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Europe Online Project    – the Netherlands 2004


Aim
The project “Europe Online” was facilitated by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Aim of the project is to enhance knowledge of and contacts between Dutch high school students and their colleagues in the new EU-Member States. This project will both stimulate European Citizen awareness and knowledge of the cross-border abilities of ICT. 

The Project
Ten Dutch schools virtually contacted a partner school in one of the ten new Member States. The Dutch students and their colleagues in the partner school built up ongoing communication through ICT-means.

The emphasis of these contacts is on the similarities and differences in culture and custom between the two countries and the role of ICT. Key is cultural diversity between the two partner countries with respect to youth culture. 

The Competition
The competition element means that there is a price for the Dutch school and its foreign partner school that come up with the most original and catching presentation on the similarities and differences between them in their day to day life. 

Criteria
- Contents and subjects of communication between students.
- Means of Communication (Open Wicky, e-mail correspondence, website)
- Level of participation of the Dutch and of the partner school (is it a joint effort?)
- Final Presentation (means, originality, etc.) 

Planning
The announcement of the winner and the price ceremony was held on 9 December 2004.

This Competition is a pilot. On the basis of the experiences of this project a format will be developed that can be used by other schools to start and build out communication with schools in other countries. The format will also give tips and suggestion on how to get started. Final aim is that after this Competition contacts and exchange of experiences between schools of Member States will be stimulated and become a structural part of school curriculum.

 

 

       School competition:  “Europe online”- 2004

 
1.      Background
During the second half of 2004 the Presidency of the Council of the European Union was held by the Netherlands. It created a great opportunity for the Netherlands to put its mark on Europe, especially now with the addition of 10 new members states.


2.      Europe Online Project

The use of ITC offers lots of possibilities to initiate communication and maintain contacts with the various European Union member states and their citizens. So, EPN (Electronic Highway-Platform of Netherlands)  organized the school competition Europe Online in the months September-December 2004. The goal of this competition was twofold:

The primary goal was for students to familiarize themselves with the culture of new member starts through virtual contacts with students from these countries. Secondly, it gave students a great opportunity to experience how ITC can lower national borders in a functional environment.

In short, Europe Online was aimed at improving European citizen awareness and the use of ITC educational purposes.


3.      The Competition tasks:

The students were supposed to set up virtual meetings and maintain virtual contact, through e-mail or the internet,
with  one school in one of the new member states.

The students searched for and explored similarities and differences between both their national and local cultures as well as  customs. The exchange of experiences of day- to- day life could be done in many ways. The emphasis was put, however, on youth culture and the role of ICT. So, we described our school, students’ life, extra-curricular activities, our school trips and contacts abroad. Moreover, we presented Polish educational system, assessment system and tourist attractions of our neighbourhood, obviously with the use of digital pictures. Our Dutch peers made a video film about their school life.


4.      Prizes
Towards the end of November a jury reviewed all submissions and nominated 3 finalists. Our school was among them. We were very happy to hear that news. What’s more, we were especially proud when our project turned out to be the most original and catching presentation of the differences and similarities between the two countries and won the competition. 

The winner of the Europe Online Competition was announced at the  EU-conference in Zoetermeer on Wednesday 8th December 2004.

As a first prize we won the bus trip and three-day stay in Prague, known as a cultural capital of the EU, and  meeting with students from our partner school Aloysius College from the Hague. The sponsor was the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands.

As a second prize all participating students received a mobile phone (one school from Holland and the other one from Poland, Sopot).

The third prize was a number of X-boxes for the participating schools (one school from Holland and a partner school from Estonia, Tallin).

 Compiled by: Danuta Mironska

 
5.      Common meeting in Prague
We started our travel on 10th March to continue it for another 3 days until 13th March. On the first day we were very tired because we were traveling long by bus and we felt weak. But in spite of that we had some delightful moments during the trip as we stopped for two hours to visit a wonderful and antique city Brno.We saw there many interesting monuments and landmarks for example the Parnas Fountain in the main square or St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral. When we came back to our youth hostel in the centre of Prague, we were waiting for our foreign friends-Dutchmen- to have a great welcome!

Next day we started a sightseeing tour of the capital of Czech Republic from Hradczany where we visited such amazing landmarks as Prague Castle, St.Vitus’s Cathedral (when we were inside it we felt magic of this place!) Besides, we saw Belvedere and  Lichtenstein Palace, and had an opportunity to stroll along Golden Lane, and later Charles’s Bridge. On the other side of the Veltava river we could admire gorgeous tenant houses walking along narrow streets of the Old Town. We were absolutely charmed, especially that another attraction was prepared for us – a common contest about the landmarks of Prague in small groups of 6 Polish-Dutch students. What’s more, the winners of this language contest could expect prizes.

In the evening we went to the Black Light Theatre  where we were watching a funny performance which was called “Autonomy of Kiss”. When the presentation was over, we decided to come back to the hostel and organise a common meeting with the Dutch friends to know one another better. After an official announcement of winners and handing in contest prizes we were singing Polish, Dutch and English songs with the accompaniment of the guitar.

At the beginning, the Dutch were very shy but later they became more sociable and turned out to be nice companions. They sang some Dutch songs specially for us. That was very kind of them. Next day we had a lot of spare time, so we created small teams and were shopping, talking and visiting new places. By chatting all the time we had an opportunity to practise English in real-life situations. Having an English-speaking guide during our sightseeing trip was also very useful to check our English comprehension skills.

In the evening we went to a very cosy cafe to warm up a bit because the weather outside was not favourable for staying out (minus10 degrees Celsius!). At the completion of our trip there was a farewell disco. All people from our group were surprised when they saw a multistoreyed building. By the way, it was the biggest disco in Prague called Karlowe Lazy. The atmosphere and music inside  was great. So, we felt disappointed when we had to stop dancing and come back to the coach on our return travel home. After short saying goodbye to our Dutch friends we eventually set off.

In conclusion I can say that it was a memorable and enjoyable experience to meet together in Prague with our foreign friends. We have exchanged e-mail addresses,  so I think that we will be in contact.


                                                                                          Prepared by Viola Bożek




        
My impressions from the  trip to Prague.               

I went there with students and teachers from my school to meet pupils from our partner school from Holland. We spent there three days and stayed at a nice hostel not far from the city centre. Our hostel wasn’t very big but it was clean and cosy. Food was quite good. We ate breakfast in the hostel canteen but dinners were served in different restaurants in the city centre. Unfortunately, we didn’t  try any local dishes. The weather wasn’t very good. It was windy and it was raining at times. We also did a lot of sightseeing. We saw many beautiful landmarks e.g. very old churches built in a gothic style. We also visited an Old Town. All buildings are wonderful there. They’re very big, sometimes enormous and their facades and gables are covered with pretty ornaments. It’s no wonder that this city is called a cultural capital of the E.U. - a historic site full of magnificent landmarks

We also participated in a funny contest with Dutch students.  In groups, which consisted of three Dutch and three Polish students, we had to find some buildings in the Old Town and describe them. Winners got nice prizes. Also evenings  were very enjoyable.. In the first evening we went to the theatre where we saw very funny black white performance. Next evening we spent dancing in a disco and talking in a pub. When we came back to our hostel we were singing English songs together and playing the guitar. Last day in Prague was spent on buying souvenirs for our friends and relatives. We also took a short cruise on the river Veltava enjoying beautiful sights. 
 

Although the weather wasn’t perfect I spent relaxing and very nice time in Prague. 

                                                                             Maria Jemioła

 

To have more vivid idea of our trip, see lots of photos in our club photo gallery

 

 

 





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