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Or how the French actually pronounce Dutch place names like Scheveningen? And ever heard the one about the Russian, the Italian and the German who sat down in a café? Then Comenius is for you.
Basically, Comenius is a big exchange programme between five countries. Each country takes responsibility for part of a particular shared theme and makes a creative product such as a film, painting or play related to the theme in some way. Then all the countries come together in one place, which is when the fun really begins: five nationalities, five languages, five different groups of people, all with the sole objective of having a brilliant time together.
Sanne: ‘I was 16 when I did the Comenius project. There were six of us, all in our fourth year of secondary school, and we got assigned to make a film on the theme of “Heroes”. Even just all the preparatory work was super fun. Somehow, we managed to convince the school to let us film during classes! Our actual exchange took place in Poland, with the other groups coming from Italy, France, Germany and Poland. We travelled by train together with the German group, which was an experience in itself. I’ll never forget the scary looking soldiers who came to check our papers when we crossed the border! In Poland, we stayed at this ultra-luxurious hotel that hadn’t even officially opened yet – it was that new. I have to admit, I did feel bad for the people living in those falling-down houses around the hotel. The day we arrived, we were served borscht, which is basically the Dutch word for a body part I'll not mention! In the evening we all went out dancing, or made campfires or sat chatting in our hotel rooms. Without even trying we picked up a couple words of Polish, Italian and French, and within a day we all felt like we’d known each other for years. As a group, we went on day trips to the former home of Copernicus, an observatory and beautiful Polish cities. On the very last day there was a bone fide gala where the films were screened. For the official farewell, we organized a buffet with each of the five groups making food from their own country. We definitely got some strange looks for ‘typical’ Dutch rusks with anise seed sprinkles and our necklaces with crisps strung on liquorice laces. Comenius was unforgettable. I’d go back in a heartbeat!’
Interested in experiencing a week like Sanne’s and curious to learn more about Comenius? You can find more information here.