Here you have a text written by Tim Wegerhoff, exchange student in Iin lukio. He was with the group in Austria in the first international meeting of the project European Own Place. This text was published in local newspaper Aslak (see www.mediataloaslak.fi) on the 17th of March.
Comenius Trip to Austria
We were all very tired when we arrived at the airport of Klagenfurt, Austria, at 10 pm. Our trip had started at 4 o'clock at Oulu Airport and from Oulu we flew to Klagenfurt with two short stops in Helsinki and Munich. But after being warmly welcomed by our host families, our tiredness was forgotten. We immediately started to get to know them better and then left with them to the houses which would be our homes for one week.
We, English teacher Juha Pukari and students Niina Sassi, Johanna Kantola, Avi Meir, Nina Koistinen and Tim Wegerhoff, were the Comenius group from Iin Lukio. Together we visited Ferlach in Austria in the first week in February. Comenius is a project programme of the European Union for better cooperation between schools in Europe. All trips are fully financed by the European Union. Our project is called European Own place. See www.iinlukio.fi for more information.
Every day started for us at 7.30 at the Unesco Hauptschule in Ferlach. There are 300 students aged 10-14 years attending the school. We spent the first four lessons with our host sister or host brother in their classes and experienced the Austrian kind of school, which is quite different from the Finnish one. After this we had one lesson when we could write our diary followed by the daily lunch at school. In the afternoons we always had a special daily program which we spent together with our hosts and the two other Comenius groups from Slovenia and Hungary which were visiting Austria at the same time.
On Monday afternoon the program was "Fun in the Snow". We took a bus to Bodental valley near Ferlach. We had a chance to try walking with snow shoes, go cross-country skiing, sit in a horse-drawn sleigh or try snow-rafting. Afterwards we could warm us up with hot tea in a restaurant near-by. On Tuesday afternoon we visited Klagenfurt and went shopping in the "City-Arkaden". We also went sightseeing and learned something about the history and legends of Klagenfurt.
The "culinary project" was planned for Wednesday afternoon. We prepared Carinthian cheese pasties, a very traditional food in the Klagenfurt area. The whole preparation took three hours and on Thursday we ate our food for lunch. Very delicious! On Thursday afternoon we painted our own "life trees" on hand-made salt shakers. Life trees go back to the old rural life in Austria and were a very important part of life for the people. The highlight of the afternoon programs was on Friday, when two men from Africa showed us how to drum the African drums. We also were able to dance to the rhythm. We had a lot of fun together and enjoyed ourselves.
On Saturday morning we finally had to say goodbye to our host families and we also shed some tears. All in all, it was a very nice trip. We gained new friends and cultural experiences lasting for a lifetime. In May, another group of five students and one teacher are travelling to Hungary in connection to the Comenius project. I'm sure that they, too, will have a memorable trip.
Tim Wegerhoff, exchange student at Iin lukio