The last short term exchange in Lohmar

The project “Job Orientation” had the aim to prepare students for their European professional career and to develop students’ communicative skills.

Our journey started on 9th February 2020 from Fontanarossa Airport, Catania.

Because of our flight layover, we spent a couple of hours in Milan giving our students the opportunity to visit the city centre. Some of them had never visited the city before and had never used a public means of transport, such as tramway, before.

We experienced a warm welcome by our colleagues and host-families even though the Government had announced a storm warning.

Students went with their host families. They were very welcoming and tried their best to make them feel at home while the coordinator of the project brought us to the hotel.

On 10th February, The storm warning caused the school closure so the activities organised for the day were postponed.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.  A student of ours reported about a bad condition of the house and a tricky family situation, so, after our direct inspection of the house and family and, in agreement with the coordinator of the project, we tried to manage the inconvenience.

Mrs Fox tried to find a different accommodation but she did not find any other family that could host our student, as a consequence of that the student was settled in our hotel.

Not only in host-families but also during the project the spoken language was English.

Whilst the teachers discussed the agenda and the implementation of the outcomes for the upcoming week, the students were involved in a very original ice-breaking activity, actually, they went to play bowling.  This experience was fruitful since the students from different countries required to interact with one another, in order to successfully understand each other. 

On 11th February, students  had the opportunity to start the day as they German host did, so some of them arrived at school by bike, some of them by train, some of them on foot. Students were fascinated by the way their German hosts woke up very early to go to school and by the high sense of responsibility German students had in using public transport. The activity organised for that day was “speed dating with local companies”, an annual activity organised by the host school for its students. It gives them the chance to know the range of opportunities offered by the area. Then we move to another building of the school where we had pizza. In the afternoon we went to Cologne, we visited the Cathedral and eventually we went for a stroll in the city centre.

On 12th February, German school organised a visit to Ford factory, one of the most impressive experience our students lived during the week. Ford-Werke GmbH is a German car manufacturer headquartered in Niehl, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia and a subsidiary of Ford of Europe, which in turn is a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. At Ford headquarter, students visited the different factory sectors where trainers explained about their traineeship and different components and strategies they use to implement ad improve the car.  The students interacted with some of the robots; a unique experience which widened the students’ understanding of technology in relation to practical advancements in areas such as mechanics. 

 Students saw the entire production line of Ford Fiesta and eventually they shared their lunch with ford workers in the Ford Canteen. An amazing experience.

On 13th February, the day started with the closing ceremony where the headmaster gave our students the Erasmus certificate of attendance and then the students headed to classes.

In the afternoon, students visited the Haus der Geschichte. It is a Museum of  the German history from the end of the Second World War to the present. Students were mesmerised and stroke by the history told in a different way (from history lessons at school) they questioned about cause and effect of certain choices in the past and they reflected upon its political consequences in present position of Germany today. Gradually, most of the students gained deeper interest and asked a few questions here and there. At the very end of the visit they discovered that it is fundamental To understand our present to know our past.

Back in Lohmar a farewell party waited for us.  “Goodbyes are not the end; it simply means I’ll miss you until we meet again.” The host students had prepared a dessert and a panini truck prepared sandwiches for everybody at the school main entrance. It was an appreciated idea. Students shared with their hosts their emotions and their weekly experiences.

The last day was very emotional for our students.  It was heartbreaking for them to bid farewell to their friend.  We all wished that the mobility could be extended further yet we were all very satisfied with the outcome and with the goals which the students achieved.

We headed to the airport, to do it we booked two taxis to get to the train station where we took the train to Dusseldorf Airport.

Catena     Matteo

Cultraro Vasta  Alyson Maria

Guzzardi Ulderico

Manuele Claudia

Pillirone  Giorgia Maria Pia

Pirrello    Santi Emanuele

Privitera  Giuseppe Gerardo

Umana    Paolo Adolfo Pio