Our Trip to Gorowe, Poland

gor 2 classeIt was at last  our turn!  We, Clarissa, Federica and Serena, went to  Górowo for the Comenius meeting which focused on employment.

Our trip to Poland was very tiring but the stay in Gorowo was amazing. In fact we had a wonderful welcoming from our twins and their families.

gor 2 classegor 2 classegor 2 classegor 2 classe

We spent four days there but we learned a lot about employment and … unemployment in the countries of the other Comenius students: we showed our powerpoint presentations and one day we worked together in groups to make gadgets for ill people. We also visited some important work places, such as the Russian border, the barracks of the firefighters and the office of a local newspaper.

In our free time we went to see Olsztyn Castle and we could go ice-skating and shopping.

The best part of the trip was meeting and making friends with all the people involved coming from different European counties. We had the opportunity to improve our English talking about everything and we taught each other typical dances and songs.

The last evening together we made a barbecue and had so much fun!

Of course when we left, we were all crying!


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

Sicilians In Finland

Hi! We are Martina and Roberto. We are the students from Palermo, together with Gaia and Riccardo, who travelled to Tampere in January 2013. When we arrived at Tampere Airport in the evening,  our twins Helka and Olli were waiting for us and we were all excited! The families were very friendly as well.

The next day we went to school. It is a beautiful school although the building isn’t new. We met other Finnish students and teachers and the headmistress welcomed all the Comenius group.Then we had a short and interesting history lesson about Finland. After an Englishman who teaches English at this school talked about Finnish people and his experience of living in Finland. It was very funny! We had lunch in the canteen with our friends.

Then a professor from Tampere University talked to us about courses in English that are open even to students coming from other countries. That can be very useful for us in the near future!

After that, we went sightseeing and spent the evening at home with our families. We were happy to stay indoors because it was very cold outside! Some of us tried the sauna, another new experience for us!

The next day every school group made posters about the school system in their countries and then had to present them to everybody.  After  lunch we took to coach to Kuru College of Forestry,  situated in fact in a forest. A teacher there informed us about what students learn there and how they are trained.

It was around -26 degrees! And we went on a short walk in the wood with a guide. Luckily there was a centre in the nature reserve where we went to see a documentary and buy some souvenirs and of course find some warmth! After the teachers of the Finnish school took us to a beautiful frozen lake. It was awesome with the sun setting! Nearby we had some tea and cake.

The following day was Saturday and we spent the morning in two interesting museums in town. One was inside an old textile factory and in fact it was full of information about the industrial past of the city. The second had several exhibitions. Very interesting the one about the war.

We had a free afternoon but the real highlight was the farewell party organized inside the school. There was a great buffet and then we saw videos and funny sketches in the school theatre. Riccardo showed off on the piano! And after games and lots of fun  with the fabulous guys of Tampere and all the others. It was a fantastic way of ending a short but intense international meeting.

Emilio at Stratford

2012-09-14 13.48.28Hi!  My name is Emilio. That’s me next to Giuliana.

It was a fantastic experience for me to take part in the first meeting, first of all
because I hadn’t ever been to England before, and then because I had the
opportunity of meeting very nice people (both students and teachers) and
exchanging ideas  with them all. The principal part of our work in
the two days of meeting was to prepare the planning of what to do in Malaga
(the Spanish city involved in the project), and the best ideas were to clean
Malaga’s beach of the rubbish and to play a beachvolley match. Unfortunately,
the meeting was just for two days, but I had a real good time in Stratford and
I think it was an unforgettable experience.

Finns in Stratford-upon-Avon

Wednesday, 12th of September

Our day started with a bus drive from Tampere to Helsinki followed by a flight to Birmingham via Munich, Germany. The long journey took up nearly the whole day, from the early morning all the way to the evening. We arrived at the school and met our host  families for the first time at  6pm. having already witnessed the scenery of English rural areas between Birmingham and Stratford. During the evening we chatted with our hosts and exchanged the unique feature of our cultures. The host families received various Finnish products, such as the world famous Fazer chocolate and the timeless vases of Alvar Aalto.

Thursday, 13th September

We headed for the school after eating an English breakfast. Stratfor-upon-Avon school seemed enormous from a Finnish perspective – with its 2,500 students it is way bigger than any Finnish schooö. We also met the other foreign guests for the first time. Representatives from Spanish, Italian, German, Polish and British schools had arrived the previous night just like us. We got to share stories from Finland with our fellow visitors.

The main quest for the guests was to initiate the planning process for a sports event that was to be held in Malaga, Spain, a few months later. The purpose of the event was to raise money for charity and train participants’ collaboration and leadership skills.

Both of us toured around the main sights of Stratford in the afternoon. The most notable sight was the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and the other spots also had something to do with the author. Along the “The Birthplace”, the homes of Anne Hathaway and Mary Arden as well as the Stratford-upon-Avon church nest known for the tomb of Shakespeare were included in the tour. To complete the English cultural experience, the dinner of the day was ordered from a genuine “fish and chips” restaurant.

Friday, 14th September

Friday morning was spent finishing the plans for the sports event and preparing a presentation containing useful tips for the foreigners visiting Tampere and their hosts. In the meantime, contact information was collected so that we could keep in touch with each other after the Stratford meeting.

The Finns parted for the Friday evening. Juuso spent the evening at school as his host partook in a sports leadership course involving coaching and playing. Giuliana, an Italian girls was also there with her host, which made further discussions possible. Maisa visited Warwick, a nearby town, with her host family, The time was well spent adoring the medieval castle and enjoying Indian food.

Saturday, 15th  September

Saturday was dedicated to travelling as it was fairly accurately Wednesday reversed. Farewells to hosts were left in the the yard of a local hotel. As we came back home, British souvenirs, including lots of Shakespeare items were spread. The contact information gathered on Friday was immediately used as we both started online conversations with the European students we had met in Stratford.

DSCN0068By: Juuso Järviniemi & Maisa Borg