The last day before leaving Salzburg behind was dedicated to spending time with the hosting families and engaging in different sorts of activities. Some of us went for the trips in the nearby locations, some of us checked out the local marathon…
After that, unfortunately, it was time to start packing and say: ‘Thank you, to everyone in Austria for a fantastic stay, and to everyone else being part of the project, and see you in autumn 2019 in Finland!‘
On Saturday, Austrians have prepared to take us to their capital city, Vienna, and show us a big part of their country’s history. We toog a very comfortable high speed train to get there, and enjoyed the Austrian countryside through the windows during the journey.
We started off by visiting Prater and observing the city from high up. After that we took a mini guided tour through the city center and the most important sights like St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Hofburg.
Thereafter, students were allowed to explore the city on their own for some time, before embarking on the train back to Salzburg full of impressions.
This day was very interesting, and important, to all the participants. We met with twenty two young people between the age 15-25 from Minerva school in Salzburg who were willing to share with us their stories.
In spite of the language barrier, this was a very enriching day for everyone.
The students of participating countries were about to ask questions that they had prepared beforehand, but towards the end they also improvised and discussed whatever came to their mind at the moment.
It was wonderful to follow the process of the discussion. From when at the beginning the Minerva students stood little nervously on one side of the room, to the end, when all people were mixed together and sharing even personal experiences, hobbies and impressions of living in Austria in a relaxed way.
The results of this discussion will be published very soon.
Today, the students started by visiting the local lessons and then continued by presenting the results of questionnaires about improving teaching methods. All the countries had had their students fill in a questionnaire about what they thought would help the educational process from several different perspectives. We will share these results soon.
Teachers’ training program consisted of a lecture on ‘Inclusion in Austrian schools’ which naturally developed into an interesting discussion between the participating teachers.
After the lunch, we took a trip to the largest ice cave in the world Eisriesenwelt which happens to be situated very close to Salzburg. The trip was quite exciting and slightly physically demanding, which of course was necessary after all the work and sitting at school. Some of the students enjoyed the snow for the first time in their lives. 😉
Today, we started the day by evaluating and discussing the presentations from yesterday. The students were working in international groups comparing their notes and the main reasons for immigration into each of the participating countries.
Teacher’s were busy planning the next visit to Vantaa, Finland. Expected dates are now updated and available in the calendar.
Salt mines play a huge part of Salzburg’s history. That is why they played an important part of today’s cultural exchange. We were taken to the Hallein Salt Mine and learned about the basics of city’s historical background.
The last day before leaving the hosting country is usually dedicated to students spending time with the families. This time we happened to visit Poland right during celebrating the 100th anniversary of independence, therefore most of the activities involved being a part of the celebrations in the city centre, or otherwise.
Then it was time to say ‘Thank you!’ and ‘Good-bye!’ to Poland for a great week, and ‘We’ll see you again in Austria!’
This was the most difficult part of the project to many. We all know about the horrors of the concentration camps, but to see it with our own eyes left us sad, humbled and hopeful that these kind of events would never repeat again. As difficult as it was, we also understand the importance of visiting Auschwitz, since it plays such a big part in, not just the Polish, but also world’s history.
Everyone had a lot to think about on our way back to Warsaw.
On Friday morning it was time to get up really early in order to catch the bus that took us to the beautiful city of Kraków. The students continued to make friends and erase the borders between the countries during the journey. They were singing songs from popular Walt Disney movies in the languages of all the countries involved in our project.
After the somewhat long bus drive it was time to discover Kraków. A local guide took us to Wawel Castle anad showed us around the city. In a very informative way he told us about the history and the most interesting personalities of Polish culture that are tied to this city.
Thereafter the students had a moment to discover the city on their on their own, and before dinner they visited the Old Market Underground. Then, after walking about 15 kilometres that day, it was time to recharge our batteries at one of the local hostels before the following day.
While students were observing the usual lessons in a Polish school, the teachers participated in the teachers’ training. Under the leadership of Katarzyna Sochacka, local teacher of English language, they were trying out new teaching methods, like for example ‘escape room’ and discussed the possibilities of using these methods and developing them in other subjects as well.
Later on, students were given lessons by some of the hosting teachers.
First it was Mario, from Spain, who made sure that the students get some movement during this day when he gave his physical education lesson. Everyone got their circulation going and they seemed to be enjoying it.
Next on, Zita, the English language teacher from Sweden, continued by engaging the students in the spirit of Erasmus+. They were working in groups discussing stereotypes of different countries, trying to get to know each other’s culture differences and respect them.