Project week in Saarlouis, Germany, 11.12.2022-17.12.2022, HOME project
On the first day, that is on the twelfth of December, which was a Monday, we began the project, or more precisely the Saarlouis part of the project, as the Erasmus project has been in full swing since last December. That day, we woke up, et cetera, and went to school. Not to any school of course, but to the Saarlouiser Gymnasium am Stadtgarten. There, in smaller groups, we were shown around the school. After that, the welcoming ceremony commenced, during which the choir composed of schoolkids significantly younger than us, sang the Ode to Joy, and then proceeded to perform it on sticks made of sponge.
After a short break, a program quite relevant to the topic of the project began, which was a talk with two people, who have started a new life in Germany after fleeing the Middle East to escape persecution and military service, which in both cases means sure death. The reader can imagine that their stories were not particularly joyful.
Having listened to the talk, the ice-breaker games began, during which we got to know the other students in the project.
After lunch, a treasure hunt game started, during which students from different countries had to work together to find different “treasures” in Saarlouis with the help of a smartphone. This meant that an app guided us to certain spots in the city, where we had to complete different, of course quite easy tasks. After all the treasures had been found, the official program for that day ended, so everyone could go and do whatever they wanted. Seeing the Christmas market was a popular choice.
On an early Tuesday morning we headed to the Saar River by bus. It was super cold there, so we had a quick look at the river bend and then headed back to the bus. The Saar was truly beautiful, so it was worth it to go early.
After this we went to Trier, which is famously known as Karl Marx’ birthplace. Here we saw a giant metal statue of him. A bit further situated was a massive Roman building, unfortunately I didn’t go inside, instead of that I headed to the local Church/Cathedral. It was really nice looking, almost like fortress of some sort, and it was made up by multiple different architectural styles.
The Romans also built this church, which explains why it has so many different designs, it is crazy that this building is still standing to this day. The inside was quite spacious, and liberally decorated, with all sorts of different statues and art pieces. It also had a massive organ that looked like a wasp’s nest, which I quite liked. Since it was super cold outside, it was also nice to be sheltered inside this beautiful building.
Since it was so freezing outside we decided that we are not going to freely stroll around the city, and went to grab some lunch from the nearby McDonalds. We spent the rest of our time in there, and after our feast, went back to the bus and headed back to Saarlouis.
On Wednesday, we were planning on visiting Strasburg and the European Parliament. However, due to snowfall during the previous night, the roads were slippery and the bus to Strasburg was cancelled. Instead, we went to see the exhibition “When We Are Gone” by Julian Rosenfeldt in the Völklinger Hütte in Völklingen. After the exhibition, we went to Saarbrücken, where we spent most of the day. We returned to Saarlouis in the afternoon.
The next day, on Thursday, the teachers went to Luxembourg, while we spent most of the day at a diversity workshop that lasted six excruciating hours, only interrupted by a half-hour-long lunch break. The workshop itself was the usual diversity workshop but stretched out to fill a whole day. The activities included dividing people into groups based on the colour of small paper circles that were stuck onto our foreheads, coming up with ideas to improve society, and designing utopian cities, and then, in all cases, drawing foregone conclusions from the results. At half past two, the day was over with the workshop, and we were free for the rest of the day. In the evening, we dined at a Mexican restaurant, where many, perhaps most, of the student participants were present.
On Friday we were in school.
In the morning each nation gave their presentations. It was interesting to learn about migration in different countries.
After that we went to the school’s kitchen and cooked lunch in groups. When we were done with our part of the lunch, we decided to visit the local supermarket – called Globus – , and bought some stuff to bring home with us. But the time was not enough to explore the whole building, so we had to get back to school for lunch. The lunch was surprisingly good.
We left from the school after lunch, but I came back early to hang out with some friends. We went to Globus to buy food and drinks for our way back to home. After we were done in Globus, we headed to the local Christmas market and bought some souvenirs. And then we had to go back to school, so we didn’t miss the party.
At the party everyone danced and enjoyed the night. When the party was over, we went back home to prepare for tomorrow’s big train trip.