The Zoopas project activity in Köthen, Germany, was a wonderful learning experience for all of us: students, pupils and teachers. The participants who came from Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey enjoyed a well planned week full of interesting workshops and other events.
Most of the learning activities concerned zoos and the protection of species in the students’ home countries. But perhaps the most important learning happened during the whole week. The students had the opportunity to interact with their fellow students and teachers from other countries. This was just the kind of international learning experience for which the Erasmus Plus program exists. Seeing how differently things can be done and yet being able to communicate and cooperate with each other was the most important lesson.
This was not just one week. Of course the project continues and the next activity will already take place in Helsinki, Finland, in April. But moreover this week will last in the memories of the participants. Above all the people who we met. Our students cried on the last day when they had to say goodbye to their lovely host families. But they also discovered something new about themselves: they found new motivation for their studies and are very willing to inform their schoolmates about their experiences.
We the teachers also noticed a difference in our students: they asked more questions and were genuinely excited to learn new things. Not just for school, but for life. We had the opportunity to get to know them better and talk about their life and thoughts about the world. Everybody learned so much from these encounters.
We are already looking forward to the next activity.
Antti Kajas, Philosophy teacher