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European Citizens, from Diversity to Cooperation

European Citizens, from Diversity to Cooperation

The project will involve not only students, but teachers and institutions as well. I sincerely hope we will be able to share our ideas and realize we are all European. This is what makes the project valuable.
We are all European

I must congratulate you and your fellow Albanians on the important step in the procedure to become a member of the EU: that the European Commission has now been asked officially by Ministers of Foreign Affairs to investigate when preliminary negotiations can start. It was in the news earlier this week and I will follow the process carefully and with great interest.

A country is usually admitted to Comenius a few years before it joins the European Union

 I think that my experience in Saranda, although it was just a short visit from October 26th-29th, may lead to a better understanding between some sixty Albanian students and an equal number of Dutch students who are 15 years old on average.

 Well, I visited two classes 9 and one class 8 at the two primary schools in Saranda, where I was introduced by Mr. Gjergji Mano, a gentleman and language teacher who knows the managers as well as the teachers of English at the two schools. I spoke to the classes about theNetherlandsand about what joining the EU in perhaps five years time would mean to them. What would change and what would remain the same? I explained that a country is usually admitted to Comenius a few years before it joins the European Union and that they may be the first age group to profit from Comenius: studying anywhere in the EU. I noticed how eager they were to learn about these topics and what good questions they prepared for me to answer. I was glad to find out how well communication skills are developed in a large number of students; it felt like teaching at my own school.

Improving mutual understanding between students from different European countries

 It is a great pleasure for my students and myself to get in touch with students and teachers in Albania. We are about to start an international project between some sixty 15-year-old students from two schools in Saranda and another sixty from a school in the town of Zaltbommel, the Netherlands. Our aim is to improve mutual understanding between students from different European countries, starting at an early age. A positive side effect will be that we will use English as a means of communication. At the moment we are still looking for topics students can discuss and since the project is a project for students, choosing these topics is their decision. To start off, a number of Dutch students have taken the initiative to introduce themselves. They were invited to ask their peers questions about their culture and traditions, their daily lives, hobbies and spare time, provided they supplied information on the subject themselves. The reader will notice that students may make mistakes like everyone else. Practical work is what counts.

We hope the project will be a success for everyone involved in it and are looking forward to contributions from students and teachers.

Hans Kal

Teacher of English

Scholengroep Cambium

Zaltbommel

The Netherlands

h.kal@cambium.org 

www.cambium.org

 


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