EBY – Energy Between Youth Program Summer Semester 2013
Normally, it is said that good things are coming always in pairs. StAgEz e.V. was more than happy to follow the advice of this saying and organised, for the summer semester 2013, the second round of the seminar “Environmental education in Turkey”.
Eleven students took part in the seminar, guided again by the biologist Antonio Speranza; this time the topic chosen was “Energy”.
The first half of the lessons of the seminar, funded by the Technical University of Braunschweig, was centered on the energy situation in Turkey: namely, it was seen which energy sources Turkey uses and which energy problems Turkey has, in comparison to Germany.
The second half of the lessons focused on the pedagogical techniques used to bring environmental education ideas to children. Also in this case, an excursion to the Regional Centre for environmental Education – Dowesee and the help of a local teacher, Frau Willenberg, and a pedagogue, Herr Jatho, were extremely useful.
The students, divided in groups, developed three projects: Energy and Rubbish, Energy in the Household, Biogas.
The students set up their projects in the Hoffmann-von-Fallersleben Schule. As the students of the summer semester did not take part to the project during the winter semester, it was for them an unforgettable experience. “It was really nice to see how the children were involved in the experiments we proposed them” says Henrike, Geoecology student; “I was also really surprised to see some of the pupils really experienced in the topics we offered them, answering the questions with such a knowledge!” are the words of Martin, Biology student.
Also the teacher, Mrs Willenberg, spent positive words: “To be the first time for them to work with children, they did a good job.”
As for the first seminar, an experience abroad was foreseen. Thanks again to the economic support of EU and of the agency “Youth in Action”, it was possible for six German students to fly to Turkey, guided by their teacher Mr Speranza and the coach Petra Wiesinger, from the 19th until the 28th of September.
As the first round was really successful, our Turkish partners were always the members of the student association “Çevre Koruma Gönüllüleri” from ISIK University – Şile/Istanbul.
Istanbul was again the beginning of the Turkish experience: it is impossible to get to know Turkish culture without being enchanted by the Bosphorus’ Pearl. “As soon as I stepped out from the metro, I was literary surrounded by people who wanted to help me carrying my luggage and showing me the way to the hostel… I have never met so friendly people”, says Lisa, one of the participants.
After enjoying the beauties of Istanbul, its bazars, skyline, tastes, aromas, sounds, the students were ready to face the following week, during which the projects were set up in two local schools, for a total of about 20 classes.
Also in this case, the procedure was similar to the one of the previous semester. Mr Speranza says: “This time we have been really good at organising everything until the smallest detail, as we had done the experience one semester before and we were perfectly aware of our strengths and weaknesses and we knew were we had to act to improve our results. We worked very hard, as Germany and Turkey represents two different realities and have different environmental priorities – just think that, for example, biogas is very well known in Germany, but barely heard of in Turkey. The teams worked perfectly in accord, the Germans explaining the ideas behind their concepts and the Turkish helping them in adapting the projects to their school and cultural reality. I am very proud of them, as, again, the results have been excellent.”
We got also positive feedbacks from the schools; in one of them we had already set up projects the previous semester and the headmaster and teachers were very pleased to work with us again. A deep esteem relationship has been established and we are sure that also in the future it will bring long-lasting results. We do hope that the pupils will act as mouthpiece, bringing the messages they learnt (saving energy is important and how we can do it; alternative energy sources are possible; rubbish can be also a source of energy and it is important that we separate it correctly) to their family and friends, planting the seeds for environmental awareness.
“The choice of the second school has not been casual” say Idil and Kadir, two of the Turkish students “We knew that this school is located in a small village of the inland, and consequently, already the exchanges with other Turkish people happen very seldom if ever. Imagine what a shock for the pupils to see in one day both youngs Turkish from Istanbul, who, of course, have a different way of living to theirs, and also Germans! For them it was the first time, they were very shy and silent at the beginning, but, by the end of the day, the curiosity was stronger and they started to talk to us and enjoyed the projects a lot!”.
To add good mood to the atmosphere of the project was also the fact that the local community welcomed the German participants in a very warm and welcoming way, making them feeling at home.
The coach of the project spent only good words: “I was sure that also this time everything would have gone perfectly. All the students were very motivated and anyone gave its best. To me it was also important that, beyond the setting up of the projects in a school, the deep meaning of an EU project became clear to the participants. Here we are speaking of different cultures working together to reach a common purpose, to understand and accept how people live in a country which is not our home, to defeat prejudices and stereotypes, to learn from mistakes in order to get better. Without this in mind, any project would be otherwise senseless.”
StAgEz informs that also for the winter semester 2013-2014 the project will be proposed again and that it is possible to find the projects on our website.