Burlington students participate in exchange with students in the Netherlands
Four Nelson High School students, who read poems at the Dutch Remembrance Day service, pose with the Mayor of Apeldoorn.
In November and April of this school year, high school students and teachers participated in a cultural exchange between Burlington schools and schools in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. This long-standing relationship between these communities provides a unique opportunity for students to study and appreciate the impact of Canadian soldiers in the liberation of Holland at the end of World War II.
Article by: Nicole Thompson, Grade 10, Nelson High School
Traveling to Apeldoorn, Netherlands with 14 of my classmates was definitely a new experience for me. It was also one of the best times of my life. It was all so new, so fresh and so foreign.
Our adventures began when 15 Dutch students came to Canada, in November 2008. We did many truly Canadian things... we went to Niagara Falls, Queens Park in Toronto, and several military banquets. We also made new friends. For the Dutch students the most memorable thing they did while in Canada was attending Nelson High School's Remembrance Day Assembly. Each Dutch student was asked to read an original poem in front of the school during the assembly, which made it unique from other school Remembrance Day ceremonies I have attended. After nine phenomenal days, we had to say goodbye to our Dutch friends.
In April 2009, our adventures continued when my classmates and I traveled to the Netherlands to see our friends once more. We immersed ourselves in the Dutch culture. We went to school with the Dutch students, just as they had with us. The experience was amazing. We all seemed to be instantly accepted by our Dutch partners' classmates, as if we had always been a part of the family.
One day, there was a cooking workshop, in which we learned how to make traditional Dutch food. Needless to say, it was delicious. We also traveled to Amsterdam. That, more than anything, was the most foreign thing we did. That city seemed to treat every building as if it was of utmost importance. Everything was immaculately decorated, if not a little run-down. On our trip to Amsterdam, we also went on a boat tour. We got to see what Amsterdam looked like from the canals. We got to see all of the amazing Dutch architecture -- old and new.
Everything in Amsterdam seems to be either very, very old, or incredibly new. But Amsterdam was not the highlight of my trip.
Our trip was planned to coincide with Dutch Liberation Day celebrations. There were massive events – parades and presentations -- and we were honored guests throughout it all. We were asked to read poems which were well received by the Dutch audiences... an equal mix of veterans and civilians. Yes, the Liberation Day ceremonies were the highlight of my trip. It was sobering, in a sense, to see how significantly Canadians had affected another country, and that 64 years later the efforts of our soldiers are still appreciated.