Hello, I am Henri Stammer and I had the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus Plus programme. In this Travel Journey I want to share my experiences and impressions with you so that you can get a picture of this great city and be inspired to travel there yourself someday.
My destination was Kristiansand, Norway’s fifth largest city. The Auguste Viktoria School is now a partner school of the Tangen videregående skole in Kristiansand.
During my stay I lived with Sebastian and his family on the island of Flekkerøya. Sebastian was born in Germany, graduated from AVS and emigrated to Norway a few years ago. He teaches Economics / Politics and German. The family not only provided me with accommodation and food, but also gave me valuable insights into Norwegian culture and way of life. They were very hospitable and warmly welcomed me into their home.
When I arrived in Norway on Wednesday, Sebastian and I went to the school for a short tour and I did an interview with the online editor Ludvig. On the second day of my stay, I attended an English class and took the opportunity to talk to some of the students. I was impressed by the high level of language. Everyone was able to speak English fluently and confidently. It was interesting to see how education is organised in Norway and how the school system differs from that in Germany.
The Norwegian school system is divided into three levels. In contrast to Germany, primary schooling in Norway runs from the first to the seventh grade. The primary school there is called “Barneskole”. Afterwards, they go to the youth school (Ungdomsskole) from grades eight to ten. The last three years are spent in secondary school (Videregående skole). Secondary education has the following main directions: it is possible to obtain university entrance qualification and to complete in-company vocational training, whereby both directions can be combined.
The Cannon Museum in Kristiansand was also super informative. The museum shows a German coastal battery from 1940-45 and is the second largest cannon in the world (337 tons). I was particularly interested in the common history of Kristiansand and Glückstadt, which is based on their founder, King Christian IV., goes back.
During my stay I also took part in history classes. The lessons were very interactive and the students were actively involved in the discussion. The Tangen School is also a vocational school, where you can learn to cook, among other things. I was allowed to watch a cooking class cook with seaweed. Norway is known for its cuisine from the sea and it was impressive to see how seaweed can be used in the kitchen.
In total, I attended three different German classes. In each class, I first introduced myself and told a little bit about myself before I introduced Itzehoe and our school.
I told the students that Itzehoe is a small town in northern Germany and that I go to school there. I also talked about what life in Germany is like in general in terms of culture, history and traditional cuisine. The students were very interested and asked me many questions about Germany and my life there.
After that we asked each other questions to practice the conversation in German. The students asked me about my hobbies, my favorite dishes and my opinion on Norway. I also asked her about her hobbies, her school and her favorite activities in Kristiansand. The students were very enthusiastic and committed and were able to improve their German skills and make new friends.
One of my favorite experiences was a field trip with a biology class. The students were tasked with catching and analyzing different species of sea creatures to learn more about the local marine life.
I found it really exciting to go fishing with the students and see different species of fish and other sea creatures. After we were done, we analyzed the animals and learned a lot about their characteristics and way of life. I also noticed some cultural differences to Germany.
One of the most striking differences for me was the openness and friendliness of the Norwegians. I was greeted nicely by many people, be it at school or on the street, and I quickly felt welcome. For me, this was a pleasant change from the somewhat more reserved style that I sometimes experienced in Germany.
Another difference I noticed is the importance of nature and outdoor life to Norwegians. Many people in Norway spend a lot of time in nature, be it hiking, skiing or just taking a walk.
As a participant in the Erasmus Plus program, I had a unique opportunity to explore a new country, experience a different culture and meet new friends. A very big advantage for me was that I was able to improve my English at the same time. My tip for future students looking to go abroad is to prepare, it can be challenging at first, but it’s definitely worth it. A positive attitude and openness to new experiences are particularly important. Learning a few basic words and phrases in the local language beforehand in order to be able to communicate better is also helpful and I recommend it.
In summary, I had a great stay in Norway and I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this exchange program. I will always remember this experience and hope to return sometime in the future to see more of Norway.
„De var bare SÅ søde!”
Visit of Danish students at AVS
After Mr. Frahm and Ms. Hoffmann visited the Ørestad Gymnasium in Copenhagen in September 2022 with a group of 13 students from Q2e, eight Danish students accompanied by a German teacher visited the AVS.
On March 28th and 29th the Danish guests experienced everyday school life at a German high school, tried out their German language skills and got to know Itzehoe as well as the school. They were taken by the hand by ten AVS students. In addition to the time in class, the harmonious exchange group also used time slots in the afternoon and in the evening to exchange ideas and get to know each other. In addition to everyday topics such as German/Danish music, the group also touched on more political issues such as the Danish “Jantelov”.
Everyone involved experienced the visit as a great (personal/communicative/social) enrichment, and after the first get-together a Danish student raved about the AVS students being “SÅ søde”. While another group from Denmark will come and visit AVS at the end of April, the next trip of AVS students to Copenhagen is scheduled for September 2023.
“My highlight was the exchange with the Danish students”
Students of the Q2e on their visitt to the Ørestad Gymnasium in Copenhagen
As early as April 2022, Ms. Kopp and Mr. Frahm made their first visit to the Ørestad Gymnasium in Copenhagen to establish a long-term cooperation between the schools. At the end of September, 13 students of the Q2e left for Copenhagen, accompanied by Ms. Hoffmann and Mr. Frahm, to realise the first Erasmus+ funded project with the new partner school in Copenhagen.
In terms of content, Timothy Snyder’s ideas for promoting democracy were the focus of the project, in addition to the general exchange about everyday school and personal life. The basic text had been worked on in advance by both classes in their geography classes, so that options for promoting democracy in everyday life could then be discussed on site in Copenhagen.
In addition to the substantive work in the classroom, there was also time on the trip to see the impressive school building on the island of Amager and the entire Danish capital with its innovative (bicycle) infrastructure, ‘hygge’ city center and imposing new buildings on foot, by bike, in the driverless metro or by boat.
The final conclusion about the trip to Copenhagen was very positive. Not only Lorenz (Q2e) thought that the exchange with the Danish students was one of the highlights. This is particularly pleasing because preparations for further visits are already planned – in Copenhagen but also in Itzehoe – so that other students of the senior classes will also be able to benefit from the cooperation between the AVS and Ørestad Gymnasium in the future.
Author: Benjamin Frahm
As part of our Erasmus activities, I took part in a seminar in Sweden that was about getting to know the Swedish school system.
There are many differences to our system: All students go to school together up to the 10th grade.
From the tenth to the twelfth grade you can then attend a school, if the grades are good enough, where you can do the A level.
All school materials down to the pencils are free. Each student receives a digital device from the school that they can keep if they successfully complete the ninth grade. You then get a new device in the senior classes. Of course, they also work with books and write a lot by hand.
Breakfast and lunch for students and teachers are also financed by the state, so almost everyone eats together in the canteen. Every school I went to had a self-service salad bar, even for the kindergarten kids. It didn’t bother anyone that they sometimes dropped something. They don’t offer meat that often, but they sometimes offer chicken nuggets for example.
The joint lunch was very calm and relaxed, I really liked it.
The schools were all quite comfortably furnished. During the breaks, for example, board games could be played at the tables and primary school students did gymnastics on a thick carpet during the break (handstand rollover, cartwheel), and the entire primary school also wore socks or slippers.
You learn English in the first grade already and because you have to watch almost all films in English with subtitles privately, almost all adults can speak English very well.
If there are at least five children in a school whose mother tongue is not Swedish, they are taught in their mother tongue so that they can also learn it properly. It has been like this for thirty years already.
The relationship between students and teachers is rather relaxed (in Sweden everyone is on first-name terms anyway). I liked that the supervisors all wore neon yellow safety vests, so you could see where someone was when supervision was needed.
However, I had the impression that I-children are not well supported, they sometimes lay on the carpet all morning and played with an I-pad and it seemed as if they just shouldn’t be supposed to be a bother. I observed this in two classes.
But it could be that the teachers responsible for them were sick.
Funnily enough, when I asked them what they liked about the school, the senior students never talked about the facility or the food, only about the teachers and the subject matter, but the food and the homely facilities are probably just a matter of course for them.
Sweden is also worth a trip in other aspects, there are many interesting things to see, e.g. B. the Vasa (a huge ship that sunk on its very first voyage a few hundred years ago), people are very helpful and communication is very easy as almost everyone speaks English.
Author: Maike Kühl
In the weeks before the autumn holidays, Mr. Wenderoth and Ms. Hoffmann accepted an invitation from the Gymnasium Celje Center (www.gcc.si) to a multi-day preparatory seminar for a three-year exchange project with several schools from Slovenia, Serbia, Austria and Croatia. Gymnasium Celje Center is a large upper secondary school with around 1000 students from the grades 11-13, housed in a historic building in the center of the small town of Celje. With almost 50,000 inhabitants, Celje is already the fourth largest city in the small country of Slovenia and can certainly be compared to Itzehoe. It is about 80 km east of the capital Ljubiljana (300,000 inhabitants), beautifully located in the middle of the mountains on the Savinja river. The Gymnasium there has been a fixed part of the Erasmus community for more than ten years and the committed young headmaster Mr. Deleja wants to submit an application for a three-year Erasmus+ project in February 2023, in which several schools from the region and the AVS work together on a project on the topic of “sustainability”. Within the framework of this project, several student exchanges are to take place in all directions. The AVS and the GCC also want to make individual exchanges possible for certain students, during which the period and time can be handled very flexibly and at least a part of the costs can be covered by Erasmus+. If you have any questions or are interested in such an exchange, you, dear learners at the AVS, can contact Ms. Hoffmann by email (Hf@avs-itzehoe1.de).
Se vidiva kmalu – See you soon!
Author: Irina Hoffmann