On our first day, our Erasmus-project “Protecting the Environment Teaching Sustainability – P.E.T.S.” started with a focus on agriculture and an introduction to students from the other Erasmus-project delegations from Turkiye, Germany and Norway. After presenting our school, and after having the other schools (Menderes Anadolu Lisesi from Nazilli, Albertus Magnus Gymnasium from Bensberg and Tertnes Vidaregaande Skole, Bergen) introduced to us, Dr. Emine Yildiz, an expert on agriculture from the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry, gave a presentation on food supply security and sustainability in farming from the point of view of a policy maker. Then we formed international groups and started our very own gardening project. We designed and planned our garden plot and prepared the soil by digging up weeds and stones and preparing groves for planting. Traditional Turkish food was awaiting us following the construction of our seedbed. Next, a ceramics-painting workshop was on the program, where we decorated our reusable cups, which we all collectively enjoyed. Tired, but satisfied with our day, we got guided back to our hotel and went about our day. (Madelyn, 6e)

Today’s the 23rd of April, which is a holiday in Türkiye. Our Turkish hosts informed us that it is called “Children’s Day” and celebrates the opening of the first democratic parliament under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who is very important to the Turkish people.
Since it was a holiday, school was closed. Instead, we had a trip to Ephesus with a guide who showed and told us everything about the ancient Greek and Roman sights in Ephesus. We were told that Ephesus was one of the biggest cities where all the people around the world met. The city Ephesus was even mentioned in the Bible. The guide than continued telling us facts about Ephesus as an example that the temples, stadiums and libraries were built before Christ. It was beautiful to see that even after such a long time the place still was really full of life. After the tour we also had a short visit to the Artemis Museum. It was a digital museum where you got headphones and listened to the storyteller while watching the pictures and videos. It was well made and beautiful. Then we went to Kusadasi and explored the city with our international friends. We saw the celebrations for “Children’s Day” and had fun on the beach. (Bea, 6e)

Our program today was all about different farming techniques. The seedbed project from Monday was continued, we visited a local tomato greenhouse and right after that the ancient city of Nysa. In the school garden, we planted small pre-grown tomatoes and prepared special boxes for the seeds that we had brought from home. We learned that it is important to put seeds in small boxes before you put them in the ground, because they need special soil. During our visit to the greenhouse, we were told all about pesticides and how they are used in greenhouse farming. Interestingly, the tomatoes in the greenhouse grew in fibres from coconut shells, not in soil, and had a fully automated watering and fertilizing system. Finally, in Nysa, our Turkish friends acted as our tour guides. We were shown Dionysos‘ temple and walked around the excavation area. (Habiba, 6e)

Cultural visits to the ruins of Afrodisias and Hierapolis and the white terraces of Pamukkale were on the program for Thursday. During our trip to Afrodisias we learned a lot about its historic significance and outstanding architectural features. The most stunning part of Afrodisias has got to be the theatre with a capacity of 17,000 people and the antique sports stadium. Right after Afrodisias, we started our drive to Pamukkale, which wasn’t far away. Before arriving at Pamukkale we had the opportunity to sit and enjoy traditional Turkish cuisine. At Pamukkale, we were immediately shocked by its outstanding white travertine terraces. Our first stop there was the theatre of Hierapolis and the temple of Pluto, then Cleopatra’s pool, and at last the white pools of Pamukkale, which literally means “Cotton Castle”. Our tour guide told us that even in ancient times people from all over the world came to this place as tourists and for the healing qualities of the mineral waters of the hot springs. However, Cleopatra most likely never swam in the pool that bears her name. (Lamis, 6e)


The last day of our Erasmus trip was Friday, which unfortunately came much too quickly. First thing in the morning, we finished our gardening project. Right after, paper marbling, also called Ebru, was on the program. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and had different and creative ideas for each of our paintings. During the free afternoon that followed, many of the groups went souvenir shopping around different bazaars, typical Turkish shopping streets. Later that evening, all of us met for a lovely and glamorous dinner. That particular dinner was filled with energy, later displayed by our dancing accompanied by live music. Even the teachers chimed in and joined us while dancing. The bus ride home was a sad one, the Norwegians had to leave on that very last day, so we said our farewells and stayed out a little longer in a cafe until it was unfortunately time for us to say goodbye as well. It was an emotional moment, since none of us wanted to leave and there might have been some tears shed.

After only five days spent with these wonderful people, we’ve made an amazing connection and an unbreakable bond. We believe that Erasmus brought all of our groups, especially Austria and Turkiye, so much closer than we could have imagined. We miss our new made friends dearly and hope to see them sometime soon. We are all so thankful that the EU made this trip possible, because without the financial support of the EU we could  never have had these extraordinary experiences. (Betül, 6e)