The first time I had contact with the school was in January, this was by phone. We called a little while. We talked about the school, about me and when my internship will start. We arranged a first appointment for the first week I am in Suriname. So we can meet each other and she (the director) can introduce me to the children and teachers of the Sint-Petrusschool.
The Sint-Petrusschool houses in Paramaribo, the capitol of Suriname. The school is a primary school with children in the age of 4-12 years. The main language is Dutch. Each day of the week the school schedules are from 08:00 – 12:45. It’s simply too hot to stay in school after 12:45.
Each student has to do a research, but I got an exemption for this research. This gives me time to focus on other things in the school.
We arranged a house on the internet. After a bit of searching we found a good house on www.stagewonen.nl. This is the place where we will stay for three months. We didn’t need any preparations for the language, because the main language is Dutch in Suriname.
During the first week I was focused on the teaching of the Suriname' teachers. A lot of things are different when you compare it to the Netherlands. By example the schoolshedules. Each day of the week the school schedules are from 08:00 – 12:45. It’s simply too hot to stay in school after 12:45. The school has around the 400 students. The classes are full with children, 32 children per class is very normal. Comparing to the Netherlands, the school is very, very poor. In every classroom they have one chalkbaord. The children (their parents) have to pay for their own schoolequipment. Sometimes they don't even have pencils to write with..
Every morning we started with the flagparade. The children sing the national anthem in Sranan Tongo and Dutch while the headmaster is raising the flag. Then the classes will return to their classrooms. We then always sang a few songs like 'No wan sma no dele ki Jezus'. A happy song with some movement. After that the teacher or I started the lessons with 'Goodmorning class', the class said: Goodmorning master Mark. They work with the same methods as in the Netherlands.
I have positive and negative experiences. Positive: the children are willing to work! If I did something with materials or collaberating, they where just so studious. Fantastic to see that happen. But I have some negative expierences as well. I have seen that a few children be beaten. It was a shock.. But there was nothing I could do about it.
Culture and nature
Suriname is a country with a lot of culture. There are a lot of ethnic groups: Hindoes, Creoles, Javaneses, Indians an Marrons. It is beautiful to see that all of these groups have their own way of living. What is good to see, is that they can live amongst eachother without any problems. Something we can learn from. The Indians and Marrons who live in the rainforrest of Suriname, are hospitable. They explain how they live, what they eat and such other things. Very interesting.
Paramaribo is build out of wooden houses and you can see a lot of the history of Paramaribo. Looking back on the period with slaves. You can visit Fort Zeelandia and many formal plantations.
The nature of Suriname is beautiful as well. It's the amazone, and you can enter this amazone with a lot of tour guides. You travel by car and small boats. With apes, snakes, spiders, parrots, turtles and many more animals around you. Climb mountains with a view you've never seen.
Suriname has a lot to offer when it comes to culture and nature!
Suriname is not an expensive country if we look at the costs of living. But you can make it expensive. Me and the group I did my internship with, went a lot to the Tulip. A supermarket with Dutch products, but (offcourse) these products were much more expensive then the products you could buy on the markets and the local smaller supermarkets. So it is a choice you make.
A short summary of my costs during this three months internship:
Flight - 800 euros
Apartment - 900 euros
Bicycle - 90 euros
Live - 350/400 euros a month
Trips - 750 euros
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