Students in grades 6-10 of Hríseyjarskóli have participated in the Islands Schools Erasmus+ project for the past 3 years together with the University of Akureyri and other educational institutions in the Netherlands, Greece, Scotland and Spain. The purpose of the project is to connect small island schools all over Europe together and jointly find ways to innovate and seek solutions to the problems of island communities and at the same time create exciting learning opportunities.
Hríseyjarskóli has worked closely with the primary school De Jutter, which is on the Dutch island of Vlieland, in the last school year projects were carried out on plastics in the sea, and the Dutch students and their teachers visited Hríseyjar in May 2022. Now in March, 8 weeks of cooperation between the schools began and sustainable tourism was addressed and the students learned about sustainability and worked on a variety of projects with the Dutch school. The highlight of the project was when Hríseyjarskóli visited the Dutch school on the 8th-10th. May, which was also the final phase of the project as far as the students are concerned.
In the future, the five universities will meet and compile the main results and prepare a website where other small island schools all over the world can pair up and work on the projects that we, the 5 pilot schools, have tested. Fundraising for the trip to the Netherlands has been going on all winter and we thank once again all those who have supported us and contributed to fundraising for this trip. Being a small school and flying with 9 students all the way to Holland is not a given, so every kroner counts a lot.
Thanks for supporting us and showing interest in this project.
The students wrote the following summary about the trip to the Netherlands:
We set off on this fun journey on Sunday, May 7th. We took the ferry at one o'clock and then the journey south began. We stayed in a hotel in Keflavík, then woke up at half past four to go eat because we had a flight at around 8 in the morning. When we had flown for three hours and arrived in Amsterdam, two minibuses were waiting for us. We drove to McDonald's and ate there. Then we drove to a town called Harlingen and did some shopping. From there we took the ferry to Vlieland which took 95 minutes. The students and teachers of De Jutter met us at the pier and accompanied us to the campsite, we chatted together and settled in the houses where we stayed.
Tuesday was quite memorable as the Dutch royal couple visited Vlieland that day and we met them at the school. In the morning we arrived at the school and had breakfast there, an introductory tour of the school and then went to project work. In the project work, it was explained what the project was like and how we should do it. We received sheets with steps and the first step was to find out which part of the islands we want to protect, there were suggestions such as protecting bird nesting areas, hiking trails and forests. Step 2 was to talk together about what was already being done to protect nature on the islands and step 3 was to come up with 10 solutions to protect nature and some groups had more solutions than that. We found out that the islands are quite different, for example you can't have solar panels in Hrísey and the trash is not sorted on Vlieland. Around noon, media people started arriving in the area and residents and tourists gathered outside the school. When the royal couple arrived at the site, we went out and formed a line with all the students of De Jutter. It was a great experience to receive them and see how much the visit meant to the locals. We went back to work and soon after, the royal couple visited us and asked us about the project - a video clip from the conversation appeared in the Dutch news that evening (starts at 9:40) and in the story on the royal couple's Instagram page.
We then had free time until dinner, some went shopping, others went to football, others went for a walk. The Dutch invited us out for dinner that evening at a restaurant in the campsite and everyone got pizza. After dinner we got to go swimming and then back to free time, some read, others went out and some went back to the restaurant to watch football and Eurovision.
On Wednesday, we had breakfast at the school and then the groups presented their ideas. It went quickly and well and we got some extra free time and then walked down to the beach together and took a trip with a dump truck that drove us along the beach and stopped at a museum with trash that washed ashore on the island.
After the tour we had some free time, many people went to get ready for the ball and some went shopping. We then had dinner at school and attended the glitter ball they had prepared for us. We then have to pack and go to bed early. On Thursday we woke up at five to catch the ferry from Vlieland. After that we were driven to the airport in Amsterdam, flew to Keflavík and from there took a bus to Reykjavík for KFC. On the way north, we stopped at Blönduós, ate and managed to watch a bit of the Eurovision semi-finals. Then we just headed off and arrived at Árskógssand at 11pm and straight to the ferry and then the trip was over.
Everyone had a great time and will remember this fun trip.