Merry Christmas and A Happier New Year!

We apologise that our blog has been silent for almost a year!

Due to Coronavirus pandemic our Erasmus+ KA2 project “Fit for Life” has been going at half throttle: the trips to Greece and Iceland in the spring plus the visit to Finland, which we would have been hosting, as well as a trip to Germany this autumn term all had to be cancelled. The project was granted an extension of six months till February 2021, but nobody knows about the future at the moment. Nevertheless, we have kept in contact with each other e.g. through the eTwinning platform.

And Christmas is coming no matter what! We have traditionally been sending Christmas cards to all the participating schools and so it is this year, too. The Finnish Team spent one afternoon making Christmas cards and having a Finnish “pikkujoulu”, a Christmas party at school. Even the teachers caught the inspiration and made cards of their own.

Fit for Life Trip to Buszkowice, Poland

Wednesday November 27, 2019

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Veera, Kati and Niklas (from left to right)

We woke up at about 3am, and we met at around 4.30am at Helsinki-Vantaa airport. We were tired, but shaking in excitement. We read the names of our polish ERASMUS+ friends over and over again, speculating what they were like. The flight was exhausting, but the stop at München helped a lot.

The second flight felt a lot shorter, and that might be because of our excitement. We arrived in Poland at about 2.30pm and oddly we were not tired, even though we woke up so early. We drove by bus to the Buszkowice school, and almost immediately met our families. Some of the families don’t speak English very well, but there were some exceptions. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing with the families.

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Thursday

The next morning started early at about 7am. We went to the school, and met the local teachers and students. Compared to the school in Finland, the Buszkowice school is very small, and cozy. There were only a few classrooms in the whole school. We started with icebreakers, to get to know all the other students. Everyone was super nice and friendly. After that, we went to the country club to eat the traditional polish dish, cucumber soup.

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Most of us didn’t really like it, because we’re not fans of pickles. After that we got into a very very small bus, and went to explore a little local apple orchard. After that we came back to the country club, and made some traditional Polish dumplings. It was very fun, and exhanged little facts about our languages with the other students. After the lunch, we hung out for some time at around 7pm. Around that time we started partying. This day was very important, because we got to know all the other students better.

Friday

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The school started a little bit later, with the schools annual breakfast feast. There were tables after the other, full of healthy breakfast foods. Then we got into a bigger bus than yesterday, and went to the mountains. The view was beautiful, and we saw all of Buszkowice from the hills. There was a great religious statue.

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Saturday

We went shopping at the mall. In the evening there was a disco at the school. There was food and treats. There was also foretelling.

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Sunday

We were woken up very early. We went to Krakow at 5:30 in the morning, but the bus trip was 3h so we mostly slept. In Krakow we got a professional tour guide to bring us around town. We went looking at old castles, churches, and other historical places. In our free time, we decided that we wanted to go eat something. Everything was so fun and cozy.

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Monday

The school’s 1st-3rd graders made us breakfast. They made bread. Later we went to old historical Polish fortresses. They were vey impressive, and the tour guide explained the history behind each room. We could see the Ukrainian border from the hills that the fortresses on the slope of the hill.

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Tuesday December 3

The bus left from the school at 2:30, and we were very tired. We mostly slept on the plane.

Written by Kati, Niklas and Veera

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A new Erasmus+ KA2 project FIT FOR LIFE is starting with a logo competition

Hello!

We are starting a new two-year EU funded Erasmus+ -project called Fit For Life with five other schools from Germany, Iceland, Poland, Greece and Spain.

Our aim in the project is to support the health and well-being of young people, focusing on mental and physical health, healthy nutrition, becoming a responsible citizen, enjoying culture as a balancing factor and reflecting the chances and risks of modern media. In the course of the project the students will complete different tasks and visit and host each other. The first trip will be made to Poland at the end of November 2019.

The project has started with a logo competition. Each country has chosen three logos for the competition. The logo getting most votes on from the participants is the winner (you are not allowed to vote for your own country). The voting takes place on eTwinning.

Here are our entries:

Finland logo 1-1

Vilma Ahonen 8B

Canon Inc

Han Nguyen 7B

Canon Inc

Milma Tammikorpi 7B

 

Johannes aus Deutschland sagt Hallo!

I’m Johannes, I’m sixteen years old and I’m from Germany.

I live in a small city in the north of Germany where I have three siblings and all of them are older than me.

Before I came here as an exchange student I visited Finland once because we had a Finnish exchange student in our family in 2011/12 and we visited him and his family in the summer of 2013. We drove around in the country, visited some cities and saw the beautiful landscape of Finland.

This is also one of the reasons I chose Finland as the country I want to do my exchange year in because it was a great experience and very impressive. Another reason I wanted to come to Finland was that I wanted to experience a winter with a higher chance of having snow and ice than in Germany.

I think the biggest differences between Germany and Finland lay in the education. Here in Finland, the school is much more modern than in Germany. We are not using any computers in most of the German schools and I didn’t even hear about things like Google Classroom or Kahoot! before I came here. The relations between students and teachers is also very different in Germany. We have to talk to the teachers as if they were at least two steps above the students and here it’s more like a friendly relation.

Another big difference is the system with the “Jaksot”. In Germany, we have to semesters and the exams are across these semesters and not all at the same time. We also have about 10 to 13 different subjects in the same week, but most

of them just once a week. Until the 11th grade, which resembles the first year in Finland, we study in classes, in the 12th and 13th grade, we have courses like the ones in the lukio.

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Me and my German class. After passing the exam Astrid (down left) treated everybody to some Sachertorte from Vienna.

 

The Finnish culture is not too different from the German one but, of course, there are some differences. There is the prejudice that all Finns are very shy, which I can’t really support, but I think Finnish people are still a bit shyer than the average German.

The language is another topic I want to write about. I think learning a new language is always a difficult thing but it’s much easier if you are in a country where all people are talking this language all the time and you have no choice but listening to it and trying to understand what the person is saying. That’s why I think that it is easier to learn Finnish than I expected. There are some Finnish words which are, for me, a bit better than others because they are funnier or easier to learn or just sound really nice.

Some examples of this are the word “kysymys” (auf Deutsch die Frage) which just sounds really balanced and nice or even such small words as “joo” (in German Ja or Sicher) because it’s just simple and nice.

I think my favorite experiences here in Finland were finding new friends and the beginning of the year when we arrived in Finland and I met all the other exchange students and we formed new friendships really fast.

I am very happy here and I think it was a good decision to go on exchange. Of course, it’s not always easy, sometimes you are homesick and miss your family or friends or you have other problems but there is always somebody who can help you so I think in the end, at least for most of the people who chose to go on exchange, it is definitely worth it.

If you think an exchange year is interesting and you would want to do it too, you could inform yourself on http://www.yfu.fi. YFU is the non-profit organization I used to come here. From Finland, you can go to more than 30 different countries on all continents. There are different, very good organizations as well but I think YFU is a very good choice.

-Johannes-

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Erasmus+ meeting in Kato Achaia, Greece in May 2018

 

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The final meeting of our two-year Erasmus+ KA2 project R.E.S.P.E.C.T. was held in the town of Kato Achaia,  Peloponnesos, Greece, from 1 to 6 May. All the teachers from Iceland, Germany, Poland, Gran Canaria and we Finns stayed in the nearby bigger city Patras and the Greek hosts drove us to the school in Kato Achaia in their cars (early) in the morning.

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A view from the castle hill in Patras

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King George square in Patras

On our first day we were welcomed by the two deputy mayors of Kato Achaia. Then we headed to a primary school where the school’s choir performed us a few songs. The singing was excellent and the choir had also been abroad and taken part in competitions.

 

 

 

 

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The choir at the primary school in Kato Achaia

We had our meeting in our partner school, Geniko Lykeio Kato Achaias, which is a public senior high school. The school had a nice atmosphere and the students were very welcoming to us. And a fact that caught my eye was that all the floors in the school were made of marble as it is the common rock in Greece.

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The parents of the Greek students taking part in the project had prepared us a feast of Greek homemade food. The school does not serve lunch as students and teachers go home to have lunch after school.

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The next day after the meeting the students performed us Greek dances and in the end we teachers also danced with them (no pictures here).

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The last day of our stay was spent visiting the archaelogical sight in Mycenae and the beautiful town of Nafplion and the citadel up in the mountain.  The visit was a success and we had a great time in Greece together, thanks to our hospitable hosts and other partners! And since we would like to go on working together, plans for a new project are already under way.

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Erasmus+ KA2 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. meeting in Valsequillo, Gran Canaria in March 2018

 

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Arrival at Las Palmas airport. From left: Noora, Delina, Ria, Pinja, Nana and Roni

 

Tuesday 27 February by Roni Ritarsola

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The trip started rough, waking up at 6am, 6 hour flight with no breakfast, but I was excited to arrive in Gran Canaria. I can’t lie I was a little bit nervous as well. We met up with our families and the first thing I noticed was that the greetings are way different here. In Finland there are no kisses. I met my family’s mother, daughter and uncle. The dad was at work. The uncle took us to Valsequillo, the place we were staying at. It was a cute little village, which was a good change from Finland. We ate and then I met Maria’s (the family’s daughter) best friend, who is also named Maria. We hang out and I got to know them really well, for the first time meeting. Then we went to a  park where we met everybody else from the other countries. I did expect that there were going to be people that I wouldn’t like, but I was wrong. Everybody was really friendly and nice. I was pleasantly surprised. I talked with everybody about their countries, languages and backrounds. I am hoping that they liked me, too. After that everybody went to their homes. I ate and went to sleep. But I knew that this was a start of a great trip.

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Wednesday 28 February by Noora Rämö

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Today we were supposed to have a school day but because of a strong wind it was cancelled. I had a peaceful morning with my host family. At 11 a.m. we met people of the project at a Canarian girl’s house. Later in the day we went to Las Palmas with my host family. We had a beautiful walk at the sunny beach. I tasted a dessert called crepe, it was delicious. We also ate Canarian traditional food called ”potato omelet” and went on a pizza restaurant this day. All the food has been really good here this far. I went to the english academy of my host sister and I loved it! We were talking today about Finland’s education system and government. Everyone were asking me questions about Finland. At that moment I was really thankful to Maria for keeping us civics lessons in English! 🙂 at the end of the day we went to my host sister’s grandmom’s house where I met their relatives.

Living in a Canarian family has already taught me a lot about Canarian traditions and culture. When I hear them speaking Spanish, I would like to speak it better myself to communicate with the local people and my host parents and their relatives. In here it feels like English is my native language. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the country, people and traditions!

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Thursday 1 March by Ria Saha

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I.E.S. Valsequillo

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Today we went to the school and started to do our Erasmus project. It went pretty well, because everyone got to do something with their groups. We had also big break  and we took a little tour in the town. The view was so beautiful and everyone was taking pictures. The weather was so perfect, it was sunny and a bit windy and everybody was enjoying that. In the evening we went to las Palmas city, and we did also little shopping there. Near the shopping centre was a huge beach, where everybody was enjoying the environment.

I felt that the day started very well, and everyone got on well with each other. My group was so nice to me and to everyone else. I was able to say my opinion about our project, and what we should add.

In the evening I saw the most beautiful sunset ever in my life and I took so many pictures of that with my new friends. I loved the day as it was.

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Friday 2 March by Pinja Stålhammar

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Today on Friday we had a second school day. We finished our projects; filmed videos and made the rest of our PowerPoint-presentations. During the schoolday we also had a little walk to mountains, it was very beautiful. Rest of the time we just hang out and played some ping-pong. At the end of the school day we presented our projects. There were also a few amazing dances and singing performances by some students.
The afternoon I spent with my host family. After school me and Vicky went home and ate pizza and just talked and chilled for a while. We also had a walk with Vicky’s dogs. Around five o’clock, when Vicky’s parents got home, we were supposed to go to some place in the mountains where is very nice view. But unfortunately when we were driving there, we noticed that it was so foggy that we couldn’t see anything so we turned back to the village. But views what I saw from the car were beautiful. After that we went to a cute little cafeteria and walked around the village. Then we drove to Las Palmas. There we looked at some sights and all that kind of things. For example we visited in Las Canteras beach, which is three kilometres long. We didn’t swim because it was already evening, but we took a lot of pictures. After we came back to Valsequillo me and Vicky went to see our friends from the project. We had a very nice evening, we danced, talked and ate. When we got home it was about half past one am. It was very nice day, like all other days too in Gran Canaria. I have really enjoyed this trip.
The first time when I heard about this project I was like I have to get in that project and I haven’t regretted it at all. I loved meeting new people from different countries and making new friends. I also loved the culture of Gran Canaria, how everyone was so much more sociable than in Finland. I also liked the beautiful nature of the island and of course I enjoyed the warm weather very much. I can’t say anything else but it was such a great week!

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Saturday 3 March by Nana Yeboa-Mensa

My day started with a breakfast with the family I was living with. First we went to a beach in Mogan. It was my homestays favourite beach in the world, that what she said. After that we went to another beach called Maspalomas where we met some of the other groups. While we were there we went to watch the dunes and some swam. We were there about four hours or more. After that we went back “home” to have dinner. We stayed inside for an hour then we met with the others and went to Telde to watch the carnival, where people were dressed as different characters, animals and opposite genders. After that we went back to Valsequillo to buy some pizza and went to the park to eat with almost everyone. There we ate, listened to music and said goodbye to everyone who were there. And we ended the day by going to sleep.

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Sunday 4 March by Delina Yonas Fissehaie

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A fairwell with all the Finnish students and their host families and teacher Laura Tilsa

I woke up in the morning at 5:45 feeling so grateful and sad. I am so grateful and honored to be in this project. And I’m sad, because I will miss everyone from Gran Canaria, especially my host family who made sure that this week would be the best week for me.

I met so many interesting people, that were so nice to us.
When we were in the airplane going to Gran Canaria we talked with an air steward, his name is Jani, just like in our Spanish book.
We tried talking Spanish with him by saying all the words that we had learned in Spanish class. He actually liked us, as we liked him too. And when I asked him if i can buy a water that cost 3€, he told me to wait a minute and went to get me,Ria and Noora waters. When I tried to give him money, he said no and he touched my shoulder and smiled kindly as he gave the waters to us for free.
It happened twice that we got free water when we tried talking Spanish and our teacher got a free coffee, for the same reason. The people were the best part in this whole trip.

We had to be at 07:00 o’clock at the airport. We took one more time pictures with everyone and at that time we realized that it is time to say goodbye. It was so hard to say goodbye, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to see each other anymore, or I hope so.

I learned a lot during this project, especially while doing the project. I was so happy that my group’s project was about Kiva- method that we use in our school in Finland. And I was the expert one in that group. I learned a lot and had so much fun.

We arrived in Denmark at 15:00 o’clock, because our transit was in Denmark.
Our teachers had promised to take us somewhere to eat, and they did that. We went to a restaurant.
After eating we talked and played all together. And after the best school trip, it was time to go home.
We had so much fun in such a short time, and we also met a lot of people who became our friends.

I also believe that I learned more Spanish during this trip.

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Valsequillo

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Emilia and Kamilla’s Diary of the Erasmus+ R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Meeting in Wörth, Germany

 

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  Kamilla:

Day one, Wednesday;

 We arrived in Rettenbach around two or three o’clock. Our host families picked us up. I had freetime for a little while and then me and Sophia walked to the other village to meet up with Luisia and Emmi. After that we went to Luisia’s house and hanged around there for a while. Then her mother drove us to Sophia’s house and we ate dinner there. In the evening we went to a workout gym.

 Day two, Thursday;

My alarm went at 5:30 am and we left for school at 7 am. Müesli,  yogurt and tea for breakfast. We went to school by a school bus. It took about 20 minutes. At school we played all types of  ”get to know each other- games”, with all the other students from Iceland, Spain, Greece and Poland and Germany. It was quite a long schoolday, from 8 am to 4 pm. The rest of the day we sat in a technology class doing the project. Well, we kind of just sat around and chatted with each other because the kids from Spain in my group said that they’ll do the project in Gran Canaria.

In the evening we went to a welcoming party. All the German kids’ parents had prepared really delicious food.

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 Day three, Friday;

We left for school at the same time as the day before and went to the same class. We saw all the students presenting their presentations about their home countries. At 11 am we went to Regensburg for a field trip by bus. It was a little town where we had two hours of freetime to walk around. It was a rainy and cold day.

 Day four, Saturday;

This was our only ”day off” during the trip. I woke up at 8 am and ate breakfast. Then me, Sophia and Elias went out for a walk to an open field to see deers. At 2 pm me and the whole family left for ice-skating. All the other exchange students were there too. We were there for a few hours and then we were split into two groups. After that we walked to a nearby town where we had applestrudel and hot chocolate.

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Emilia:

11.11 Saturday.
We drove to Nürnberg with Luisia, Svenja and Birgitta.  We went shopping and ate at a local restaurant. Later we went to a trampoline park.

13.11 Monday.
Today we have school. We rode to school with the bus. Today we finished the presentations for the projects and gave  presentations about the countries. Later in the evening we went to skittle with all the people as a farewell party and said goodbye to all the people from the other countries since we were the only people who stayed there till Wednesday.

14.11 Tuesday
Today we went back to Regensburg to do some shopping and we also ate sushi at a buffet.

15.11 Wednesday
Today we had to say goodbye to our families and we headed off to Munich with a train and a bus. We did our last bit of shopping there and we flew back to Finland.

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Because we´re Wörth it! Erasmus+ KA2 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. in Wörth an der Donau, Germany, 8.-15.11.2017

 

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8.11. Two teachers, Jaana and Katri, and two students, Emilia and Kamilla from the 9th grade ready to go! Wednesday was a travelling day so after a flight to Munich we took a bus to Freising, a train from Freising to Regensburg and finally a bus to Wörth. Families took the girls and took care of them and we teachers settled in Gasthaus Butz. Students and teachers from Finland, Iceland, Germany, Poland, Greece and Spain getting ready to work together for almost a week!

9.11. First meeting at Mittelschule Wörth at 8.30. Info about the project, a tour in a school, welcome meeting in the school Hall by the Headmaster and working on a project.

In the afternoon meeting at Mayor`s Hall by mayor Anton Rothfischer and an EU- representative Arne Gericke. Next day there was a report on a local newspaper about the meeting and we got the copies of the magazine. Later a walk through the old town and a visit in an old castle. Castle is nowadays a retirement home for senior citizens.What a great place to spend your golden years! In the evening a welcoming party arranged by the parents. Great food and company!

 

10.11. We were introduced a project where qualified pupils work as mediators solving fights etc. between other pupils. After that a visit to Karin´s transition class and meeting great youngsters for instance from Iraq, Syria, Romania, Vietnam and Ethiopia.

Then again to a car and to Regensburg to vist Lernwerkstatt where there´s a project that helps young people who avoid school, get an education and profession.

Lunch at Kneitinger which is a traditional Bavarian restaurant and a guided tour through the city of Regensburg. Visit to St. Peter´s Cathedral and a lot of historical information!

 

11.11. Freetime! So we took a bus to Regensburg and did some heavy shopping ( well, some of us…) Lunch together enjoying Bratwurst und Sauerkraut! And because it was 11.11. at 11, there was a big parade starting the Christmas season and remembering those who died during the World War.

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12.11. Early in the morning a bustrip to an old mediaval Schloss Prunn with the students and a visit to Kuchlbauer brewery and a tour in a famous architect Hundertwassens House. In the evening a dinner at Jagerwirt in Aumbach, a traditional Bavarian restaurant.

13.11. In the morning at school a demonstration by socialworker Claudia and team about SOR, school without racism and after that a report about German and Bavarian schoolsystem which is quite different depenging where in Germany you live. Also evaluation and planning the project and checking that everything is on schedule especially for next meeting in Canaria on February. Students worked in three different groups ( games, art, cooking etc.) and in the afternoon we all cathered together to hear which teams won the trophies. Team Finland won but unfortunately there were no Finnish students in that group…

In the evening we all met at Gasthaus Geier where we played Skittles, a local game a bit like bowling. We had so much fun and the evening ended with farewells, hugs and kisses because next day it was time to go back home, except team Finland, who stayed one more day before leaving.

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An interview with our Erasmus+ R.E.S.P.E.C.T. teacher guests

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The second year of our Erasmus+ KA2 project R.E.S.P.E.C.T. has started with a meeting held in Helsingin Uusi yhteiskoulu, Finland in mid-September. Among hard work and the planning of this year’s activities we wanted to ask our international guests a few questions.

Team Gran Canaria Spain, Arabela & Carmen

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What makes you do these international projects?

Our project coordinator, Carmen: “Because I am a masochist! It is a lot of work, but I do it because of the impact these projects have on people on all levels, because of the contacts between colleagues and personal growth. We are a good team!”

What were your first impressions about Helsinki and Finland?

Arabela: “Helsinki reminds me of Berlin, it is modern, peaceful and quiet, people are friendly. And it not as cold as I expected.” ( I must say, even the weather improved with the arrival of our guests.)

Favourite sight? Carmen and Arabela: “Porvoo! We could move here.”

Team Germany, Klaus & Franz

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What would you take from Finland to your country and vice-versa?

Franz and Klaus: “I would take your school system. You don’t divide pupils as early as we do in Germany but teach everybody the same. Everything is modern and efficient here, you can pay everywhere with credit card and everybody speaks English.”

Franz: “I would give you our cheaper prices!”

Team Poland, Ewa & Barbara

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Your first impressions of Finland and Finns?

Ewa and Barbara: “Beautiful airport, music at the airport train station, it is quiet everywhere.” “Finnish people are calm and speak with a quiet voice. The school is modern and well organised, all tools and equipment are good.

Favourite sight? Not able to decide 🙂  (Porvoo?)

Team Iceland, Rima and Victoria

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Rima has spent eight months in Joensuu during her studies, and naturally she loves Finland. “Amazing country, friendly and orderly people.”

Favourite place? Allas sea pool and sauna.

Victoria is a Swede living in Vik, Iceland. Her first impression of Finland was, “This is like Sweden, my home! I miss home.” “I like your school food, it is healthy.”

Team Greece, Emilia and Vassilios

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Emilia and Vassili: ” Finland is a green country, excellent airport, good transportation, roads are wide, great infrastructure and a friendly atmosphere in the school.”

Did you learn any Finnish during your stay?

Emilia: “TULOSTA”

Your favourite place during the visit?

Emilia: “Your school. I like your school.”

Vassili: “We love your country!”

Aaw, we love you too! (Team Finland)

Our trip to Poland

Three students from HUYK made a one-week trip to Birzca, Poland in March. The trip was part of our school’s Erasmus+ project called R.E.S.P.E.C.T. In addition to us there were teachers and pupils from Germany, Iceland, Greece and Spain.

During the visit we experienced all kinds of things from frying sausages around a camp fire to exploring the city of Krakow. We also rehearsed and performed a play together in a school talent show.

By Venla    (translation by E.R.)

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The teachers had decided the pupils would perform a play together. The theme of the play was bullying and its consequences, which was also the theme of our project. At least one pupil from each country took part in the performance, and from Team Finland we had Ly and I.

We only had 30 minutes time to rehearse with the teacher and after that some two hours among ourselves. We had to speak English and work with almost total strangers. On the day of the talent show almost all the actors arrived late so we had no time for a dress rehearsal!

However, the performance was a success for everybody and I was very proud of Ly and myself. Many people in the audience started to cry. Right after the show we went for a hike in the forest.

By Tia   (translation by E.R.)

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As a school trip abroad, we and other students from other countries felt a bit nervous and curious along the way to Poland. But after we left our first footprints on this Birzca land, and were welcomed to the Polish families, everything turned to a very interesting way. I could see that Polish people are maybe friendlier at first sight than Finns when every host came and gave us kisses on both cheeks. Polish are also very sociable and kind. We were treated extremely well and we were offered many Polish delicious traditional dishes. We joined the play, always tried to get to know more about others, we also visited national forest and 4 cities in just 5 days. But every single moment, since we started our journey, we found a feeling, named excited. This journey gave us many memories but also challenges, led us to learn new things, to get new friends and to enjoy our youth.

By Ly

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