AC 2022
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Björn Sterner, the principal, and Sheila Nordstrom, teacher in charge of relations with the delegations .


These two architects of the 15th version of Christmas in Europe made no secret of their satisfaction, since the final strait of the marathon was already in sight at around 1.00 pm on December 13th! They were sitting in an annex of the training restaurant, where in fact Björn had been in charge before becoming the boss of the hospitality department of the Virginska Skolan, and the Björn-Sheila twosome answered my questions without hesitation.

‘We decided to take on the task a year ago, and the organisation of Christmas in Europe was the opportunity for our department to involve a large number of students. This is what we wanted to do. Obviously we began way back in April 2006 by making a list of all we needed to do, and it was our final year students who set up the various parts of the project. A total of around 200 students were involved! And the problem was that the teachers had to wait for the students!’
Sheila interrupted to say that she hadn’t been able to wait because, as the teacher in charge of relations with the various schools, she needed to know who was coming and how to organise the accommodation and transfers and so forth.
Thus each part of the programme was handled by a small group of students under the guidance of a teacher. ‘But,’ continued Björn, I am very pleased even though like everyone else, I’m a little tired. This has been an amazing experience and I didn’t think it would be so intense. The challenge for us has been to go ahead and carry out the organisation even though schools were sometimes late in replying.

And how do you manage to stay within your budget?

Björn answers this very direct question without hesitation: ‘Yes, it’s a problem. We didn’t find enough sponsors. So the school has to find the money for the rest.’
Even if this matter has caused some difficulty, both Björn and Sheila are generous in their praise for their students who have coped brilliantly in every area, including the hundred or so students with handicaps. And both of them are delighted abut the success of the exhibition. ‘More than 1,600 students from Orebrö and the surrounding region came to visit the exhibition, and lots of teachers have congratulated us’, adds Sheila. ‘All in all the Orebrö Christmas in Europe has also been a very good thing for the reputation of the Virginska Skola’ adds Björn with a broad smile, ‘And the students are proud and happy. So are we!...’

Egidio Cangiotti

Egidio is a culinary arts teacher from Senigallia (Italy), tasking part in Christmas in Europe for the first time. With his typically Italian brio he says, ‘It’s a unique experience. I’m very happy to be here. I’ve seen a lot of countries, the typical regional stands, Christmas dishes. I’ve tasted a little of everything. We’ve made contact with colleagues from other countries – this is so important for me and my students…’

Donald Vogli

Donald is a hotel and tourism student from Tirana (Albania) and this is his first time in Sweden. ‘It’s fantastic, it’s a great opportunity and a unique experience. It’s a good chance to see and meet other young people from other countries. I also work in the Tirana Sheraton and I’d like to open my country up to tourism…’

Sébastien Dumas

Sébastien is a student in the restaurant service department at the Marseille hotel school in France; with his provençal costume and his ‘galoubet’ (a little flute with a distinctive sound) he has provided part of the entertainment. ‘I really liked the exhibition and everything that has happened here. I like the exchange of cultures and traditions. And speaking and hearing all this languages. A really loved the European buffet with all these regional specialities, and I also loved having conversations with my colleagues from other countries. And then it was fantastically well organised. Yes, it’s been a great experience for me.

Tania Binder

Tania is a student from the Semmering hotel school which is lined up for the 2007 Christmas in Europe. She is sitting with her friends on the benches of the great hall, awaiting the arrival of Santa Lucia. She also thinks that ‘There are lots of good things about this Christmas in Europe event: we make new friends from the students in other schools, we can compare how all these different schools operate, and we discover different cultures in other countries…’
3rd to 5th December 2018 in Riga
3rd to 5th December 2017 in Fátima
5th to 7th December 2018 in San Benedetto
2nd to 5th December 2015 in Diekirch

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