Sobreda – Uden Exchange – 16th-23rd March
As the day of the departure approached, the student’s excitement grew bigger and bigger. They were eager to meet their partners and kept on fantasizing about their new “families” and “homes” but especially about the adventures they would experience in a different environment, far from their homeland. For some, it would be the very first time they would travel by plane, it would be the very first time they would be on their own! “Big responsibility”, they said. For us, teachers, it would be a new experience, although being familiar with our Dutch colleagues, with whom we have already built a strong friendship. But each exchange is always different: different groups of students, different activities. As soon as we arrived at Uden’s College, they made us feel at home and welcomed us with some sweet treats. It was the perfect setting to start breaking the ice: it was really nice to see all the students chatting and making plans for the evening. It seemed that they already knew each other for a long time – which is quite a good sign, isn’t it? Well, with such a good start, things couldn’t turn out better. The trip to Amsterdam is always the highlight of the week. In the Rijksmuseum our students were offered the explanation of some paintings in Portuguese – Dutch students, you had your lesson well learnt! And this first adventure continued with a visit to the most emblematic sites in the city: Anne Frank House, the Oude Kirk, The National Maritime Museum, the flower market, the Vondelpark… and, of course, there was some time for shopping too – everybody had lists of souvenirs to take back home! In the evening, we all went to Eindhoven to attend the “School bands competition”, in which one of the Dutch students participated. And guess what? Her band won the competition! The following days were spent according to the programme: visiting a famous windmill in Uden and getting to know about its importance, biking Bedaf (the “mountains” of Uden), attending classes, going to Nijmegen and Den Boss and learn about these historical cities. During this week, the students even had the chance to take part of a sing-along workshop, which was quite interesting, as both the Dutch and Portuguese groups were able to talk about the different features of each culture in a relaxed and amusing way. Monday morning, 7 a.m.: time to get into the plane and go home to “recharge batteries” during the Easter break. In no more than a month it would be our turn to host and offer our Dutch friends a memorable week!
Report Uden in Sobreda 2015
Since our previous exchange programmes have been highly appreciated by both Dutch and Portuguese students, this year we designed a very similar programme, keeping the most beloved activities whether related to the sea or the history of Portugal.
Drove to the beautiful village of Sintra, had some free time in the historical quarter and hiked to the Castle of the Moors, a top spot with a fabulous view. Then we had a lovely drive along the coast to Cabo da Roca – the most western point of Europe’s mainland. After having some time for photos of the amazing view, we drove along the beaches and wild dunes of Guincho and Boca do Inferno to Cascais. Delighted by the amazing sightseeing we drove along the panoramic coastal road back to Lisbon.
In Lisbon we visited the monumental zone of Belém, savored the delicious and famous Pastéis de Belém (custard tarts), had some free time downtown for lunch, visited the Story Centre Exhibition, walked up the hill to São Jorge Castle and went to the modern area of Parque das Nações.
Going on a boat tour along the Sado estuary for dolphin-spotting, enjoying the magnificent view over the Sado along the Arrábida coast, having a surf lesson on a beach in Costa da Caparica, visiting the Almada castle garden viewpoint and climbing the Cristo Rei Statue to enjoy the sweeping view of Lisbon, the Tagus estuary and 25th of Abril bridge were as well on the programme.
At the end of this wonderful and exhausting week, everybody was grateful and enriched with the amazing experiences.