Learning Exchange Activity in Les Pennes Mirabeau 2023
The last learning exchange activity of the WEBS COMMON ROOTS project took place in the Les Pennes Mirabeau, which was quite difficult to reach and very different to the schools in the big cities the students originate from. We partly took green travel options, which turned out to be quite tricky, as there were multiple strikes in France and Germany, which made the trips partly longer than 13 hours.
Once arrived, the students were warmly welcomed by their families, which made their stay pleasant. On the first school day, the school headmaster and the French coordinators welcomed us and introduced us to the school and the plan for the week. If was striking to most of the guests, that the school was made a lot safer than our other schools, as entry and leaving were controlled by porters. The school day turned our to be completely from ours, as theirs is much longer, since it includes a 2-hour lunch break, during which the students are not allowed to leave the school. Also it was interesting to see that everybody had to have lunch at the cafeteria and everything was very well organised and controlled. After a first impression of the school, we had the opportunity to participate to a multilingual activity on ‚Climate fresco‘ and learn more on the impact of environment on the four different countries they live in. In the coming days the students became acquainted with the ethnical background and languages spoken in Aix au Provence by means of a rally they took there, and also participated to a multilingual guided tour of the museum ‚Le Roy Rene‘. A very interesting activity was the guided tour offered by the elders of the Les Pennes Mirabeau, in which we were separated in small groups and given a tour by 2 to 3 elderly natives of Les Pennes Mirabeau and the French students interpreted for their partners in English. Furthermore, we also had the opportunity to visit Marseille and visit the famous Conquer Cave Museum and Notre Dame de la Garde, as well as experience the city‘s well-known street art. After several activity revising our common ancestry and the code we have created together, we have all played board games together on Friday and were said good-bye by the school‘s headmaster, the mayor of the town and the local school inspector.
The last students exchange was a very emotional one, as it reunited the students for the last time in this form. There were many tears shed and promised made to meet up again. Being the last exchange, the students have experienced all cultural and linguistical backgrounds, as well as the school systems in all countries and were able to compare and assess each of them. For some students it was striking to see how much freedom and rights the students in some cities have, as compared to others. It was interesting to compare the subjects studied in the schools, the languages used in each subject, the language levels in different schools.
They have realised that the hybrid identity they experience because of belonging to two or more cultural background is not something typical for their family or city, but very common in nowadays‘ Europe. Finally, most students learnt to cherish this diversity and what they have in their countries/schools as well as became more tolerant and understanding towards traditions and cultural concepts so far unknown to them.
Mrs. Visan (Project coordinator)
Mrs. Fotopoulos (Co-coordinator)
Students of Year 10