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Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau. Lehre Weiterbildung Forschung.

Newsletter SwiBo-Partnership 6_2013

Dear reader

It is a pleasure to present you the second SwiBo–Partnership Newsletter. As you remember, this newsletter was created with the intention of linking up all former, present and future project participants as well as all the other people who follow and support this partnership.

We would therefore like to carry out the ideas and the spirit of the „North–South Partnership Project“ between ESFMSB and PHTG into as many Swiss and Bolivian classrooms as possible in order to make them last. Again, this SwiBo–Partnership Newsletter contains a short series of project updates, personal reports and notes from current and former participants.

This year’s project cycle started in March with the visit of five Bolivian students to Switzerland. We were able to share wonderful moments and everyone who was involved enjoyed the two very intensive weeks. The visit of the Swiss delegation in October will be the next highlight of our constantly growing partnership.

Thanks a lot to the authors for the interesting and detailed contributions and to all the readers for your interest in our partnership.

We look forward to staying in touch with you and hope that a lot of you will remember to update your personal and professional details through the link in the final section „Create a profile and stay connected“.

All the best for everyone and we hope that you’ll enjoy the upcoming weeks and months either in winter, summer or realistically in something in between…!

Christina Colberg and Gerit Jaritz (PHTG), Editors

Newsletter Content

1. Project News and Information
This section contains news regarding the latest project activities from both partner institutions.

2. Swiss Bolivian Encounters
Here you can find reports on the latest student visit.

3. What are you up to?
This section is dedicated to reports, thoughts and reflections by former project participants who now work as teachers.

4. Create a profile and stay connected
Here you can update your e-mail address and create a short personal profile.

5. News, questions and comments
This is the place where you can share your news and questions with the readers of this newsletter.


Direct Links

Project News and Information
Swiss Bolivian Encounters
What are you up to?
Create a profile and stay connected
News, questions and comments


1. Project News and Information


Study visit spring 2013 – a short review from the organiser’s perspective
I expected tired faces upon meeting Candy, Katherine, Ruth, Milton and Ralph for lunch on their first day in Switzerland after a long journey and late arrival the day before. However, I was mistaken. They wanted to know everything about our university, the project and their programme over our first lunch in the university canteen and were very enthusiastic during our walk by the lakeside to get a first glimpse of what the landscape, animals and buildings in our area look like.

In the evening, they introduced themselves during a full staff meeting and proved themselves to be excellent and self-confident ambassadors of their university and country as well as of our project. This positive start made us all even more enthusiastic about spending two intensive and exciting weeks with our guests:

Several sessions and assignments on Global Education put them in touch with their Swiss tandem partners and other PHTG international students and helped them to better understand what one of the main pillars „Global Education in view of a sustainable development“ really means and how it is relevant for teachers and students all over the world. As most of them are going to teach English after their studies, we made sure that they get the opportunity to teach some English lessons in two Swiss primary schools that were quite different from each other. Again, they took great pride in showing and telling the students something about their country and culture and managed to do so in a very colourful and lively way. The third programme pillar focused on getting to know and understanding their host country and culture through theoretical inputs and of course several excursions and "social events".

No matter how exciting, informal and fun some of the organised events and excursions were, one must never forget how important such personal encounters are for the success of our partnership project and the goal of sharing knowledge and enlarging the horizons of participants on both sides. The Bolivian students were able to experience a different way of living and thinking first-hand and had many opportunities to formally and informally discuss their views of global education topics and their country’s challenges with regard to a sustainable future development with peers not only from Switzerland, but also China, Israel and other European countries. All of this has triggered thinking processes and new perspectives of high relevance for all the participants’ professional but also personal lives.

It is thus hoped and expected that this study visit and its many enriching encounters and experiences has contributed to the establishment of a foundation of trust and mutual understanding on which further work and deeper insights with regard to the implementation of global education topics in teaching can be based.

The visit was also used to work towards one of the key areas of activity defined by the national service centre éducation21 (follow up organization of the former Foundation for Education and Development) for North-South partnership projects during the year 2013: the analysis and reflection of the acquired knowledge with regard to all the participants’ professional development. With this in mind, last year’s Swiss participants presented their reflective Bolivia journals and a summary of the global education topics they taught in schools upon their return from Bolivia to the Swiss and Bolivian students and interested PHTG staff. Furthermore, all PHTG lecturers involved in the project and its steering group were asked to write a reflection on the benefits of their participation for their professional development and practice.

Gerit Jaritz
Co-leader of the project and organiser of the study visit

Study Visit 2013 to Switzerland - A Bolivian perspective on the students’ gain
The Bolivian students who visited Pädagogische Hochschule Thurgau this spring have gained a lot from their visit to Switzerland in various aspects. All of them agreed that they could see a well-organized society in Switzerland. They said that they were impressed by the neatness of the places wherever they went and the organization and punctuality in all the activities.

I felt deep appreciation when the students who were accommodated with families said that their members treated them warmly and took care of them even in minor details. Regarding the people, they thought that Swiss people are very friendly and polite.

With regard to teaching and learning, I think they learned a lot in many ways. Teaching was facilitated by the fact that the classes are small, the classrooms are large and they are well equipped with abundant material. One of them said that she observed a class where the teacher gave the students a ten-minute recess in the classroom so that they could either do painting, work on the computer, or whatever they would like. She said that she will apply that technique when she is working because she thinks that it is of great benefit for the students’ attention span. Also, she said that the teacher spent time helping individual students patiently.

I think we at ESFM „SB“ should now consider strengthening the classroom teaching by applying these experiences in their future studies. I will be very happy the day I see materials designed specially and specifically for students of a given borough in Bolivia by the teachers of that borough itself, as one of the students told me was the case in the region of Swizerland they visited.

For now, we should continue working to improve education and, in the short term, here at the Communication and Language Department at ESFM „SB“, we are really looking forward to the Swiss students’ visit and preparing things that they also would like to apply in their studies and work.

Jorge Bárcena Centellas, ESFMSB


2. Swiss Bolivian Encounters


A great opportunity to learn but also a great opportunity to teach…
In March 2013, I could live one of the most interesting experiences I have ever had so far, not only because I flew overseas and got to know that amazing country, but because I could learn a lot and take several knowledge back to my country with this experience.

I found a land that received me with so much friendliness to make sure I would feel comfortable every day, I found this country that showed me how punctual you can get to be, I found smart ideas and interesting people, and I found people that are really interested to know about you and your own culture.

As we worked together, we as a Bolivian delegation were able to show a little part of Bolivia, we could explain some of the visions that the people of our country have in their everyday life, and we could share some information about one of our commodities „Quinua“.

I also could learn about what the international students had to say about their countries, how the globalization is an issue that matters to everyone in the world and how we feel connected from one country to another no matter the distance.

I feel that as a future teacher this experience helped me to teach in a more useful way, in a way in which I can prepare my students for a globalized world. I was able to identify the similarities and the difference between Bolivia and Switzerland in the field of education and how in many ways we could be related to work on the same issues.

Finally, I feel that I wasn’t there only to visit that beautiful country and learn from it, but I was there to teach something about my country, my goal was to make my visit there useful for the other students and I feel that I could leave some helpful knowledge to them. I know that I could learn a lot from this, but in this case I know that I got a great opportunity to teach, so I just want to say thanks for letting me do it.

Ralph Oliver Evine, La Paz, Bolivia

My personal experience
I would like to share with all of you the marvellous time I had when I was in Switzerland. To begin with, I want say I had a very good time in Switzerland last March. My participation started on Monday morning. We arrived in Kreuzlingen overnight, so we were too tired after the long trip, the only thing we could see after leaving the airport were the roads and the shadows from the hills around us. Honestly, I was dying of curiosity to see the village in the daytime, but we had to wait ’till the next day. Right after we spent our first night in our tandem partner’s house.

The first thing that called my attention was the squawk of the ravens early in the morning. I must confess that I had never had the opportunity to see one in my life, so it was a good signal to begin the day to me. We had a schedule of activities to do and the first thing we did was to know Thurgau University. I knew extraordinary places such as the cafeteria, the church and the beautiful lake Konstanz. Besides, there was a castle near to the lake that surprised me a lot because until that moment I had never seen one in reality. The tower and the park were good places to be.

It was winter time when we were there, so it snowed heavily. I thought winter was over, but I was wrong. Even though, It was really cold I liked snow. On Tuesday we had dinner and got to know the principal, Christina Colberg, Gerit Jaritz and our tandem partners. We worked with them by talking about commodities. I visited the library where there were so many materials to study and of course I surfed in the net because there was an approach to the internet over there. I was given a bike in order to get to university on time every morning. It was smashing to have one because I could go from the university to the lake easier than walking.

We visited some museums and restaurants by going to Appenzell, a beautiful natural place to be near to the highest mountains in the Swiss Alps. In the same way, we went to Bern and Zurich, two wonderful Swiss cities that I will never forget because they were full of history and art everywhere you go. There we visited some traditional churches and very clean rivers that walked across the cities.

In the end of our stay we went to the schools to show children something about our nation by showing them our national flag and instruments. They were so happy to participate and one of the things I enjoyed so much was when I drew for them some drawings that they liked a lot, so they drew something for me, too. The unforgettable moments were to know all the wonderful people that I got to know.

Milton Perez Perez, La Paz, Bolivia

The visit by a group of Bolivian students to the 4th-6th grade class in Wäldi
For two lessons a group of Bolivian trainee teachers came to visit our class. They told us so much about their country - the costumes, the dances and many other things which are characteristic of this country - and showed the children the different animals and birds which can be found there. The students were so enthusiastic and had many different ways of doing their teaching - pictures, flags and even some play-acting. We Swiss joined in with the dancing, though some of my pupils were a little shy. I think it’s very important for the teacher to join in with such activities, so as to maintain the good level of enthusiasm.

My ten 4th-6th graders really enjoyed this morning. Since the Bolivian teachers spoke simple English, the children were able to understand them easily, though sometimes the accent was less easy to follow. For sure it was easier for my pupils to follow the Bolivian lesson because we had already had the topic of animals in the class in all three grades. I also think that for my pupils, coming mostly from a small village in rural Thurgau, it was fully new to see how other people live. Even just having face-to-face contact with the Bolivian students with their darker skins and different features was something new and interesting for some pupils.

For the next few days we talked about our new experiences: we have some strong memories of this morning and my children would welcome another such visit. As far as I am concerned, it was well worth it for us all.

Lisa Bartholdi, classroom teacher primary school Wäldi


3. What are you up to?


We’ll soon be starting our teaching career…
Now it’s been half a year since we were in Bolivia. Our names are Nadine Rabensteiner and Karin Wenzl. In a few weeks we’ll finish our studies at the PHTG. We are going to start teaching a class in August and are really looking forward to it. During our studies we signed in for the global education course, which included a trip to Bolivia. We spent 3 weeks in this lovely country and had the chance to teach English in different classes.

It was a really instructive and wonderful time in which we got to know the country and its culture very well. Each of us had a Bolivian tandem partner with whom we taught. During this intensive time in Bolivia we were getting more than study buddies and a real friendship grew between us. More than half a year later, we’re still in contact with our Bolivian friends and are exchanging opinions and actualities.

The totally different environment and facilities in the Bolivian classrooms changed our teaching concepts very much and we will keep this in mind in our future teaching career. While being part of this North-South-Partnership global education became true-to-life. Our experiences in Bolivia give us a first possible topic for a future teaching project which includes global learning. With pictures, materials and true stories from this amazing country we will underline the importance of an understanding for foreign cultures and mentalities.

What we can say for sure is that the participation in this project was an important and unforgettable time in our young lives.

Nadine Rabensteiner, Karin Wenzl, Kreuzlingen, Switzerland


4. Create a profile and stay connected


We hope that you liked our newsletter and would like to continue receiving it. Please don’t forget to inform us whenever you change your e-mail address in order to make sure you stay connected with the project. You can update your address here.

If you are a Swiss or Bolivian project alumni, we would appreciate if you use the link below to create a short personal profile and let us know about where and what you teach. Link

Thank you for your time and interest!


5. News, questions and comments


Do you have any news or questions of interest to all readers of this newsletter? We’d also appreciate your comments and ideas regarding our newsletter in general. E-mail them to newsletter@phtg.ch and they will be posted here in the next edition of this newsletter.