We have now completed our school visits. Yesterday’s trip to Visser ‘t Hooft high school provided students with a glimpse into the “tracking” that takes place at this point in the Dutch educational system and they were able to compare notes with other students in small groups.
Today we spent the morning at a Christian (Protestant) elementary school. Unlike in the United States, religious schools are common and funded as part of the public education system. Students broke into pairs and spent time in classrooms ranging from our equivalent of kindergarten to 6th grade. (Fun fact about the Dutch education system: Unless they are “summer babies”, children start kindergarten on their actual birthdays. Rather than having a whole group of new kindergarteners in September, the new students trickle in over the course of the academic year.)
(Note the green, noise-cancelling “headphones” that some of the students use.)
Translation: Learning is nice.
All the students joined for a super fun Museum Nacht, where many of this city’s museums opened their doors to special, late night events – food, drinks, bands, performances of all sorts. Canal boats rides with ragtime bands, disco dancing with the dinosaurs, chalk art at the university astrology center all added to festivities.
We offered a range of optional activities to students on Saturday and, being the adventurous spirits that they are, there was lots of participation. From the food truck festival at the historic PietersKerkPlein…to the Saturday outdoor market…to a relaxing visit to the LeidseHout park and tea house…students took the opportunity to enjoy the end of week one and soak in some much appreciated sunshine.
The group left Leiden early in the morning on a train north to the Zuiderzee Museum, a wonderful, living history museum in Enkhuizen in North Holland. Our time there allowed a hands-on exploration and provided students with food for thought about how the history, culture and geography of The Netherlands might be shaping contemporary Dutch education.
It also allowed for some relaxation on the ferry, some silliness, and some enjoyment of a rain-free day.
We wrapped the day up by stopping in Amsterdam and enjoying our first taste of Dutch pancakes.
And some folks participated in an optional (and very informative) tour of Amsterdam’s red light district, sponsored by the P.I.C. (the Prostitute Information Center). Many lessons were learned about the deeply rooter Dutch cultural value around “tolerance” — a value that extends far, far beyond prostitution.
We all arrived safe and sound (and jet lagged..but that never stopped Landmark study abroad students). Will earned his globe trotter wings traveling alone from Boston to Amsterdam. More news to come…
We are looking forward to getting our adventure rolling at our MANDATORY orientation on Friday from 9:00-12:00 in Stone Hall, room 14. Come and get yourself pointed in the right direction.