Palermo- Achim-Palermo

Palermo- Achim –Palermo
We travelled from Palermo to Bremen and then to Achim on 27 Nov 2013 for the big meeting on volunteering. On our first day at Cato Bontjes van Beek Gymnasium we explained to all our school partners, students and teachers all the volunteering activities we have been doing at school to help raise money for charity organizations and other needy people such as refugees. We mentioned the Comenius football match that was played last spring to contribute to the fundraising activity in this project and how a bake sale was planned for the school community for the 13th of December, the day of Santa Lucia. We also illustrated the commitment a group of fellow students have with the church of Santa Chiara in the city centre and the children of migrant families, coming mostly from Africa who live in the neighbourhood.
The greatest thing we did in Germany was the Christmas market! Everybody brought something from home and sold it for charity.
The German school also organized several interesting activities: we visited the historic city of Bremen, the Mercedes-Benz factory, and the Klimahaus in Bremenhaven. This attraction is a sort of science museum where you can see the whole world just walking through different rooms where particular habitats are recreated according to their climates.
In our spare time we could do several activities with our host families: some of us went to Hamburg, in fact. And one evening we all had a pizza together.
All in all it was a a great experience to meet again, learn about the German lifestyle in a German family, practice our English and visit amazing places.

An Amazing Experience In a Wonderful Town

I hadn’t liked English since my first year at elementary school. I thought it was a boring subject and I wasn’t interested in it.The situation didn’t change until I was 10,when I went to London for the first time. I don’t know what exactly happened, probably that beautiful city, these wonderful people and that amazing culture, but I started to like English! When I came back I started to study English in a serious way, and I was so excited to get in touch with that new world! I absolutely wanted to go back to London.
Now I’m 16, and my love for English the world grows more and more. That’s why, when my English teacher suggested I should try the Comenius selection, last year, I was so happy. So I had the possibility to travel and go to a foreign country to improve my English.
Soon came the 12th September 2012: it was time to leave, and I was really looking forward to it!
It was a long travel to go to Stratford, but it was really worth it. Finally, in the evening on the 12th September, I was in Stratford, a lovely and typical English town: small and nice houses with green gardens around and lots of parks.
The taxi took us from Birmingham Airport to Stratford high school. I literally got crazy when I heard the little old English driver speaking a typical British English, since it is quite difficult nowadays because of ‘American contamination’.
We arrived at school and it looked like it was a different world: it was a giant building well equipped , with a wonderful gym, open playgrounds and a canteen. But, most of all, I was impressed by the English school system: every student can choose which classes to attend and which not. They have different subjects, also including vocational study classes.
So, we arrived at school and there was my hosting family waiting for me. They were so nice! My new family was made up of Rebecca, the mom, Chaise, my twin, and Natty, a sweet she-dog.
They took me in and tried to make me feel as comfortable as if I were at home. Rebecca tried to cook Italian food for me, Chaise gave me her room, but at the same time they tried to make me get in touch with English everyday life , and they were brilliant on that. I spent three days in Stratford, not so many, but I visited the main tourist sites, like Shakespeare’s house, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the Shakespeare centre, the Swan theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the clock tower , situated in the middle of the main square.
I really loved staying in Stratford, it is a little and quite town that offers so many facilities easily reachable, even better than a big and chaotic city.
During the mornings I spent in Stratford, I went to school with Chaise and we worked with all the other guys who were taking part in the Comenius project: there were two English guys from Truro, two Spanish, two German, two Finnish, two Polish, and, of course, many English guys from Stratford. They all were lovely! We didn’t have the possibility to know each other very well or to spend lot of time together, but something began in these three days. We had the possibility to get in touch with different cultures and different ways of thinking, and, according to me, it was an important enrichment for everyone. We worked together to organize the Comenius activities to do in the other cities part of the project.
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This meeting lasted just three days, but on that 15th September we left Stratford knowing that we all were part of a big new European family. It was a sad and painful moment when I had to say goodbye, but I’m still keeping in touch with everyone I met in Stratford. That’s why I’m pretty sure I can say it was one of the best experiences in my whole life!
I’ve lived it as the best opportunity ever to speak English with native people and to improve it: at the beginning I made some mistakes, but the frequent input of native speakers helped me to become more fluent in few days.
Thanks to the Comenius project I lived a fantastic and useful experience, which combined together language, culture and free time.
Of course three days were not enough, but they were really meaningful to shape my cultural enrichment.
That is why I suggest a similar experience to everyone, to grow up both culturally and psychologically.
As for me, I hope I’ll go to England again in order to discover other wonderful places like Stratford and go on learning English.
I wish everyone could find a European family to love and to grow up with.
Giuliana Spinella
Liceo Vittorio Emanuele II

Volunteering In Palermo

Volunteering in Palermo

Sicilian people have always been very hospitable and they have always shown great tolerance to people of other faiths and origins.

Traditionally young people in Sicily are actively involved in church associations as well as in the Scouts.

Young people in Palermo are becoming more and more aware of social injustice and are willing to care for and work for the destitute.

Thanks to the project, the Comenius group of students successfully organized a football match in March 2013 to raise money to bring to Malaga.

Another example is how the Liceo students have reacted to the Lampedusa migrant shipwreck in Oct. 2013. Teachers and students of  the Liceo Classico Vittorio Emanuele  have met experts, such as journalists, doctors,  NGO members, on several occasions, in order to acquire more information on the topical issue of immigration across the Mediterranean sea and how it is to be dealt with.

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Many initiatives have been planned throughout the school year; some have been already carried out, such as a fundraising bazaar at school on 13 Dec., the proceeds of which were donated to the migrant shelter at Piana degli Albanesi, a small city near Palermo.

giusino 3

There is also active collaboration going on  with the Church of Santa Chiara in  the centre of Palermo, which  hosts several social services aimed at temporary and stable immigrants; several students and teachers from the Liceo are engaged every week in volunteer service and are  busy helping migrant children and adults with school homework, teaching the Italian language and organizing sports activities.

Afternoon sports at Santa Chiara

 On 1 March, the day of the Migrants in Italy, the school held a conference inviting many people belonging to the different migrant communities in Palermo to discuss, together with some experts, about the rights of foreign people and to perform and share some dances and poem readings.