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eTwinning meets Chancellor Angela Merkel

Between the NATO summit in Brussels and the federal cabinet meeting in Berlin, the German Chancellor was a virtual guest at the eTwinning School Gymnasium Sanitz on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.

The occasion was the “EU Project Day at Schools”, where current European policy topics are discussed with students.

Why did the Chancellor choose the eTwinning School Gymnasium Sanitz?

As Rebecca Redant, an experienced eTwinning teacher, stated:

“Since 2016, we have been participating in Erasmus+ projects, organising student exchanges with our Spanish partner school Centro Ramiro Izquierdo in Castellón de la Plana and conducting eTwinning projects.”

The first part of the virtual visit was publicly broadcast. The Chancellor was welcomed by the headmistress Dr Schulz, Ms Radant, Mr Ciupka and a representative of the students.

After a short introductory video, the conversation kicked off with the presentation of the following projects:

  • The Podcasting project “Listen to my radio: Breaking news!”, which involved schools from Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Finland and Turkey. The project won the 1st German eTwinning Prize for this school year and was also a runner-up for the age category 16-19 sponsored by the European Commission.
  • The project “The world at your FinGertips – learning with and from each other“, saw 11th grade students getting in touch with their Finnish partners to exchange information during the school year 2020-2021.
  • The Erasmus+ project “#globalgoalsambassadors - European Teenagers Fighting for a Better Future” to address the UN's “Sustainable Development Goals” and their implementation at  school and in the community.

During the panel discussion, when Chancellor Merkel was asked what she wishes for Europe, she replied:

“I wish for people to come together and understand each other and for Europe to have a strong voice in the world, also to be at the forefront of research and development; politically we can do many things but that has not such a value as when people meet and come together.”

Chancellor Merkel wanted to know exactly how the eTwinning projects work and what benefits they bring to teachers and students. The students participated in the conversation with great enthusiasm and spirit of initiative. During the meeting they had the opportunity to exchange opinions. Interesting thoughts emerged:

“The project was a great change from our normal lessons. We had the opportunity to use, practise and improve our Spanish skills. In addition, I was also very interested in how students from other European nations experience their daily lives”.

“ We learned a lot about the different cultures and everyday life of the other European nations through different topics, such as which festivals and traditions are cultivated in different countries or what the students of the partner schools imagine for their future.”

“This was a unique opportunity and the chance to get in touch with other peers beyond our school or our country. This allowed us not only to make new contacts, but also to get to know the different countries from a different perspective.”

“The most fun was getting to know new people and people who grew up in other countries and with whom you might never have spoken or come into contact without the project. Learning how they live, what their views are on certain topics, or what we have in common and what our differences are, has broadened me and my own experiences and ideas.”

“I learned to be more aware of Europe as a community and a union! To work together on something beyond one's own country, with other members of the EU, showed me that one can use this alliance with the different cultures, inhabitants and extensive facets much more intensively and then let these projects develop from it!”

The virtual visit was a great success and an important meeting for the school staff and students of the eTwinning School Gymnasium Sanitz.

Ms Radant said, “She was incredibly calm, natural and the calmness she radiated was transmitted to all the participants! The students found her pleasant, interested and open-minded.”