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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 4) 2015/16

Michelle Brand, 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 90 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 8) and introduced us into the class.

The first few days we were observing. The children were very curious. The first day they wanted to asked a lot of questions, but the teacher didn’t give them time. I was sitting in the back of the class and was talking to two boys, who said the class was really noisy and asocial. I think they want to scare me the first day. They also told me last week the substitute teacher became overwrought and that they will do that to me too.

I didn’t had much time to teach because of the EFO-test. This is a test for all the children of grade 8. Back in Holland they call it CITO. This school wants all the children to HAVO/VWO. The parents are complaining about trainees because they think the trainees can’t teach as a normal teacher.

Sometimes teachers were ill and didn’t show up. The trainees need to teach the grades without a teacher that day. I taught three times as a substitute teacher. I experienced it positive but also negative. The positive thing is that I was free to do anything I wanted. Most of the time the children were very supportive and enthusiastic.  The negative thing was that I never got any feedback and some children were very rebellious and gave a big mouth.


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 fascinated.

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. Only in traffic they are really stressed. They hump for everything and ride with full speed. There are no rules in traffic.

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. The children said: “First I was scared of the teacher. But now she is nice but strict.”


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.

The sun is always shining and the beaches are really nice and clean. The water is bright blue and you always see the ground. There are many beautiful fishes in the water.


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.

The second tip I’ve got: 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 done cliff jumping here (Playa Forti), make sure your time is worth it.

You don’t need to get 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 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.



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.brand@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: https://curacaomichelle.wordpress.com/


Wat heeft jouw stageplek te bieden?

Mijn stageplek heeft veel te bieden. Je kunt hier heel veel leren en dan vooral hoe je het niet wilt. Je moet wel heel sterk in je schoenen staan, omdat je op Curaçao nog wel wat merkt van het machtsverschil. Je bent hier maar een stagiaire en verder ben je eigenlijk niks. Daarnaast leer je hier waarom het zo belangrijk is om een pedagogisch klimaat te scheppen en hoe je dat doet. In Nederland merk je vooral dat het heel erg normaal is om op een bepaalde manier met kinderen om te gaan, maar hier weet je waarom het zo normaal in Nederland is. Toch vind ik het jammer dat ik niet heel veel les heb mogen geven. Hierdoor kijk je alleen maar hoe je mentor het doet. Het eiland heeft je veel te bieden, de plek is heel mooi en je leert hier om echt op eigen benen te staan. Je komt er sterker uit. 


Wat heeft een Pabo-student nodig als hij/zij voor jouw stageplek kiest?

De student moet sterk in zijn/haar schoenen staan. Je moet open staan voor kritiek, want dat kun je hier veel krijgen. Ook moet de student beschikken over communicatietechniek. Je leert heel veel bij de SLB-lessen wat je hier kunt toepassen. De student moet kunnen overleggen en moet tegen een stootje kunnen. Daarnaast moet de student goed inzicht kunnen houden in zijn/haar portemonnee want het eiland is hier bijna twee keer zo duur als in Nederland. Ten slotte moet de student kunnen genieten van zijn/haar tijd in het buitenland, want het is voorbij voordat je het weet!

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