Alicante, 10th August 2017. At first his coming work placement abroad in Spain seem to be like an adventure to Mathias. After he had successfully improved his language in a local one-week language course and had been able to get to know sights of the country and a lot of nice people during various excursions, he started his work placement in Café Tierra Solidaria in Alicante. In the first days it was a bit difficult for him to understand the Spanish guests, as they talked very fast. But after a short time communication with customers and staff of the café improved and finally work routines went smoothly. At the end of his work placement Mathias looks back very happily at his nice and informative time in Alicante.
Shrewsbury, 26th July 2017. Aliena’s report reflects the enthusiasm with which she thinks back to her great work placement. After several applications to different organizations in England, Aliena decided on a work placement with “Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery” in Shrewsbury, the picturesque native town of Charles Darwin. From the beginning Aliena had very good contact to her colleagues and was allowed to take over interesting and demanding tasks: She translated the museum’s guides, for example, answered questions on the exhibits asked by the visitors of the exhibition and even operated the virtual reality glasses in the Antarctica exhibition. In the last two weeks of her four-week work placement she engaged in an exciting marketing project and the question how as many visitors as possible can be at-tracted to the museum.
Dublin, 14th July 2017. After a four-week work placement with the Asthma Society of Ire-land Vanessa sent us her somewhat mixed report, in which she describes her various activi-ties with the non-profit organization: researching, checking of documents, writing letters, updating the website, but also organizing events like advanced trainings for nurses. Even though Vanessa could not really become acquainted with the country, she finally comes to the conclusion that she is glad of having done the work placement.
Haltern am See, 7th July 2017. The flyer of the Elena Bless Foundation with information on work placements abroad is now also available for download. Schools may get the flyer in a printed version, too. In this case please tell us the required number of copies.
Creil, 3rd June 2017. Today Maria and Wesan have returned from their work placement in France with a lot of great experiences. In Marl’s twin town Creil they could actively support the staff in an old people’s home for 3 weeks. Thus Maria calls her work placement abroad a “truly lucky chance” and reports, “The old people’s home is a varied and interesting loca-tion for a work placement, where you never feel bored. I did a lot of activities together with the seniors, who were mostly still amazingly active: zumba, water gymnastics, karate, shop-ping, excursions and much more.
Wesan met with great approval with her idea of taking her guitar with her and sing and play German and French songs to the residents and she could motivate the seniors to sing along lots of songs. She tells, “The staff of the old people’s home were really very helpful and open to ideas. I always felt good and was supported with everything. My language has greatly im-proved by the work placement. I can only recommend it, for you learn and have fun with it at the same time!”
Haltern am See, 18th May 2017. For one week 21 pupils of the twin town Roost-Warendin, Northern France, have been visiting Haltern am See with their teachers. Like in the year be-fore the exchange was supported by the Elena Bless Foundation. The programme included excursions to Münster and Essen. The pupils go to Collège Schaffner, the twinned school of Alexander-Lebenstein-Realschule.
Boulogne-sur-Mer, 29th April 2017 Today the exchange with France of the classes of the secondary modern schools of Brede comes to an end. As in the first exchange of this kind accommodation in French host families had not yet been possible, the Elena Bleß Foundation took share in the costs of accommodation in a youth hostel. Cheerfully, the pupils wrote on a postcard to the Foundation. Next year the exchange is to take place with a collège at the Channel coast with accommodation in host families.
Crèvecoeur-le-Grand, 26.4.2017. Enthusiastically, Lea, pupil of the Grammar School of the Mariannhill Missionaries reported on her participating in an exchange of her school with France, which was partly supported by the Elena Bleß Foundation. She took home quite unexpected impressions of classes at French schools: “Classes were different from those in Germany, because the teachers quickly became louder as the pupils usually opposed the teachers more often than in Germany.” But there was also enough free time. “Chloé and I spent the weekend going bowling in Beauvais with some others and enjoying the sunshine on Saturday and going for a walk in a big park with a part of Choé’s family in fine weather on Sunday. Afterwards the aunt invited us to eating crepe, which everybody liked after such a forced march.
Haltern am See, 21st March 2017. At the latest with the beginning of spring pupils plan their work placements abroad. Some have already found their work placement and are supported by the Elena Bleß Foundation. This time one pupil goes to Russia and also Creil is again the aim of trainees. As in the last year also exchange projects for pupils at the partner schools are supported. An exchange with Boulogne Sur-Mer, taking place in April, has already been definitely planned.
Marl, 12th December 2016. Ellie Baines is glad. As a teacher of St. Bedes College, Scunthorpe, her mother is in charge of the exchange with the Gymnasium im Loekamp, Marl. The English exchange pupils visited their German host families from 28th November until 2nd December. Ellie was also among them. The exchange has already been taking place for fifteen years. It makes it possible for English and German youth to get an insight into the school and everyday life of the partner country. This year, for example, the programme included a visit to the Harkort Primary School with the English pupils talking about everyday school life in Great Britain and presenting English school uniforms. Unfortunately, financing the exchange becomes increasingly difficult for the English pupils, Ellie Baines reports in a letter to the Elena Bleß Foundation. By the Foundation taking over a part of the travel expenses it could now be realized. The planning of the next exchange is already well under way.
Bochum, 8th December 2016. In the context of the ARAL Christmas Donation and together with Jörg Lutz (Business Unit Director BP Europe) and Kerstin Leineweber (ARAL Marketing) Patrick Wendeler (in the picture on the left), Executive Chairman of ARAL, presented 8,000 Euros with a symbolical cheque to the Elena Bleß Foundation. With the annual campaign ARAL supports institutions in Bochum and environs that do work of great significance in the field of education and integration. “With it vocational work placements abroad can be made possible for about 17 further pupils”, Annette Bleß, who accepted the donation in Bochum together with Martin Bleß, was pleased to say.
Roost-Warendin, 30th November 2016. In their work placement reports two girls and a boy from Joseph-König-Gymnasium in Haltern am See tell about their work placement in the pre- and primary school (picture) in Haltern’s French twin town Roost-Warendin. The three of them agreed: They would in any case recommend a work placement abroad. The host families and the headmaster of the school in Roost-Warendin, too, were thrilled by the committed pupils, which they announced to the Elena Bleß Foundation after the work placement. The Foundation has supported the work placements partly organizationally, partly financially.
Bottrop, 10th November 2016. Within the bounds of a sponsoring run organized at the Heinrich-Heine-Gymnasium in Bottrop in favour of various projects the considerable sum of 500 Euros was reached for the Elena Bleß Foundation. In the future the Heinrich-Heine-Gymnasium would like to stand up for participation in work placements abroad. Last Thursday Annette Bleß received the donation for the Foundation and on behalf of all runners she thanked the pupil Jana Weißbon, the headmaster Mr Tobias Mattheis and the teacher Ms Ines Reich, who had organized the sponsoring run.
Marl, 30th September 2016.“Only who knows each other respects each other”, Mayor Werner Arndt said when he greeted the 16 pupils from Colegio Cristo Rey from Madrid in the town hall. “Thus every meeting is an active contribution to peace in Europe.” From 22nd to 30th September the Spanish group visited Form 10 of ASGSG. Together with their teachers José Manuel Fernandez Oltra and Maribel Escudero as well as their German hosts they discovered the Ruhr Area. Amongst other things the Gasometer in Oberhausen, Cologne Cathedral and the CentrO shopping centre were on their schedule. A European party with the exchange group from Krosno has also been celebrated. This was the second exchange with Colegio Cristo Rey which was supported by the Elena Bleß Foundation.
Marl, 27th September 2016. The Polish young people of the Second Lyceum in Krosno (comparable to a Sixth Form School) visited the Albert-Schweitzer-/Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium. Accommodated in host families they got to know Marl, the surroundings and the people living here very closely. The exchange was supported by the Elena Bleß Foundation. In conversation with the pupils Mayor Arndt made clear that what is common today was not at all self-evident some years ago. “Today our Europe is completely different from the one it used to be”, Arndt explained. “When I was young, there were borders. Therefore I welcome it very much that Polish and German young people can now meet so uncomplicatedly.” In the following days a lot of new experiences and impressions waited for the young people. Trips to the Chemistry Park, to the Jewish Museum in Dorsten, to the Transformer Plant Recklinghausen as well as a town rally in Recklinghausen were on their plan. Another highlight was a European evening, on which the German and Polish pupils met another exchange group from Madrid.
Cassel (France), 25th September 2016. In the small town of Cassel near Lille Lisa from Brakel used her work placement at a French Collège to not only regard the job of a teacher from the perspective of a pupil, but to make first personal experiences in imparting knowledge. Therefore she was allowed to accompany the very nice German teacher in her lessons in four different years and to take over the role of the teacher in some parts of the lessons. She answered questions, for example, which the pupils asked her in German regarding her person. In the second week she was already allowed to plan and do six German lessons. Among other things, she prepared a game about German cultures or a worksheet for the comparison of the different school systems. In the last part of her work placement she was allowed to get to know and co-organize everyday life at the French primary school opposite. Her conclusion at the end of her work placement: “I am very happy that I had the chance of making these experiences. The work placement not only gave me an insight into French school life, but it also gave me the chance to get to know new people who I will never forget. Besides, the work placement also helped me to improve my pronunciation. I would recommend a work placement abroad to everybody.”
Marl, 9th September 2016. A group of 11 pupils of the Spanish partner school Colegio Urkide in the Basque capital Vitoria in Northern Spain were visitors at the grammar school Gymnasium im Loekamp (GiL) for a week. After the German pupils had already been to Spain in April, now the Spaniards got to know everyday life at the GiL and the special qualities of the region. On the first day Mayor Werner Arndt welcomed the guests and gave a survey over Marl and its history from the tower of the town hall. During a study trip through the Ruhr Area on Friday the Spaniards first got to know the significance of mining for the Ruhr Area in a visit to the Museum of Mining in Bochum. How industry left its mark on the Ruhr Area and how structural change can function was the topic of an interesting guided tour in the Gasometer in Oberhausen, the second stop of the tour through the Ruhr Area. The day found a conclusion with eating and shopping in the Centro Shopping Centre, an example of the successful change of former industrial areas.
Verona, 15th August 2016. In the summer holidays, Emma, pupil of a grammar school in Brakel, was allowed to do her work placement at the Goethe Institute in Verona (Italy). She did not have the think for long as she had already heard from other pupils how great it is to make such experiences. Flying to Italy without her parents was definitely an adventure and when she arrived at the host family’s she was relieved and happy. “All people were totally warm and friendly. I got to know the country and the people much better, simply because I was accommodated with a host family. And although I could not really talk with the parents because of the language barrier, you could always somehow communicate.”
With her work placement, however, she had no problems with the language because she was allowed to do her work placement at the Goethe Institute and everybody working there can speak German. In her report Emma describes what she liked most with her work placement: “I liked being directly included in the everyday life of the Institute and I could thereby observe the different roles most exactly. I was able to learn many things regarding leading and organizing lessons and I even learned a bit of Italian. Already after the first day I did no longer feel work as work because I enjoyed very much making so many new experiences. I got to know Italy from a completely different perspective and I am grateful for everything I was allowed to experience in this time.
All I can add: “If you ever have the chance to do a work placement abroad, do it because it is definitely worth it!”
Przemysl, 1st August 2016. For her three-week work placement abroad, Oliwia, pupil from Brakel, chose the peaceful place of Przemysl near the Ukrainian border, where she lived with a very warm and open family. She is more than contented with her work placement in the local hospital: “The nurses quickly briefed me in my duties and thus I felt well at once. By working with the children in the ward I could extraordinarily enrich my experiences in interacting with children.” The language was no obstacle for Oliwia because she was born in Poland and has an almost fluent command of the language. Of course sometimes she was lacking some words. “But then my host family or the nurses helped me quickly.” Generally, speaking the language as a “foreigner” is highly appreciated in Poland and you are almost inundated with compliments. Her conclusion: “I am grateful for my insights due to the scholarship. Therefore I would recommend a work placement abroad to everyone considering it, as it is really worth it.”
Marseille, 23rd July 2016. The flower shop „Les herbes folles“ in Marseille took Viola for a two-week work placement. In her report she writes that the work placement “has been a great experience for her and has given her an excellent insight into flower business and the working life of a florist”. She realized that this job is far less quiet but instead much more varied than she had previously imagined. During her work placement Viola learned a lot about flower care, important rules for the arrangement of wonderful bouquets of flowers, but also about calculation of prices und the professional purchase of fresh flowers on the central market. She could also linguistically profit a lot from her work placement in Marseille as she stresses in her work placement report written in French.
Marl, 7th July 2016. After their return from Creil, France, Salina and Katharina are still thinking of their work placement in an old people’s home. In her report Salina writes, “Working with the seniors has been great fun for me as they were very open-hearted and included you directly. Of course the language is not perfect in the beginning, but by help and merely by listening the language becomes perfect right away. My host family in France was my highlight.” Katharina comes back with new experiences, too: “Whenever there were language difficulties everybody tried to explain it to us. Generally, people spoke more slowly. In case there were questions, they were answered as well as possible. Our working day mostly went from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. It was very entertaining as there was a different programme every day. On Mondays there was Zumba, for example, and on Thursdays one went to the cinema. I have rarely met such open and warm people. You were simply included and welcomed at once.”
Marl, 1st July 2016. On this day their reports were ceremonially presented to the pupils of Albert-Schweitzer-/Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium in Marl who had passed their Abitur (school leaving examination). The special day included an ecumenical service which was celebrated in Saint Michael’s Church with Reverend Christian Zimmer and Pastoral Assistant Günter Tewes. “My time lies in your hands …” was the topic of the service, which Lara Erwig, Hanna den Hartog, Franka Hubert, Svenja Swoboda, Theresa Mudlaff, Till Strunk, Malte and Niklas Lücking and Paula Zimmer had prepared with great commitment together with their teacher Regina Giegel. On the pupils’ request the 830 euros of the collection this year went to the Elena Bless Foundation, which supports work placements abroad und school exchange programmes for young people who love travelling and contact to other people just the same as Elena. Regina Giegel (right) and Dorothee Schlüter (left) handed over the collection to Annette Bleß, who expressed her sincere thanks for the generous donation.
Crèvecoeur-le-Grand, 4th May 2016. Full of new impressions Hannah, pupil of the Gymnasium (Grammar School) of the Mariannhiller Missionaries, has returned from her work placement in France and tells: “In the Easter holidays I could be on a work placement in France, more precisely in Crèvecoeur-le-Grand, the place of the twin school of the Gymnasium of the Mariannhiller Missionaries. My French teacher and the German teacher at Collège Jehan-le-Fréron could find me a very nice host family and days of work placement at two French schools. Thus I could accompany the teachers and gain insight into French school life. A morning when I could advertise German respectively Germany in all classes of the primary school was especially interesting. I taught welcome phrases and some German words to all pupils. Of course they were also allowed to ask me questions. The seriously (!) meant question if I had already seen a “genuine German” was amusing. “Yes, may happen” =”Oui, de temps en temps!” With the question the girl presumably had in mind a “typical German” with lederhosen (leather trousers), chamois beard, beer tankard or stein and pretzel. A real attraction J! I explicitly thank the Elena Bleß Foundation for making possible this stay in France! It was very valuable for me!”
Reims, 16th April 2016. Cheerfully Jacqueline, pupil of Pascal-Gymnasium (Grammar School) in Münster, reports on her exchange from Reims, a town with about 200,000 inhabitants in the north-east of Paris. I have been here since the middle of March and have already experienced a lot. As there are still Easter holidays in Reims, my host family and I went to Paris for a few days. There we had a look at many exciting places like the Louvre, the Quartier Latin – a kind of students’ quarter – and the famous Versailles Palace, by which I am still overwhelmed (cf. picture). Of course I must go to school here, too. Everyday life at school is not so much different from the one I am used to. Nevertheless, I have noticed a few differences. The days start later – but consequently end later, and there is school here every Saturday morning, which is something completely new to me. Finally I would like to explicitly thank you for the support without which I would not have been able to make many of the experiences in the recent weeks. I can only recommend such a stay abroad.
Haltern am See, 9th March 2016: Under the motto “The French are here!” the Alexander-Lebenstein-Realschule (Secondary Modern School) in Haltern am See reports on the school exchange with the twin town of Roost-Warendin: “From 9th to 17th March 25 French pupils are visitors to the Secondary Modern School. They are accompanied by their teachers Monique Keuenhof, Sylvie Bienaimé and Pierre-Marie Bar. They were already impatiently waited for by their German exchange partners and their families. During the week of exchange joint excursions to Düsseldorf and Bremen und numerous additional activities are on the programme. The exchange is generously financially supported by our sponsor organization and the Elena-Bless-Foundation.
Münster, 28th February 2016. From the 20th of March the fifteen-year-old Jacqueline will visit a host family in Reims and go to school there for almost two months. Her teacher at Pascal-Gymnasium in Münster has drawn Jacqueline’s mother’s attention to the possibilities of support by the Elena-Bleß Foundation. Pascal-Gymnasium, which also supports pupils’ work placements abroad, now belongs to the schools co-operating with the Foundation.
Lihus, 20th February 2016. Just back home in Lihus, between Amiens and Rouen, the sixteen-year-old French pupil Maellis enthusiastically writes about her two weeks work placement in Groß Reken. She lived with a host family with two children, one of them sixteen years old, too. Maellis and her host family were supported by the Elena-Bleß Foundation. The Foundation supports pupils’ work placements abroad with scholarships for travelling and staying. Maellis was informed about the work of the Foundation by her teacher in France.
Reken, 1st December 2015. Some schools do not only make a pupils‘ exchange possible for school classes, but also for individual pupils. The grammar school of the Mariannhiller Missionaries in Maria Veen, Reken, reports about an exchange of 13-year-old Leandra, who – with the help of her school and the Partnership Association Lette-Pierguer – spent three weeks with a host family in France. Leandra, visiting class 8, summarized her enthusiasm as follows: “I had a very nice and instructive stay, especially due to the extraordinarily hearty family. I was completely integrated into the school day as well as the family life and got to know country and language.” An individual exchange, however, is mostly more expensive than a class tour. A teacher from her school suggested Leandra for a travelling expenses scholarship of the Elena Bleß Foundation. “I was delighted by this support and my family and I were relieved,” says Leandra.
Düsseldorf, 9th October 2015. On invitation of the Ministry of School and Further Education of the state of North Rhine- Westphalia Annette Bleß, chairwoman of the Elena Bleß Foundation, and Katy Wenning, leader of the Department of International Exchange and International Affairs, discussed possibilities of intensifying the spreading of work placements abroad for pupils. The conversation put the main emphasis on the promotion of existing programmes and the further development of information for pupils, parents, and teachers. Sabine Nemec, leader of the Department of International Exchange in the District Government Düsseldorf, took part in a further conversation on 26th October 2015. The exchange of information is to be continued.
Marl, 28th September 2015. While the pupils of Colegio Cristo Rey were visiting their partner school in Marl, Annette Bleß (2nd from left), chairwoman of the Elena Bleß Foundation, and Melisa Cervera (left), Spanish teacher at Albert-Schweitzer-/Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium, exchanged stories with Maribel Escudero (2nd from right) and José Manuel Fernandez Oltra (right) from Colegio Cristo Rey. The Elena Bleß Foundation supported the exchange so that the Madrid school could also make participation possible for those pupils who could not have financed it otherwise.
Haltern am See, 21st August 2015. The gastronomic highlight “ Haltern invites to dinner” has supported the Elena-Bleß Foundation with the proceeds of the cutlery donations this year. Together with her colleagues Max Schmitz (Tannenhäuschen), Matthias Pfeiffer (Sythener Flora), Daniel Georgiev (Ratsstuben), Peter Booken (Lindenhof) und Stefan Himmelmann (Restaurant Himmelmann) the chairwoman of the local hotel and restaurant association, Marianne Teltrop, presented a cheque for 1700 euros to Annette Bleß, chairwoman of the foundation committee. “We are very pleased about this great donation”, Annette Bleß thanked the gastronoms and reported in this circle on the current activities of the foundation.
Marl, 25th June 2015. From 25th September 2015 until 2nd October 2015 pupils of Cristo Rey Colegio in Madrid visit the Albert-Schweitzer-/Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium in Marl. The exchange is supported by the Elena Bleß Foundation. One of the pupils expresses her joyful expectation of the exchange like this: “I think that the exchange is the best way to travel to another country, to learn about their traditions and live with a German family during the week, to learn the language, new for us, German, and practise English, the official language of the project. It is a special opportunity for the students of Cristo Rey School and we are going to remember this experience forever.”
Haltern am See, 22nd May 2015. On Friday, 22nd May, Dr. Götz Lauterbacher, President of the Lions Club Herten, and Jürgen Erlemeyer, Treasurer of the Club, handed over a donation of 1275 euros to the Elena Bleß Foundation in Haltern am See. On the occasion of the handing over of the donation Lauterbacher and Erlemeyer also visited the Joseph-König-Gymnasium in Haltern. In front of the commemorative wall installed in the school with pictures of all 18 victims from the school community they remembered the deceased, among the Elena Bleß. Lauterbacher and Erlemeyer handed over the donation in the presence of Headmaster Ulrich Wessel to the board of the foundation, Annette Bleß and Martin Bleß. The means for the donation come from a donation action of the Club on the occasion of the decease of Irene Erlemeyer.
Münster, 24th April 2015. On Friday, 24th April 2015 – in day and hour almost exactly one month after the crash of Germanwings Flight 4U9525 in the French Alps – County Chief Administrator Prof. Dr. Reinhard Klenke handed over the recognition document of the Elena Bleß Foundation to the founders, Annette and Dr. Martin Bleß, in the presence of Ulrich Wessel, headmaster of the Joseph-König-Gymnasium, Reverend Karl Henschel and the first town councillor of the city of Haltern am See, Hans-Josef Böing
Elena Bleß belongs to the 16 pupils of Joseph-König-Gymnasium in Haltern am See, who lost their lives together with two teachers in the crash of the Germanwings flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. They should return from a school exchange from Catalonia.
“In the sense of Elena, who enjoyed learning foreign languages very much and for this reason liked travelling abroad, the Elena Bleß Foundation shall contribute within its bounds to promoting the international communication of pupils”, said Annette Bleß, grammar school teacher in Marl and chairwoman of the Foundation Board.
“Compensations of Lufthansa cannot give us our daughter back, but their revenue can make a small contribution to the general public and maintain the memory of Elena”, added Martin Bleß.
“In the Elena Bleß Foundation the name and memory of your daughter will survive. You give something of the love you can no longer give your daughter to other young people and you give an impressive sign of courage, which may encourage others suffering”, says Klenke when handing over the document.