Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Atomium, Brussels, and European Parliament

Wednesday and Thursday April 27- 28th

History lesson
English Lesson
Wednesday morning, the Czech students (us teachers too) were able to visit various classrooms to see what school is like in Belgium.  Ida and I went to an English class first.  They were doing a vocabulary lesson and Ida and I got to join in the game.  I really enjoyed the lesson and even brought back the worksheet the teacher used, to use with my classes.  The second class I went to was a history lesson.  Ironically the teacher was doing a lesson about American history.  He joked that he didn't want me to come in, but I promised to not say a word.  He was doing a lecture about Early American Westward Expansion and I really enjoyed the lesson.  I even learned something new.
   In the afternoon we went to the Atomium.  The Atomium was built for the 1958 World's Fair.  It reminded me of the Seattle Space Needle.  We were able to go up the elevator to the top of the Atomium and then down to the middle level.  We had a Belgian Waffle at the cafe (yuuuummmy) and then down to meet up with all the students.
Czech students and me at the Atomium
    On Thursday we spent the morning taking a history walk of Brussels.  We had a couple hours to walk around the city.  Unfortunately since there were 60 students that were walking slow, we had to cut out some of the tour.  I felt like a shepherd, herding their cattle, trying to keep everyone together.
Belgian Chocolates.....
One of the Gothic Cathedrals on the way to the Royal Palace

Belgium symbol:  Mannekin Pis
When ever something important so someone
important is coming to Brussels, they
dress Mannekin Pis up in that fashion.
He is wearing a French uniform because
some French officials were in town
Ida and Me at Mannekin Pis
Fresh local markets
Grand Market
Grand Market
City Hall in Grand Market

Me at Grand Market

local musicians
Radka, Me, Ida, and our new Belgian colleague/friend Sylvie
BEST BEST Belgian Waffle I've Had
Some of my Czech students waiting for everyone
Belgium Artist:  Herge (author of TinTin painted many illustrations on the city walls of Brussels

Then as you walk towards the main city center, you come across what is left of the original "Prison". This building use to be the prison and parts of the surrounding barrier wall can be seen as well. Now, it is used as a museum.
This is one of the many
cathedrals in Brussels


After we went through Brussels, we walked through the rain until we got to the European Parliament.  Belgium may not have a government at the moment (been over a year since they have had a government), the European Countries have their parliament in Brussels.  The Belgium students met us at the Parliament and when we got inside we split into two groups.  The Belgium students had a tour in Dutch and the Czech students had a tour in Czech.  I was kinda out of luck.  Since I don't know Dutch (my grandfather spoke fluent Dutch...not me) and my Czech is limited, I was only able to observe my surroundings and not gather much information.  I did grab a brochure in English to bring back to the European history teachers at my school district.  Even though I didn't understand the language, I was able to see some amazing things.  I still feel VERY lucky to have been able to go on this exchange and be apart of this experience.  To say this has been a once in a life time opportunity would be an understatement.

The European Parliament has been said to be one of the most powerful legislatures in the world.  It has 736 EU members, who participate in the 2nd largest democratic electorate in the world.  The Czech Republic has 22 elected officials represented at Parliament.

Self portrait of me at the European Parliament
me at European Parliament
Flags of all the countries that belong to the European Union

No comments:

Post a Comment