This past weekend, we hosted our 6th visit of students from the Rysensteen Gymnasium high school in Copenhagen, Denmark. This class of students hosted us last spring, so this visit served as a nice opportunity for the host siblings to reunite.
On Sunday, our Danish exchange partners joined us at Amsterdam Nursing Home for our weekly community service excursion, where they participated in discussions with our Project Rousseau students regarding the differences between the Danish and US social welfare and medical systems. Besides remarking that the Danish students were “pretty cool!”, PR student Gary noted the different level of social services provided by the Danish government, including universal health care and education. He also observed that the minimum wage in Denmark is a much more livable wage than the minimum wage in the US. Gary and the group surmised that these differences may be due to the fact that Denmark is a much more homogeneous country, which may allow for their own citizens to relate more to each other as they mainly share the same skin color and culture.
After the nursing home, all of the students ate lunch together at Tom’s Diner-a tradition! So many students turned out that we packed the restaurant! Sharing a meal allowed the students to discuss in a much more casual way and continue to learn from each other. Gary noted that the Danish students and PR students share many similarities in their teen experiences, and that the Danish students even used some of the familiar American slang.
The day ended with an “Urban Solutions Collaborative” workshop related to food insecurity in NYC and possible solutions. Each group of students brought a different perspective to the problem, and the exchange of international ideas contributed to the creativity of solutions proposed.
We are so thankful for all of our international partnerships, such as the Rysensteen Gymnasium, and we look forward to meeting with our Danish friends again this coming spring, but in the beautiful Copenhagen! International exchanges such as these are central to Project Rousseau’s mission of developing students who are passionate about lifelong learning beyond the classroom, and we are thrilled to be able to have this partnership in Denmark.