by Annabell Werner
From Wednesday, May 9th to Sunday, May 13th, the Beyond Bilingual Exchange, with a school in Romania, went into round two, this time here in Warsaw. Over the course of three days, the group enjoyed many fun and exciting activities and a lot of biking.
The group from Colegiul National Emanuil Gojdu, which is located in Oradea, Romania arrived Wednesday evening and with this a trip full of fun, biking and making connections started.
Day one began with an art project, and sharing a bit of Romanian culture, through learning a traditional dance, presented by the Godju students. This activity ended with the original ten dancers being joined by the rest of the group, as well as Ms. Steins 9th Grade dance class.
After a short break, a tour through the school followed. Vlad P., a student from Godju stated “Academically, Gojdu cannot compare to ASW. ASW has the best learning environment I have ever seen and even though we had a short stay, I felt a part of it. The subjects, the teachers, and the facilities are extraordinary. I saw ASW as the model every school should take.”
Anca M., one of the Romanian teachers, agreed. “Gojdu is a public school trying to stand out in a system where things need a desperate update,” she said. “Still, at our school, a lot of emphasis is placed on theoretical subjects and formal learning whereas at ASW we noticed that the same emphasis is led on subjects like arts and dance and sports.”
Janine E., a Godju Junior noted “I had an impression of the school at least of what the building would look like considering it being an American school. Growing up with American movies I personally always dreamed of visiting a modern school as seen on tv high school, but your school exceeded my expectations.”
The day continued with a visit to downtown, in order to go to the top of the Palace of Science and Culture. “The view offered me the chance to have a moment of profound reflection on how even from almost complete destruction, great things may arise.” said Victor A., a Godju Senior.
Vlad P, a Godju student, stated “Warsaw was a beautiful city that left me speechless with the street art and its infrastructure.” Kendra S. also from Godju described her experience the following way “Much to my surprise, Warsaw looked a lot like Oradea, its Old Town reminding me a lot of my hometown.”
After giving final touches to the Integration collaborative art project, the next day, the group headed off to Powsin park by bike, where they had a BBQ and time to play sports, socialize and have fun. At the end of the day, the group watched the school Play “You Can’t Take It with You”.
Saturday, the third and last day, started with the group heading off to Praga by bike in order to receive a tour that would end at the Neon Museum. The group then went on to a park, where they were given the choice to either stay and relax or to head to a tour dedicated to the street art of the Praga district.
Cesur B., an ASW freshman, stated “I think the best moment was on the last day where we had some time to relax under the trees and chat with each other.”
The day and with it the trip ended with a group dinner at OSP Saska Kępa and a biking tour through Warsaw back to school.
Mr. Josh, one of the organizers of this and the prior trip, raved about the trip. “The biking, the art, the laughs (cheating vegetarian), the organization and seeing it come to fruition,” he said. “One singular moment was crossing the river and watching the sun go down on Saturday evening. We all paused for a moment and I felt like the group had really come together – tangible and intangible.”
The Romanian group had very positive thoughts about Polish people before coming here. “I expected them to be lively, fun and polite, and I can say I was right.”
Victor A. Anca M. shared a similar opinion “I was beautifully surprised by the friendliness of the people, the welcoming school, the positive reaction of my students, the charm of the places we visited, the enthusiasm and warmth of our hosts.”
Anca M. stated “It was a chain of very good moments, the whole experience… But the best I guess was the long ride to Praga. Great places, amazing guides, positive group dynamics, effort, and pleasure combined. And… Delicious pizza”