APS News

Erasmus+ trip to Grojec in Poland

During the first week of November six of our Y12s, accompanied by Mr Hammond and Mr Koufou, represented the UK at an Erasmus+ project week long student meeting in Grojec Poland. The meeting was the first of a series of week-long student meetings in all partner countries (Greece, Denmark, UK & Poland) happening over the next 2 years. The project is looking at alternative energy and energy storage – we can harness wind and solar power but this is useless unless we can use the electricity generated when it is needed – hopefully the students involved in this project will provide part of the solution to this pressing international problem.

The week was an amazing experience both culturally and scientifically. The polish staff, students and families hosted us with real warmth and generosity – many of the students have made lifelong friends and look forward to welcoming their hosts to London sometime soon. As well as working collaboratively in school we visited the Polish Centre for Nuclear Research, a water treatment plant, the Warsaw uprising museum and both the physics and chemistry departments of Warsaw university. I think the student write ups and the pictures show what a fabulous time was had by all. The next project meeting is in Copenhagen in February, watch this space to finds out how it goes.

Please read some student accounts of the trip below.

As part of the Erasmus+ Project I had the opportunity to visit Poland.

During the week-long trip, I stayed with a host family and it was easily the best week of my life. Firstly, the family were incredibly welcoming and great hosts. At one point I had 6 sandwiches as packed lunch and I was having 10 meals a day! I’ve never felt so welcomed in another country before.

Furthermore, we had the opportunity to see what schools are like in Poland. Surprisingly, most aspects where similar and we found that they were learning similar content and had similarly structured classrooms and lessons. We also attended many lectures on energy sources, with one of the most fascinating parts consisted of visiting a nuclear reactor. The most notable visit however had to be to the sewage system and water treatment station. Despite it putting me off from drinking tap water forever, it was definitely a once in lifetime sight.

Finally, the best thing about this trip was the knowledge that the friendships I formed with the people in Poland are going to last forever. I met so many new people and found that we shared so much in common, and I have wonderful memories to look back upon.

I have never been on a trip in which I’ve laughed and smiled as much as I did in this trip and I am so grateful that I had the chance to participate.

APS sixth form student
On our last full day in Poland we returned to the university to learn more about chemistry as most of our trip had been focused on the physics side of renewable energy. We started with a lecture on energy storage and the problems with storing renewable energy. After this we were split into groups and assigned to different scientists to learn about the different aspects of energy storage. My group was taught about the 3 types of electrolytes used in batteries, solid, gel and liquid. We were allowed to prepare some samples, this consisted of placing a small disc of the electrolyte between two electrodes (for liquid it was a separator soaked in the sample), sealing it and connecting it to a meter which created a graph from the data to find which type conducted electricity the best. Before we found the data we were ask to guess which would conduct the best, we guessed liquid and were correct! However the reason we don’t just use liquid for all batteries is because it can leak and if it is around electronics it wouldn’t be safe, hence why they are conducting research about other types. To finish the day the different groups presented what we had learnt that day and headed back home to Grójec. Overall I really enjoyed the chemistry department because it introduced me to what it would be like to follow a career in chemistry and was a good end to a wonderful trip.APS sixth form student

What's the project?

The Erasmus Project is a European Union

funded student exchange programme (Yes that means you can go to other countries for free). Under the scheme European Union students in all forms of education can travel on organized trips to stay with a host families. It’s a fantastic opportunity making friendships, learning from professors and experts in a field you enjoy and experiencing a new culture are just some of the opportunities you can look forward to.

Poland

As part of Erasmus + I was lucky enough to be able to stay a week in Poland learning about sustainable energy generation and storage. While I was there I made lasting friends, learnt and most importantly ate a LOT of food. My favorite was Pierogi.

Pierogi

Pierogi, if you don’t know, is a form of dumpling that is popular all across Eastern Europe, but know one eats it like the Polish were its the national dish. They come in a variety of types, savory and sweet which all are delicious. I feel like by describing all the different types of Pierogi you can better understand the experience that we had in Poland and an experance I hope you can have too.

Savoury

grzybygrzyby leśne Pierogi (Wild mushrooms stuffed)

How it’s prepared:
The Pierogi is stuffed with a species of mushrooms called Penny Bun that grow across much of Europe and Asia, the Pierogi is then fried in oil till a golden brown crust is made. You then eat them HOT.

Where I ate this:
I ate this with all of the students who went on the projects in restaurant in old town Warsaw.

twarogtwaróg szpinak Pierogi (Cheese spinach Pierogi)

How it’s prepared:
A special fermented cheese called Quark is mixed with spinach; the pierogi is then stuffed with this mixture and then boiled.

Where I ate this:
I ate this with my host and his family on the last night.

ruskieRuskie Pierogi (Russian style Pierogi) – My favorite

How it’s prepared:
The Pierogi is stuffed with mashed potato and cheese, it can then ether be boiled or lightly fired. Then comes the best bit, you melt a type of solid fat on top and sprinkle bacon bits.

Where I ate this:
I ate this also on the last night with my host family. I loved it.

Sweet

malinowemalinowe pierogi (raspberry Pierogi)

How it’s prepared:
Raspberries are squashed into a past that each Pierogi is stuffed with. The Pierogi is then boiled, its served with sour cream and sugar.

Where I ate this:
I ate these at the same restraint in old town Warsaw.

borowkaBorówka amerykańska (blueberry Pierogi)

How it’s prepared:
The blueberry’s a made into a paste, which the Pierogi is stuffed with. They are then boiled and served with sour cream and sugar.

Where I ate this:
I ate this both at the restraint in old town and at my host house on two separate nights.

Lachlan

During our time in Poland (on the final few days) our group went to visit the prestigious Warsaw Uprising Museum to get a proper insight of the admirable struggle that Poland went through during their time in WWII under Nazi control.

chris 01The museum had proven to be one of the most inclusive and immersive experiences in terms of getting to grips with the details of the war as soon as we had put our audio guides in. The tour guide would lead us around the massive building stopping at times to explain to us the details of celebrated war heroes and allow us to hold and ‘shoot’ replicas of a machine gun.

The museum had also contained built in replicas of some of the tunnels that Polish insurgents would have to traverse their own city under in order to avoid detection by the Nazis. They were almost painfully small however it did proudly boast the museum’s creative architectural design and the intensive attention to detail.

chris 02As we walked further into the museum one of our group members had looked up and noticed a Liberator B-24J bomber replica suspended from the ceiling with realistic markings that would’ve been common on most Liberator aircrafts, like tallies for how many successful missions that the aircraft has had. We were also told that it was the specific type of aircraft that was used during the war in order to fight some of the control that Nazi Germany had in Warsaw, providing some military aid to Poland during their uprising.

After gallivanting around the museum, taking pictures and generally viewing replicas and official letters/uniforms from the museum we had the opportunity to go into a screening room which showed the utter devastation on the city of Warsaw during WWII and how the city got levelled with real/CGI imaging from the time, which we also viewed in 3D! Overall, our experience in the museum was quite memorable and gave us a further insight into the account of what had happened during WWII.

Chris