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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 3) 2014/15

Karla Haandrikman, Fatima College, Aruba, Mobility for internship


Together with a fellow student I decided to go to Aruba for a three month internship. The KPZ arranged the internship placement so we did not have to worry about that. We had to arrange our tickets to actually get to Aruba, our accommodation and the necessary documents. To be able to go to Aruba I needed an passport, a VOG (Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag, a Dutch certificate that proves that one’s past behaviour is not an obstacle for fulfilling a certain role or function in society) and a medical certificate.



Aruba is a small island that belongs to the ABC-island from the Dutch Antilles and is a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba has around 111,000 citizens and a surface area of around 180 square kilometres. Both Dutch and Papiamento are spoken on Aruba. The island has a tropical climate with an average temperature of thirty degrees Celsius. The island is the habitat of lizards, salamanders and iguanas. Snakes also reside there, but these are rarely spotted.

Aruba does not really have any food-specialities. The supermarkets sell the same food that is also available in the Netherlands and in the rest of the world.

Aruba is not a rich country. The island largest economic sector is tourism. A lot of tourists visit Aruba for the lovely white beaches and the terrific weather. Other touristic activities are for example rock climbing and visiting Aruba’s national park.



I did my internship at the primary school ‘Fatima College’. This school is situated in Dakota, one of the disadvantaged, poor neighbourhoods of Oranjestad. I did my internship in first grade, which had the youngest pupils, who were six or seven years old. There were 28 pupils.

It was a very difficult internship, as children this young in general only speak Papiamento, which means they could not understand me. Papiamento could be compared to Spanish. The pupils did not speak English either, which made teaching difficult. During the classes I taught my mentor functioned as translator.

The classes are taught from Dutch methods, which are forwarded from the Netherlands. Very often, these are out-of-date methods we do not use anymore in the Netherlands. I was familiar with the methods they used at the Fatima College, which made it easier for me to design a lesson.

The teaching differs a lot from the Dutch teaching. There is a lot of classroom teaching and the teachers act very condescending towards the pupils. The pedagogical methods that are used in the Netherlands are not yet used in Aruba. There is also a lot of yelling towards the pupils. The teachers explained their behaviour by arguing that the children are also treated like this at home, and if the teachers do not act the way they do, the pupils simply do not listen to them.

Despite our differences in teaching, the Fatima College was a really nice school do to my internship, where I have learned a lot. The other teachers were very open towards me and I really enjoyed my time there.  


Review of my stay

I had an amazing time during my three month internship at Aruba. I loved the island and its environment and there are a lot of activities to participate in. I would definitely recommend goint there.

We resided in Blue Village, a really nice building with several apartments for students. A lot of students with different education-backgrounds lived in the other apartments. I met a lot of people in Blue Village, who first were my neighbours but ended up being very close friends. These new contacts certainly only improved my time at Aruba.

My internship was also very satisfactory. In the beginning there was a lot to get used to, but over the next few weeks, I really started to enjoy teaching there. Despite the language barrier I had a really nice and educational time with the children.



If you want to know more about the costs of this trip, you can send an email to k.haandrikman@kpz.nl and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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