Student mobilities, new acquaintances, travelling and more…

Student mobilities abroad are definitely desirable, both from an educational point of view and from the point of view of getting to know new cultures and customs. In December, the students from gymnasium France Prešeren visited the city of Zwolle in the Netherlands, where they stayed with the families of Dutch students for a few days and learned about their habits and way of life.

Since quite a few families immigrated from abroad, they had the opportunity to learn about Turkish, Indian, Romanian and, of course, Dutch customs. The students say that they were able to sample many different and unusual dishes.

They also got to know the Dutch way of teaching and took part in various workshops at school. They participated in chemistry classes, drama club and creative writing. What was particularly interesting was that at this school, all subjects are taught in English and Dutch.

Since the favourite means of transport in the Netherlands is the bicycle, they explored the city of Zwolle by bicycle and thus experienced their everyday life in an authentic way. Although our students and professors are no strangers to cycling, it was fun to experience riding to school and home regardless of the weather conditions.

Students had a chance to visit Amsterdam, as well. First, they explored the city in groups of four, and then they visited the Rijksmuseum, where the most important works of art by Dutch artists such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh and others are exhibited. They finished with a walk through the lively streets of the capital all the way to the main train station.

Since the Netherlands is a very flat country, it was interesting to learn that the sea often floods the coastal area. This problem is handled with the help of steam pumps. The students visited the largest steam pump in Lemmer, which serves to regulate water, as there is a high possibility of floods on rainy days. Next they visited Lelystad, where the Batavia shipyard is located. First, they were told how they built ships in the past. Coincidentally, they also met a Slovenian woman who worked in the shipyard as a volunteer. Lastly, they could board the ship that was used to trade with Indonesia.

Before departure, the Dutch students and their parents prepared a surprise at the school – a buffet with traditional dishes. The students had their own farewell party and danced the polka dance and other traditional dances. At the end, they said goodbye to their Dutch friends with tears in their eyes.

New memories, loss of nervousness before the active use of foreign languages, experiences and new friendships are just a few of the benefits of student mobilities.

Špela Rakovec, Gimnazija Franceta Prešerna