Short impressions by students December 2013
Monday December 2
Today was the day that I finally got to meet every student that took part in the Comenius project. When I first arrived in the morning, it was still early and I was a bit surprised that the school gates didn't open until school started at 7. This was something new to me. I first attended French class with my host, Swann, and the students had to form lines before going into the class. After an hour of French, the students gathered in the auditorium for a welcome speech.
Later on, we got a tour of the school, and then ate at the canteen. The canteen process was also very different from my school. Though it was later, a full meal was given which included fruits and dessert. Three countries presented today: Denmark, Germany and Estonia. This allowed me to learn more about their country relating to seafood and water sports. I was able to mingle with, and get to know, all the students. Some were more social than others. Since I had met the two teens from Estonia yesterday, it was easier to talk to them.
The Italians happened to stay together mostly, but would join us when we played games as a group, but the Swedens were having a harder time socializing with other countries. I got along great with the Danish teens as well as the Estonians and a little bit with the Finnish. I learned a little bit of Estonian as well when I attended the last class with my host. This school finished much later than the school I attend back home, but the day was enjoyable nonetheless.
Monday December 2
Today began the first day of the Comenius project and what a long and hectic day it was! First off, I had to wake up really early (5am) to get ready and go to school. As we reached school, everyone was looking at me which made me feel a bit awkward. The first thing I did at school was attend my host’s French class. It was really hard and confusing. Next we had a little introduction as well as a tour around the school. The school is pretty big compared to St. Dominic. We had plenty of time together with the entire group of students participating in Comenius from all around the world. We met and spent time with the majority of the group. I would say that I’m pretty close with the students from Estonia and Denmark. Hopefully by the end of the week, I can comfortably speak to everyone.
Tuesday December 3
I believe that over the course of 4 days, my French has been well developed (not fluently). I think I’m actually learning quicker now since I’m constantly around native French speakers. Our main activity for the day was a visit to the mangrove site, “Petit Canal”. I learned to appreciate the environment a lot more when I saw these tiny hermit crabs around the mangrove plants. I even experienced someone kicking over a tree bark disturbing the hermit crabs’ habitat. From the three years of biology I finally understand why eco-field trips like this can have a major impact on the environment. Some teacher was even careless with the starfish living in the ocean.
The teacher wanted pictures with the starfish and carelessly left it out in the atmosphere for a good while suffocating it. Afterwards, I went for basketball practice with my host. I played a bit basketball with his teammates but I wasn’t that great since they are doing this as a weekly thing while I only play once or twice a month.
Tuesday December 3
Today we took a boat out to small islands off the coast of Guadeloupe that had mangroves. There were so many mangroves, and we learned about the different types of mangroves. It made me wish that we would put more of an effort into taking care of what we have left of our mangroves and also makes me wish that we hadn't damaged them in the first place. There were so many little hermit crabs, and I was kind of scared that I'd step on one, but hopefully they got away unharmed. We went back on the boat and went to another one of the islands, and we swam a little by this island. After that we went back on the boat, and I attempted to dance with Ms. Magda, but alas, my offer was declined, so I moved on to the person sitting next to her, Mr. Rohan. We samba'd it up a little bit on the boat, and once we got back, we went straight to the bus and back to the school.
Wednesday December 4
Today was a long and fun day. We started the day at the school, and when the bus arrived is when the adventure started. Our first stop was a rainforest. We walked around with a tour guide, and I really enjoyed it because we don't have any rainforests in St. Maarten and the sight was pretty cool. Our tour guide taught us how to identify different trees and told us some stories about the forest. Our next stop was the beach. It was a little different from St. Maarten, for example, the sand was much darker, but it was still nice. We went on a boat and went out to some smaller islands that were a distance away, and we snorkeled around the coral reefs. At first, I couldn't really get the hang of the flippers or the mouthpiece, but once I got it right, it was amazing. It made me feel like I was looking at another world, an underwater world. I really enjoyed snorkeling, but I regret not having put on that much sunscreen. I'm so burned and tanned, but it was worth it. I wanted to buy churros (in Guadeloupe they call them chichis) after snorkeling, but the bus was waiting for us so I had to rush. I still want my chichis, and I will get my chichis.
Thursday December 5
Today was a really short and nerve-wrecking day. It was short because we didn’t do much activities and it was nerve-wrecking because we had to present our presentation today. I don’t know why but whenever I present something, I get really nervous in front of the crowd even though I know most of the people there. However, the presentation did end up going well as everyone said their parts perfectly.
Afterwards, we had a Christmas buffet which was really nice as the students of the school performed songs of the school. I was impressed by my classmates, Yash and Hilda, who were playing the drums. They managed to entertain the entire canteen! At my host’s house, we just stayed home for the rest of the day and bonded overtime.