It was a wonderful and proud day, when the box was delivered to Jørgen’s office. It was full of hot-off-the-presses copies of our very own book, ‘Jeg er glade for min nye land’ (literally: ‘I Like My New Country’). The book is IA Sprog’s celebration of the diversity of the North West neighbourhood of Copenhagen that we so enjoy being a part of.
‘Jeg er glade for min nye land’ is something we’ve been working on for more than a year and the result of determined fundraising, hard work, long nights and last but not least, IA Sprog’s wonderful students who were so willing to share their experiences
The whole thing started with birdcalls – since IA Sprog is located on Vibevej (‘Lapwing Street’), part of the so-called Bird Quarter, where all the streets are named after Danish birds. All Danes know that when you say, ‘The lapwing is coming’ you are referring to the coming of spring. But what types of stories do people tell about birds in other parts of the world?
We became curious about what type of birds our students might have stories about. As a part of pronunciation practice, we asked our students to talk about birds of their native countries. One thing lead to another, and Danmarks Radio (Danish public service radio) recorded a six-minute podcast with bird stories – listen here.
From the very beginning we were thrilled with the students’ ability to tell stories, and with the whimsical little bird stories that turned up from all around the world. From nightingales in Bangladesh to cheeky great tits in Iran to Uganda’s national bird. For us, the stories bore witness to the diversity of our school and to the enrichment of storytelling, and we thought they were simply too good to be forgotten.
That was the kickoff to a hectic time of fundraising and the collection of materials. Along with their usual, full time work, some of the teachers stubbornly wrote grant requests, got rejections – and wrote even more grant requests! We were able to raise enough money, and the rest of IA Sprog’s teachers got involved in collecting even more bird stories. The book was expanded with the students’ own recipes and short accounts of their first days in Denmark.
The book is not available for sale, but if you are interested in receiving a copy, please let us know.