Exchange projesi kapsamında bir hafta boyunca Hollanda’nın Rotterdam kentinde bulunan Emmauscollege’de konuk öğrenci olarak bulunacak 25 öğrencimizi İngilizce öğretmenleri Kurtuluş Akyüz ve Hande Yılga ile birlikte Hollanda’ya yolcu ettik. Öğrencilerimiz, bir hafta boyunca farklı kültürler tanıyacak, yeni arkadaşlıklar kuracak ve yabancı dillerini geliştirme fırsatı bulacaklar. Nisan ayında ise bu sefer öğrencilerimiz ev sahibi olacak ve Emmauscollege’daki arkadaşlarını bir hafta boyunca Modafen’de ağırlayacaklar; böylece kültürler arası sıkı dostlukların temellerini atmış olacaklar.
Harvard ziyaretinde olduğu gibi, İngilizce öğretmenimiz Kurtuluş Akyüz Hollanda izlenimlerini de günbegün Modafen ailesiyle paylaşacak.
Okulumuzu bir hafta boyunca Emmauscollege’da temsil edecek olan öğrencilerimize başarılar diliyoruz.
İşte Kurtuluş Akyüz’ün ilk gün izlenimleri:
We had decided to meet at 5.30am on Sunday morning for our 8.00am flight from Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, to Amsterdam Airport, Amsterdam.
By 6.00 am everybody had arrived and we were ready for our group check-in. A couple of the group had already checked in individually so we checked everybody else in and passed through security after saying good-bye to friends and family.
The flight was due to take-off at 8.00 am but it became apparent that there was going to be a delay as the passengers were still gathered in the waiting lounge at around 7.45 am. Finally, the buses taking us to the plane arrived and we boarded to go to the plane. Imagine our surprise as we saw a cart whizzing past our bus with our luggage loaded on it. The surprising part was that our luggage was flying off the cart as it sped past!! The driver and Turkish Airlines representative weren’t interested in our objections and the bus continued to the plane with our luggage lying in the middle of the road.
Anyway, we got to the plane and hoped that our luggage would make it there too. We quickly found our seats and everybody prepared themselves for the three and half hour flight to follow. I soon found out that several of our students had not flown abroad previously and therefore were only used to flights in the region of one hour. Breakfast was served on the plane and then the questions began: “are we there yet?”, “how long left before we land?”, “when will we get there?” It hadn’t even been 30 minutes since take-off yet the questions continued being asked every few minutes. Consequently, I had to vacate my seat next to the students and started talking to a couple of the other passengers on the flight in order to avoid listening to the questions. Hande was left to respond to the ongoing questions in my absence. It was only when the pilot told us that we were preparing for landing that I returned to my seat.
The flight finally ended as the plane landed in Amsterdam. Ece began to applaud which started a chain reaction with the rest of the passengers following suit as there was a crescendo of claps throughout the plane almost culminating in a standing ovation for the pilot and the crew. As the plane stopped at the terminal, everybody grabbed their belongings and made their way off the plane and towards passport control. Passport control was navigated safely although a couple of the other passengers werent as fortunate as they were led away for reasons unknown, probably back to the country they came from. It took a while for all of our luggage to arrive after which we made our way through customs and into the arrivals lounge.
Imagine my surprise as I heard screams and shouts of joy behind me as our students started recognising their exchange students who had made the one hour journey from Rotterdam to Amsterdam to collect our students at the airport. It was like a scene from Jurassic Park, where the people are making their way to the control centre and velociraptors are picking them off one by one, as they disappear into the undergrowth. As I turned around, one by one, our students were disappearing as their exchange families took them back to their houses in Rotterdam. Finally, only Hande and I were left together with Iris and Michael, who were the exchange teachers who had come to collect us. Both of us expressed sentiments of sadness for being separated from our students.
We set off for our one hour journey to Rotterdam where the school and our hotel were situated. We were amazed at how flat the landscape was as we travelled along the motorway. Arriving at the hotel, too early for check-in, we left our luggage at the hotel and started our expedition of Rotterdam on foot. Hande’s sense of direction was working immaculately as she soon located a fantastic shopping promenade and made a mental note of its location for the future spending spree which would undoubtedly happen during the week. Returning to the hotel, we checked-in and went to our rooms to have a few hours rest before our planned dinner date with Iris and David in the evening. We both crashed out after sending messages to all the students checking their well-being. Everybody responded as to how happy they were which meant that we could rest peacefully.
Iris and David collected us at 7.00 pm and we walked to a local Spanish tapas restaurant. As the menu was in Spanish, we couldnt understand any of it so asked David to make a selection for us. The feast that followed was absolutely amazing. Plates and plates of food arrived at the table as we all tucked in to the delicious delicacies that had been ordered. I managed to clear up the final morsels before finishing off the meal with a fantastic Spanish coffee. It was a brilliant start to our stay in Rotterdam. We accompanied Iris and David to the nearby train station before getting lost on our way back to the hotel. Finally, we found our way back, after asking directions at a local shop, the only one open at 11.00 pm, which, probably not surprisingly, turned out to be Turkish owned.
Back at the hotel we messaged again with the students before turning in for the night. We will be collected at 7.45 am in the morning to meet with the students at the school and begin an amazing program which has been prepared for us. I am sure the next five days will be as enjoyable as today.
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