News - The Comenius Project – Slovakia

In March, Westwood students participated in the final stage of the current Comenius Project, in a visit to Slovakia. The whole project, run over two academic years has been incredibly successful involving Westwood and schools in Poland, Turkey and Slovakia.  The theme of the project was ‘folk in culture’ and each school hosted visits from the other partners.  The final visit again involved students and staff from all partner schools.

The project which is funded by the EU, has given our students a fascinating insight into a range of cultures and given them a chance to travel to very different destinations.  In the project they have visited wonderful cities, including Istanbul, Kracow and Kosice and seen some amazing sights and scenery.  The experiences will live long in the memories of those who took part.  Our aim is to get involved in another Comenius Project in the future.

The following article was written by Crecy Boone – who took part in the recent visit to Slovakia:

‘ In today’s modern society, typical holiday destinations include choices like Spain and America.  But this means other countries are often overlooked and one such country is Slovakia.

In March, 5 year 12 students accompanied by Mr Morgan, travelled to and stayed with families in the city of Kosice, the second largest and most easterly city in Slovakia.  To get there we had to endure a 3 hour flight to the capital Bratislava and from there we took a five hour train journey  across the width of the country.

In the build up, we were very nervous and apprehensive about travelling to the country, as we had no real knowledge of it.  We did have some preconceptions  – that it would be a ‘typical’ ex communist country – bleak and industrial.

However, the stereotypes were soon overturned and our preconceptions were totally false.   The train journey was wonderful and gave us an insight into the beautiful scenery that Slovakia has to offer.   It is a country of powerful natural beauty.  During our trip, we visited the Tatra mountains for example – a vast snow peaked mountain range.  We also visited many historical towns, such as Lavocha and Betliar.  We also saw a reconstructed 17th Century village which gave us an historic insight into the hardships of the time.  On one night we were treated to an amazing cultural evening of traditional Slovakian dancing , which is something we will never forget.  The city of Kosice was beautiful and steeped with culture.  It boasted an impressive amount of historical and cultural sights and it had a lovely atmosphere.

All of the host families were incredibly hospitable and looked after us really well.  It was clear they also had a strong sense of cultural identity and patriotism.

Before we went, we were also concerned about the language barrier but this was not an issue because the Slovakians put us to shame with their impressive English skills.  They have been learning English since the age of 5.

The Comenius visit to Slovakia was a wonderful experience and one we will never forget.  I would certainly encourage all students to grab the opportunity to take part in such visits if they get the chance.  It is great to meet people from different cultures and visit places that are not on the usual list of holiday destinations.’

Written by Crecy Boone, a year 12 student.


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