Disadvantaged neighbourhoods-the third visit in Roermond, Netherlands
ROERMOND EXCHANGE HIGHLIGHTS by the Bulgarian group- Niya Dineva, Maria Hristova, Vyara Peneva, Sarah Ivanova, Gabriella Kioseva, Paola Nikolaeva, Elitsa Koleva.
We took part in the exchange project “GSLT” and the topic of our project is “Social and economic inequality: The quality of life in a disadvantaged neighbourhood”. And this is a summary of how we spent the week in the Netherlands.
Our day started early, because we had to travel half of the day. By 8:00 am we were at the Sofia Airport. When we got together we were ready to check in. After going through security, we had to wait one hour for our flight. At 10:20 am our flight took off. Everything was fine and we landed on time. When we got out of the Eindhoven Airport, we walked with our suitcases to a taxi that took us to the train station. Everything there went smoothly and we waited for the train to Roermond. We were at the Roermond train station an hour earlier than expected and it was really cold and windy there, which wasn’t really good, but our teachers made sure that we won’t have to wait outside for long and a bus picked us up ten minutes after we arrived at Roermond. When we got to the school, our partners and their parents were waiting for us. Than everyone went to their host family. That day was really exciting and full of experiences, but also exhausting. All of us were happy to see our partners.
Our second day in Roermond started early in the morning, when all the groups met in school. We actually didn’t have to work on a certain task for the Erasmus project that day, because we watched one quite interesting presentation. Afterwards we had to work in teams with foreign students, which was really helpful for us to get to know each other better and break the ice between us by concentrating on a common goal. Right after we finished our work on that project, we had our time to explore the school, so that we can feel more comfortable in it. All of us really liked the school because it was colorful, big and cozy at the same time. After the long day in school, we could finally rest and go for a walk in the center of the city.My group and I were truly impressed by the beauty and calmness of this little town. It was enjoyable because we got along quite well with our partners from the very beginning. We finished our second day with a nice movie in the cinema of Roermond and we were all truly satisfied with the experience so far.
The third day of our stay in Roermond began at 9 o’clock when we had to be at school. The groups that were already made went into different classrooms so that we can work on our assignments.
Till 11:00 we discussed what we were going to do and at 11:30 we had a break. Our group went to the canteen and had lunch – a typical sandwich called broodje kipcorn. It was so delicious.
At 12:30 the break ended and we continued on working. We made a presentation answering some particular questions about the slums – in Bulgaria and in the Netherlands.
After an hour we had our second break. Of course, we went downstairs to the canteen and ate again. We chatted and had fun together! Amazing atmosphere!
The pause ended and at about 14:00 we had to start finishing what we have been working on.
After all that, we decided to go for a walk and to a cafè. The cafè was at a mall near the school. Some of us drank coffee, some tea, but we all ate vlaai – a traditional pie in the Limburg region.
It was already 17:00 so we headed off to home. And how did we come back home you would ask! By BIKE of course! So lovely riding a bike through the Netherlands and especially through Roermond!
The day was full of emotions and so productive, as you can tell!
The fourth day in the Netherlands was planned to be a trip to the capital city Amsterdam. In the early morning the whole group from the project met at the train station of Roermond and after 2 hours travelling we reached Amsterdam.
Firstly we visited an exposition of Dutch painters in the popular Rijksmuseum. The one hour there wasn’t enough to see everything, but the experience still was inspiring.
After the art museum we had our free time in the big city. Some of us did some shopping, sat in a café and ate for lunch. The meeting point was a square in the center of the city.
From there we went to the boat port, because the next part of our trip was the canal tour. For another hour we talked and admired the architecture of Amsterdam. Of course we saw the Seven bridges of Amsterdam too.
Then our trip was over and we sat tired in the train back to Roermond and to the homes of our partners.
Our programme for the day was much more relaxing and uneventful, but still great – we were going to the pool “Roerdomp”. At 1 p.m. we all met there. We bought tickets, got ready and went in the swimming hall. There was a water slide, a tiny children’s pool, two hot tubs and of course we went everywhere. After two hours of swimming around it was time to go home. And since the water was very warm, that was a hard thing to do.
That night we got together at one of the girls’ house for a movie and pizza night. First, we had to choose what kinds of pizzas we would order. While we were waiting for the food, we played cards and choose a movie – “The girl on the train”. We even showed a traditional bulgarian folk dance, called “horo” to the Dutch girls. They learned it very fast and so we danced it together. The movie was very interesting and thrilling, it included many plot twists, which made it hard to take our eyes off the screen. After that we were all so tired, so we went straight home.
Day six was our family day. We had a whole Sunday available with our host families and they had already prepared a program for us with some fun activities for the day. Some of us had the opportunity to experience more of the beauties of the Netherlands, visited Eindhoven, where they celebrated the traditional carnival, as well as Efteling – a fairytale -themed Amusement Park, while others even crossed the border to visit the neighbor Germany to go ice skating, which many Dutch people do over the weekend also, because ice rinks are very big and famous, the hours you spend there are full of fun and smiles. The weather was on our side again and our moods were always on point. It will definitely be an unforgettable day for us because we have come closer to our host families a lot and have had a great time with them. The day ended with a magnificent sunset and lots of smiles. Our week in the Netherlands is almost at its end, unfortunately, but we all know for sure that those moments are staying in our hearts forever.
Our seventh and last day in Roermond was an emotional rollercoaster. It started with all exchange students meeting up at BC Broekhin Highschool. We had two hours to finish preparing our projects or visit some classes like ART and Chemistry. Then from 13:00 until 14:00 every group presented their research assignment.
The weather was rainy and some of us still had to ride their bikes. However, it wouldn’t have been the whole Dutch experience if we didn’t ride in the rain.
Next it had been planned for us to play mini golf. We had an hour and a half full of frustration and laughter. There were 16 golf courses but we didn’t have time to play on all of them.
When we were finished at around 15:30 everybody parted their ways. Some went to McDonalds, others went home.
In the evening at 20:00 we went to a bowling alley. Everybody was excited even though no one knew how to play. We split into two teams, Bulgarian versus Dutch students. All of us showed our competitive side but at last we were all winners.
That was the end of our week in Roermond which will remain in our hearts for eternity with only good memories.
Day 8 and 9
Around 10 o’clock on the next morning all of the Bulgarian students and their partners were waiting at the train station in Roermond and saying last “goodbye”. It wasn’t easy to leave these people behind us, but we had to.
The next two days were spent in Eindhoven. We visited the Philips museum and played a game there. Then we did a lot of shopping and ate a lot of food.
We stayed in a hostel for the night and after dinner in an Italian restaurant all of us talked together in one of the rooms. There was a lot to discuss.
The morning started with breakfast and more free hours in Eindhoven before our flight. Around 2 o’clock we reached the airport with all of the suitcases and presents we bought. We waited for a while and at 5:30 our plane flew out for Sofia.
We were a little tired when we landed in Bulgaria, but also happy to see our parents and to tell them about the whole journey in the Netherlands.
Although we were sad to go home, we were also excited to go home and tell everyone what a great week we had in the Netherland and the wonderful and new things we saw. But this project was also an important learning experience for all of us, because we found out, first of all, about the Dutch culture, but we also learned about the situation with slums in Greece, Sweden and the Netherlands. The project definitely helped us expand our horizon and we made new friendships that could hopefully last a lifetime.