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Experience from a project and study visit to St. Maarten

10.02.2022

The project „United Colors of Young European Businessmen“, the key action of which is the cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices lasts from March 2021 to February 2023. The main goal of this project is to establish and maintain an entrepreneurship ecosystem and develop a creative and entrepreneurship management model for schools in order to promote creativity and entrepreneurship culture among students.

Our Business Management teacher Rodrigo Preciado Azcunaga participated in the organizers and teachers meeting which took place January 17th to 21st in St. Maarten. He tells us how everything started, and shares his feelings and experience with us.

Once upon a time I got an email from Heli Illipe-Sootak, who is a teacher in Audentes Sports Gymnasium asking if I wanted to participate in a project of the EU and go to St. Maarten. I called her and asked what the benefit for the students would be, and I got to know that besides me getting experience and sharing knowledge with teachers from other countries, that will be useful in my lessons, there will be five students travelling to London for the same project, and later we will receive students from various countries in Tallinn.

The first meeting was very impressive. I will mention a couple of examples of the participants. Petre from Macedonia told me how he has been working for the last 30 years in an NGO that offers extra-curricular activities for young people including those who have more complicated lives and his NGO has helped probably hundreds to make better choices. Raquel from Portugal, after recovering from cancer, is working with children with special needs. They have now an entrepreneurship project where the children take a picture of something of nature that needs more care from humans, and make a postcard out of that picture. For this, they collaborate with national parks and the post office. These are just several participants. However, there are also attendees from the United Kingdom, Turkey, Estonia and the Netherlands.

I didn’t expect to find an IB school in St. Maarten, but we visited St. Dominic High School, where we participated in a DP2 business management lesson. It was nice to experience how the IB has something in common everywhere in the World at the same time adapting to each local culture.

A lesson, we learned at St. Maarten University from a very experienced Business teacher from the Netherlands, was about the resilience of the people of St. Maarten. Every two or three years they have to rebuild their lives from scratch after a hurricane. Some of you will probably hear about „The Yoda Guy“ and other stories from St. Maarten in my lessons.

But, to finalize, on the last day of the trip, I decided to take a walk… a long walk… maybe too long. Yes, it was beautiful. But after walking for an hour and a half, I decided to ask a couple of guards who were at the entrance of a residence: „If I continue walking in this direction, will I make it to Simpson bay?“ And, one of them told me: „Yes, the direction is correct“. So I continued walking. The view was very impressive. And after some more time, I came to another guard, who was talking to someone at the entrance of a resort, and said: „Excuse me, I am very very lost. If I continue walking this direction, will I make it to Simpson bay?“ She looked at me like saying „how long have you been walking, and yes… but…“ and she said, kindly: „Well, yes, but it can take you a couple of hours, why don’t you take a bus?“ I had spent the last cash on a gift for a friend, so I only could pay by card, which is not accepted in the buses there. So, she stopped a bus which was passing by, and paid for me after telling the driver that I came walking there from Marigot. She told the driver the name of the hotel where I was staying. The driver took me right to the door of the hotel. There are a lot of good people around!

Jalus