Report Darmstadt November 2017

By , January 28, 2018 16:19

Monday, November 27

Today the students started with an orientation and an introduction to our project’s topic HEALTH.  They watched a movie: How to Live a Happy and Healthy Life by Joe Rogan

After watching the movie, the students spent some time to getting to know each other. Darmstadt is the first meeting in a row of three, and ‘the ice needed to be broken’.

In preparation for the exchange, the students had kept a health diary in which they kept track of their sleeping habits, eating habits and stress levels during one week. This way they learned about their own health habits.

The diary was used in a socialization activity: Find someone who … This activity was about getting to know the other students in terms of HEALTH.

Next, the students visited the gym and practiced some team sports games, which involved both physical health and teamwork. The students had a lot of fun with each other, good for mental health!

Good teamwork during the sports games made it a lot easier to work together on another project assignment: create educational games about HEALTH.

The students presented the videos about their eating habits, sports and stress, which they had prepared in the weeks prior to this meeting. Then, they showed the games about health they had been working on earlier. The games were played by the whole group and the students were asked to explain whether and how these newly developed games could be introduced in lessons in their own schools. Contribution to the curriculum!

Lunch was enjoyed in the school’s restaurant. After that, we had a refreshing walk in the rain to the city centre. The students were split up in smaller groups and were assigned to do a photo-rally and look for health spots in the city centre. The rally ended at an organic crops and food farm. The students had to bring proof of their involvement in the rally and therefore had to take a group picture with an animal at the farm or to have a picture taken while acting like a farm animal.

The project meeting was held towards the end of the day. Topics discussed were:

  • planning and preparation of the meetings in Troyes and Alkmaar: activities and follow up;
  • formulate our questions in a letter to the national agencies regarding schedule issues caused by differences in the information provided by the national agencies.

Tuesday, November 28

Today’s topic was Mental Health. First, the students showed their homemade movies in which they presented the results of their research on stress and reducing stress. Then, they discussed differences and similarities of these results between the countries. After that, the group was split into two groups. Each group did a workshop by Counselling Café Unplugged, to learn more about mental health and how to prevent problems (

The workshop started with questions on (mis)conceptions about mental illnesses: what do you already know about this topic and what do you want to learn in the workshop? The group decided to focus on ways to cope with stress related to school: what can students and teachers do to prevent this?

After the introduction the workshop taught the students more about mental illnesses and mental health in practical and theoretical assignments. The students were asked to put a sticker on a dummy body, to indicate the location of the soul, mind or psyche. Most students put a sticker on the head or heart of the dummy. The workshop coaches then elaborated on the difference between mental illnesses and physical injuries, like breaking an arm. When suffering from a mental illness it is not possible to make a scan of the damage, but in case of a broken arm, it is. There is no clear boundary between mental illness and mental health. The only person who can decide on this is the person himself.

In the second part of the workshop the students worked on different topics in three groups:

  1. The WHO states: “Health systems have not yet adequately responded to the burden of mental disorders. Consequently, the gap between the need for treatment and its provision is wide all over the world. In low and middle-income countries between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder. In high income countries between 35% and 50% of people with mental disorders are in the same situation”.
    Can you think of reasons why treatment of mental illnesses is less developed than treatment of physical illnesses? What can be done about it according to your opinion?
  2. Do you know first aid kits for the treatment of small injuries? What if there were a first aid kit for your soul and mind? What can you do to get out of a bad mood? What can you do to reduce stress? What should a first aid kit contain in order to brighten your mood and to make you feel better in times that are challenging? And where can you get help with your problems?
    Please put together a first aid kit for mental health.
  3. We want you to discuss how to deal with people who are affected by mental disorders. By now we have learned that there is nothing crazy about mentally ill people, that instead their reaction is normal according to their stress level.
    Anna, a classmate of yours, is going through hard times because a close family member recently died. How would you treat Anna? What may be helpful for her? And what wouldn’t? A good hint could be to imagine how you would like to be treated when in a similar situation.

The students showed the outcomes of each group to the others in the form of presentations and drama performances.

After the workshop the students had some free time with their hosting co-students. The teachers tried to fill out the forms in the European Commissions’ Mobility Tool+. Unfortunately, it was not possible to use the Mobility Tool+, since the internet page kept redirecting in a loop.

Wednesday, November 29

Healthy food habits were the topic of this day. The program started with homemade movies about the students’ eating habits. Next, the students discussed cultural influence on eating habits and tried to determine what they can learn from each other. The students compared their health diaries and analysed their own eating habits by answering questions on a five-point scale ranging from yes to no:

  1. Are you acquainted with calorie consumption and nutrients? (carbs, fat, proteins and vitamins)?
  2. Do you eat everything and are you able to eat everything?
  3. Do you think your meals are healthy?

After completing this assignment the group was divided into six groups. Two groups made a presentation on healthy and unhealthy food in their diets. Which types of food have which reputation? Two other groups worked on the topic of nutrition. They researched calorie consumption and nutrients. Groups five and six made presentations on food restrictions for different motives: voluntarily, or by political and/or religious reasons.

The Georg-Büchner Schule has an artistic profile: students choose between music, arts and drama. Consequently, the students are inspired to choose various forms to present the results. Some students made a game, others made a presentation and one group used a food-version of the cup song to present their outcomes. The Dutch and French students told their teachers they learned a lot and intend to practice the newly acquired knowledge at home.

After the presentations the students were asked to cook a healthy starter, main dish or dessert in a cookery schools’ kitchen nearby. In small groups they were asked to find a healthy recipe, to buy the ingredients and to cook a meal for the entire group. The cookery schools’ chef lent a hand. The students flourished, as visible by their enthusiastic approach and willingness to help each other.

The teachers’ meeting was about the E-twinning platform and the Mobility Tool+. Some parts were filled in. Then the agenda topics of the next Transnational Meeting were set.

Isabel’s report

Our days in Germany!

‘Mogge pik’
It started all with a letter from mrs. Hoogenhout. She asked if we would like to participate in the exchange project with Germany and France. Some friends and I went to sign up. I was very excited. I got permission from my parents and a motivation letter. Then the Waiting began.
A view weeks later Mrs. Hoogenhout told us which students had been chosen to participate in the program. And ‘oh my god’ I was so happy that my name was there, on the computer screen!
The following weeks, everything was about matching us to a German boy or girl.  Once we knew who we were matched to, I was even more excited than before. My exchange partner and I started to send each other text messages. This way we could get to know each other.

Months later the time was FINALLY there… we had to meet each other at the train station early in the morning. Nerves were bubbling in our bellies. We spent a long day traveling and playing games in the train. Finally, we arrived in Darmstadt, where our exchange partners were waiting for us. We hugged and shook hands.

The first day of school we learned more about each other and we talked about physical activity. And we did the oh-so-nice photo hunt! 🙂
The second day we talked about mental health, we did a workshop and we talked about our ideas on mental health. We split up in groups and gave a presentation. We learned a lot!
The third day we talked about food. We got the opportunity to cook in a beautiful kitchen! All groups prepared delicious meals.

Also, we spent some free time outside the school. In our free time, we had dinner together, we went shopping, watched movies in the evening, went swimming in a swimming pool, played lasertag and chilled in Darmstadt. We laughed, talked and learned. But most of all, we had so much fun, got to know such nice people and made so many new friends.

I am so grateful that Erasmus+ gave us the opportunity to participate in this project.

Wouter and Wanda,  thank you for playing mom and dad.

We are all looking forward to seeing our German friends in May!

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