“Tot ziens” (farewell) to the Land of Orange

Orange, the House of the Royal family, is the national color here in The Netherlands and this is never more visible than during a big sporting event.  Last night’s World Cup game between Holland and arch rival,  Spain, brought the colors out in full force.  And Landmark students were NOT going to be left out of the Dutch national-spirit-fashion-frenzy.  (Stephen and Turner win the award with the orange shoes and the Dutch flag nail art.)  Oh and by the way,  the Netherlands trounced Spain 5:1!!

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Before the “football” festivities, we had our own farewell dinner.

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Everyone is now off to their next adventure…Ben to Berlin, Christine to some time here in the NL with her mother, Elliot to join the next study abroad group in Ireland, and everyone else back to the U.S. of A.

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Safe travels to all and THANKS for a great study abroad program!!!



Final class and departure prep

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Students had their last class this morning and presented their findings from the “Career Comparison” assignment.  Based on their interviews with Dutch professionals and on-line research, they were able to chart the educational paths of a nurse, secretary, educational consultant, artist, minister, communications manager, and international NGO specialist…and compare these paths to typical paths we might see in the U.S.

Now it’s time for clean-up and last minute errands before our final Indonesian rijsttafel dinner this evening.  Leiden will likely put on quite a “going away” party for our students tonight as the city rallies around the Dutch national soccer team in their first game in the World Cup “Soccer” Tournament.

This phase of study abroad is always a little bitter-sweet.

Our 2nd Dutch holiday in 3 weeks: Pinksteren (Pentecost)

Schools, offices & shops were closed yesterday for the Pinksteren (Pentecost) holiday.  Although many Dutch people do not “practice” religion they strongly identify culturally with their Catholicism or Protestantism — thus another national holiday based on the Christian calendar.  Our sweet little city chose to celebrate the holiday with two days of “hofjes concerten” — a  series of intimate concerts set in the city’s hidden courtyards.  Each student was assigned to find and enjoy a concert.  A few pix and a short clip to give you a sense… 

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Although a holiday, students did plenty more than enjoy their hofje concert.  All students presented on a  specific “Level of Dutch Education” panel in the morning.  And many spent time in the afternoon doing a “Career Interview” with a chosen Dutch professional in order to learn about the educational track that led them to their current position.

It was late and the sun was setting  by the time the final interviewing team strolled home to their residence hall (the building on the left side of this picture).
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Zig Zag City

An optional outing today to Rotterdam.  First a visit to the Maritime Museum, which had some exhibits that we would never see in the U.S. of A.     Examples: “Living on the Water”  (exploring the lives of the Dutch who live in floating homes) and “Sex and Sea” (a look at how sailors have dealt with their sexuality over the centuries).  Then off to a walking tour sponsored by ZigZag City, an architectural festival  http://zigzagcity.nl/en/.  The diversity of what this little country has to offer is amazing!
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The crew hanging out on the newly constructed, raised walkway that “zig zags” through the city.

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Patrick L, Christian, John, Stephen & Elliot in front of the “zig zag” cubic houses.


Two weeks down and (only!) one to go

Students are heading into the week-end with plenty of academic work to keep them busy.  Here’s Ann (our stellar Academic Director) with the list of topics for one of the projects students are working on.  The goal of the assignment is for students to focus on a particular Dutch value, make observations about how they have seen this value play out in their experiences thus far, and explore ideas about how this value may (or may not) be reflected in the Dutch educational system.

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A partial list of topics:
The value of “Global Engagement” and Multilingual Education
The value of “Directness” and Teacher Feedback to Student
The value of “Historical Pride” and WWII Curriculum
The value of “Tolerance” and Acceptance of ASD/LD
The value of “Gezelligheid” (no translation, but something like social coziness) and Group Study Habits

The teacher (Elliot) with the teacher (Theo Thijsen, a popular Dutch writer, educator, politician at the turn of the last century)

“Elliot and the Gull with Gall”

Raw herring is a delicacy here in the Netherlands and yesterday we visited a particularly scenic fish stand so that students could give this Dutch tradition a try.  Our adventurous eaters were Ben, Christine, Elliot, Christian, Stephen and Brian.

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Just as Elliot was putting his herring in his mouth, down swooped a sea gull and snatched it out of his fingers.
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(students watch the rouge bird take off with Elliot’s fish)
This entire scene was great entertainment for some of the local folks at the stand and one immediately bought Elliot another herring.  This time, under the cover of the roof, Elliot has some success.
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Next time we will pay closer attention to the “Be careful of seagulls” sign or perhaps go Patrick L.’s route of substituting McDonalds fries for raw herring.
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Playing with perspectives in The Hague (Den Haag)

Rebecca took the lead (and the map) today and successfully got us to…

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…the Escher Museum (located in the lovely “winter palace” of Queen Wilhelmina) where students had a lot of fun playing around with “perspective”…
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…Madurodam (a REALLY big, really little, model of the Netherlands)…
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…and the Binnehof (the seat of the Dutch government).  You can see how very serious these students are about Dutch politics.
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Stay tuned…for the story of “Elliot and the Gull with Gall”…here on the NL blog tomorrow.






Our 3rd (and final) school visit – Roomburg

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The first striking thing about our visit to this primary school was the commuter scene as school was about to start.  This parade went on for blocks and blocks…

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Ben and Christine observing the goings-on on the playground.

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Rebecca under a poster that roughly translated reads, “Together I make a difference!”

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And a few final images…the last being “hall passes” with the most famous Dutch children’s book characters — Jip & Janneke.


The way home included a picnic lunch at the “polder park” with some serious fun (Turner, Ben, Christian)…
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…and some serious studying (which, in the context of study abroad, qualifies as extremely interesting, if not always “fun”).
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All this and we were back in the classroom by 1:15!





Our 2nd school visit – Visser Hooft

A morning visit to a bilingual (English/Dutch) “high school” class at the Visser Hooft.
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Looking at the school’s library, and the many books in English, one gets a sense of the commitment to multi-lingualism here in the Netherlands.

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Visser Hooft students were remarkably competent and eager to share perspectives on education.  This short clip will give a good sense of the engagement of all in the small group discussions:   

Among the surprising (and to many, contradictory) things learned:  Visser Hooft is a publicly funded “Protestant School”…

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…and piped-in music is played (loudly) during the breaks by student D.J.s.

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