Before anyone gets nervous, YES I STILL WORK AT HERNING GYMNASIUM! :-)
However, as most of you know, the Danish Ministry chose (last September) 3 schools to receive state funding to begin new IB Programs in Denmark... Although we had an INCREDIBLE application and a STRONG program already in the works, they chose to give the funding for the IB project to 3 cities other than Herning. So when this happened, I was in a FUNK... totally unsure of what I was supposed to do now as I had spent 18 months preparing this IB app, knowing that I was going to be the IB Coordinator for our campus. So one day in Sept 2010, I went to work as the IB Coordinator and that afternoon, I went home unsure of what I was supposed to do now. Teaching full-time would have been great with me (as I told my boss) but I still had this passion about International Education that I really felt like I needed to pursue....
So my boss asked me to sort of define my new job based on being an International Coordinator for the school... And even though I was in a deep, dark funk about the IB thing, I still had about a dozen ideas for International Projects at the Gymnasium level-- some that we were already doing and I wanted to build upon (like the Seattle project), but others that were just my brainstorm of what we COULD do!
during their sabbatical year ... It is VERY COMMON
that gymnasium students take a year off after graduation before going to the university.. in fact 98% of them do it. They travel, work abroad, etc... but many want to do things related to the field they will study once they start university.
Well, I have helped a few because it is a daunting task to even begin to find out what is available.....
So that made me think that I would like to run an International Student Center from the school that helps gymnasium students in our local area find programs they can apply to, help them do the application, help them find funding and then work with the Danish university to get them some sort of credit for these programs when they return to Denmark. I met with the College counselors here in Herning and they LOVED the idea (this was back in November 2010)...they said there was huge gap between what happens AFTER Gymnasium and BEFORE University... the students are sort of in a black hole with no real academic guidance and that if I could start something like this, every gymnasium in DK would want to copy it...
Anyway, I went back to my boss with the idea and he LOVED IT, however he said that since it was actually going to happen AFTER Gymnasium (even though they are applying during gymnasium), my salary and the center could not be paid for with our Gymnasium funds from the state... so he said for me to start looking at what funding options were out there....
So I was put in contact with Region Midtjylland. In DK we have 5 Regions... ours is "Middle Jutland" and covers from the east coast of Jutland to the west coast, to about an hour north of Herning to the Billund Airport region....so it is huge....
So I got busy writing (PÅ DANSK, of course) and thankfully had two wonderful colleagues that helped with all the technical things that needed to be perfect.... however our representative from the Region had an idea... He suggested that instead of serving gymnasiums only in our local area (Herning-Ikask/Brande), he wanted to me to apply to be the Coordinator for the entire region and service all the gymnasiums in that area... Although I would "sit" in Herning at Herning Gymnasium, I would be the students' contact for the entire region...However I knew that funds from Region Midtjylland is what has helped to fund International Society, so I thought they might like something so globally focused.
Well, they did.
I went to a workshop in December to learn how to write the grant proposal (all på dansk, of course) and found out that there was a good chunk of money that could be applied for that would be divided out among the projects they chose to fund.
It sounded huge, but he said it was a necessary thing in our region and he knew that if I encompassed the whole area, we would have a good chance of being funded... So I did. I applied for money that could fund the center for 3 years, and the applications were due March 1.
The letter came last week, announcing that our application was approved and that
"Det Internationale Elevcenter i Midtjylland"
will be funded for the next three years, beginning in August.
So I wanted direction.... and now I DEFINITELY have it!
I cannot WAIT to get started!