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The vocational school of Herzogenaurach is ready for changes: open education - life-changing opportunities
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Staatliche Berufsschule Herzogenaurach (State Vocational School) would like to further its internationalization as we have motivated students who are completing their training in international companies. Until now we have had no opportunity for them to gain their first professional experience abroad. Through this application we are acknowledging a globalized society and hoping to better prepare our students for changing conditions on the European job market. Part of this preparation is to gain competence in foreign languages and also the ability to express oneself in a situationally and professionally appropriate manner. Development of individual, social and intercultural skills can, however, also be achieved through participation in a project abroad. Through their own stays abroad, the teachers who are involved in this application have become aware of how important these experiences are for the career opportunities and development of young people, and would therefore like to support them. Our participants include 18 future industrial sales assistants who are completing a further qualification program for foreign language correspondents. The students involved all have completed at least a Mittleren Schulabschluss (GCSEs), are very motivated and hardworking and see the necessity to improve their language and vocational abilities abroad. These needs and learning goals have been discussed with the students within the framework of their studies agreement and have been signed by all participating partners. The students have been prepared by their teachers for their stay abroad in a six-month course of workshops and special units, not only in the foreign language. The trip will begin in Nuremberg and the students will fly to Cork, Ireland, via London. To prepare linguistically, they will then participate in a one-week language course in Bandon, Ireland, addressing the learning goal “foreign language acquisition / improvement”. The subsequent three-week traineeship in a company is intended to improve linguistic, social and professional competencies. In this we are supported by our partner organization European Career Evolution (ECE), which is organizing the language course, the host families with whom the participants will stay, as well as the traineeships. ECE will also plan free time activities for the participants and introduce them to the country and its people. In order to develop a sense of European community, events involving participants from other European countries will take place as well. Supervision on site will be carried out by an accompanying teacher as well as by a mentor provided by ECE. Numerous feedback and reflection methods are to measure and assure progress in learning and the achievement of learning goals. The Europass Curriculum Vitae, the Language Passport and Europass Mobility will all be completed together. Our expectations concerning participation in the project include, among other things, that participants will learn to enjoy the English language and that their language abilities will improve. Professionally, the students will get to know new ways of working and be encouraged to see processes from another perspective. As an intercultural aspect, the students will live with a host family for four weeks, have to integrate and get along, which will train both their social and individual competencies. The students and participating teachers will communicate the results of the project in a number of ways, for example through a daily blog, which will be written in Ireland and shared on Facebook, through articles published in the regional daily newspaper, as well as through the school annual report and personal contacts to the companies training our students, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or other teachers. In the long term we, as teachers at a vocational school in the metropolitan region of Nuremberg, would like to provide many students with the possibility to gain vocational experience abroad. This application is the first step in this direction. The experiences which a stay abroad offer cannot be had in a classroom. Abroad, contacts are made and friendships develop which last a lifetime and can be useful for an international network. This strengthens not only our students but also the teachers, who are encouraged by motivated students to carry out projects abroad. It strengthens the school as a whole to send well-trained specialized workers onto the job market, but also the companies located in the region.
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