Report Troyes May 2019

By , March 3, 2019 15:10

Sunday morning,  May 19. A group of 15 students from PCC Het Lyceum gathers in front of the train station in Alkmaar, ready to travel to Troyes, France, by train. Parents and siblings are present to wave goodbye. In a few minutes, the students will be leaving for a 6-day stay with the French families of their exchange partners.

The conductor blows the whistle and off they are. This evening they will eat French food, and sleep in French beds. All communication will be in English. As Troyes gets closer, the students become a little bit nervous about this foreign adventure.

But as soon as they see the French team waiting to welcome them on the platform in Troyes, they are quickly at ease again.

During the exchange, all activities relate to the theme of the project “Health” in a broad sense. On Monday morning, the students present results of research that they have done prior to the exchange week. To obtain these results, they have questioned classmates and teachers about their ideas of a perfect school schedule.

During this week, the students work with these research results intermittently to design a plan to make schooldays healthier for everybody. They discuss topics like: school’s starting time in the morning, duration of lessons, breaks, duration of school days, amount of school days in the week and work-at-home days.

For both mental and physical health, a salsa dance lesson is planned. A little shy and cautious at first, the students learn the first steps. By the end of the workshop, they all have great fun, dancing together on a salsa beat.

In the afternoon the students visit Troyes’ City Hall. Troyes is one of Alkmaar’s twin-cities, just like Darmstadt is. Darmstadt is the home base of the Georg Büchner Schule, the other school that participates in this project.

The City Counsellor welcomes all students and emphasizes the importance of international exchanges. She expresses how foreign students are welcome to study at the University of Troyes when they finish school and how this exchange hopefully motivates the students to consider the possibilities.

Evidently, sports are in the program, as well as an exploration trip in a forest and different workshops to choose from: drama, singing, abstract painting and knitting. These are all activities that stimulate creativity and help to learn to express oneself. Also, they distract your thoughts and prevent you from thinking about school work, which is relaxing and good for mental health. In all workshops, the students work together in small groups on a project.

After more sports and an escape game that the French students created, the exchange comes to an end with a talent show with music, stand up comedy, magic tricks and dance.

On Friday, on the way back, they enjoy some nice weather in Paris and make a short visit to the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysées before going home. In the evening, everybody is safely back in Alkmaar, pleased with the week and richer in experience.

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