came to the kamen die Gäste wieder um 9.30 Uhr in die VBS Schönborngasse. As the festival hall was occupied by another event this day, we had to use lecture hall No. 46, which was far too small for the big group.

But the students of the 4AK helped me in the first lesson to adapt the room for the mega-group as good as possible - and finally we all managed to "stack" all participants in this room like fish in a sardine can.
The presentation round was opened by the students of the 2AK. This class had 21 students, which represented 10 nations - and this was a completely new experience for our guests, who are all in all much more used to homegeneous classes.

The
next group was the 4AK. These students had carried out intensive research on a wide range of aspects of migration in the EU and could now present their findings.
The students from Germany informed us about the points of view of various political parties, which are represented in the German Bundestag, on migration and integration. The position of rightist groups, which are not represented in the German Bundestag, were also presented.

The
Swedish students had prepared very detailed presentations about their country and their school. Furthermore, we learned a lot about politics in Sweden.
The students from the Netherlands presented their country and their school, and they informed us about the migrants in the Netherlands: Where die they come from? Why did they come? How does the host country tackle all challenges of migration? Which are the consequences?

The
teachers again used the lunch break for discussing further project plans. The VBS Schönborngasse and the Goethe-Gymnasium Bensheim will present their home countries in the next meeting in Eslöv (in September 2011).
All four schools will carry out research on the development of migrant flows their respective countries. Students, who will participate in the Eslöv meeting in September 2011 should then be well informed about the results of this research and share their knowledge with the partners.
On March 2 the students of the partner schools and the students of the 2AK (2010/11) met in the morning in front of Schönbrunn Palace. Sigrid, the head teacher of the 2AK came with us. We paid for the group tickets and could start our guided tour shortly after 9am. The Swedish and Dutch students, who had a tour in English, chose a shorter tour plus the possibility to dress up in the so-called "clothes chamber". This offered them the chance to find out how people may have felt wearing clothes in the style of the time of Maria Theresa. The German and Austrian groups did without dressing up and instead chose the longer tour.
After having learned a lot about the history of the Palace, its inhabitants, its rooms and furniture, we were hungry and took the tube and tram to the Centimeter II restaurant in the 7th district. There we had ordered wheel barrows and swords in advance, and there was such a plenty of food available, that it was completely impossible for us, to finish it all off.
The German group was the first to leave the restaurant, as they had a rather early flight back to Frankfurt; the other two groups had later flights, which enabled them to go on a city walk and visit St. Stephen's Cathedral before they left.

The
next day, all our students were back to school and enthusiastic about the future work in the project. Of course, many of them were already looking forward to visit the partner school in Eslöv in September 2011.

 

 

In the course of the summer term 2011 the students of the 2AK (2010/11) and 3AK (2010/11) carried out some research on the questions, how many migrants had come to Austria since the 1950ies. Then the results were summarized in a presentation, which those representatives of the two classes, who participated in the meeting in Esloev (Sweden) in September 2011, took with them in order to inform the partner schools about their findings.

 

Applicants for the Austrian citizenship must prove, that they are familiar with the German language and that they have some knowledge of the history, geography and politics of their new home country and of the province, where they live.

 

Here you can test your knowledge of Austria and its provinces. The questions are all in German:

 

Questions about AustriaQuestions about Styria
Questions about ViennaQuestions about Salzburg
Questions about BurgenlandQuestions about Carinthia
Questions about Lower AustriaQuestions about the Tyrol
Questions about Upper AustriaQuestions about Vorarlberg

 

 

We started our second project year with a lot of preparations during the summer months and a meeting in Esloev (Sweden) from September 11-14, 2011.

 

MobilitiesActivities in Vienna
Meeting in Esloev (September 11-14, 2011)First steps of a new class in the project (September 7-9, 2011)
Meeting in Hoorn (November 12-14, 2011)Migration on Tour (October 3-14, 2011)
Meeting in Bensheim (January 31-February 2, 2012)Visit of the Integration Ambassador Efgani Dönmez at the VBS Schönborngasse (November 28, 2011 and March 14, 2012)
Meeting in Hoorn (April 15-18, 2012)Workshop of the Asylkoordination Österreich (March 13, 2012)
European Youth Conference (May 7-11, 2012)Visit of the partner class from Slovenia (April 16-20,2012)
  All different - All equal (March 24, 2012)
  The American Dream (May 14, 2012)

 

We started out for the Esloev meeting on September 11 very early in the morning by boarding a plane to Copenhagen, where we met the German and Dutch partners around 11am. Caroline, Jaap and Jan from the Netherlands and Heinz, Uschi and Hans-Walter from Germany brought rather big groups of students: 23 from Hoorn and 27 from Bensheim. Together we walked around the city center and saw some interesting buildings, such as the City Hall, Christiansborg Palace and Amalienborg Palace, where we could watch the changing of the guards.

 

On the right side of the City Hall you can find a very beautiful statue of Hans Christian Andersen, which the students gathered around. After having had lunch in an Italian restaurant in the Nyhavn, we continued our way to the harbour and ended our walk at the monument of the Little Mermaid. The German group had their own mini buses, and the Dutch group invited us to join them on their big double decker bus to travel across the Øresund Bridge to southern Sweden.

At 16.15 we arrived in Eslöv, where we were welcomed by the Swedish teachers and their students in front of Ekenässkolan. Helén, Thomas and Mattias had managed to find host families at least for the Dutch students. As the Ekenässkolan is not a big school, it was a hard job to find host families.

While the Dutch students were then taken home by their Swedish host families, the German students tried to make themselves comfortable at the camp ground they had chosen as an accommodation, and the Austrian students together with their teachers walked to the hotel in the city center, where we had booked rooms for the group.

It had been a long day, and after a small dinner, we were all glad to get some rest.
On September 12 all students and teachers met in front of the school and boarded two double decker buses, which took us to Söderåsen National Park. We got off at the Skäralid entrance, first, the Swedish teacher team did a great job organizing 9 mixed student groups.
The first task for the youngsters was to each introduce themselves to their partners. Then we started our walk on the Skäralid Nature Trail, which not only offers marvellous views of pristine broadleaf forests but also was the ideal environment for the students to enjoy a mild autumn day outdoors and get to know each other better during the next one and a half hours.

While students and teachers enjoyed the nature trail, Helén together with some helpers lit some camp fires and started preparing the picnic, which consisted of hamburgers and hot dogs.
After lunch, before finally returning to Eslöv, we stopped at Trollenäs Castle. Although the building is a private home, the owners allow visitors to walk around. And that's what we did and enjoyed very much.

Having returned to Eslöv, the students first changed clothes. The dress code for the nature trail had been completely different from the dress code for the presentations to come. But in a rather short time, they were ready and we headed for the Ekenässkolan, where the Aula quickly filled with students from all four partner schools.
First, the German students presented their home town Bensheim and their findings of migration flows, the laws concerning migration and the chances of migrants on the job market. Afterwards, it was the 10 Austrian students' turn.

Adnan, Can, Haris, Hariz, Saska, Selda and Thomas  from the 3AK (2011/12) and Emina, Jairus and Melanie from the 4AK (2011/12) had prepared presentations about migration flows in Austria since the 1950ies and about the country itself.
You think work was done now? No, not at all. The Swedish teachers had prepared a questionnaire for the groups, which should help the students collect some more data about migrant flows in Europe since the 1950ies and about some very positive examples of migrants, who contributed to the cultural and economic lives of their new home countries.

The students again met in the groups they had already formed in the morning, and began collecting facts and figures. This was a very good preparation for the next day.
In the evening, the Swedish teachers organized a very special dinner for the teachers of the partner schools: in the school kitchen they prepared a so-called Smörgåsbord, which included not only a wide variety of Swedish food specialities, but also the chance, to taste some Swedish schnapps and learn the songs going with the various drinks.
On September 13 we all got the occasion to listen to a lecture of Ingemar Jeppsson, a representative of the Herbert Felix Institute. Herbert Felix had come to Sweden from the Czech Republic before World War II and had founded a company producing canned food, a business similar to the one his father had already run in Znaim (Znojmo) long before.

After this lecture, our Swedish hosts took us on a short walk to the city centre, where we had the opportunity to visit the Eslöv Museum, which offers a very nice collection of local furniture, art and technical devices from the last 100 years.
As the group was rather big, we were split in two smaller groups. While the first group was already in the museum, some of the teachers took the occasion to walk to the nearby Train Station in order to collect information about prices for tickets from Eslöv to Lund and from Malmö to Copenhagen Airport. It turned out, that buying a train ticket in Sweden is a lot different from doing the same in Austria, Germany or the Netherlands.

On the way back to school, Caroline took a megaphoto of the whole project group at the so-called Stenberget, an interesting sight of Eslöv.
Back at school, everybody enjoyed the Swedish meatballs, potatoes and vegetables we had for lunch. After lunch the students continued the research they had begun the day before. Their task was to produce short presentations about migration flows, about their own migration background and about famous and successful migrants in the four participating countries.

While the students were busy collecting their data and arranging them appropriately, the teachers discussed the dates for the meetings to come during the school year 2011/12. Although this was not too easy, we could find some appropriate dates for a teachers' meeting in Hoorn (November 2011) as well as for two teacher-student-mobilities in Bensheim (January/February 2012) and Hoorn (April 2012).
Finally, the students presented their findings in three groups, each consisting of appr. 30 persons. The teachers had the chance to migrate from group to group and listen to a variety of presentations.

After a very short period of rest, the teachers took the train to Lund, where the deputy principal of the Ekenaesskolan invited us all to a delicious Italian dinner.
Before we arrived at the restaurant, we also had the possibility to walk around in Lund a little bit and see the Cathedral as well as the University main building and its surroundings.

On September 14 we had to pack our suitcases again. But that does not mean, that we left immediately. First, we travelled to Malmö, and thanks to the Dutch partners, also the Austrian and Swedish students could travel on the big double decker bus. Unfortunately, the weather was nasty in Malmö.

We walked out to the sea shores and to the residential area around the Turning Torso. But the wind was heavy and it started raining. Later, in the city center, we did not have much time for sightseeing, and therefore could only see the City Hall and Gustav Adolf Square.

We ended up in a Turkish restaurtant called Sultan Palace, where we could enjoy a delicious lunch buffet.

The Dutch group had to leave early in order to catch a ferry. The Germans also travelled on a ferry, but late in the evening. The Swedish group came with us to the train station, from where we first headed for Copenhagen Airport.
There we could check in our luggage, and then we had appr. three hours left to walk around Copenhagen and to see e.g. the old Stock Exchange, the Amagertorv, the Gammeltorv and Nytorv. Of course, we also took some time to just stroll through the pedestrian area, before we headed back to the airport and returned to Vienna, where the student diligently continued working on the projects during the next months.
The meeting in Hoorn was a weekend activity, from November 12-14, 2011. Teachers from all four partner schools arrived in the Netherlands on November 12. We all flew to Amsterdam. While the Swedish group stayed in Amsterdam, Uschi and Heinz picked us up in Amsterdam in the late afternoon, and were so kind to take us to Hoorn in their car. In the evening we went to a restaurant called De Paerdestal. This was a good occasion to talk about work we had done in the weeks before the meeting and to start making plans for the next months.
On November 13 the whole group met at the Scholengemeenschap Tabor Locatie Werenfridus in Hoorn to discuss the topics and schedules for the teacher-student-mobilities to come: in Bensheim (January 2012) and Hoorn (April 2012). For lunch time, Caroline had booked a table in a very nice restaurant in the centre or Hoorn called d'Oude Waegh.
After lunch we enjoyed a wonderful walk around Hoorn in the afternoon sun. Back to school, we first fixed the topics to be discussed in the four schools in the next two months: welfare systems in the EU (Sweden), migration success stories (Austria), asylum procedures (Netherlands), segregation and crime rate (Germany).

Finally, we made first plans for the final project meeting in Hoorn. In the late afternoon, the Swedish colleagues returned to Amsterdam.
Uschi and Heinz, who had picked us up at the hotel in the morning, invited us to come with them to the coast, and so we made our  first stroll on the beach in winter boots in Bergen aan Zee, and afterwards enjoyed a delicious dinner in a very nice restaurant in Alkmaar.

On November 14 in the morning we boarded a direct train from Hoorn to Amsterdam International Airport, and at noon time we were back home in Vienna.
The next teacher-student-mobility took place in Bensheim from January 31 to February 2, 2012. We had to get up very early on January 31, in order to take the 6 o'clock plane to Frankfurt. There we were picked up by members of the German team, who drove us to Frankfurt. After having deposited our luggage at the Präsenzhof and a short city walk, we went to the Goethe-Gymnasium, where we were first welcomed by Uschi. Soon afterwards, also the Dutch and Swedish groups were complete, and we started our meeting with lunch in the school cafeteria. 
The afternoon was filled with workshops for the students. The four schools had worked on the topics agreed on during the Hoorn meeting (see above), and now all students were invited to present their findings in mixed international groups and to add some information from the partner countries.

In the evening, Mr.
Mescher, the principal of the Goethegymnasium, invited the teacher team to a delicious dinner in a restaurant called Cavallino. In the meantime, the students either had dinner with their host families or in restaurants. But this was not yet the end of the program. After dinner we all met at a bowling hall, where Heinz had booked 6 lanes for the students. Although we were rather tired, we enjoyed the bowling experience. Here you can watch Fotostory 1.
On February 1 we met at the school cafeteria at 7:45 in the morning. There a number of ppt-presentations were shown. Although some of the guests from abroad had already seen these presentations (either at the Vienna or at the Eslöv meeting), they were new for most of the students of the Goethegymnasiusm.

After a short break, the students of the Comenius group continued their workshops, while the teachers discussed the program of the final mobility in Hoorn. After lunch in the cafeteria, a bus took the whole group to Rüsselsheim, where we could attend an excellent two hour tour of the Opel production site, which is one and a half times as big as Monaco. 16.000 people, who originate from 17 nations work there.
While the students enjoyed some free time in the evening, the teachers enjoyed a cosy and relaxing dinner in a local restaurant. Click here to watch Fotostory 2.

Temperatures went steadily down in these dasys, which was sort of an incentive for us to walk from our accommodation to the school very quickly. On February 2 we again started work at the Goethegymnasium at 7:45.

Now we learned more about the findings of the students in presentations they had brought to this meeting as well as in presentations, which had been produced in the workshops. You can see the Austrian movie here.
Heinz had ordered an early lunch for us at the cafeteria, and immediately afterwards, we first returned to the hotel and from there walked to the nearby train station, where we first boarded a train to Frankfurt. We made a short break there in order to see the building of the European Central Bank, which is not far from the train station.

After this short walk in ice old weather, the students went back to the train station in order to enjoy some McDonald's food, while the teachers dared to continue their way towards the Goethe house, the Paulskirche and the Römerberg. The time was too short to continue our way to the cathedral.

From the train station we continued our train trip to the airport, where we boarded the - delayed - plane to Vienna at 19.30. We took home with us a number of interesting impressions as well as various plans for the work to be carried out until the final meeting in Hoorn (April 15-18, 2012). You should also not miss Fotostory 3!
The final meeting of the project was held in Hoorn from April 15-18, 2012. Caroline had carried out an amazing job organizing a meeting for a big group of students from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.

After having arrived in Hoorn on April 15 around noon time, we had about an hour for lunch, before we boarded a bus to the coast. On our way to Hargen aan Zee we stopped at a windmill in Beemsterland, where we could first watch a short documentary about windmills and could then enter the mill and see how it works.
It was was quite windy and cool on the coast, but the sun came out and we enjoyed this visit very much. The German group even shot a short movie about migrants there. On our way back to Hoorn we saw numerous colourful fields of tulips and hyacinths.

Finally, the students were taken home to their host families. Soon afterwards, the teachers met for dinner. Caroline had chosen a typical Dutch restaurant in the city centre of Hoorn, and we all liked the atmosphere and the food there very much. This meal was also a good occasion to discuss some organizational questions of the meeting for the next two days.
On April 16 we met at the school at 9am, and after a short welcome by the Dutch teachers, the students were split up in groups. In the morning sessions, they got to know the school building, met a group of migrants, who had been invited by Caroline to hold some of their Dutch lessons at the school, and could participate in a drama workshop of the Little Victorians.

The Dutch lessons for migrants were amazing. The teacher used a method called total physical response and included the students in her lessons. At the end, we could understand some short Dutch phrases and even respond to them. In addition to this, we had the occasion to talk to the migrants and to learn from them, where they come from and why they want to live in the Netherlands.
The drama workshop was held by two actors from the UK, who had  toured the Netherlands for three months. After the workshop they joined us for lunch and then returned to the UK. The focus of the short scenes they acted out with the students was on the hard life of children in Victorian times. But again and again the two actors drew the students' attention to the fact, that also nowadays young people in some countries still have to work at an age where they should preferably go to school and get some good education, which would improve their chances on the job market later on.  (Here you can watch four short movies: No.1, No. 2, No. 3. No. 4 and No. 5)

In the afternoon, the students were again split up in groups. Two groups prepared the final debate about various topics related to migration. Jaap explained to them, how these short discussions are held.

The other two groups presented the results of the work they had carried out during the last two months: they had shot short movies about migration, they had prepared interviews focussing on the question: how can I become a citizen of another country? And they had also prepared funny quizzes, in which we all could learn, what is special about each of the partner countries.
The Swedish group even performed some Swedish songs, which was very funny for all of us. Don't miss to watch the movies (No. 1, No. 2 and  No. 3)!

The debate was very interesting. In three rounds, the students discussed the following topics: living in a multi-cultural society is beneficial for everyone; freedom of speech is limitless; headscarves and other religious expressions should always bei allowed. In each round, one group had to argue for the statement given, the other group had to argue against it.
At the end, the jury had to decide, which group was the winner, which single speaker had found the best argument for his/her viewpoint, and what had been the biggest blunder.

As you can imagine, everybody was exhausted after all that work. Therefore, the pizza Caroline had ordered for the students, was eaten quickly, and then most of them wanted to go home to their host families, in order to get some rest, as we all knew, that also the next day would be full of impressions and adventures.
On April 17, we met at the train station in the morning and took a train to Amsterdam, where we first got a very good impression of the atmosphere of the city in the course of a boat trip. The group was so big that we needed two boats.

Caroline had worked out a sophisticated agenda: she divided the huge group in three smaller groups, which were again split up in three groups of ten students each, because at the Amsterdam Dungeon and at the Anne Frank House, groups have to be small.
The Austrian students, together with Dutch students, were supervised by Peter. He perfectly directed the group from one attraction to the next, and when it started raining, we were very happy that we did not have to stand in line in front of the Anne Frank House, as Caroline had booked our tickets in advance.

Unfortunately, the afternoon was rather rainy, but we nevertheless enjoyed our day in Amsterdam very much. When we met again around 7:30pm, we walked to the Central Station together and boarded a train back to Hoorn, from where the students went home to their host families.
Departure was different for all partners on April 18. The Austrian group had to leave quite early in the morning, the Swedish group followed a little bit later, and the German group spent another day in the Netherlands, going on an excursion of their own.

Now we are looking back on two very interesting and intensive years of cooperation, which helped students and teachers to enlarge their knowledge of European cultures and to become more open minded towards cultural differences. We all won new friends and hope to be able to stay in contact also after the end of the project.
 
© OStR Dr. Susanne Pratscher and OStR Dr. Renate Tunkel 

 

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