22 December 2012

Project week in Romania (21 - 27 Oct. 2012)

Comenius S4T Team in front of Sibiu townhall
The diary of this project week is available in the page about the week in Sibiu. If you just want to see how enjoyable our time in Sibiu and other places in Romania was, you can start by clicking on the link below to have a look at our photo gallery:

Project Week #3: Sibiu, Romania - Photo Gallery

To give a general impression, here's the English translation of the newspaper article that was published about it in the "Amberger Zeitung":

For Tolerance, Against Prejudice

Pupils of Decker School in Exchange Project in Romania with People from Italy, Poland and Turkey

Amberg.  The European-Commission-funded Comenius project “Spotlights for Tolerance”, coordinated by Dr.-Johanna-Decker-Gymnasium, was continued in the Romanian city of Sibiu (Hermannstadt). Five DJDG pupils in 10th and 11th grade travelled to experience a week with a rich schedule, accompanied by Julia Simbeck and project coordinator Peter Ringeisen.
English teacher Corina Pavelescu and her team at Colegiul National “Gheorghe Lazar” had organized the programme for the pupils and teachers from Amberg, Sciacca (Italy), Chojnice (Poland), Salihli (Turkey) and of course for the hosts themselves, too.

Getting to know culture

At the centre of the project there is, on the one hand, designing, rehearsing and performing theatrical scenes on the topic of tolerance and prejudice; on the other hand, it’s about getting to know the partner countries’ culture - and finally, as a basis for all this, getting to know other young Europeans, which is ideal for practising tolerance and getting rid of prejudices. The theatre workshop was conducted by young actress Lorelei Gazawi, assisted by teachers Corina Pavelescu and Daniela Sacalean. Two scenes were developed there: An innocent man is accused of stealing money, but of course he denies having done anything wrong. At a loss what to do, the bystanders call upon historical ruler Vlad Tepes to bring justice.

Excursion to Dracula

When Tepes arrives in the second scene, the real villain tries to deceive him at first, but then he is found out and punished - and the wrongly accused is asked for forgiveness. The two scenes are linked by a videoclip that shows how the people call the just ruler for help (in Romanian) - and while doing that, they are running up the stairs to Bran Castle. In order to be able to film that sequence, the whole team made an excursion to Bran Castle, which actually used to belong to the nobleman who inspired author Bram Stoker to write a novel about the vampire Count Dracula. The castle, however, gave a rather more cosy than horrifying impression, as the visitors were pleased to note.
At the beginning of the week, the participants of the project were welcomed by Sibiu’s mayor, Klaus Johannis, in the townhall. His wish that the guests from the other European countries may enjoy their stay, turned into exquisite reality. The families who hosted and cared for the pupils won their hearts as did the city and the country with its numerous sights and its open and friendly atmosphere. What was especially impressive in the programme were the guided tours through Sibiu City centre and of the fortress city of Sighisoara, but also seeing the extraordinary play “A Streetcar Named Popescu”, which is set inside (and outside) a moving tram and is played in four languages.
At the end, the pupils were proud that the performance of their own scenes worked out very well, and they all agreed: “We would love to stay longer!” Although this was not possible, it is already at the end of November when the project teams (with new pupils) will meet in Sciacca, Sicily - and there will be a reunion of many good friends in March 2013, for the final project week in Amberg.

Amberger Zeitung, 6. November 2012 (Nr. 256), p. 19 (translation into English: German team)

11 October 2012

Off to Romania!

Everyone is looking forward now to meeting again, this time in lovely Sibiu, in the middle of Romania. We'll arrive on Sunday, 21st Oct. 2012, and we'll enjoy Romanian hospitality until 26th or 27th Oct., respectively.
This is the great poster that the Romanian team have put together. Have a safe journey everyone, see you in Sibiu!

24 July 2012

Summary of the First Year of S4T

This prezi gives you a short survey of our main activities during the first year of "Spotlights for Tolerance (S4T)", the drama project in the EU funded Comenius programme, a sub programme of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.

09 May 2012

Project week #2: Salihli, Turkey

Stay in Salihli 

Sunday, 2012-03-25 

Everybody arrived at Izmir airport, and in two groups - because we arrived at different times - people from the Turkish team met us, welcomed us and accompanied us on our bus trip to Salihli.

Monday, 2012-03-26

In the morning all the teams were welcomed at Salihli Lisesi, our Turkish partner school. We admired the welcome posters and the posters that showed the importance of tolerance, and we were really surprised because at once everybody was given a welcome gift by one of the pupils. The presents were lovely, and there were even letters and photographs that came with them. We also got lots of goodies to eat and drink, and so the first contact with everybody was already very pleasant.
This was followed by the first drama workshop, led by Turkish drama teacher Emine Kilimci. We did exercises to use our imagination, and how to express our feelings in a strange environment. This was very good to get into the mood for drama, and we had fun.
After a short break, we had a short walk to the modern townhall of Salihli, where we were welcomed by the Mayor of Salihli, Mustafa Uğur Okay. He was very friendly, and presented everybody with a welcome gift. Then a photo of the whole Comenius project team was taken with the mayor and his staff - this photo will be mentioned again later in this report!
A short trip on the bus later, we met the Mayor of Sardes, Ali Özdemir, who invited us to a delicious traditional Turkish meal, a kind of pancake with spinach and other herbs in it - we could watch the pancakes being made on a huge flat stone, and tables and chairs had been arranged on a charming meadow, in the middle of a wonderful landscape.
From there we went to see the impressive ruins of Sardes: the Artemis Temple and the Gymnasium with a Synagogue - one of many great opportunities for photographs.
In the evening, everybody met for dinner at the "Lidya Hotel Restaurant" where each team did a short performance (dance, songs, sketches) - they were all fascinating to watch, and we had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, 2012-03-27

The whole morning, we continued with our drama workshop. Mrs. Kilimci gave us the interesting task to improvise a whole trial (with good guys, bad guys, a judge, and a jury), using only one word, one sound, one movement to express everything - which required a lot of involvement in the way of gestures and facial expressions, and there were some misunderstandings at first, but then we got better and better. We all began to enjoy the exercises, not least because of the creative judge (who used "Pikachu" as his word).
For lunch, we drove to Allahdiyen Village and had a very good meal at "Özgür Et Mangal Restaurant", again in the open air. Afterwards, we walked along Kurşunlu Thermal Hot Springs and took fabulous photos near the waterfall. Back in Salihli, we had some free time, which was used for conversations with our new friends.

Wednesday, 2012-03-28

This morning's workshop introduced us to the play that the Turkish team had prepared for the project. It was a one-act play of two scenes, written by Yiğit Gümüşada especially for the project and translated by Emine Kilimci - about a bookseller who thinks he can tell what kind of people his customers are after only speaking to them for a minute. The play shows that he is very much mistaken; in a number of surprising turns, the audience finds out the truth about this strange character - and it becomes obvious how silly it is to trust first impressions. Although the teams from the other countries only played small parts, we enjoyed it, and we were impressed by the delivery of the Turkish team.
 After a delicious lunch at "Azaklar Odun Köfte Restaurant", we drove to Manisa, where we visited the Manisa Culture Centre, the Manisa Museum, and two impressive mosques, the Muradiye and Sultan Mosques, which we were even allowed to enter.

Thursday, 2012-03-29

In the morning, we had our final rehearsal and then the performance of our play, "The Bookseller". It went very well, everything was very well done and worked fine - together with the music and the lighting it was a great experience. -

When we left the theatre, there was (again) a surprise waiting for us: The photograph of the whole Comenius group that had been taken with the mayor on Monday was displayed on billboard signs in the city centre! We were glad about this gesture of appreciation, and we almost felt a little like celebrities.
For lunch, we drove to Adala's "Demirköprü Dam Restaurant", where we were welcomed by the Mayor of Adala, Ferayi Aslan. After the delicious meal we visited the Demirköprü Thermoelectric Power Plant and Dam and made an excursion to Adala Canyon, The Maiden Bridge. We liked that a lot, because the bridge, which is more than two thousand years old, spans a beautiful valley and looks really ancient, but is still completely intact - we all walked across it.
At night, we had dinner at "Bizim Ev Restaurant". We enjoyed both the meals and the traditional music and dances that were played and shown in between.

Friday, 2012-03-30

The whole day was used for a long excursion, and it was well worth it. We first drove to Selçuk and visited Virgin Mary's House, the house where she lived with the Apostle John, who was asked by Jesus to care for his mother Mary. Quite close to that was the old city of Ephesus, which was of great importance from ca. 500 BC up to the 15th century AD, once the biggest city of the Mediterranean region. Its ruins fascinated us, especially the theatre near the entrance (Odeon Theatre) and the Library of Celsus - but also the turbans that were on sale at the souvenir shops outside.
We also visited the Selçuk Museum, İsa Bey Mosque, and the Basilica of St. John, before we went for lunch at the “Liman Restaurant” in Kuşadası by the sea.
It was a day full of impressions of the rich cultural heritage of Turkey, and although we were a little exhausted, we were all glad that we had the opportunity to see all of it.

Saturday, 2012-03-31

We were all sad to leave - because we had found many new friends, we had been treated like members of the family in our host families, and we were sure that we would miss everyone - we still do.

Individual voices 


  • "There was no prejudice, only smiling faces, good friendships and happiness." 
  • "The most important thing in the world is not the religion, language and race of the people but tolerance and humanity." 


  • "I couldn't imagine that people from different countries can become friends in such a short time! Now I know it's wrong to think that people aren't okay if they aren't 'like us'." 
  • "My host and all the people I met in Turkey were so friendly, warm and caring! Now I think that at school there should be a subject called 'Hospitality' to teach everybody to be like them." 


  • "The openness and kindness of all people there was the best thing; everyone could teach the others something about their traditions and language, which was very amusing sometimes." 
  • "Before the project week, I had some prejudices about people and their traditions in Turkey. But when I came here, I couldn't find any differences between Turkish, Romanian, Polish, Italian and German students, and after some time I forgot their origin and just saw their personality." 


  • "The best trip was the one to Ephesus, which appeared a marvellous and a very impressive place." 
  • "I hope that I will see that beautiful country and the people of the Comenius Project one more time one day."    


  • "This project showed me how different five countries can be, but at the same time how similar the people are. This experience changed me a lot, for example, now I am open to every new culture, and now I know many things about Turkey, Poland, Italy and Germany, things that I didn't know before." 
  • "From the first day I stayed with my host family, I felt like in my real family." 
  • "Everything in Turkey was special and beautiful. The culture was so interesting and people were so kind and friendly. I am looking forward to visiting them again."  

09 April 2012

After the Turkish project week

Reports and impressions are being written down in these weeks, as we are all still under the spell of a wonderful experience of Turkish hospitality, friendship and culture. Until the texts are finished, you can look at some photographs that show what we did and how it felt.

Click for the Turkish project week gallery (navigation to next thumbnail page at the bottom!)

24 March 2012

Off to Turkey!

Today everybody is looking forward to our project week in Turkey, from Sunday, 25 March, to Saturday, 31 March 2012. The Turkish project team made this great poster for our meeting. - Have a safe journey, everyone!

05 January 2012

Stay in Poland

Sunday, 2011-10-16
On the first day we arrived in Chojnice and met our host families. They showed us their town and the lake "Charzykowskie" close by.

Monday, 2011-10-17
On Monday we had the drama workshop which took place in the "Culture House" of Chojnice". We got to know our tutor Grzegorz Szlanga, an actor from Gdansk. He was given a hard task. He had to teach us, a group of 39 pupils from five different countries, the basics about acting, and to prepare a performance with us in only three days. So we started directly.
At first the tutor explained and showed us the basis for an actor's work. He taught us how to breathe properly and how to use our voice in order to be understandable for everyone.
We also played games to practice showing our feelings. At first we walked around and when Grzegorz said "stop" we had to stop, choose an emotion and freeze in it.
After lunch we did a sightseeing tour of Chojnice, where we visited the town hall and met the mayor. After that we saw the Late-Baroque Church of Holy Virgin Mary Annunciation and the market place.

Tuesday, 2011-10-18
On the second day of the drama workshop we began with the emotions game. In addition we learned how to work with our partners. Then we had to build three groups with people from different countries. In these groups we used our imagination to create our new nations with their names, inhabitants, religions, currency, flags, hymn, government and traditions. For our new nation we had to devise a ceremony that is connected with it and how to play it on stage.
In the afternoon we went for a hike in the nature around Chojnice and a river called Brda.

Wednesday, 2011-10-19
On the third day we practiced our ceremonies and Grzegorz gave us tips how to play them better. After our scenes were improved we performed them together (a funeral, a wedding and a coronation) and when the three groups clashed there was a conflict which resulted in a battle. But in the end charity prevailed and we all wanted to have peace at home and in the world. We recorded this on video.
In the evening we went bowling with our new friends.

Thursday, 2011-10-20
We went on a trip to Gdansk. On our way we first stopped at a museum in Szymbark. There we baked bread and were surprised about an upside-down house. In Gdanks, we visited another museum, "The Road to Freedom", which documents the final years of communism and how it was overthrown peacefully by the Solidarnosc movement - a very impressive experience.
Afterwards we did a little bit of sightseeing. The Italians and the Romanians stayed at a hotel in Gdansk because their planes left very early in the morning.

Friday, 2011-10-21
Our last few hours in Chojnice: It was really hard to say goodbye to all our new friends! What we realized was that Polish people are very hospitable and friendly.
So we were glad that we visited Poland and we hope that we will meet all the nice people again.

What students said:
An Italian guy: "I won't forget the walk in the forest. We liked singing together while walking!"
A Turkish boy: "I really liked the churches in Poland!"
A Turkish boy: "I liked the friendhsip there and I improved my English"
A Romanian girl: "I really loved the food!"