dissabte, 29 de desembre de 2012

Comenius meeting in Güstrow

Tal com he anat piulant pel Twitter, aquest any el nostre curs (els de 4t d'ESO de l'institut Jaume Callís de Vic) participem en un projecte Comenius anomenat "Edumedia: How can it be efficient in European schools?" juntament amb una escola de Biella, al Piemont (Itàlia), una de Göteborg (Suècia), una de Dublín i una de Güstrow, a l'estat alemany de Mecklemburg-Pomerània Occidental, situat a l'antiga Alemanya de l'Est, prop del mar Bàltic, a uns 200km de Berlín. Una de les parts del projecte és una trobada a cada un dels països participants en què treballem amb els alumnes dels altres països i ens "allotgem" a casa d'un dels alumnes del lloc on anem, de manera que 5 alumnes de l'institut Jaume Callís (juntament amb dues professores) vam anar la setmana passada a Güstrow, i tal com habitualment faig amb els viatges que faig, he escrit un dietari sobre el que hem fet cada dia. Aquest cop, però, ja que també calia fer-lo en anglès per explicar-ho a la resta d'alumnes de 4t d'ESO del Callís que no van poder venir-hi, publico també aquí la versió en anglès (sempre hi ha el traductor del Google per qui vulgui llegir-ho macarrònicament traduït en català o en qualsevol de les altres 63 llengües, i aquí es poden veure algunes fotos que vaig fer durant aquells dies):

Sunday 16th December
Berlin Hauptbahnhof
I got up at 5.45 in the morning and I had a bit of breakfast. With my parents I went to the Vic bus station where I met the other 4 students and the 2 teachers, Pepi and Marta, going to Güstrow. At half past six we left for Barcelona Airport with our cars (Pepi came with us). We had to go to the Terminal 2C because we flew with EasyJet. We said goodbye to our parents and the first thing that we did was check in and drop our baggage. Next we ate something more and after that we passed the security control and we stayed in the duty free zone for some time. At 9.45 we had to go to gate 16 where we took a bus that took us to the plane. At 11.30 the plane started to fly to Berlin-Schönefeld, our destination. I don’t know exactly through what countries we passed over but we saw generally three things though the window: the sea (with the sun, something great), a lot of mountains, surely the Alps, and finally we flew over a sea of fog and snow-covered fields and villages. The plane landed punctually at 13.15 in the airport of Berlin-Schönfeld (it’s not the main airport of the capital city of Germany) and after retrieving our luggage and walking to the airport train station, we got a train, a real train: silent and punctual! We arrived at Berlin Hauptbahnhof (the main train station of Berlin) at 14.15 and we had lunch in a Pizza Hut (the station was at the same time something like a shopping centre). The two pieces of pizza were delicious but also so oily, and there weren’t any napkins! 

A la Brandenburger Tor
When we had lunched we met the Swedish and the Italian students and teachers. With them we got a bus near the station where we met the Irish students and teachers who were already on the bus. Then we went on a guided two-hour tour around Berlin. I’m sure that Berlin is very interesting and beautiful, but the big surprise was that it wasn’t 5 o’clock yet when it got dark!!! So we did the tour in Berlin only with the light of the lamps on the street that weren’t very abundant. Firstly we visited East Berlin, which was quite ugly and only some Christmas markets, all of them with a big wheel, gave it a bit of life, and besides there were a lot of works everywhere. There we saw the Berlin wall with some famous pictures like the one in which there are two men kissing. Later we went to West Berlin, where there were some historical and monumental buildings, the most touristy zone. We get off the bus next to the Brandenburg Gate (the Brandenburger Tor in German) where we took some photos of us and we recorded a video with Christmas greetings in our languages. There we also met the Irish students. Then we got another time the bus, we finished the tour seeing the German Parliament (Bundestag) and some buildings like embassies and a shopping centre called KaDeWe. 

Near 17.30 with the same bus we started to go to Güstrow, about 200 km away from Berlin. We stopped for a half hour in a service station and after some hours in the darkness we arrived in Güstrow, where our host families were waiting for us, so I met there my host sister, Marleen, aged 16; her sister, and their father, who took us to their house, quite far from the centre of the town. In the house we ate a salad for dinner. After having dinner, talking with the family, emailing my -Catalan- family, consulting something in a laptop and watching what -all German- channels there were on the TV I had in "my" bedroom, I went to bed near 11 o’clock. 

Monday 17th December
Una part de l'històric edifici de 106 anys de l'escola de Güstrow
It was the busiest day. I got up at 7 o’clock and I had breakfast. All the days for breakfast I ate some bread with nutella, honey... and some cheese and a kind of small salami, besides of a cup of cold milk. Some minutes later the father took us (Marleen, her sister and me) to the school. We also picked up a student who lives in that neighborhood, in the south of Güstrow, who also goes to John Brinckman Gymnasium (the Güstrow school that’s doing the Comenius project). We arrived at 7.45 at school (a quarter before!) because our host sisters had to be ready for the German lesson that at 8.45 they were going to give us. While they were preparing the lesson we (the visiting students) waited in the classroom, a very comfortable one: chairs were quite cushioned and there was fitted carpet on the floor. The classroom was nicely decorated and the blackboard was expansible, a “pull-down” blackboard, which was very functional although it wasn’t electronic. 

So at 8.45 German students taught us some expressions in German and they represented some scenes, for example a conversation in a restaurant. There was no teacher and students gave us the lesson perfectly. At 9.30 we had a break so we could visit some parts of the school like the playground, a room in which you can sit and talk... I bought the student’s magazine too. At 9.50 we had to go to the school hall (although at 9.45 people started to go there although the break was until 9.50!) where the German students gave us a great and formal welcome, with a performance of the school choir. The Principal gave us a speech, a teacher from each country also made a little speech and finally the students from each country presented to the others our school, our area, our educational system, etc... When we finished all these things some German students showed us, the visiting students, the school. 

At 11.45, after the second break, the students participating in the Comenius project divided us in three groups: the Brave New World group, the Phrasebook group and the Questionnaire group. I was in the BNW group in classroom 108. We made some groups (“international teams”). My group was composed by four German girls and me. First, the Irish students presented us a summary of the first two chapters of the novel, and during the most of the time in the international things discussed about the future: what we see and what we want, and we wrote it on a DIN-A3 sheet. In my group we thought that in the future there will be more differences between rich and poor people, under a dictatorship (not necessarily a political dictatorship), and in which the technologic progress quits the personal lifestyle and social contact of people and where traditions and old jobs like agriculture are extinct. Obviously in the world that we want there is more democracy, not only the democracy that we have nowadays that assures a no political dictatorship but allows other kind of dictatorships like economic ones, a world in which traditions are saved and where the strict respect of the human rights prevail over money. 

Then each international team presented its ideas and finally all the BNW group discussed about ideas for future work such as rewriting the novel with useful links, making a computer game or a quiz about BNW, explaining what the difficult words in the novel mean, acting important scenes, filming short movies with items or situations from today in the future, reading and recording, making a cover design, making a trailer, highlighting difficult passages... 

Vista des de l'entrada de l'Schloss
At 1.15 the class ended and the Catalan students met our host sisters and the 10 of us went to have lunch in a kind of attic that one of the host sisters has in the centre of the town. There she cooked for us a serving of spaghetti. When we had had lunch we went to the school where we met the other visiting students and three German students gave us a guided tour through the most important places of Güstrow: the castle (Schloss), the centre of the town, the churches... 

When the tour of Güstrow finished (it lasted about an hour and a half) we went to the school to prepare the hall for the dinner: we arranged desks and chairs, we decorated the tables with candles, laid tables... At 6 (yes, at 6!!!) the dinner started. The food was cooked by the German students: pasta (all with a kind of yoghurt sauce), long German sausages with ketchup, salad, and several things as dessert like very good cupcakes that Marleen made. Luckily she bought also still water for Catalan students (there and in a lot of countries in Europe people drink usually sparkling water and I didn’t drink still water since Sunday morning!). After having dinner we danced a bit of Irish dance that Aisling, an Irish student, taught us. 

Later we left the school and the same people who had lunch at that attic went back to the attic where we ate a grape fondue. Finally Marleen’s father took her and me to the house where after consulting some things in the laptop I went to bed, nearly at midnight. 

Tuesday 18th December
It was the funniest day. We got up at 8 o’clock and after I had had a shower, Marleen and I had breakfast. Next Marleen’s father took us to the Güstrow train station where we met the rest of students and at 10.14 we took a silent and punctual double-decker train to Rostock Hauptbahnhof. As it wasn’t dark we could observe the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern landscape: snowed fields and forests. In about a half hour (Rostock, the capital city of the district with the same name, is about 40km to the north of Güstrow) we arrived to Rostock and in the same station we got the line 6 of the Rostock tramway. 

Arribant al Darwineum
We got off the tramway at the Zoo stop, and obviously we went to the Zoo. It was in a “white-brown” park, because of the snow and the big trees. We didn’t visit the entire zoo, only the Darwineum, a new area that has been opened recently about the evolution of the life in the Earth (what Darwin investigated). It was very interesting because apart from explanations there were animals, too (which is obvious, we were in a zoo): jellyfish, millipedes, big snails, sea-horses, squirrels, gorillas, chameleons, frogs, snakes... but the one I liked the most was a sort of fish with legs. After visiting it we stayed in the Darwineum bar for a time where we ate something that was supposed to be a brunch or the first course of the lunch. I ate a glass (about 0,5l) of yoghurt with 5 toppings like white chocolate, cherries... 

Una de les parades del Weihnachtsmarkt de Rostock
Then we got the tramway another time to the centre of Rostock where we did a guided tour through the city centre. Rostock is a very nice city, besides there was the Christmas market, one of the biggest in the world. The guide showed us the most important and nice places of Rostock: the wall, one of the 7 towers, the university, the churches... Something special of these churches is that they are gothic but not from the gothic period, but neogothic, build with bricks, something not very usual in Catalonia. After that we had all the afternoon for us to visit the Christmas market, eat something, buy souvenirs, etc... With our host sisters the Catalan and the Italian students went to a McDonald’s to have lunch (before it I thought that they had already had enough with what we had eaten in the Darwineum bar). Then we saw the Christmas market, where there were some strange stalls, for example some in which they had only big sausages, or other ones where they had a kind of cakes with the shape of a heart and a message inside them (Ich liebe Dich, Du bist sooo lieb zu mir, Ich hab Dich lieb...). In a sort of book and souvenirs shop there was an impressive amount of calendars about many themes (ecological messages, old locomotives, tractors, works of painters like Gustav Klimt and Caspar David Friedrich, photos of a little pig, cartoons, food...). In this shop I bought a cup with a draw of the most famous places of Rostock, a curious mini-atlas of 50 islands lost in the oceans and some local newspapers (the Güstrow edition of the Schweriner Volkszeitung, the Rostock edition of the Ostsee Zeitung and of the Norddeutsche Neueste Nachrichten), an openly socialist newspaper that aroused my curiosity (Neues Deutschland). All of them are so big, extralarge newspapers. 

We visited a shopping center too and at more or less 7 o’clock the Catalan students and our host sisters come back to Güstrow, by tramway and train (in which we were almost alone). The most of the visiting students had gone back to Güstrow at 6 o’clock but we had permission for return later. 

When we arrived in Güstrow Marleen’s father was waiting for us and we went to a video shop where we rented a film that we, all the family, saw on the big TV that they have in the dining room. The film -Ted- was good and interesting because I had to understand it in English and think about the German subtitles. We also had dinner -a slice of pizza- there and I gave them some gifts I brought from Catalonia: a shitter (the Catalan figure of a caganer on the Nativity scene) and an estelada, the independentist flag of the Catalan Countries (with the red star, of course!). When the film had ended it was already a bit late so we went to bed because Wednesday was going to be another busy day... 

Wednesday 19th December
It was the last complete day in Germany. Like on Monday, we had to wake up early, at 7 o’clock, and after having breakfast Marleen's father took us to the school. Until 1.15 we did a lot of things of the Comenius project. During the first period of classes (until 9.30) we worked with the international teams of the previous Monday about one of the ideas that we had Monday to work in the future. Our group chose the idea of filming short movies with items from today in the future, so we thought about what four or five scenes could we film to materialize our idea. An example is reproducing what could be a classroom during a lesson in the future: without the physical bodies of the teacher and the students, but with the presence of computers through which the students and the teacher could see the classroom from their house or from everywhere. It’s to compare the differences between the present and a possible future, inspired by a sort of dystopia like in BNW where we move in two concepts: the technologic progress and the social “involution” (both concepts are related). After the first break, at 9.50, the other members of my international team (German students) had to take a physics test, so I attended the computers room where there was the Questionnaire group, and where Rickard, one of the Swedish teachers, was giving a presentation about Twinspace, the virtual platform of the Comenius project: how it functions, etc... During the 10 minutes between the presentation finished and the second break I made a PowerPoint about our mini-project about recording short movies that was going to be part of the final presentation of the Comenius meeting in Güstrow later. 

En algunes classes anàvem amb transparències:
pot semblar cutre però allà es gasten els diners
 en coses més útils que en pissarres digitals
Then, at 11.45, all the visiti studngents and the German students in the school choir went to the school hall to rehearse for the concert of that evening. The song that the visiting students sang is “Santa Nit” (Silent Night in English), so we sang the song to rehearse it: first the students choir sang it in German, then the 7 Swedish people (5 students+2 teachers) sang it in Swedish, then the Irish people in Gaelic, then us in Catalan, then the Italian people in Italian and finally all together in English. Next we went another time in the three groups, so I showed the PowerPoint that I made to the other members of the international team, and some German students explained to the other students in the BNW group the Pavlovian conditioning (about a dog, a bone and a bell, how to make that the dog produce the same reaction to the bell as to the bone) and the Neo-Pavlovian conditioning in BNW with babies, flowers, books, noise and electric shocks, and with another transparency (here we find transparencies a bit antiquated but it was equally functional) the concepts of utopia and dystopia. After the explanation of these concepts and what we have worked on, I thought this: Without an utopia, you can improve, but to a dystopia. 

A few minutes later the class finished and all the people in the three groups went to the computers room to do the final presentation of the Comenius meeting in Güstrow. Just before this presentation Lea, one of the German students in my international team who was making a video about the Comenius project, asked me to go to a room and say “I’m Arnau and I come from Catalonia”, one time in English and another in Catalan. It took only a minute so quickly we two went to the final presentation. 

It was very nice to see all (not little) the work we did during those days in Germany: BNW international teams presented each one its project, the Phrasebook group showed us the dictionary that they made with several expressions in English, Catalan, Swedish, Irish, Italian and Spanish and people of the Questionnaire group showed us the results of the survey that all the students participating in this Comenius project (not only the ones who were in Güstrow) answered and they told us the reasons for each result. We applauded at each speech and it was curious that German people, apart from doing it with the hands, they also knocked the tables. Some minutes from 1.15 had passed when the presentation finished so we left the school. Then our plan (of our host sisters and the Catalan students) was going to have lunch in a Chinese restaurant where there is a buffet, so you can eat as much as you want, but when I had the idea of what I was going to eat we learnt that the restaurant had closed, so we went to a classical restaurant, “Rosalina”, where I ate “Penne in Pesto”. At the beginning there were not many people in the restaurant, but later all the teachers came, too! 

After we had lunch Marleen and I went to Marleen’s house and we two stayed at house with her sister for a few hours and we talked about whether they had ever been to Catalonia or Mallorca (there was a postcard there), and about other things.. 

At half past 5 Marleen, her sister and me went with their mother to a supermarket (Famila), the supermarket of the neighbourhood, where we bought some drinks for the party we were going to have that night. Then, at 6 o’clock we went to the school to rehearse for the concert at 7 o’clock. However, only the German students of the choir rehearsed, so we waited for the concert until 7 o’clock. In the corridor there were some stalls with food, but I thought they would still be there after the concert.

El concert de Nadal de l'escola de Güstrow
At 7 o’clock the concert started. I have no words for this incredible concert, I can’t imagine a concert like that in our school (I don’t know, maybe the next year when students come to Catalonia there is a concert like that), it lasted about two hours and a half and all the school choir (it was a big number of students) sang very well. Generally sang songs not very about Christmas (at least the melody, I don’t know if there were Christmas lyrics), but indeed, after about 35 songs and piano and flute performances we all sang “Silent Night” in each language. There was a lot of audience in the hall (parents, grandparents, friends...) and they applauded a lot. A curious moment was while the choir was singing “Jingle bells”, the spectators jingled their keys. An Irish student sang a song and a Swedish student played the piano too. The concert finished at 21.35 and the stalls with food on the corridor weren’t there... 

Next, the Catalan, Italian and Swedish students went with our host sisters (or brothers) to the Südstadtklub of Güstrow (and also the German students that didn’t host anyone but participated in the Comenius project), something like a party room that you can rent, and it was in the south of Güstrow, near “my” house. So there we had the party, with music, some chips as “dinner” and all these things. Marleen had the key of the room so we two had to wait the other people (later other German guys not participating in the Comenius project came to the party), so we danced a lot, spoke with many people in the party, etc... and we walked back to the house quite late, in the dark (street illumination is not something very common and abundant in Germany, even the traffic lights are off at night)... 

Thursday 20th December
Prop de l'Schloss de Güstrow, just abans de marxar
It was the last day. I got up at 8 o’clock because at 9 all the visiting students had to be in front of the teachers’ hotel with all our baggage and leave Güstrow. With the sensation that it had happened so fast, I said thanks and goodbye to my host family after having breakfast and having made my suitcases (not something easy...). The bus stop was near the palace, so all the Comenius students took us another photo and at 9.15 we left Güstrow on quite small bus that took the Swedish and Italian students and teachers to Berlin-Tegel Airport and then took us to the Berlin-Schönefeld Airport. This time we could see the landscape between Güstrow and Berlin but it was not very interesting, all were snow-covered fields and some forests.

As in the departure the first thing we did at the airport was check in and drop our luggage, we did a long queue but when finally was our turn it was too early (it was about 13 o’clock and our flight was at 16.55...), so with our luggage we went to a restaurant of the airport (Cindy’s) to have lunch. I ate a coffee burger perhaps because it was the strangest burger I’d seen in my life, perhaps because I was so sleepy. The hamburger was delicious but I didn’t notice the coffee and it didn’t have effect... 

We stayed in the table of the restaurant letting time go by, talking, drawing on our notebooks... Then, after a long time, we checked in and passed the security control. In the duty free zone we had to wait for some time, we sat on the floor because that airport wasn’t very modern, there weren’t almost any benches or chairs, there weren’t any escalators... Finally, really late, the number of the gate in which the passengers to Barcelona had to go appeared on the screen and we boarded. At 17.10 (so it was already dark) the plane took off. In the plane we talked about the impressions of the meeting in Güstrow and started to write what you are reading. Finally at 19.30 the plane landed in Barcelona Airport, after seeing all the Catalan coast and Barcelona so illuminated. We retrieved our luggage and I returned to Vic with Sergi’s family. 

I enjoyed the Comenius meeting in Güstrow very much! (click here to see more photos)

2 comentaris:

  1. Wow, really interesting and well written in English!

  2. Hola Arnau,
    Sóc la Francesca Masnou professora de Matemàtiques de l'institut, avui he entrat a aquest bloc i et felicito de debó. També m'alegro molt que formis part del consell escolar de l'Institut. Els alumnes com tu i l'Eloi Codina sou el futur que necessita la socuetat. Endavant.
    Francesca Masnou