Essen (Deutschland / Germany) - 08.-12.12.2010

Religious Festivities: Christmas

7th meeting
in Essen, Germany
December 8th-12th 2010

The 7th meeting of the eleven partners of the Comenius Project "Intercultural communication as a means to develop creativity and innovation“ took place from the 8th to the 12th Decem-ber at the Städtisches Mädchengymnasium Essen-Borbeck in Essen, Germany.

After having worked on Private Festivities in Cyprus and Romania and on Political Festivites in Estonia and the United Kingdom, the topic, having started in Poland, was Religious Festi-vities. So the main topic in Germany was "Christmas“.

The aims of this meeting were:

-  to get to know the city of Essen at Christmas time,
-  to present and to get to know the Christmas traditions of the involved countries,
-  to invent a kind of Comenius-Project-Christmas-festivity and to live it,
-  to work together,
-  to communicate in international workshops creating decoration and music in order to prepare this festivity,
-  to open the group of 11 partners towards two other Comenius-Project-Groups and
-  to feel a European identity during a Christmas party with students, teachers and guests coming from
   14 European countries to assist the "International Comenius Meeting in Essen in 2010“, which was one
   of the activities schools organized during the year 2010, when Essen was European Capital of Culture.

Participants of the meeting

The Comenius Project-Group hosted 23 students and 27 teachers and other adults that ac-companied the students.


Arrival and departure, 8th and 12th of December

The delegations of the partner schools arrived on the 7th and 8th of December, some of them by bus and car, most of them by plane. The German teachers picked up the teams arri-ving in Essen and Dusseldorf at the main station and the airport and helped them to find the way to the hotel and to check in. One of the German teachers slept at the hotel in order to solve the problems that could occur.

On 12th December the German team was at the hotel to coordinate the departure by taxi or by the help of the students‘ parents.

The most important difficulties were caused by snow and ice and the thieves working at the railway station of Dusseldorf airport. The team coming from Cyprus arrived only on the 9th of December without any luggage and the team coming from Spain became victim of the thieves. So the German teachers and parents tried their best to solve the problems.

Thursday, 9-12-2010, Essen – MGB and City Centre

On the first day, the German students and teachers tried to present the school, the history of Essen and the city centre to their guests.

In small groups the students visited the school building and accompanied their hosts into their classes. The teachers followed a guided tour prepared by young German teachers.

During the official opening of the meeting the headmistress Mrs. Gemein, the head of the school department of the government in Dusseldorf, Mrs. Dulisch, and the mayor of Borbeck, Mrs. Poschmann, welcomed the guests.

In order to prepare the following visits in and around Essen, the Capital of Culture 2010, one of the German students presented a short historical overview

After the exchange of gifts, students and teachers went to the Town Hall to assist at the first part of the "International Comenius Meeting in Essen in 2010“. On the 22nd floor the Mayor, Mr. Jelinek, welcomed the Comenius Project-Groups of the three Comenius Schools in Essen: Städtisches Mädchengymnasium Essen Borbeck, Gymnasium Borbeck and Maria-Wächtler-Gymnasium.

In the afternoon the students discovered the city centre, its history and the Christmas market with their partners. One of the German students had prepared a quest and a quiz. The tea-chers made a walk through the centre and had free time to see the Christmas market and the new shopping centers Rathaus Galerie and Limbecker Platz.

In the evening all students and teachers went to the opera house, the Aalto-Theater, to see “Coppelia”, a ballet (music: Léo Délibes, choreography: Roland Petit), a cultural event in a world-famous building, designed by a Finnish architect.

The teachers dined in a typical restaurant and pub of the Ruhr-Area: “Ampütte” (“Next to the pit”).

Friday, 10-12-2010, Essen – Industry and Culture

The next day started with a guided tour by bus, prepared by three students.

A handout, made by the students, was distributed, offering photos and summaries of the stu-dents‘ comments. The tour followed the points of interest already presented in the short his-torical review the day before.

The tour ended at the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage (2001), Zeche Zollverein (“Zollverein Colliery”), the most important, modern and beautiful coal mine “of the world”, built in 1932. Two students who had to organize the visit of the RuhrMuseum divided the 69 persons in small groups. Each group had to answer a questionnaire in order to discover the whole in-dustrial building and the museum and to see a film about the Ruhr-Area at the end of the visit.

The students spent the afternoon and the evening with the families. Twelve teachers went to Cologne (Cathedral: UNESCO World Cultural Heritage; Christmas market), five teachers vi-sited the Museum Folkwang, the art museum, accompanied by two German teachers. In the evening most of the teachers dined together in an old railway station transformed into a restaurant.

Saturday, 11-12-2010, Religious Festivities: Christmas.

The three main topics of this day were the teachers’ assemblies preparing the next meetings, the main topic of the 7th meeting, “Christmas”, and the final part of the "International Come-nius Meeting in Essen in 2010“, the Christmas party with the other Comenius Schools.

In order to practice intercultural communication preparing the Christmas festivity “Christmas at School” the students chose different creative workshops:

Christmas art

Christmas biscuits

Hansel and Gretel’s

Christmas songs

The results were presented at the common festivity and became part of the decoration of the program.

The program had been prepared by each partner. In the United Kingdom in June each country had to draw a lot with a subject concerning Christmas:

Estonia: Christmas period/ days

Lithuania: Family meeting /dress

Romania: House decoration /tree

Poland: Manger (Holy family)

England: Church /Christmas mass

Greece: Christmas dinner

Italy: Special Sweets

Spain: Gifts

Cyprus: Christmas songs

Hungary: Christmas food

A research by intercultural communication had to be done on the traditions in the other coun-tries. The different partners chose different kinds of presentations: videos, PowerPoint pre-sentations, collages, paintings, photos, songs and performances. Some of them presented their own traditions and some made a summary of the different traditions in the eleven coun-tries.

After decorating the hall together, the results of the prepared tasks were presented and each coun-tr gave Christmas gifts to the other countries. The participants of the song-workshop made the whole group sing. And then the buffet was opened with special Christmas dishes and biscuits.

"International Comenius Meeting in Essen in 2010“

In the morning teachers and students had one hour of dancing class with professional tea-chers to prepare the evening when a mixture of Christmas ball and party took place in an old industrial building, the "Borbecker Dampfbierbrauerei“, an old brewery.

Students, teachers and guests coming from 14 nations (the 11 countries of our project, France, Finland and Turkey) represented the three Comenius Schools existing in Essen in 2010 and working on different subjects.

Due to technical problems, the program could not be completely realized, but all guests had a lot of fun together.

This evening was at the same time the farewell party of the 7th meeting.