EEP news | 17-04-2014

Kees van Welzen and Anne Reichart
EEP students ready to go to Il Politechnico di Milano or Ingeneria di Pavia? The first two days of our visit to Voghera, Italy our fifth form students did fieldwork at two of the most important universities in the field of engineering.The European Educational Project is focussed on sustainability and after the week with the Italian students in Holland, it was our turn to experience the Italian approach.
Several professors tried to convince us of the necessity  of sustainability if there was to be a future. Ecological architecture in which we make the building itself do the work. Ego before Eco should be come the credo for the future architect. And Green Electronics focussed on the use of eco-friendly material and Energy Harvesting.  All in all a good but very intensive start because most of the students were bowled over by the way all of this information was hurled at them. Over the next few days the students will brainstorm,present and  debate Social and Ecological Sustainability issues – as well as enjoy some of the sunshine and the Italian hospitality.

The first day of our EEP in Voghera
After having breakfast with our kind Italian host families we went to a university in Piacenza. Over breakfast we already noticed some differences between the Italian customs and ours, many of them don’t eat breakfast and if they do, they eat cookies and drink coffee. At the university sites we had some interresting presentations about sustainability and went to some labs where we saw experiments. These LEAP labs focussed on energy consumption in wind - , CO2, - heat-boxes.  Here we noticed some differences too; we were constantly with the whole group of 36 students whereas in Holland we worked independently in smaller groups.
Of course there was time for ice-cream& shopping after our work, when we walked around in the historical centre of Piacenza. Back Voghera later that evening we ate pizzas by the meter! To top it off they had prepared an amazing cake with the Italian and Dutch flags on it! Rounding off the day with a drink, we went home to get some sleep after the tiring first day.
Fay van Tussenbroek & Yasha Hankel

The second day
Our second day in Italy started off very early due to the fact that we had to meet at the station at eight o ‘ clock to take the train to Pavia. In Pavia we split up in two groups; one group visiting the university and the other going to Centro Regionale Educazione Ambientale. This organisation teaches people about their ecological footprint and how to decrease it by switching to the Mediteranean diet.
Afterwards we took a stroll through Pavia and met up with the rest of the group to take another train to a monestery near Pavia: Certosa di Pavia. Formerly Chartusean monks lived there (from the fifteenth century till 1947), but now we got a tour by a Cistersian monk – luckily since the Chartuseans weren’t allowed to speak, which would have been a bit of a problem if you are a tour-guide!
The day ended at the house of the grandparents of an Italian student who had a garden big enough for all of us to hang out!
Hugo de Thouars & Hanna Blom

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The third day
Saturday was a long, tiring but fun day. We started very early in the morning at school. Here two small groups got the assignment to give a presentation about yesterday’s activities and the rest was divided into groups to practise writing speeches as a preparation for the Karl Popper debate later this week. The speeches had to be about the issue which had made the greatest impression so far, and which could also be put into practise easily & realistically.
In the afternoon we went to the Adventure Parc  in Salice Terme. A former EEP student was there to welcome us – we really bump into ex- EEP students everywhere! - .We were given instructions on how to manage the different courses and the equipment and then we had great fun climbing the trees.
Ater a very physically strenuous time in the park it was time to prepare for the disco that evening. At the disco there was a so-called Gaga show, with an impersonation of Lady Gaga obviously. The performances were rather interesting, three people were involved, one of them sang while the others danced, resulting in a very energetic show. After a good night we all headed home and for once we could have a good and long sleep since the next day was the Sunday!
Alex Haak & Isa van der Steen

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Day Four
Going to school six days a week is a new experience! Sunday is the only day the students get off in Voghera, so the Italians set up a programme to make sure we wouldn’t get bored. In the morning everyone did something different: some slept in late, some visited an animal festival in Mairano and others just chilled & read books or something.
Initially we were supposed to go to the beach but there was a ‘ sciopero’ , a strike, with the trains, so we were afraid we might not be able to get back home later that day. Instead we spent the afternoon in the big park in Salice Terme. The Italian students brought many things to entertain us with, so that we could play football or volleyball etc. This resulted in a relaxing afternoon, with some of us just basking in the sun – the temperatures went up to 24 degrees! After that we all had dinner in a restaurant, returning to our hosting families at about eleven for a good night’s sleep which was much needed after our Saturday night at the disco…
Sabine Josemans & Elise Abrahams

Day Five
Today was a long day at school. We started preparing statements for Wednesday’s debate in the town hall. Although everyone was tired, a coffee helped to get us started and soon we had finished the initial part. In the break which followed we had a great Italian lunch – pizza of course! With plenty of sun along with the pizza. In the afternoon we prepared for the debate and the day was ended by a visit to an observatory in the hills. We had to get parents to drive us all, no public transport would have taken us there since the area was almost deserted; perfect since there would not be any light pollution. Unfortunately the moon was full, so that was a bit of a spoilsport. Still the stories on astrology made it a nice end to an intensive day.

Day Six
Today would be the big day; finally we would go to Milano! The train took us to the station and our feet took us to the duomo; we saw the city from the top of the cathedral. Then off to the Brera, an art museum, where we had to find a number of paintings and rank them. In the free time that followed we of course went shopping. It was a great city to visit!
When we returned to Voghera, the Italians had prepared a show; singing and dancing – a great start to the evening. Then we had to show our own performances which we had prepared the previous day. As it was the last night some people got a little emotional, but still everyone had fun. The food the parents had prepared surely helped! After a drink we all went home to pack our suitcases, as well as sleep for a bit to be prepared for the final debate!
Carmen van der Beek

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Day Seven

It was the last day. In the morning we had our final debate in the townhall. After three hours of debating and many good speeches, we went back to school for lunch. On our way back, we quickly bought our last icecream. There was, like always, enough food for lunch. This was our last hour together with the Italians. Then we had to go. After lots of tears and hugging, the Dutch went to the airport. We had to take a flight later than planned, so we had to wait for like 5 hours at the airport. Finally on the plane, a lot of people fell asleep. When we landed, we only had to take the train back to Leiden to get home. All the parents were waiting at the station as we arrived. The Dutch said eachother goodbye and went  home to get ready for a day of school the next day. This was a fantastic experience that everybody will remember their whole life.
Sjoerd van den Beukel

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