Comenius Trip to Amsterdam – By Melissa Yuan

It all started on a cold Monday morning in November, when I arrived at school at 6:30am to get on a minibus to the airport. It was the start to our Comenius trip! The Comenius Project consists of four schools from four different countries; these are Lyon in France, Rome in Italy, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Birmingham in England. These schools meet up every six months in one of those cities and hold a meeting. The theme for the Comenius Project that we attended is C.I.T.I.E.S.

It was so early in the morning, yet we were all excited and chatting away on the way. After a group photo and some strange looks at the aeroplane gate, fourteen girls, Dr Tedd, Miss Plant and Miss Dyke finally set off to Amsterdam! After an hour-long journey we finally landed at Schipol airport in Amsterdam. We then set off by public transport to travel to the host school, the OSB. When we arrived we met our hosts for the first time, we immediately connected! Then we started the official meeting where we hear the OSB school orchestra playing pieces like Rolling in the Deep, Assassin’s Creed theme tune and a popular choice of Get Lucky! Each school apart from the OSB gave an introduction presentation. After this we all departed to spend time to get to know our host families better.

The next day, I arrived at school with my host and met up with the other KEHS girls. We discussed our first night before settling down to a workshop where we matched the maps of the old Amsterdam with maps of current Amsterdam. We learnt a lot about the start and early development of Amsterdam, it was extremely interesting. After this we set off on a historic walk of Amsterdam. In this walk we split into groups where there were students from every school. After walking around Amsterdam for four to five hours all the groups reunited at the Scheepvaart museum; an old maritime museum in which we learnt about the East Indian Company and much more. When we returned to the school we all enjoyed a pancake party in which over 200 pancakes were made. Once I returned home with my host family, they amazed me with a surprise party for a few of Comenius hosts and their exchanges.

On the Wednesday, we had another workshop in the morning where we learnt all about the Golden Age of Amsterdam. This gave us good background knowledge for our walk around the New City. Our destination of the walk was the infamous Rijks museum. It is a renowned art museum that holds the famous ‘ The Night Watch’ painting. After exploring the museum for an hour we split off with our hosts and friends to shop in Amsterdam. We walked into souvenir shop after souvenir shop before we had bought everything we needed. While we were shopping, someone caught sight of a Dutch celebrity and so we had a photo with him even though most of us didn’t know who he was! After having dinner in town we went to the Ajax stadium the night of the Ajax versus Barcelona game. The atmosphere was amazing there and we had a lot of fun before returning home and watching the football with the family.

The last day had come too quickly! We started with a quiz on everything we had learnt during the trip and made a jigsaw of the map of Amsterdam using wood and saws. After this we left to visit a historic windmill and going to a museum to see the largest steam engine in the world. This was really fascinating to learn about because the windmill is one of the iconic symbols of the Netherlands. When we returned to the OSB, we had to say our emotional farewells to our hosts, host families and other friends we had made on the way. Then all the KEHS girls and the three teachers made their way to the airport where we returned home.

.I really enjoyed this trip to Amsterdam. I learnt so much about Amsterdam through this trip and made many new friends that I will definitely visit them in the future. I cannot wait for the next Comenius meeting in March 2015, which will be in Birmingham! Finally a large thank you to Dr Tedd, Miss Plant and Miss Dyke for taking us on this amazing trip.

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