Comenius - relacje uczestników

 

Guests from Bushey.
On October 22nd, 2005, eight girls from St. Margaret’s School in Bushey near London came to Poland. We welcomed them at the Balice airport in Krakow. My teachers prepared a plan of exchange and gave it to every Polish student. The visit seemed very exhausting and it turned out to be so. Every day our English friends visited a lot of places important for Polish culture and people.
The first day they went sightseeing Wieliczka - a salt mine near Krakow. The girls liked it very much, especially as they were for the first time in such a place.
The next day we spent in Krakow. We looked round the Wawel Castle - the royal residence, the Main Square and Kazimierz – the former Jewish quarter of my city.
The third day was very tiring but equally interesting. Our English friends drove to Auschwitz to see the former Nazi concentration camp. This sad place impressed them a lot as there they realized how many people died tragically during II World War. Afterwards they visited Wadowice - the town where John Paul II, the previous Pope, was born. Our English guests liked traditional cakes from there very much. Finally, they traveled to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska to see a famous Benedictine monastery.
On Wednesday morning we were in Łagiewniki to see the Sanctuary of God’s Mercy. Later, we went shopping in Kazimierz Gallery (a huge, recently built shopping centre)  and we had a lot of fun there with our English guests. In the afternoon we had dinner in Chłopskie Jadlo restaurant where the girls tried traditional Polish dishes like pierogi, bigos, golabki and mushroom soup.
On Thursday we did some more shopping and in the afternoon we bade our guests goodbye. It was a very sad moment because I liked them very much, especially the girl Moe who stayed in my house. I hope that we will keep in touch and that I will see her in June when I go to London for the return visit.
       Maryla Baczyñska
 

A diary of the visit in Bushey:
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Here we are in St. Margaret's School in Bushey. Even though it was the 13th, our plane didn't crash and we arrived in England safely. Some students from Poland live with the English families, but three of us stay in the school dormitory. My first impression is that people here are really friendly and I'm sure we will spend here six unforgettable days.
Wednesday, June 14
We are so lucky that we have a school bell in our room! It was impossible to oversleep for a trip to St. Albans. We visited the abbey, the cathedral and Roman monuments. Such a little town and so many interesting places to see! Finally, when we were looking forward to having a rest, we found a market and everybody rushed to buy some souvenirs.
Thursday, June 15.
It was the first day we were in London, so we decided to visit the most famous museums located in that city. Our English friends showed us the Natural History Museum, where I enjoyed dinosaurs’ bones most. The next item on our list was the National Gallery. I was amazed by paintings created by van Gogh, van Eyck or Caravaggio. Westminster Cathedral with its high altar and powerful organ also made a lasting impression on me.
Friday, June 16
Friday was a "shopping day". In the morning we went to Harlequin - a shopping centre, where we bought a lot of souvenirs and some food. All of these purchases we had to leave in a school bus, because after shopping we drove to Hatfield House, to see it (what a beautiful garden and fabulous library!). We met there the Marquis in person! We finished the day with a long walk along the Thames River. How fantastic is London by night!
Friday, June 17
That day was really unusual. Our trip started at the British Museum, one of the greatest in London. So interesting was walking among the mummies and Roman sculptures, that we lost track of time. Later we had the opportunity to take part in a really rare event – the Queen's Birthday. There was a ceremony next to the Buckingham Palace and we saw the Queen Elizabeth II. The evening we spent by walking around the Tower of London.
Sunday, June 18
Another day of museums: the National Portrait Gallery, Institute of Impressionists and Madame Tussaud's Museum. We spent the whole day on admiring paintings by different artists and taking photos with wax sculptures of celebrities.
Monday, June 19
After a short journey by EasyJet plane we are home. We will never forget this trip and we are sure some day we will be back in England.
Kasia Panczyk and Maryla Baczynska
 

Festiwal Żywności, Waregem, Belgia, marzec 2006.

Pochmurny poniedziałek 6 marca 2006 roku. Niewielka 8 osobowa grupka osób, z niecierpliwością oczekuje na dworcu w Krakowie na przyjazd autokaru, mającego zawieźć ich do Wrocławia, skąd mają się udać do Gent w Belgii. Trochę niepewni najbliższych dni, pełni optymizmu próbują przewidzieć nadchodzące wydarzenia. Jadą tam by wziąć udział w Food Festival, organizowanym przez 7 szkół z całej Europy  w ramach projektu Comenius.
Tak, to byliśmy my: Ola Biela, Karolina Kapała, Ola Skoczek, Grzegorz Dębski, Kuba Gąsiorowski, Paweł Mendyka, Michał Strzała pod opieką Pani Violetty Marzec.
Droga do Belgii trwająca 26 godzin nie była może najprzyjemniejszą rzeczą w życiu, ale spędzona w miłym towarzystwie upłynęła dość szybko. We wtorkowe popołudnie zostaliśmy odebrani z dworca autobusowego przez belgijskich nauczycieli. Wtedy rozpoczęła się prawdziwa przygoda. Musieliśmy się „przestawić” na język angielski, którym posługiwaliśmy się przez kilka najbliższych dni…
Po przyjeździe do szkoły w Waregem mieliśmy chwilkę na posiłek, odświeżenie się po podróży i do pracy! Musieliśmy przygotować stoisko z charakterystycznym dla Polski jedzeniem, na które wybraliśmy oscypki, pączki i chleb z serem białym, ze szczypiorkiem i rzodkiewką. Pyszności!! Inne kraje też przygotowały mnóstwo przysmaków, które mieliśmy okazję spróbować.… na przykład zgniłego rekina – delicje z Islandii! Po tych przyjemnościach przyszedł czas na zapoznanie się z rodzinami, które zdecydowały się przyjąć nas w swe progi. Każde z nas trafiło do przemiłych ludzi, starających się ukazać nam belgijską gościnność, życzliwość, uprzejmość. Uśmiech chyba nigdy nie znikał z ich ust.
W domach opowiadaliśmy o Polsce, naszej rzeczywistości, codziennym życiu. Gospodarze słuchali z zainteresowaniem, częstując tamtejszymi przysmakami. Najciekawszą „potrawą”, zjedzoną przeze mnie, były frytki maczane w musie jabłkowym i dżemie rabarbarowym ;D
Warto wspomnieć o zajęciach programowych, w których mieliśmy przyjemność uczestniczyć. Pracowaliśmy w międzynarodowych grupach, po 1-2 osoby z każdego kraju. Każdy zespół miał inne zadanie. Było to miedzy innymi odwiedzenie farmy, fabryki czekolady, rozmowy o żywności charakterystycznej dla danego państwa. Zwieńczeniem prac, była prezentacja wyników wszystkim uczestnikom projektu. Oczywiście wszyscy spisali się na medal tworząc filmy, stronę internetową, scenki teatralne, prezentacje multimedialne. Oprócz współpracy w grupach uczestniczyliśmy w dwóch pasjonujących wykładach m.in. o żywności, ptasiej grypie, podczas których staraliśmy się dowiedzieć czegoś nowego o tak bliskich nam kwestiach.
Oprócz efektywnej pracy organizatorzy zaplanowali wycieczki do pobliskiego miasteczka Brugges i do stolicy Europy-Brukseli. Oba wypady były świetną okazją do poznania pozostałych uczestników projektów. Wspólne rozmowy bardzo nas do siebie zbliżyły i sprawiły, że każdy czuł się świetnie wśród nowo poznanych ludzi. W Brugges zwiedziliśmy tamtejszy browar i dowiedzieliśmy się, w jaki sposób przebiega proces produkcji piwa. Potem mieliśmy parę godzin czasu wolnego, który wykorzystaliśmy na zwiedzanie przepięknego, średniowiecznego miasta, razem z goszczącymi nas Belgami. W Brukseli niesamowity przewodnik oprowadzał nas po tym przepięknym mieście. Zobaczyliśmy zarówno nową, jak i starą część stolicy. Nasza grupka Polaków, wybrała się na własną rękę (metrem), by zobaczyć Parlament Europejski. Udało nam się to, choć potem chcąc znaleźć kilka innych, ważnych budynków „europejskich”, nieco zabłądziliśmy i wylądowaliśmy gdzie indziej, niż planowaliśmy. Zabawa była jednak przednia;)
Popołudniami integrowaliśmy się z pozostałymi uczestnikami, spędzając czas w kinie, na wspólnych zabawach, rozmowach. Była to świetna okazja do przekonania się o wspólnym poczuciu humoru, niewyczerpanych tematach do rozmów i więzi, która zawiązała się między nami przez ten czas. Wszystkim było niesamowicie przykro, kiedy 12 marca, w niedzielę, nadszedł czas rozstania. Z jednej strony gorąco zachęcaliśmy wszystkich do odwiedzin Polski, jednocześnie wiedząc, iż w takim samym składzie już nie uda nam się spotkać. Powrotny 23 godzinny autobus przywiózł nas szczęśliwie do kraju. Każdemu z nas zostały po wyjeździe same, bardzo pozytywne wspomnienia i nadzieja, że kiedyś może uda nam się jeszcze razem gdzieś pojechać…     

Grzegorz Dębski

 

The food festival in Belgium

The food festival which had taken place in a small Belgian town of Waregem, was a part of the international project Comenius.  The Polish delegation included seven students and one, but a very wonderful and trustworthy teacher. I was one of these students and the general aim of this article is to tell you a few words about Belgium seen through the eyes of “foodfestivaler”.
One of the biggest differences between Poland and Belgium is the number of bicycles. This way of transport is incredibly popular in the latter country. Apparently there is one and a half bicycle per one person in Belgium!  People are really taking care of their bikes. Some of these vehicles are about thirty-forty years old, and are still in excellent condition. According to the Belgian law, bicycles have precedence over cars, and in the vicinity of every public building there has to be a parking lot for bikes. These machines are so popular that people ride a bike even to a club or disco.
Another difference is food habits. Belgians eat a lot of chocolate, in every form and situation. I fully understand them – it is really splendid! Do not trust anybody who tells you that the best chocolate is from Switzerland – in comparison with Belgian, Swiss is only average. Belgians say that their national dishes are every kind of seafood from the North Sea. I would say that more national for them are French fries – Belgians eat them with mayonnaise or a kind of apple mousse.  These three ingredients (in every combination) were important additions to every dinner (unless of course we ordered pizza). There are a lot of other Belgian food habits, but they are not so important as to mention them (maybe only the sweet popcorn with honey in cinemas – but it is not only in Belgium).
The most popular way of spending free time in Belgium is visiting the nearest pub. Even in Waregem there are 27 pubs and bars, for every type of people (teenagers, elders, sport fans etc.) On Friday evening almost nobody stays at home – everyone is in cafés or bars chatting with their friends or simply drinking famous Belgian beer. I’ve heard that it is very tasty – maybe I will have a chance to taste it next time 
Some parts of Belgium give the impression as if they haven’t changed since the Middle Ages. It’s not supposed to mean that they are neglected – on the contrary, they are very neat and tidy. We’ve seen a small town called Brugge, which is very proud of being so medieval. Their buildings and shops are similar to our Polish ones (especially Kraków, but not only – for example Brugge town centre is almost like in Gniezno). You feel just like home.
The last but not least characteristic aspect of Belgium, which I want to mention, is the industrial side of the country. On the borders of Waregem, a small, tranquil town, the area is being developed into an industrial complex, full of factories and production halls. Belgium is a very modern country – the main proof of this is the fact that the European Union have their headquarters in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Even the new World Trade Center (the same organization which used to be in New York) has its new base in that city. Some Belgians say that the heart of Europe is beating in Brussels.
I’ve said almost only compliments about Belgium, but I think it’s worth all of them. Our entire group have met such friendly people (some of us very close); we all keep in touch with our international friends. We are almost absolutely sure that it wasn’t our last visit in Belgium. Generally, the idea of this kind of festival is the most effective way to exchange cultural experiences and to break stereotypes of other countries, so I am looking forward to a next festival or another project.

Paweł Mendyka

 

A trip to Hungary

In May 2007 a small group of students from our Piarist School took part in the exchange with teenagers from Hungary. We spent six wonderful  - and tiring! – days in Budapest (of course, tiring in the positive sense). Not only the hot weather but also the number of interesting trips had caused us to come back from Hungary completely exhausted.
We visited Budapest – however, it wasn’t a typically boring guided tour. The Hungarian hosts organised a Danube river cruise on which we could admire all the beautiful monuments – without spending a lot of time in the hot and definitely not pleasant centre of the city. We were just seating on board and drinking fruit cocktails.
One of the most interesting tours was the trip to Visehrad. We visited there the mediaeval castle where we saw the knights’ tournament. Before all these duels there had been the election of a queen and a king; one of the girls from our group, Kasia Dzieciuchowicz, was chosen for the queen. Then we went to the restaurant, where we ate dinner – some delicious traditional Hungarian dishes.
Of course, we had to see the Hero’s Square and the Parliament. We listened to the history of Hungary with the avid interest – once again we could see that Hungary and Poland have a lot in common.
What I liked the most, was the musical “Beauty and the Beast” in the operetta. I don’t know whether the other Polish students liked it or not – I was so excited because “Beauty and the Beast” is my favourite cartoon.
I can even say that we fell in love with Budapest. We made friends with our Hungarian partners and all the nights we spent together chatting and enjoying the short period without school and our everyday problems. We hope that our friendship will last very long.

Ewa Zduńczyk

 

Comenius Project
Polish Trip to Norway

Friday. A group of people was standing in the morning mist certainly waiting for something. At 4.30 am? Well, to get to Norway we had quite a long way. Now we were only expecting our teacher - Mrs. Alma Biel. Finally the bus came, last goodbye kisses from parents and there we go. Our trip to the capital city of Poland was surprisingly short…because everyone was sleeping. What's more, some of us had just (meaning at 1 a.m.) returned from the school choir exchange. After 5 hours of driving we arrived at the airport. The first flight was to Copenhagen, the second to Oslo, and at last the third one to Alesund where Neal welcomed us, and led to the taxi. The last thing we had to do was taking the ferry. Funny, we used almost all means of transport in one day. But finally we got there, and it was time to meet our host families.
Then we had time to meet people from other exchange countries. The best idea? Sports! After dividing into four teams we played some great volleyball matches, which also tested our co-operation abilities. Later in the evening, we were all invited to a great party, but previously we had been asked to gather in Andrea's home and prepare to the disco. The night looked promising. The party was loud, crowded and...brilliant .
Sunday was a day for families and exchange students to get to know each other better. The boys went to Alesund for shopping and bowling, but the girls in Anne-Sophie’s house had fun baking delicious Brownies with whipped cream...mmm...really delicious. The evening we spent at school watching a movie. By the way, choosing movie proved quite a challenge. After twenty minutes of wondering what to choose we finally watched a romantic comedy. Luckily, it wasn't too romantic.
Monday...well, time to work, I guess... After a few presentations and speeches we were divided into 5 teams. Each group had to discuss and prepare a presentation of the task concerning tourism we had been set. But at noon we took a ferry to Alesund to admire the wide variety of Norwegian Sea fauna in the Oceanarium. After visiting the Oceanarium we got to the penguin point, which amazed most of the students. Those less interested had a great opportunity to take pictures, because the weather and views were simply breathtaking!  After lunch there was still a lot of time to get to the Stepps (the local highest hill) or just to hang around.
In the evening our group had to gather in Hogne's home (thank you very much for your hospitality!) and finish the presentation about Krakow which we were to present the next day. It took a lot of time, though it wasn't only work but also an excellent chance to make friends.

After hard work and a sleepless night we had to show what we came up with. Then we returned to our groups to continue tourism projects. After 2 hours of work we put on our skiing equipment. And then snow fun started. We were taken to the mountains with well prepared slopes, deep snow and amazing landscapes...nothing to add . Those who felt that these few hours of ski activities was not too much, decided to go to the fitness club afterwards. Believe me, watching boys working out with 20 ladies was an invaluable experience.
Wednesday - the last day of working on the project for our group. After the morning duties, all students went to the well-known furniture factory. We had a chance not only to sit on very comfortable armchairs and sofas, but also to see how all that furniture stuff is produced and how they make it so comfortable and relaxing. After the tour we were offered lunch ( "I love that factory" reacted a student on seeing all the tasty sandwiches ). We finished our tour quite early, so we were taken once again to the mountains, but this time it was different. First of all, there were various ways of spending time: cross-country skiing, building an igloo, preparing a bonfire, or just taking a walk and enjoying the calmness. After an hour and a half of various activities, we finally gathered around the bonfire and started to fry sausages and bake bread. Suddenly, we had an idea to create a Norwegian-Polish battle for the igloo. We laid siege to "the last Norwegian bastion" and at last captured it.
On our last night, Andrea invited us to a night film marathon, which finished after one musical, because there were so many other things to do (like talking and ... eating)
Thursday - the day of farewell. Our stay was definitely too short! Unluckily, there was nothing we could do about it. At 7.40 we had time for the last goodbyes, but we preferred the form "see u soon". Then the journey back home started. Strange... everybody had a hunch that something would go wrong on our way back home...
We took a ferry, then the same plane routes. When we landed in Warsaw our hunches came true. All our baggage stayed in Copenhagen. Other passengers were startled when the whole group burst out laughing. What's more, it turned out to be an advantage, because there was no need to take care of our luggage during our trip back to Krakow. So our train journey back home became more convenient than we had thought.
The stay in Norway was an unforgettable opportunity to establish new international contacts, get acquainted with another culture and have a lot of fun and good memories. Hopefully, when our new friends come to Poland they will enjoy their stay as much as we did.
       Karolina Jaworska