We spent three wonderful days in Iceland and we all agree that it was an experience of a lifetime. Iceland is of course an exotic destination for us, Central Europeans, with its breathtaking scenery and geographical wonders. We very much enjoyed visiting Geysir, or the enormous Gullfoss waterfalls as well as the place where the European and North American tectonic plates meet.
The people of Iceland are also fantastic! The president even included us in his monthly newsletter after our visit to his residence. Our partners are equally kind – Anna, Ester and Harpa did everything to make us feel welcome at school. The international student groups had the opportunity to work together on Icelandic wonders and created heartwarming videos with the Quik application. Students had a wonderful time in Iceland and enjoyed the ‘fun night’ organized at our Icelandic partner school.
Our visit to Reykjavík was also great: we could taste some delicious lamb dishes and visited the architectural wonder, Hallgrímskirkja, with the statue of Leif Eriksson.
“The 4th school exchange of “National Prides in a European context” project, has been a very enriching experience for all participants. We have learnt about national heritage places in Iceland, like the UNESCO national park Pingvellir and the Global Geopark in Reykjanes. We have discovered wonderful waterfalls like Gullfoss, volcanos like Kerio, Geysir, and old places in Iceland, like Skálholt. We were not lucky to see any northern lines during our stay, but we learnt about them in Perlan museum, where we also could feel the frozen cold in an ice cave. We enjoyed a delicious tomato soup in a real greenhouse of tomatoes. We visited the capital of the country, Reykjavik, and we had the honour of been received by the president of Iceland, Guoni Th. Jóhannesson, in his presidential residence at Bessastadir. The live music in the farewell dinner and the spontaneous dancing of our students was the culmination of a wonderful mobility. Students and teachers have enjoyed a lot every second of this exchange. Congratulations to Ester, Ana and Harpa for the great organisation of this meeting. And many thanks to the families that host our students!!! Thanks a lot for everything!!! You are great!!!” (Victoria Hernández, teacher)
“This meeting has enabled all of us, students and teachers, to know firsthand the culture of our partners and the extreme beauty of Iceland. We have learned a lot about how much we have in common but also about how our differences are a source of cultural wealth. On the other hand, strong links have been established between schools, teaching staff and students, as shown in this picture of the emotional farewell between Icelandic and Spanish students just before leaving Iceland.” (Ricardo Cánovas, teacher)
“Unbelievable experience, wonderful scenery and lovely people. I wouldn’t know how to express my feelings regarding to this trip. First of all, I have discovered that Iceland has as many wonders of nature as you want to visit. I really enjoyed the view in Thingvellir National Park, the Kerid Crater and Gulfoss. However, I had never felt so cold before visiting those waterfalls! I am not at all used to those low temperatures. Despite the crazy weather, it was worth it. Some other activities I liked were the visit to the president of Iceland, who was very close and kind; the meal we had at Fridheimar, a tomato greenhouse, and the walk tour around school. I must say that I was impressed with your highschool. In addition, I am very pleased with my host family because they treated me so well. The very best thing of this trip is the people I have met and the wonderful time we spent laughing and playing together. I am looking forward to see you soon! It is incredible all the knowledge you can acquire by knowing other cultures and travelling!!” (Nuria Murcia, student)
“The trip to Iceland has been a wonderful experience. I can explain with words my feelings. Iceland is a beautiful country quite different from Spain; not only the weather but also the nature. I felt amazed when I saw all the natural areas we visited. I learned a lot of culture. I enjoyed also spending time with the Icelandic people, they are so funny and charming. It was also new for us the way of living there: the timetables, food, weather… So it was like a challenge for us. I will always remember this unbelievable experience and the incredible people I met not only from Iceland but also from other countries, I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to get to know this part of the world and also to share te world that we have inside of us.” (Teresa Marco, student)
“The days I spent in Iceland are days I will for sure never forget! It was amazing getting to know new people and new cultures. I made a lot of new friends and I really enjoyed discovering the beautiful Icelandic nature specially Gullfoss waterfalls and the Kerid Crater. I’m also so grateful to my hosting families for being so nice and making me feel like I was at home. I’m looking forward to see you soon” (Valeria Babkova, student)
“We had a great time in Iceland!!, it was really nice. We met amazing people, we lived with natives, learning from different cultures. It was a unique and unforgettable experience. I would repeat it thousands of times.” (Diego Pardo, student)
“This time in Iceland has been something unique. I’ve seen breathtaking landscapes and everything was very beautiful and different from what I was used to. But by far, the best of all have been the friendships I have made, I enjoyed every minute and I really hope to see them again someday. So my Icelandic friends, remember that the party has to go on this summer in Spain.” (Jesús Miguel Colón, student)
Our visit to Iceland began with the presentation of the school. We were impressed by its didactic base.
Another exciting part of the day was the meeting with the President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, who turned out to be a very open and warm man. He willingly answered all the students’ questions, took part in a photo session, and finally invited everyone for afternoon tea at the presidential residence.
The last point of the day was visiting Perlan – Wonders of Iceland. In the planetarium we watched a movie about the formation of the northern lights, visited the ice cave, and from the observation deck we admired the beautiful panorama of Reykjavik. Icelandic nature is awesome!
On the second day of our stay we went to the most beautiful places in Iceland. We started with Þingvellir, the venue of the oldest parliament in the world. Then we saw the extinct volcano Kerið and Skálholt, the oldest Icelandic church. The surprising point of the day was tomato soup, which we ate in a restaurant located in a greenhouse. How extraordinary! However, the Gullfoss waterfall and geysers made the biggest impression on us.
On the last day of our stay in Iceland, we were in America with one foot, in a place where two tectonic plates meet: Eurasian and American. We also visited the UNESCO Global Geopark. The last point was a walk around Reykjavik, where we could admire the Protestant Hallgrimskirkja church, the parliament building and the glass concert hall, which glimmered like crystals in the land of ice.
In Iceland we spent three memorable days. Some of us had our first time flying in the sky, it was amazing experience. Huge “Thank you” to FS students and teachers who welcomed us with kind words and took us to amazing places. Special “Thank you” to the guest families for taking care of us and making us feel at home. The ocean was beautiful. Every day was an adventure starting with sweet welcome ceremony at school and ending with wonderful dinner with other country students and teachers. You not only took us to meet the President of Iceland, but gave your best to make this project special, by showing Reykjavik and Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark, Perlan, Kerið volcano crater, Skálholt church complex, Gullfoss waterfall and many other wonderful places. Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark taught us much about nature and its simpliness which made it even more interesting. Perlan showed us the things you won’t see everyday but it is important to know that it is once in the life time thing and if you get to see Northen Lights you are a lucky person.
Thank you again for teaching us and showing us the beautiful side of Iceland. From the bottom of our heart you are more than welcome to Latvia!”
Evija Ungure, student, Latvia
Iceland – a land of four classical elements seen every step. Earth – the land of lava fields with the surreal feeling of Moon landscape. Water – the island surrounded by waters of the oceans, lagoons, the powerful Gulfoss waterfall, geysers surprising unexpectedly and thermal waters. Fire – snoozing volcanos, evaporating springs, aurora lights. Air – winds from all compass points. High cliffs, lava fields, craters, caves, bird species diversity, high geothermal activity and black beach sand. But the most important thing is that you also find the Fifth Element in Iceland. And these are people- strong, beautiful, hospitable and smart – knowing how to master the Four elements of Nature. Meeting the president of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson will remain as one of the most impressive mobility activities.
The experience in Iceland was a wonderful experience, because I saw some wonderful landscapes that I never thought I could see before. The group activities we did and the places we visited, such as the volcanic lake and the gulfoss waterfalls, were fantastic!
It was interesting to see the Perlan museum and converse with the president of the Icelandish republic. It was exciting to meet again the Icelandic boys who came to Italy in April and for this I also want to thank Kristofer for welcoming me to his home (I hosted him in April) and it was a pleasure to meet all the guys who participated in the project and the school students. I hope to be able to relive this experience again and to be able to meet again all the boys with whom I have tied more in this wonderful experience.
– Alessio Brusca
I never thought i’d make one of my biggest dreams come true
I would like to focus on the landscape side,wich is certainly one of the most beautiful things that this magnificent land has to offer.
The thing that struck me most was certainly the collapsed volcano itself, where a puddle created by the rains and the iron contained by rocks of that place was created
Then we went to the geysers. Seeing them was a great emotion because in Italy it is very rare to see them. We have some like them in Tuscany, at Larderello.
I would like to give a special thought to the guys with whom I have faced this experience, students with a golden heart, nice, willing and who have been able to lead in this wonderful experience.
In short, an experience that I will never forget.
– Benny Brunelli
The stay in Iceland was an unforgettable experience for me, due to the beauty, the variety, the particularity of the evocative places we have visited and especially for the importance that it has in my work as a teacher. I have been teaching natural science for 32 years, so to have admired, the waterfall, the fault between the Atlantic and Eurasian sods, the calderas, the geysers was very exciting. These experiences with significant details are going to fill my lessons and it will therefore contribute to involve my students even more in the study of our planet and its resources, a fundamental element for the respect and prevention of the delicate balance of nature.
Great experience! I believe that it will always remain etched in my mind. I saw in the eyes of my guys a satisfaction behind the others. Panoramas and scientific phenomena that have always been studied “simply” in books, have become REALITY
Everything was surprising. The welcome given us by the President of Iceland was warm and really gave us the idea of a united Europe.
Still a sincere THANK YOU to the Icelandic colleagues, to the students and mainly to their families!
– Cettina Catalano
A DREAM THAT BECOMES REALITY
A WORLD INSIDE THE WORLD
THE KINGDOM OF FLAMES AND FROST
At a naturalistic level, in Europe, Iceland does not fight: incredible phenomena, pristine lands, wild beauty and atmosphere bordering on unreality, thanks to its lava deserts, volcanoes, ice and thermal springs.
Right there, “up there in the center of the world”, above the ocean, waiting for my sweet and unexpected arrival, I thought and thought again that all that was happening was one of my greatest dreams: to visit the kingdom of flames and glaciers.
Once I arrived in Iceland I felt like I was reborn.
Two opposing forces: the fire of the earth and the ice water; here they clash in a constant struggle; but all four elements expand and explode in the most unexpected wonder.
Water and fire, two fundamental elements for the life of this “world”, the latter are the engine of Icelandic life.
Travel like the Wind, because the wind is free and knows no limits.
Thanks to this journey I was able to develop an open mind, a desire to discover more and I was able to travel to the worlds of all the friends I met.
From the deep cold, from the intense flames, from the silent wind, from the imposing volcanoes, from the abyssal seas and from the love of the inhabitants of this “new hidden world”.
This journey has managed to connect the pulse of my heart with that of the world.
Needless to say, on the last day all those sensations I felt while I was immersed in the Icelandic nature died out in me.
I will miss all the places visited, the people I met left me a positive note in me and I will never forget them.
One day I will return to my Icelandic steps to relive those wonderful emotions and intoxicating sensations.
Iceland forever inside in my heart
It was an unforgettable journey I saw breathtaking landscapes and I met people who will remain forever in my heart including Stirmir the boy, who hosted me and his family, The place I liked most about this trip was the Gullfoss waterfalls. They, between wind and droplets water in my face, were the most beautiful landscape!!!
Iceland will remain forever in my heart!
– Marco Grasso
The experience I had in Iceland allowed me to take a dip into the past, since one of my recurring dreams, as a child, was to live in close contact with nature, and so it was… Spending the days admiring the long stretches of uncultivated land, the activities of Geysers and, above all, being able to touch with hand what, until then, was only an exclusive aspect of my personal culture, acquired from books, it was really wonderful. Moreover, another great emotion was to observe with my own eyes the changes of the planet Earth in recent centuries, such as the faults created by the separation between the Eurasian and the American plates. Thanks to Erasmus plus and the National Pride In a European context project, all this has been not only a dream but also reality.
We liked our visit to the “Mazsalacas” national park and a full-day trip to the capital of Latvia – Riga, where we listened to the incredible facts from the history of this city and visited the National Library of Latvia.
An important point of our trip was to learn about history – the UNESCO “Baltic Way” independence campaign from 1989. It was a mass protest of around 2 million inhabitants of the three Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, that were part of the SSRR, against the political situation at the time.
The rich culture of Latvia has made a special impression on us: traditional folk songs and dances, which have been cultivated from the youngest generations. We liked Lithuanian specialties: dumplings, birch juice or kvass.
We learnt from the Latvians how to be proud of their folk traditions!
We felt a strong bond with our neigbours on the East border. It was wonderful to meet another Slavic nation and find out that we have a lot in common!
We had many
amazing experiences in Latvia. After the flight we headed towards the north,
almost to the Estonian border because our partner school is located in Naukšēni.
During the lengthy bus ride we looked at the beautiful forests of the
countryside and realized that Latvians are closer to nature than us. The whole
time we spent in Latvia we experienced an amazing enthusiasm regarding music,
dance and singing. The famous Cabinet of Folksongs, inscribed on the UNESCO
Memory of the World list in 2001, is not only some distant object from the
past, placed in the National Library in Riga. Latvians love singing and dancing
and it is part of the school culture as well. Most of the students sing, dance
or play a musical instrument.
also alive in Latvia as we experienced on the Estonian border when we visited
the monument dedicated to Baltijas ceļš, or the Baltic Way, also known as the
Chain of Freedom. In 1989 millions of people held hands spanning hundreds of
kilometres through the three Baltic countries, demonstrating their love of
freedom and independence. We could stand in the monument and understand more
about the peoples of the Baltic.
visited Riga, the capital, and took part in a guided tour of the city’s
beautiful buildings. On our way back we stopped at a beach of the Baltic Sea –
a must for landlocked Hungarians.
took pictures and created videos of their experiences using Photostory3.
The glorious summer days in Nakuseni will stay
in our minds for a long time. It was a pleasure to visit this beautiful country
and learn about the culture and history of Latvia. One of the highlights was to
learn to sing a folklore and dance a people dance and to take part in a show at
the final night.
Our students were really
satisfied and happy. They enjoyed making new friends, learn about Latvia and to
see the beautiful nature that is so different from home. Thank you Latvia,
thank you Naukuseni, Daina and all the great Latvian team!
Wonderful, amazing and great
days in our host country Latvia!
We wouldn’t know how
to express all our thankfulness to Latvian students, teachers and parents
who welcomed us for three days, offering us the best of themshelves and their
valuable heritage: incredible large forests surrounding us everywhere, lakes
and nice river trips… and green, green, green places everywhere… their
lovely and catchy songs and dances (everybody can dance and sing beautifully,
even we were able to perform at an endearing school concert, singing and
dancing traditional songs. We had learned to read the loooooooooong Latvian
vowels before_ )…and green, green, green everywhere… delicious tasting of
handmade food (some of it only cooked at the Summer solstice)…. and green,
green, green, everywhere…. the beautiful old Riga, the awesome National
Library with its eleven floors and the Cabinet of Folksongs (UNESCO World
Memory), the unexpectedly quiet and bright Baltic sea, and our favourite place,
the Baltic Way, the monument on the Latvian- Estonian border, a remembrance
place of a peaceful political demonstration on 23 August 1989 when two million
people joined their hands across the three Baltic states, demonstrating a
popular desire to be free from the Soviet rules…. and
everywhere green, green, green…
…and thank you for
these blissful unforgettable days. Thanks very much to
Daina, Aiga, Inga and rest of the teachers involved in the organisation of this
program, you have done a great job. Congratulations!!! We hope we meet you
The mobility in Latvia was another opportunity to strengthen the relations between partner schools of national prides in a European context.
During all the interesting activities carried out, the students had the opportunity to go back in time and relive history by visiting the places that were the backdrop for particular moments of Latvian history and its independence from the Soviet Union.
It was a brilliant idea the preparation of the international choir of students and teachers who, singing together, well understood the importance of music for the Latvian culture and verified the added value of cooperation between equals.