During the first week of April, a group of eight Project Rousseau students traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark as part of the ongoing exchange program with peers from Ryensteen Gymnasium, who are applying to American colleges. Project Rousseau junior Kadidia reflected that going to school with the Danish students and living the life of a teenager in Denmark was her personal favorite part of the trip, attending longer classes and having more breaks than the system in the U.S. Quinn learned through attending the Gymnasium that school should not be something he dreads attending, but chance to learn about the world! His passion for education was reignited. Melissa appreciated the amount of trust and respect between teachers and students, with open communication between youth and their elders, and hopes to bring this less rigid mindset about age back to American society.
Outside of the classroom, students were able to explore Copenhagen and tour Freetown Christiania, a commune with independent rules outside the Danish government. Students were incredibly fascinated by the political scene in Denmark. Quinn was most surprised about how the ideology of community was so prevalent in Denmark and even in Christiana without government intervention. Deoles loved the forgiving nature of Danish society, where drug-users are treated with humanity and taken care of, rather than ostracized. Deoles was also incredibly shocked at the high tax rate, but felt that free health and dental care, along with education, clearly made this worth it. Students were inspired by the political scene in Copenhagen, and hope to make meaningful change in our American government based on this model someday.
Project Rousseau is incredibly thankful for international partnerships such as with the Ryensteen Gymnasium, and we look forward to hosting Danish students here in New York while strengthening our ties and friendships! International exchanges such as these are crucial to Project Rousseau’s mission of developing students who are passionate about lifelong learning beyond the classroom.