Category: Blog

Finishing remark from EVS Erasmus+ volunteers

The stay for our two amazing Erasmus+ volunteers Pip and Justyna has come to and end. The Alumni organisation has been enormously happy with the the volunteers and the time they spent at IPC this Spring and we are looking forward to host the next volunteers in Spring 2018. Pip is coming back for the Alumni Summer Camp, so he’s not ready to let go just yet (neither are we) and hopefully Justyna is able to come for a visit sooner rather than later! While we wait for her return, she has written about her experiences during her last time at IPC. Read on here:

“Today I’m writing the last post from home. I’m awaiting an arrival of three IPC students to my city. It is almost two weeks since I left the school. For a long time I was not ready to leave the place, but just after my arrival to Poland, I felt happy about being back – we had so many goodbyes that I felt really emotionally exhausted 🙂 and then accepted the fact that this experience ended. Right now I feel a lot of nostalgy, especially in moments when I’m trying to tell a story about this six months to my friends. Luckily, some of them visited me so they could catch a glimpse of this place so they partly understand what am I taking about. Actually in second trimester, I broke record of visitors having someone coming every two weeks. For one longer weekend we were hosting other EVS volunteers with Pip that we got to know on EVS training. We showed them around and they could participate in some of the school activities. They were really impressed about the food – apart from the usual meals, it was the weekend when students were full of initiatives in the kitchen – we had Korean dinner and the next day European lunch. Also one of my friends stayed for one week from Erasmus + Staff Mobility Program as she works at University of Warsaw. During her stay she gave a Polish language lesson at Human Rights Café and made a presentation on morning fellowship about possibilities for foreigners to study at her university and in Poland in general.

During last two months, I did as much travelling as I could fit into our school program. I went for shorts trips in our region: Frederiksborg in Hillerød, by bike to cloister close to Esrum lake and beaches nearby, Klampenborg with deer park and Bakken amusement park. I joined school trip with a small boat cruise around Copenhagen. For one of extended weekends I went with a Korean friend to a trip to the north of Jutland. It took us ten hours to reach Skagen by two buses and four trains, but it was definitely worth it! Not only we have seen the border between Northern and Baltic sea, but also at Grenen there were two seals sunbathing on a beach. We went on bike around Skagen and to Sand-Covered Church. We tried beers from local brewery and fresh fish in the port. We visited Art Museum where apart from famous pieces of art, we watched an art installation about the family meal – each person saw a movie from a point of view of different family member. We spent last two days in Aarhus where we visited the city center, AROS Art Museum and Marselisborg – summer residence of the queen. On our last weekend in IPC, Alumni took us for a day trip to Copenhagen that started with a visit in botanic garden, lunch, boat trip and the culmination was a visit in the oldest patisserie in Copenhagen – it was an amazing day!

Human Rights Café has been a really busy place during that time. We were serving variety of cookies, cakes, famous hot chocolate and lemonade. Mathilde from Belgian was so kind that she baked for us speculoos cookies. We carried on showing documentary movies weekly, but also at some point we started watching with students Game of Thrones and organised a marathon during one of the bank holidays. Pip continued sharing his knowledge about photography, editing programs, different types of cameras and the darkroom. I organized a tresure hunt game related to the Slavic midsummer night with Polish food tasting. We also had some activities organized from students initiative – one of them was Japanese caligraphy lesson.

During this two months, we could participate in plenty of the activities organized or taking place at school related to classes and additional ones. The school hosted a meeting with Albin who decided to walk until there is peace in the world – very enthusiastic person. We got closer to some staff members and we were invited to their houses for evening drinks or meals. As a part of Exploring Denmark class, I had an opportunity to visit Danish nursery and to meet with an organization Venligboerne helping refugees to settle down in Denmark. I went to two events in Copenhagen: on the first one organized by ngo Africa Kontakt, I could meet people from Mozambique and other African countries and the other was related to the genocide in Rwanda. I visited with Environmental Studies Class small permaculture gardens run by volunteers. I also joined a group that took part in a concert played by Lars who works as a caretaker in IPC, but in his free time, he plays in four bands. Instead of one of morning fellowship, we heard professional storytellers who came to Elsinore for a festival. Last big and really impressive event was Speak Out IPC – an event organized by students where during Saturday afternoon they held plenty of workshops, gave presentations about their talents, shared life stories and how they overcame some obstacles in their lives.

Last weeks were also very important for me. I had my „bucket list” of things to do before leaving IPC. One of them was having a tatoo – I did it – I have a very artistic and optimistic sausage dog above my ankle. I also wanted to take part in Nikolaj’s Reiki healing session – he found time for me among plenty of activities that were taking place in last days. We had amazing farewell dinner with students and yearly staff party in cowboy style.

I’m really grateful that I could be there and I recommend it to everyone!:)”


Spring feeling at IPC

“Time really flies here!

Since the last time I wrote, a lot of things happened. We have finished the first trimester. It was very sad when eleven people left us – there were tears and very hard moments. But the events prior to that were very enjoyable – for example the ball organized by Student’s Council. We had a dance class given by Soren the same week and during the ball Cara, one of the students, lead a workshop teaching waltz and other ballroom dances. Everyone dressed up in the clothes that were the most similar to ball dresses and suits. I had my hair done by Akiyo who is professional hairdresser. It took her five minutes to do my hair in an amazing way. 🙂

From one day full of sorrow we passed to the next where we had to be cheerfull and welcoming for newcomers. We got twenty new students that integrated easily and quickly into the community. We had a few transition days with getting to know activities. On the weekend my friends from Poland visited. They were really impressed with the school (especially meals served in our canteen – they mentioned they would love to come for an internship only in the kitchen) and Denmark.

At the beginning of April, African Cultural Evening was held – it was prepared by only five students, but they gave amazing show. Other students voluntarily helped with decorations and cooking. In Human Rigths Café in the new trimester, except for movie screening, we also have new workshops. There is Pip’s Photo Club. It had so far two meetings. Students are really interested in participating and also come for advice to ask him about photo taking techniques and equipment. The incoming meeting will focus on use of Photoshop. Participants get each time new assignments to practice their skills. Melissa, one of the students, is giving classes of Danish every week. For me it is good addition to the regular school course. We also started to serve every day cookies or cakes in Human Rigths Café which definitely makes the place more popular. We made very cute Easter decorations which are partly still present it our Café. On one of the morning fellowships we presented European Voluntary Service and useful information on how to apply to take part in the project.

I’d like to mention that I broke the record in biking with 80 km in one day to go to Copenhagen and back to see cherry blossom!

There were two interesting events at the weekend after Easter. On Saturday there was a conference about the current situation in Europe – one day before elections in France. The most exciting part was a debate in the end in which one of the participants – Marie Krarup from Danish People’s Party was presenting the point of view definitely opposite to the one shared by people at IPC. Soren was mediating in this debate very successfully so that both sides could share their opinions and be respected. On Sunday there was a workshop to celebrate the World Book Day where students were writing their own stories and prepare illustrations for it. We still do have them around Human Rights Café. 🙂 The same day I also visited Gilljeje which seems to be very good summertime resort.

Last week of April was also very busy. Apart from usual activities, we had a Japanese tea ceremony with very professional presentation and tasting of matcha tea. We went with Exploring Denmark class to visit Danish Secondary School where we presented how respect is shown in our countries and they gave us tours through their school and responded to our questions. On Saturday we had Asian Cultural Evening that was definitely a fantastic show with games for audience, a lot of singing, dancing and workshops in the end. The same weekend I went to National Museum and watched a lot of Nordic paintings and impressive collection of European art and gardens of Rosenburg Castle and on Sunday to the gardens of Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerod.”

– Justyna Lisowska


By Pip Fazarkerley

“Time flies amazingly quickly!”

Justyna, one of the volunteers at IPC, has a few updates about her experiences at IPC. Read on for news about Valentine’s, ‘Fastelavn’, training courses and hiking trips!

“Time flies amazingly quickly! The second half of February was full of attractions. Starting from Valentine’s day when Student’s Council took the role of love letter messengers and prepare amazing decorations, Japanese students where preparing amazing cupcakes and we baked heart-shaped cookies. The same day we decided to have a break from serious movies in Human Rights Café and presented mocumentary about vampires from New Zeland to be less romantic. As a part of Valentine’s day celebration on Friday’s party we had karaoke with love songs where Pip was taking millions of photos with heart in background as a photo booth. Next week we had an opportunity to assist to a modern performance – non-verbal theatre play about relationships between people in the culture center in Elsinore.

The next day, I visited a library located in the same place with one of the classes where we could get to know Danish library system and thanks to that I got to know that I can request books for a book club! I visited with some of the students Malmo and Lund in Sweden at the weekend. We were very lucky with the accommodation – it occured that our hosts had sauna in their house. We really enjoyed the travel: more modern Malmo and students city – Lund, our slow-hygge meals and the sauna. On last week of February we focused in Human Rights Café on activities for the group that was going to visit Central Europe. We showed “Shindler’s list” with explanation about holocaust and I made a presentation about places to visit, food and events in Cracow – my hometown that was one of the places visited by students. At the weekend there was American Cultural Evening – students made a smooth transition from the performance to the Latin party on which Pip was also taking photos.

Sunday followed with celebration of Festelavn – Danish ending of carnival with event similar to piñata and preparing takoyaki – ball-shaped Japanese snack in the cooking club. The week was also full of attractions. I had an opportunity to go with one of the classes for a trip to Kopenhagen – first half was lead by a homeless person and on the second we visited Christiania. In the afternoon there were activities for contact groups: I joined the one that was cooking Italian food. Pip was hosting one of the other groups in Human Rights Café. In the evening we had a game night with our lovely coordinator! The same week we participated in a lecture with journalist David Trads about Trump and his politics. As the end of first trimester is slowly approaching, we had one of performance nigths with amazing drama class interpretation of Hans Christian Anders fairy tales, fantastic choir show and screening of the movies prepared by students on Movie Making Class. The same week I also went for the first time to watch a professional floorball game between our city and Linkoping in Sweden.

On the first week of March we participated in on-arrival training for EVS volunteers. It took place in scouts center close to Kolding in the south of Jutland located in very pictoresque area with lake and a lot of green fields. We met there 26 other volunteers from a lot of European countries – all of them staying all over Denmark and on totally different projects – only one was also volunteering in Danish folk high school as we do. We had three very experienced trainers. Workshops were organised in non-formal way – we were learning by doing and participating in games rather than listening to presentations. At the beginning we had a lot of team builiding and getting to know workshops – including outdoor activities in which a local dog was taking part willingly. Next, we focused on our projects and their presentation – I think we both can agree that a workshop in which we were asked to show our project in 3 dimentions by decorating a box was fantastic exercise. We had also workshops about learning styles and informal education, Danes and Danish culture, more about Erasmus projects and some useful information about the problems that we can encounter during EVS. One entire day we were reflecting about our future, connection between our EVS project and plans for incoming years, setting our learning goals and planning them in the time. We had a trip to Kolding where we visited the castle, in the free time we were supposed to make a short videos on which we ask in groups local people about something that we would like to know about Denmark. My curagious team even went to erotic store to ask shop assistant what kind of animal Denmark would be if it would be an animal. We also had Italian style dinner in local culture center. In the evenings we had free time – on the last one we had a party organised by volunteers and Pip – the same as at IPC – was responsible for photo booth. He cannot run away from this duty!
We came back to IPC on Friday evening – welcomed with hugs and kisses 🙂 In the evening there was a cosy party with manicure, face massage and masks. It was very nice to be back!

On the second part of alternative weeks I joined the hiking group that was going for a five days trekking to Jutland. The group was preparing for this trip one week in advance by learning how to cook in outdoor conditions, going for shorter walks and also by sleeping in tents in front of the school. The trail that we took is called „coast to coast” and leads from Western part of Jutland to the Eastern – it has almost one hundred kilometers. Our trip started early on Monday morning. We took three trains to reach Varde – our start point.

We hiked for five days. First and last was about 15 km and the three in the middle longer than 20 km. We were very lucky with the weather which is very unpredictable in Denmark – it was almost all the time sunny and without rain! Also our campisites were very well-equipped. We walked through very nice landscapes full of lakes and canals, saw deers and what might sound strange one alpaca. In the evenings we had bonfires with storytelling by Canadians, singing and games. Even though the conditions were rough, every meal that we were cooking was really delicious. We also had nice surprises: friends of Lars brought us tea and coffee one evening and pancakes the next morning. For me it was very challenging experience physically – even though I have already hiked several times, during this one I got a fever on the way and also a lot of blisters, but thanks to supportive companion, I was able to accomplish it. And as I’m planning to go hiking this summer, I also know that I have to continue practising so that the next one would be easier.”

Being a volunteer at IPC sounds pretty amazing, huh?


How are the volunteers doing these days?

Alumni’s EVS volunteers at the International People’s College have now been there for about two months. They are putting a lot of effort in making their projects happen – they are super cool!

Here is a message from Justyna about some of her experiences in February:

“Already two weeks passed in February. There was Alumni board meeting at the first weekend and we had a chance to get to know some members of the organization that is hosting us and – I hope – charm them with our hot chocolate. We helped as well with the technical side of Scandivavian Cultural evening which was held on Saturday evening. My favourite sketch was “Little Mairmaid” impersonated by Rasmus. I spent entire Sunday in Copenhagen – our plan with girls was to go sightseeing – join two different free walking tours, but it was horribly cold and humid that day, so after one of them, we found very nice café with amazing cheese cakes with many flavours.

Week days were also quite interesting. At Human Rights Café we organized a screening of the movie “Ghandi” – more than 3 hours! But there were quite a lot of people who managed to watch it till the end – quite impressive. Pip bought necessary chemicals and inaugurated a darkroom that has not been used for 10 years! We had orgazanitional meeting of a book club where we decided which books we are going to read in incoming five months. First of them is „The disappeared” by Canadian writer Kim Echlin. I’ve already read a half of it – captivating love story with Cambodian revolution in the background. We also baked ginger cake for our coordinator – Bogna’s birthday. The cake is prepared in Pip’s family for Christmas. He mentioned that recipe comes from Jamaica. The same week we saw a presentation prepared by Amani about her live in Syria, situation in her country and her family background – it was very touching and also helped to understand causes of the war.

During the weekend, I visited Design Museum. My favourite exhibited items were armchairs from newspapers, original jewellery and a bamboo bicycle. On Saturday evening we had a party with amazing music from all around the world by Nikolaj – it gathered whole school – everyone enjoyed it. On Sunday we went for preparatory trip for longer hike in alternative weeks. We managed to do 26 kilometers in one day! Some of us seemed to be on their limits, but all made it. We went around pictoresque lake, passed ruins of the castle, through two forests, around an island, village with horses (a lot of tiny islandic ones) and a lot of fields. After our trip I slept a lot! :)”

The Human Rights café

IPC’s old but new dark room!

Update from the volunteers

Alumni’s two EVS volunteers at the International People’s College have now been here for about a month. They have been super busy but still had some time to reflect and write things little insight in their life at IPC. Definitely not an average everyday life!

Here is how it has been for our Polish volunteer – a first timer at IPC – Justyna Lisowska:

“We are more than one month at IPC with Pip. Unlike the previous volunteers, it’s for me the first visit in Danemark which also means that I have no previous experience in IPC. International People’s College (IPC) is one of Danish Folk High Schools. Students come from all around the world and are in diffrent age – starting from 17 years. The concept of the school is very diffrent from what I have experienced during my education – I really appreciate how equal and democratic is the way in which school is operating – it gives an opportunity to students and also staff to reveal a lot of talents and skills. Students do not receive any grades – they should attend classes and engage in proposed activities.

Our EVS experience started with a few days of integrational activities. There are around 100 students from all of the continents, which I also appreciate, because on my students exchanges and previous stays abroad I met mostly people from Europe. Whereas at IPC, I can get to know more distant cultures and discover that in the end we all share the same interests and hobbies. Apart from students, few days after us arrived to IPC Amani – Syrian blogger and translator – getting to know her is additional value to my overall EVS experience.

Students chose their classes and started attending them in the second week and we – volunteers started to organize our activities. Our main task here is running Human Rights Café and offering additional, outside of class activities for students. Apart from this, we help in the kitchen that serves amazing food (I have never eaten so tasty food with spices and flavour in a canteen!). We are also responsible for technical side of cultural events (students are devided by countries/ continents to present their cultures and traditions on Saturday evenings). At Human Rights Café so far we don’t complain about lack of customers, but it is hard to predict how many people will visit us – sometimes we have fifteen people at the same time craving for hot chocolate and sometimes when we assume, they will be coming, no one appears. Last month our most attended activities were documentary and movie screenings – I presented among them „Ida”, Polish movie and I was surprised that it can be interpreted in so many ways.

In this short time I managed to start sightseeing. I got to know a little bit about Helsingor in which we are staying with the castle famous because of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Skibsklarergården museum. Additionally, I visited city center of Copenhagen, Louisiana – modern art museum and Danish Parliament with one of the classes. Looking forward to incoming months and adventures!”

Sounds pretty cool, huh?

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