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The Great Helsingør Report
Saturday, 1st February:

After a good night's sleep on the ICE train

and a refreshing hour on the ferry

we finally arrived in Helsingør, Denmark. When we got off the train at Helsingoer Central Station our hosts were alreay there to pick us up.

We had a couple of hours with our hosting family, time to recover and to get ready for the Comenius buffet

at Lilleschool Helsingør. Each team had brought a regional dessert

and the German team took the kitchen stage and made Bavarian Apfelstrudel. The Cornish team had brought scones with clotted cream, the French team

had prepared tarte aux amandes and the Spanish team contributed chorizo and the great jamon iberico to all the other culinary delights. Each hosting family had excelled in providing some delicious Danish dishes for our royal banquet. To be (there),

or not to be (there)

- no question about that! Lilleschool Helsingør this was the place to be! "We have dined like kings,

we've been offered wings ..."

You just could not ask for more in the shadows of Castle Elsinore.

Sunday, 2nd February:

Our second day in Denmark/Helsingør we started at 1pm for us pupils whereas our teacher had an early morning conference to discuss the next steps in our Opening Doors to Lifelong Learning project.

At school the Danish pupils presented their school life in "Lilleskole" and their outdoor activities, including school trips and summer camps.

The 1st presentation was about their trip to England.

The Danish pupils - a year group of 20 pupils - stayed in the UK for 11 days, 4 days in Cornwall and 6 days in London. In Cornwall they slept in the school cafeteria at Mounts Bay Academy. In London they slept in a hotel.

The 2nd presentation was about their school and their lessons. There's a big difference between our School system and theirs. Our Danish friends have special subjects like "the project", you learn a bit about geography and grammar, work with different topics but mostly you prepare projects with the focus on practical work. Another special subject is the "linje lesoons", it's an optional subject. You can choose between writing your own music, playing music, acting and cooking.

The next presentation was about their trip to Germany in 9th grade.

They went to a little city called "Stadtilm" in the middle of Germany (Thuringia), and for a few days they visited the German capital Berlin.

The 4th presentation was by the Danish teachers, because none of the pupils had yet taken part in this trip.

In 10th grade they make a big trip to the Gambia in West Africa. They stay there for 3 weeks, and before they fly, the pupils collect a lot of mobile phones to give the African people they partner. In the Gambia all Danish pupils and teachers are accommodated in one house. To get an insight into the African way of life everybody has an African partner, so you get a firsthand experience of how they live, sleep, eat and learn in the Gambia.

These presentations were followed by teambuilding exercises.

We got into 5 groups of six and we were instructed to build things like Lego cars with no other source of advice but what information we could get from our teammates..

After this funny event we had some free time and went to a café with some others from our Comenius Project.

Monday, 3rd February:

We met at the school at 8.20 am, the time Lilleschool always starts. The headmaster of Lilleskole, Luisa, told us about their school.

She explained what is special about being in a free school system. We were quite surprised to learn about the close relationship between pupil and teacher.

Everybody is called by their first name, no matter if they are a pupil, a teacher or the principal of this school. What we also found quite unusual is the fact that they do not have marks before 9th grade. Another big difference is that the parents are very committed and support the school in many fields.

School in Lillleschool lasts till 2 p.m., but pupils have the chance to study or do their homework in the afternoon assisted by teachers. All in all their school system isn't so strict and regulated and it seems that pupils and parents are encouraged to take an active part in school life and school development.

Tuesday, 4th February:

We met at 8.30 am at the City Hall in Helsingør.

The mayor Mrs. Benedikte Kiaer

told us about the city, its history and the government.

She explained the system of the council, described the different parties and then we were allowed to ask her a few questions. We learnt some interesting details about the mayor's chain which is given to every mayor at the start of their legislative period.

At 10 a.m. we continued our trip and went to Sweden on a ferry which took about 20 minutes.

Our first stop in Sweden was a very special and popular sweet shop near the harbour called "Pistacchia".

Everybody, especially the foreigners,was really excited and couldn't resist the great choice of sweets and cookies.

After a little break we walked up to a viewing point in Helsingborg to look back at our kingdom across the sea, Denmark.

We took a lot of pictures and continued our programme in the "Laserdom".

Since our arival in Helsingør we had been looking forward to playing Lasertag. At the "Laserdome" we were separated into four groups and everybody played two games. You either joined the blue or the red team and it was a great experience for all of us because for most of us it was a real premier. Our trip ended at 4 pm when we reached the harbour of Helsingør. The rest of the day there was no official programme and we could spend some free time with our exchange partners.

Wednesday, 5th February:

At 9.30 a.m. we met at the "Culture Yard"

which is a library with little stages

and a very nice viewing point on the top floor.

We had a guided tour and discovered that the focus of the library is on youth and children

The use of public libraries is free for everyone all over Denmark

After that we visited the Maritime Museum of Denmark which is very special because it was built under the ground

In the museum you could see a lot of ships

and we learned a lot about the lives of sailors in past centuries

In the end all Comenius participants took a group picture for the local press. This photo and a large article about our project "Opening Doors to Lifelong Learning" were published on the following day in the Helsingør Dagblad.

After our visit to the museum we went on to Kronborg Castle

which is very famous as it is the setting for William Shakespeare's play "Hamlet".

There we were split in two groups and each group got a guided castle tour of the basements.
The highlight was when we saw the hero of the nation, Holger Danske

For generations the story has been told that he will wake up if Denmark is in danger, but the fact he didn't wake up during World War II proved this myth wrong.

The afternoon was spent with project work called " Future School".

The task was to build and integrate a rest area in a school building providing some privacy for the pupils.

After two hours each group had to present their results at the Farewell Dinner in the evening.

Just like at our first evening the Danish hosts brought very delicious food and organised a farewell dinner.

The great goodbye already began in the evening when we had to say good-bye to our new Danish friends, which was a sad moment.

Thursday, 6th February - Departure Day:

Each country left at different times, but everybody took the same beautiful memories and great experiences with them to their home country. We want to thank the Danish Team for giving us such great time there and for being such wonderful hosts in this fantastic week.

Comenius project Opening Doors
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