viernes, 29 de noviembre de 2013

Comenius Exchange: Final Thoughts

By Hannah Roscoe, 
IES Julio Caro Baroja BHI Comenius Language Assistant.

When I first sat down to write this ‘final thoughts’ article I had no idea how to describe my experience. I’m extremely lucky because I was able to see the exchange from several different viewpoints, each one having had its own impact on my final thoughts. There is, however, one viewpoint that stands out more than any other. For those of you who don’t know, I study languages at university in the UK. I’m currently in my third year, which I have to spend abroad in the countries where my languages are spoken. The exchange with Hungary and Poland allowed our students to travel to a foreign country, live with a foreign family, and practice a foreign language. I was so happy to be there whilst they experienced that, because it’s exactly what I am experiencing right now in Spain. For them to have an opportunity like this is incredible. I had to wait until I was 21!

To be completely honest, when I first heard about the trip to Hungary and Poland I had no idea what to expect. It was the first time that I had the chance to take part in an exchange programme, so I had no previous experience to relate to. But it certainly wasn’t something I was going to turn down. When you are presented with an opportunity to travel to new and exciting places you’d have to be crazy to say no! It didn’t take long for me to decide that Hungary was the place for me, and I can’t find the words to describe how right I was.
I had the most amazing company in Carlos and the students (most of whom I teach at the school). We spent an unforgettable week in Budapest and it will always have a special place in my memory. Summing up how incredible the trip was is going to be difficult, but here goes…

As you can expect, we did a lot of sightseeing whilst we were there. Some of the most important sites we visited included the Houses of Parliament, the Castle District as well as Heroes’ Square. There were also opportunities for us to learn a little bit about Hungarian history; especially in the House of Terror Museum. This visit proved to be both an eye opening and shocking experience for everybody. As a teacher I was able to do even more things when the students were with their Hungarian partners. Carlos and I were treated to dinner almost every night, meeting people who will remain firm friends. We also visited the National Gallery for an exhibition on Impressionism and were spoilt with a trip to the theatre. Time well spent!

But it wasn’t just fun and games – the students were there for a more important reason. The objective of this exchange was to share information; more specifically, information about how festivals are celebrated in different countries in the European Union. The students had several workshops during the week where they had to compile information about festivals in both countries. They then worked in groups to prepare PowerPoint presentations explaining what similarities and differences they had found between Spain and Hungary. This activity proved to be extremely useful for me as well as for the students. I had no idea what Aste Nagusia was when I arrived in Spain, but I can now say with confidence that I know absolutely everything about it.

Hannah Roscoe's Final Thoughts
Obviously the common language of the exchange was English. For me it wasn’t a challenge as I am a native speaker. I am very proud of our students for practicing their English as much as they did, and for trying their best to improve their skills. I know how difficult it is to be thrown in at the deep end and I am very happy that they enjoyed their time in Hungary as much as I did, and as much as I am enjoying my time in Spain.

domingo, 24 de noviembre de 2013

Bilateral Meeting Diary (5): Friday 22nd

                              Silvi        Pablo      and         Itsaso

Today is our Comenius  last day, Friday 22nd. We have been working hard during the week. Visiting places such as the Hungarian Parliament, the House of Terror (...) we have learnt a lot about the Hungarian and European History in the last century.
But now it is the time to evaluate the Bilateral Meeting Week. To do so, teachers have told us to make groups of six (three Hungarian and three Spanish students together) and think of ideas and activities to be evaluated. Once we have done this, we have exchanged groups to come to agreements with the questions. After that, we have evaluated the projects, our way of working together, the presentations, our life with Hungarian families, how important Comenius Project is becoming in our lives...

In the evening we have celebrated the Farewell Party. Pete and two girls played the piano and sang for us. Then, we danced a lot, played very amusing games and  had wonderful Hungarian food cooked by parents.
In short,  we celebrated the end of sharing life together for a week. It has been a great time to remember. But this is not the end:
We'll see one another again in Bilbao in March.
Bye for now, friends.

viernes, 22 de noviembre de 2013

Bilateral Meeting Diary (4), Thursday 21st

Visit to the Parliament and Presentation of the project

               Ignacio, Mark                          and Timi

We got up at 8 o’clock, then we got dressed and had breakfast. After that we packed in our swimming suits, slippers and towels, because we didn´t go back home before going to Aqua World. The meeting point was at Kossuth Square because we were going to visit the Hungarian Parliament. The visit was very interesting. Inside the building we got completely surprised by all the rooms: Entrance hall, corridors, reception rooms… beautifully painted sculptures, colourful stained–glass window, luxurious recession room.
After that we went back to Ors Vezer square and had lunch. After lunch in Árkád we went back to school to perform the presentations. They were really good and entertaining and we learnt about Hungarian traditions and festivities. Some classes attended to our presentations. They liked them a lot.

Comenius Diary (4): Project Presentations

After the presentations we went to the Aquaworld the famous aquapark in Budapest. In order to get Theere we had to take 50 minutes. It was very good 'cause it had a lot of slides and funny things. We had a lot of fun and a very enjoyable experience.


Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd by Iratxe, Sara, Ainara and Haize

On Thursday, we had to present our power points, posters and all the work we had been doing during the week. After the rehearsals and so much preparation, we did a good job.
In the afternoon, we divided into diffeent groups and worked on the last part of our project. We prepared presentations for the English lessons at the high school, a photo show, work reviews,evaluation sheets and a post for our Comenius blog.

Then, at six o'clock, we started our National Evening. We presented the photo show we had prepared in the afternoon and the video that we had made in Getxo for this especial event. We also had a competition with a quiz to show our knowledge of Polish culture and we tried to pronounce the difficult Polish language, repeating tongue twisters.The families brought a lot of food, and we sang and danced popular songs in Poland and in Spain. We had a very good time.

Friday was our last day at school. We finished the presentations for the English lessons, the report for our website and we uploaded a post to our blog explaining what we have done this week. Some of us gave presentations in English lessons talking about our project and showing them our posters, so that they could see the differences and similarities in how we celebrate our festivals.
The main representative of the region visited us and we got some presents. To finish our visit to this school, we went to different classes and lessons and we saw some big differences.

This is our last day, but not everything is finished yet. We have planned a wonderful evening together, our last one before we meet again in March in Getxo.


Wednesday  20th by Iratxe and Itsasne

On Wednesday we went all together to a town called Torun. First, we went to a Christmas Ball factory and they taught us how to make glass balls and how to decorate them. It was very interesting and they gave us a ball with our names.

After that, we went to Torun where we had a guided tour and they told us interesting things about the city. Copernico was born here and Napoleon slept here too. They showed us important places.

After eating a fantastic pancake, we learnt how to make the typical ginger bread biscuits that are made in this town following a medieval recipe.

Finally, we had a free hour in town to buy presents for the family and friends. We all had so much fun! And our relationships btween Polish and Spanish got much closer!!!


Tuesday the 19th, by Xavier and Iñigo

We started the cold morning with a treasure hunt around Wrzesnia to get to know the town and its monuments.  We visited 10 different things from places of this town. Then, after lunch, we worked very hard and almost all of us finished our presentations.
In the afternoon, we met and went bowling. We enjoyed a lot there and finally we had dinner in a pizza restaurant called "Sethi".
Here there are some pictures showing our treasure hunt in the morning.

jueves, 21 de noviembre de 2013

Bilateral Meeting Diary (3): Wednesday, 20th

                                         Alba      Aitziber    and     Lili
                                        The House of Terror Museum

Everybody  met outside the Opera House. Here we took the metro to go to the Heroes’ Square and the city park. After seeing these two beautiful places we took another metro to go to The House of Terror Museum. Inside the museum we learnt about  recent Hungarian history, in particular how the Nazis and the Comunists tortured people from their own country during and after World War II.
What impressed us most was the different psychological techniques and the instruments they used to torture people: pliers to cut fingers and nails, water cells, cells in horrible conditions, electricity… We felt really depressed  because it was an awful event in our history. It was very powerful because it’s very recent history and the victims could have been your grandparents or relatives. We can’t image how people could do these things to other human beings.
Afterwards we took a bus to go to school to continue our projects about festivities. We had to learn our presentations so that we can present them to other students of the High School.
We finished at four o’clock and went to walk around the city because we had some free time.

miércoles, 20 de noviembre de 2013

Bilateral Meeting Diary (2): Tuesday, 19th

                           Péter Király,  Aitor Juarros  and Xabier de Velasco

We arrived at school at 7:30 a.m. and ten minutes later we set off by bus. It took us two hours to get to Eger. We started walking and a few  minutes later we saw the first monument: the Bazilika. This church was constructed in the eighteen century and was very beautiful.
After that, we had an hour free time during which we visited the local McDonald’s and Istrán Dobó Square. Then, all of us went to see Károly Eszterházy’s College. On top of the building we used the “cámara oscura”. With that machine we could see an aerial view of the city. Afterwards, they showed us some physical experiments, which were quite interesting. Then we visited the famous castle of Eger and the tunnels beneath it.
We had fun at a nearby playground whilst waiting for the coach.

We got back to the school at 6:30 p.m. In the evening some of us went downtown to see the city lit in the night and also tried a Hungarian speciality called Kürtòskalács.

martes, 19 de noviembre de 2013

Our first day at Szent Lásló Gimnázium in Hungary.

Bilateral Meeting Diary 2
Monday, November 18th, by Iñigo and Miryam
We arrived at Szent Lásló Gimnázium to meet up with everybody in the main hall. Then, our Hungarian partners handed  us out a school quiz and we had to go around the school to find the answers, It was very funny. 

Afterwards we watched a video about Budapest recorded by previous Comenius students. Then, 
we went to the Chemistry Laboratory to see some experiments. They were fantastic! 

After that, some people were to an English class and the other group to the Spanish class, where they talked about how we celebrate Christmas in both countries and about Bilbao, Algorta and the Basque Country.

Finally we went to the canteen and tasted goulash for the first time.

Monday Afternoon, by Bianca and Dóra.
On the second day of our students exchange program we headed to our school to show our guests what our school is like. We had all sorts of activities in the morning but in the afternoon we had to get some work done:  At 12:30 everyone went to the school cafeteria and had lunch together. We ate goulash, which is Hungary’s most well-known dish all over the world.

When we finished our meal at about 13:00 we headed back to the main hall, where we started working on our projects. Our goal was studying both countries’ National Landmarks together finding differences and similarities.

Even though we had some difficulties during the workshop we successfully managed to overcome them and reach our aim. The group work wasn’t only sharing all the information but also about team work. I mean, it was a great opportunity for people to know each other.

After two and a half hours of hard work we finally had our National Evening. We introduced our folk dance, which was a great experience for everyone. After the show we had dinner in the main hall prepared by parents.

Activities followed our dinner such as card games and dancing games and songs. Our program ended at around eight o’clock and we went home with memories we won’t forget.


Monday, November 18th     Ander Angel and Ander Arias

Today we woke up at 7:30, we had a big breakfast and went to school. Some of us have to take a train which takes us about 15 minutes, but some others live very close to school, so we just walk there.

To start with, we had a coffee reception at school. The headmaster came, welcomed us and stayed to have coffee with us.

 Then, we went to our classroom and we played some games and did some warming up activities. At the end of them, we had learned the names of the participants and we knew a little bit about each other.

We had lunch at school  (soup, fruit juice, chicken and potatoes) and in the afternoon we worked on our project.

We have appeared on the school website, where we can see some of the pictures taken while we were working.

After school, we went to McDonalds, ate a burger and to finish the day, we went to a pub. It was a great day and we had a really good time!!!


 Post by Endika and Markel

In our first day in Poland, we went to visit Poznan, a town which is about 45 minutes by train from our homes. In the old part of the city we saw a clock in the Town Hall  with a very special surprise. Everyday at 12 noon, you can see two goats hitting each other's  heads.

Some of us went to Poznan in the morning with our families, some others went to church, shopping, visited a zoo, a museum... but all of us enjoyed this beautiful city.


Finally, we met to have a drink and get to know each other before starting our week working on the project.

lunes, 18 de noviembre de 2013

Bilateral Meeting Diary (1)

The Arrival, by Natalia and Réka
Saturday, 16th
We took the coach from our High School to Madrid. During the trip, we screamed every half an hour to wake up the people who were sleeping. Also, we played music, as we were so happy and excited. When we arrived in Madrid, we all went to the toilettes.

After checking, we made our way to the gate. We had a big problem! Ignacio had left his passport at home. Fortunately, the stewardesses let him pass because he had his identification card with him. Finally, we go onto the airplane and we had a pleasant trip.
Three hours later we arrived in Amsterdam, where we took another plane to Budapest (another two hours). Once there, we met our Hungarian partners and went with their families. All the families were so great and friendly that we felt very happy. We had dinner with them and went to the city center, where we saw some sights and returned home to sleep.
It was a great but tiring day.

Sunday, 17th
Early in the morning we woke up, had breakfast and went bowling. We spent one hour there. We enjoyed it very much. After that, we went sightseeing. We saw the most important buildings in Budapest: Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, Deak Square… We did a quiz and it was great because we met some Spanish and Italian people. After the cultural programme we had lunch. Some of us went home, others went walking downtown…
In the afternoon some of us went out together (Basque and Hungarians) and had a great time.
After such an exciting day, we returned home and had a good night sleep.
It had been another fantastic day!