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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 4) 2015/16

Manon van der Kemp, Albert Schweitzerschool, Curaçao, Mobility for Internship, KPZ


Contact Dr Albert Schweitzer School.

Saliña z/n. Curacao

Phone number: (+5999) 465-4811

E-mail: infoasfo@vpco.org / lriley@vpco.org


About the school

Dr Albert Schweitzer School is a Protestant school. It is a big school with 25 classes. Every class has 25 till 30 students and there is one teacher for every group. The school has got 730 students and they are still growing because every year there are applying over 200 new students. The man language is Netherlands but they are also speaking a lot of Papiamentu.


Still at home

When we were still at home, we had a preparation day at the KPZ with other students from other schools. During this day we got a lot of information about our internship. We get to know which school we have our internship and we have got some useful information about living in Curacao. Also we get to know that we don’t need a visa. Only when you stay longer than 180 days.


Review of your stay abroad in academic terms

We arrived the 24th of February in Hato, Curacao. We started our internship the 7th of March. Friday the 26th of February we visited our school to meet the teachers and children. When we arrived at Dr Albert Schweitzer school at 10:00 a.m. We walked into the schoolyard and met the principle. A Dutch woman who is a really kind. She walked to our classes (my class is grade 6) and introduced us into the class.

The first week was about observing and getting to know the children and the teacher. The teacher said the class was very noisy and busy, in her words ‘hard to handle’. She said she wouldn’t let me alone with the class for a long time, because she don’t want me to struggle with this class. In fact, after one week I was teaching all by myself because the teacher was somewhere else very often. First, I liked it to teach alone and getting to know the children, because it’s a good preparation for my graduation year. I didn’t liked the fact that I could not prepare my lessons as well as I wanted to. I also wanted more feedback, because afterwards I heard that I was doing a lot of things ‘the wrong way’.  

I think that your internship here depends a lot on what kind of class you get and of course the teacher. Three days during this internship, I taught as a substitute teacher, because the teachers were ill. Those days I experienced another vibe when I was teaching, the children liked the way I taught them the subjects. The children in my own class liked it to, only the teacher didn’t think it was good for the class.

For this country you have reckon with the fact that the teachers aren’t very pedagogic. My teacher wasn’t also, and for me it was like a culture shock. One thing you learn for sure here is to be consistent with rules, when you say it is like that, the children have to accept it immediately. In The Netherlands it’s very different, so I can take this with me. I also developed my vision on education very well, because in this internship you can figure out what fits by you as a teacher and what doesn’t fit. You also need the ability to adapt to the education system, because that is what some school expect from you.


Review of your stay abroad in cultural terms

The most common religion is Catholic. We visited a church on national woman day. But the language of the service was Papiamentu. A really nice woman wanted to help us and came to us to translate the service. It was a really nice experience. The service is different from the service in the Netherlands. Here they sing and dance, it is really fascinating.

The people here are very kind and want to help you with everything. They always see the bright side of life. They don’t experience stress. They are so relaxed, or as they say it in Curacao: Poco Poco.

The traffic in Curacao has different rules than the traffic in for example The Netherlands. Vehicles from the right don’t have the priority to go first, but the road that goes straight. You can pass cars either left or right when you think they are driving too slow. When locals are driving, they are doing a lot of other things, like brushing their hair or playing games on their phone. You have to be very alert when you are driving in Curacao, because the communication between cars isn’t very good.

At school, there were some differences. When the bell rings, the children go standing in line waiting for the teacher to give comment. When they arrived they pray. They pray three times a day. The lessons are in Dutch. You can notice the differences in the Netherlands and here, in the Netherlands the teacher and child are on one line, here the teacher is the boss. The children need to respect the teacher and the teacher is always yelling. She is talking about the children in a way the children are stupid or always naughty. I found it very difficult to teach the same way as the teacher, because I am not like this. The children are used to it, so I did my best to live up to their expectations.


Review of your stay abroad in social terms

The people in Curacao are very kind and hospitable. I’ve got the feeling the island is happy every day no matter what. Our proprietor called us his family. He said that he and his girlfriend are our second mom and dad. When we are in trouble or we want to know something, we can always call them.

When you walking the street, you meet a lot of people. Rich people on their way to work but also poor people, who are begging for money. But most of the time the people are very nice. They greet you when you walk beside. They want to help you with everything. At the supermarket there are some boys who can pack your groceries and bring it to your car for a little money. A word you hear a lot when you’re walking the street is dushi, this word has a lot of meanings, but it is always something good.

The sun is always shining and the beaches are really nice and clean. The water is bright blue and you always see the ground, the temperature of the water is also very nice and warm. There are many beautiful fishes in the water, with a snorkel you can see them. On some beaches there are local restaurants, you can taste local food here or meet with local people. Also in Willemstad you have a lot of local restaurants, they are called the ‘snèk’, you can get a ‘pastechi’ (pastry) over here or ‘karni stoba’ (stewed meat with rice).  


Useful tips

When you want to rental a car, you need to ask your proprietor for a car. Most of the time your proprietor got really nice cars and when something happens, you know for sure your problem will be helped.

Get your driver’s license, in Curacao everybody travels by car. The public transport is very irregular, so you can’t depend on the busses. Walking to your internship isn’t always save, so be sure you have your driver’s license and a car.

Try to learn the basics of Papiamentu, you can use them when you walk on the streets and the locals really appreciate it. For example ‘good morning’ in Papiamentu is ‘bon dia’. On google you can find lists with a lot of basic words.

Taste some of the local snacks, like a ‘pastechi’ or ‘Johnny cake’, these are deep fried buns with chicken or cheese in between. They are not very healthy, but they taste very good. These snacks you can get by local restaurants (snèk). Other local food is ‘karni stoba’, it’s stewed meat with vegetables and baked rice. You can get this by almost every restaurant and it tastes very nice.

There are a lot of vacations here, so you’ve got a lot of free time. Discover the island and do things you never would do. I’ve dived form a cliff, the cliff was twelve meters high (Playa Forti). You can also climb the Christoffel Mountain (Christoffelberg), it’s a huge climb, but the view is totally worth it!

You don’t need to change money when you’re still at home, when you left the airport there is a ATM. You pay with Nafl. Antillean guilders. The rate of exchange is +/- 1 Nafl = €0,52.

When you have a traffic accident, you need to call a number, you can ask the number by your proprietor. You don’t have to put your car aside. You must leave your car standing as the accident is happened.

And the last tip I’ve got: take a trip to Klein Curacao, this bounty beach is absolutely my favourite beach. You need to be here once. You can snorkel here and swim with turtles.


To do list to spend your free time

Restaurants:de Kleine Wereld, eetcafé de Buren, de Gouverneur en de pizza's bij Zanzibar (the best pizza's on the island).

Going out: Zanzibar, District 1850, Cabana Beach, Kokomo Full Moon Party and Wet and Wild/Mambo beach. 

Beaches:Grote Knip, Playa Porto Mari, Cas Abao and Playa Kalki. 

These are, for me, the most beautiful beaches on the island 

Exploring the culture:Ostrich Farm, Hato Caves, Blue Room cave (boat trip by Captain Goodlife), Christoffel mountain, Shete Boka National Park and much more!



Retour plane ticket: €699

Residence: 850 Nafl.

Car rental: 220 Nafl. (I shared a car with 4 other girls)

Grocery: +/- 100 Nafl. every week



If you want to see any pictures to make a decision, you send an e-mail to m.kemp@kpz.nl and I will answer you as soon as possible. If you want to know more about my internship and about the island, you need to go to http://manonvdkemp.waarbenjij.nu/

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