During our recent Comenius visit to Sweden, Y Pant students Jackie, Brogan, Bethan and Sophie found their picture in the local paper! A reporter from the Vasterbottens Folkblad visited the school on the Thursday and interviewed several students about their experiences.
Click to view a larger version of the article. The Y Pant girls can be seen in the smaller photos at the bottom, middle photo.
The translation below has been kindly provided by Heléne Ericsson, English teacher and Comenius co-ordinator of our host school Carlshöjdsskolan.
Sweden, an exotic country with picking candy, snow mattresses and loads of snow? Students from Italy, Holland and Wales had a speedy first day at Carlshöjdsskolan.
Late Wednesday evening nine teachers and 16 students arrived from Carlshöjdsskolan’s partner schools in Wales, Holland, Germany and Italy to Umeå. Students and teachers will be in Umeå until Sunday, participating in a EU Comenius project for lifelong learning.
The Thursday started of softly with a round of presentations and the occasional awe of having ended up in the middle of the freezing north with -15 degrees and deep snow.
When VF comes to visit the students are playing soccer in the gym hall.
- It was the Italians who came up with the idea, says Fanni Björklund in 9A.
One of the boys from Holland is staying with her family and many of the activities are spontaneous together with other host families housing foreign students during the visit. And the planned program during the days are actually secret to the visiting young people.
- We have no idea what is going to happen, it is really fun. I love the snow and meeting new people, says Italian Yuri Feretti who, with his 18 years of age, is one of the oldest in the group. He has previously went to both Holland and Wales for exchanges withing the Comenius programme.
Students pass on the elks
The students will among other things experience the school lunch, snow mattresses, buying candy by the weight and being surrounded by lots and lots of snow. The teachers involved spend the mornings in project meetings at school but will for instance go to the Elk house on Saturday to get closely acquainted with the king of the forest. But that outing doesn’t appeal to the students, Linn Claesson from 9 A tells us.
- The students and the teachers have different activities. We want to go skiing, skating and snow mattressing.
Neither Linn nor Fanni has been able to go on an exchange visit in Italy, Holland or Wales, since the students going must be lucky enough to win their participating in a lottery. But having someone visiting cheers up during the rather dull month of February and is a nice break from ordinary school now that the national exams in Swedish are just finished.
- Nothing much goes on here before the winter holiday week 10, Linn Claesson says.
- We just long for the summer and then it is nice to have visitors that are not so used to the snow here, Fanni Björklund agrees.
The girls continue by saying that Sweden is experienced by the visiting students as the most exotic country in the exchange.
- They wanted to know if we knew French or if we just spoke our own language. And if we had any cinemas.
Keeping contact over the Internet
There is no cinema visit planned but the students from Carlshöjdsskolan has chosen Koops by Josef Fares as a relaxing afternoon activity at school. And a fun way to experience yet another cultural aspect of Sweden. A guided city tour for both students and teachers is planned with a visit to the city council, the library and the snow castle by the river. Hopefully the exchange will result in good friendship or contacts for future travel and cultural experiences.
Fanni Björklund and Linn Claesson both have Facebook accounts, something that is not as common among the students from the visiting countries.
When VF steps into the teachers’ room one of the Swedish students are explaining how you can start your own groups on Facebook to keep in contact in the future.
Other new things they came in contact with?
- The Dutch students don’t put butter on their sandwiches, Linn Claesson says.
- I’m going to Vännäs to use a sauna and go snowboarding for the very first time, Rick Matthijssen from Holland says.
Snow mattress. Despite the cold all students from Italy, Holland, Germany and Wales appreciated their very first snow mattress race.
Bottom picture row, left to right:
Study break. Linn Claesson and Fanni Björklund from class 9A on Carlshöjdsskolan appreciate the visit.
Soccer cup. The Italians came up with the idea to play soccer in the gym hall after the ice-breaker games.
No elks. There is a visit to the Elk house on the teachers’ programme but the students rather play in the snow.
Friends. Julia Van Agtmaal and Lieke Buys are two fourteen-year-olds from Holland who love IKEA.
Winter games. Many of the students had never played in the snow previously. Here they get to try Swedish mattress racing.
Picture row, left side, top to bottom:
What do you think about Sweden and Umeå?
Julia van Agtmaal, 14, Holland.
- Great fun. I want to learn more about Swedish culture, eat Swedish foot and try snowboarding for the first time.
Rein v/d Elshout, 15, Holland.
- I went to Sweden for vacation with my parents last summer. It was fantastic to experience winter now. I love the nature.
Giulia Bini, 17, Italy.
- We are from Tuscany so we have never played in the snow like this before. Absolutely wonderful.
Yuri Ferretti, 18, Italy.
- I love the snow and meeting new people and practice my English. I’m looking forward to tasting Swedish food.
Lieke Buys, 14, Holland.
- Everything they have planned they keep a secret to us so it’s a surprise. I knew of IKEA before, “Smöland” and that we use the same words for yes and no. We understand a little when people in the host family speak Swedish, that is fun.