Dutch sports academy students in Prespa

Every year, as part of their internship, students from the ROC Nijmegen sports academy travel abroad with the aim of seeing first-hand how sports are taught in schools in other countries. In 2023, 90 students traveled to Spain, America, Curaçao, the Philippines and Greece.
So, at the beginning of June, 22 Dutch students, from 17 to 20 years old, stayed in Prespa for a fortnight, visited schools, attended sports clubs and organized a football tournament for young and old in the village of Agios Germanos.

Visit of the group of students to the Primary School of St. German

It sounds strange that a gymnastics academy from Nijmegen in the Netherlands organizes an internship for its students in Prespa.
How is such a collaboration born? The choice of the area was not random at all.

It all started in 2013 when Dutch goose expert Berend Vorslamber, who worked with the Society for the Protection of Prespa, had the idea to introduce the area to his friends.

Carla Jansen in a recent visit in Prespa

Carla and Gerrit Jansen fell in love with the area and started from 2014 bringing twice a year groups of Dutch people, who got to know the Prespa National Park by walking the trails, tasting local flavors and learning about the uniqueness of its nature. The Jansens’ visits lasted for four years. The couple managed to convey their love for Prespa not only to their friends and acquaintances, but also to their own family.


Training with the junior team Shooters

From 2018 onwards, their daughter, Gerdien Jansen, continued the tradition, but giving another dimension to the purpose of the trip: self-healing and meditation. The project was a great success, as the nature and tranquility of Prespa is ideal for relaxation and concentration.

We are slowly reaching the solution of the mystery!

Carla and Gerrit’s second daughter, Maaike, is a responsible PE teacher at the ROC Nijmegen academy. Although she had never been to Prespa herself, from the stories of her parents and sister, she was excited. So she decided to put Prespa in the choices of her students as a destination for practice.
The students spent a very creative fortnight, training in ideal weather conditions – it is known that the mild summer climate of areas like Prespa favors sports activities, next to hospitable people and in the embrace of the unique nature of Prespa.
Their legacy to the local community was the daily rendezvous of the locals at the municipal stadium of Ag. German for football. Every day at 18.00 adults and children gathered until the end of August and played the beloved sport together.

Students and residents of Prespa in a football match

The appointment with the academy was renewed for 2024, with the hope that this collaboration will also lead to another equally fruitful and unique one.