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Meeting in Slavonski Brod, Croatia

March 19, 2017 – it was the day when we started our journey. We took  part in Erasmus+ project, where 3 teachers (Ingrīda Hedemarka, Gita Avote, and Dace Langenfelde) and 5 students (Zanda Esmeralda Markova, Rēzija Ķīkule, Signe Adiene, Agnis Adienis and Kristaps Āboliņš) said ‘’goodbye’’ to their homes – Valka, Latvia and went to Croatia for one week.

For 5 of us it was the first time in a plane. We went to Riga and flew to Vienna and then we flew to Croatia, Zagreba. From Zagreba we drove ~2 and a half hours to the city we needed to go – Slavonski Brod. Late in the evening, we were in Slavonski Brod and there we met our host families, but all the 3 teachers stayed in the hotel.

On Monday at 9:00 all students and teachers from Latvia, Romania, Turkey, Spain and Croatia met in front of the school. We were welcomed with Croatian traditional songs and dances. After a while, we were divided in some groups and then we went on a tour around the school. We saw the big school garden, where students grow plants, keep animals like horses and sheep that students use for learning how to take care of them, we also saw the new building, where they have high technology devices for micropropagation and we went into some classrooms, where we saw how the Croatians study.

After the tour of the school, we had lunch and then we also were divided into groups, and each group needed to go to some place in the city. For example, my group needed to go to the city church. There we had to ask local people 6 questions about that church and find out the answers.

At 20:00 all project participants went to ‘Radnički dom’ where we could watch a practice how a dance group performs their traditional dances. At first, it was funny and for all the Latvians it was strange, because we are used to much faster dancing and unlike them when we dance folk dances, we don’t sing. At the end of the practice, we could try it by ourselves.

On Tuesday we all went on a trip to Brodski Varoš where we heard the most famous love story in all Croatia about two storks – Malena and Klepetan. And we also saw Malena. She had an injured wing so she couldn’t fly anywhere. She has had this problem for 15 years and all this time Malena lives in one man’s barn and for 15 years he takes care of her. Every year Klepetan flies from the warm countries to Brodski Varoš to see his life consort. And they are together for 25 years…

Our next stop was the Atlantic Group company. It’s a company which produces 30 – 50 different chocolate protein bars. They sell them only in some countries, for example, in Latvia there aren’t those chocolate protein bars. The biggest market is in Germany. Germany is also the idea initiator. We had a chance to try and taste some of the chocolate protein bars. In this company they showed us all the process how they make protein bars. In one days shift they produce ~11,000 chocolate protein bars. This was one of the most interesting companies where we were in all the Croatia’s visit.

After the Atlantic Group company’s visit we went to Stara Kapela the Eco – ethno village. We found out some interesting facts about the Croatian house history and life when there was no Internet and technology. For me, it was one of the nicest places where we were, because there it was sunny and warm and everyone was just talking, sun bathing and enjoying the time, because there was no signal in that village for the mobile phones, so no one was using them. We also had a delicious lunch there and after the lunch, we climbed up a mountain from which we could see the beautiful view around us.

On Wednesday at 9:00 we all were in the school. Again we were divided into groups and every group had a chance to do something that the students of the school do every year. My group was planting lettuce and we also made bath salt. Other groups were making jewelry from wood, taking care of animals, planting plants and doing many other interesting things.

After those workshops each group was making a presentation about what they had done and later we showed it to other groups and also to the teachers.

At 13:00 we went to Geoplan d.o.o. company. It is a measuring company and some of the students from school also learn how to do it.

But after spending there one long hour, students went bowling. First, it looked fun, but when I tried it, I didn’t like it, because it’s really different from the one we have. The balls are smaller and there’s no place to put fingers. And the skittles were hanging on ropes and they used to roll up and the worker had to go and fix it. The system wasn’t good.

On Thursday at first we went to a TDA company. It’s a company which prints images on every kind of material and on any size object, starting from pens and finishing even with cars.

Next we visited ‘’Duro Dakovič Special Vehicles’’ company. They produce various military equipment and freight wagons.

After visiting those two companies, we all went back to school and then we needed to present our business plan. I think that all the Latvians did well.

In the evening we had a cosy farewell party.

On Friday we needed to wake up early, because our bus was leaving at 7a.m. All the Latvians were going back to Zagreb airport, but all the other project participants were going on a Zagreb city tour.

The way home was longer. After 24 hours we were home. At first we needed to wait a really long time in the airport until our flight, and also we flew first to Frankfurt, Germany where we needed to wait ~4 hours till our next flight home, to Latvia.

All the week was fun and we all got a lot of experience in this trip. We enjoyed the warm weather, because every day it was like +25. And we made new friends from other countries. It was a really nice journey that, I think, we won’t forget.

Signe Adiene, Valka Janis Cimze Gymnasium

Donostia,Spain, October 24-29

During the October week Valka Jānis Cimze Gymnasium students from grade 11- Mārtiņš, Rūdolfs, Monta, Elvis, Dāvis and their teachers Ingrida Hedemarka, Guntra Gaidlazda and Inese Kāposte took part in the project meeting within framework of Erasmus + project.

Donostia/San Sebastian lies in northern Spain which is Basque country near France. During the visit we could broaden our knowledge and improve our skills in entrepreneurship cooperating with students from partner countries, we made posters, talked about skills and education businesspeople need. While visiting innovation centre Tknika we noticed rooms which can be transformed and thus used for group work to promote creativity, communication and other skills, the design was interesting and practical- the walls are like our white boards and it is possible to jot down ideas on them. There we presented our game we had prepared for junior students `Oh, this life`, and learned what students from partner countries (Spain, Romania, Croatia, Turkey) had done.

We had a field trip to local successful companies, the most impressive of which was the bus company IRIZAR, where we not only saw a presentation but also could follow the production process.

Donostia business and culture centre Tabakalera caught our attention as it was a proof how a former tobacco factory has found a new life now serving as a cinema, concerthall, library and hosting workshops for creative activities. In the town hall we were greeted by the culture councellor and on behalf of the visitors Ingrida Hedemarka delivered a speech.

The area we visited thrives on tourism, it is due to the geographical situation. On Tuesday which was the busiest and the hottest day we went hiking in mount Ulia for three hours, we really enjoyed the amazing views. We also tried surfing which was a wonderful experience.

We went on a bus tour to Aranzanza monastery and Arrakrutz cave which is definitely different from the caves in Latvia. On Thursday evening we were hosted by the Gastronomic society where we tasted Spanish food like garlic soup, fish cake, etc. Friday was the last project day and we visited Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

Early Saturday morning we left Bilbao to start our 16 hour long trip home.

During the week we carried out the planned activities, the weather conditions were favourable, we had the first flying experience. These were amazing days in a foreign country with a chance to communicate with people from other cultures, learn new things, use language skills.

Prepared by Rūdolfs Baumanis and Guntra Gaidlazda

Evaluation results teachers Donostia 2016

Evaluation results students Donostia 2016

 

1st meeting report in Valka, Latvia

The first meeting of the project took place in Valka Gymnasium, Valka, Latvia between the 23rd of November and the 25th of November, 2015.

The participants of the meeting – 15 teachers from Latvia, Spain, Croatia, Romania, Turkey.

November 23, 2015

The project partners from Spain, Croatia, Romania and Turkey were welcomed by the Latvian team and an ice breaking activity combined with the use of English and all national languages was organized to give an inspirational start for the meeting by preparing a poster.

The main goals and activities were discussed, as a result there was a heated debate about the meeting dates since the Spanish city Donostia – San Sebastian in 2016 is the European culture capital which means they cannot be the hosts. The solution was found, the dates changed, the teams agreed on that.

The guests could see the Latvian presentation about their education system, school activities, and daily life, how they are trying to motivate their students. Later Latvian students took the guests on a guided tour around the school. From the guests` reports – “this is a very organized school; clean and neat, many extracurricular activities, students are friendly and nice, they are fluent in English, students`s work is frequently praised; the school impressed me with its atmosphere and involved students.”

The participants agreed on the rules of cooperation introduced by Latvian coordinator Dace Langenfelde.

Entrepreneurial skills start at school – students make their own companies, so we met representatives of 3 Valka Gymnasium student companies-making jewelery, soap, arranging entertainment. There was the verbal and visual presentation and an exhibition of the products which some people were interested in and could buy them.

Valka Gymnasium economics teacher Guntra Gaidlazda introduced the system of teaching economics in Latvia, analyzed the results of the student survey about their interest/or non-interest in becoming entrepreneurs. The poll revealed that students lack knowledge and courage to set up their own business, they are short of ideas; they need to acquire certain skills.

As Valka is geographically located on the border with Estonia, the guests were taken on a sightseeing tour in both towns – Valka and Valga.

Guest teams had a talk with Valka Gymnasium teachers, each team showed a presentation emphasizing the most essential facts about their country, city, school.

The Latvians are proud of their cultural traditions – so we learned to make Christmas decorations at the art school, practised some Latvian folk dance steps while attending the school dance group practice.

November 24, 2015

Valka municipality mayor Mr. Krauklis addressed the guests and wished a successful project work.

All teams visited Latvian classes introducing their culture, traditions, making them more interested in the EU cooperation and future.

Grade 9a students think that the Croatian school in Slavonski Brod to be a student friendly place with a lot of possibilities.

Grade 9b students enjoyed the video about Istanbul which the Turkish teacher showed and the delicious oriental sweets.

Grade 11b was interested asked questions about the economic situation, refugees in Romania.

During the class lesson grade 12ab had 3 visitors from Spain, they told them about their school, syllabus, lessons and projects they had been involved; after that they saw a video about their city and school made by their students. Our guests emphasized that they come from a Basque country on the border with France. They answered students’ questions and showed video clips from Youtube.com about Basque holidays, sports, favorite musicians.

As the goal of the project is to create a study platform, everybody was involved in learning the new skills under the guidance of Valka Gymnasium ICT teacher Inta Krieviņa, it was challenging but as the participants admitted-practice makes master. From the reports – a useful tool; it was interesting to find out how many opportunities there are for teachers and students to improve their knowledge on various topics, the ICT teacher did a good job.

This was the day to learn how successful business people work therefore there were visits to several companies, for example, LTd “PepiRer” – they produce insulation material for construction work. Since 2007 they have been using a modern conveyor belt. They export their goods to 30 countries. In 2015 they started manufacturing toys.

 The company is appreciated in the town for many reasons, it gives work to 70 people, actively participates in town events, co-operates with the municipality.

Company Ltd “efn Nord” believes that their policy is that of high quality, quality in every stage of the manufacturing process.

Company “Ligumss” together with their owner Māris Stalis care for the well-being of their employers and customers, they have a café in their new building. The owner is definitely sure that a good communication skill is an advantage.

Company “Minty” has various offers for design (for clothes, badges, posters, etc.), interior.

It was a good experience to learn how they manage their company, what problems they face and how they solve them.

November 25, 2015

The participants analyzed what they have done, agreed on, discussed what must be done until the next meeting, who is in charge of what.

The participants agree that the meeting was important, they got acquainted, learned a lot about Latvia, learned something about the partner schools, but they needed more time to discuss the issues.

“I`m impressed with activities and how students were involved in the organization of the meeting. Many thanks to Latvian team. I felt safe and welcome.”

“I had a wonderful time. Everything was perfect organized. You are wonderful hosts. Thanks for everything! “

“The meeting was well planned and organized. School activities were so interesting; I really had loads of fun. I was impressed with the students, their English and communication skills are at a very high level.
All in all, compliments to the Latvian team ;)”

“The Agenda has been very well organized but we need more time for us and more time to discuss the issues.
Thanks to Dace and all the teachers involved in the project. We are very different from cultural point of view and habits but we can work together understanding each culture.
Thanks again for our Latvian experience.”

“Thanks for everything. I had a second chance to come here and again I had a wonderful unforgettable experience. I feel myself lucky to be involved in this project. It will be a perfect opportunity for me to learn new things and to meet new people from different countries. Thanks again.”

The last project day was planned to learn more about the history and present of Latvia.

We visited Turaida museum reserve to experience the past, everybody was fascinated by the touching legend of Turaida`s Maija, listened with interest to the story of the guide, one could enjoy the breathtaking scenery after climbing the castle tower.

Riga – the capital of Latvia is proud of its new national library, we noticed how spacious the rooms are, how well equipped, how comfortable it is to work there as a reader.

Latvian White House – national opera was the treat of the day- we all enjoyed the ballet performance “Bolero”.