Tamara Marcijasz (Olympia Gymnastic Sports) is partway through her 6-month scholarship at Ollerup—read on to hear about some of her adventures so far.
“122 days have passed since I first arrived at Ollerup Gymnastikhojskolen, and this time has flown by in the blink of an eye. We have gone through events such as Fastelavn (Northern European carnival tradition), a week-long ski trip to Norway, an intercultural celebration day, and the Megamix gymnastics performance event, as well as a couple of weekend trips to Copenhagen with my good friend Lauren (from Australia).
The Norway ski trip at the Trysil Ski Resort was probably the biggest highlight of my semester here. It was an 11-hour bus ride to Trysil, where we stayed in cabins of 8-15 other students. This was a really good opportunity to meet other people from the school that we may not have talked much with before!
The temperatures in Trysil got as cold as -20 degrees Celsius. This was a big shock to me and some of my other international friends who are definitely not used to temperatures this cold, but the Scandinavians are so used to it that they didn’t think twice about this weather- especially the Norwegians!
I have only skied twice in my life, and so I was in the second beginner group. We had two amazing teachers who were very patient and careful with us, but also knew when we could push our limits and go outside of our comfort zones. At the start of the week, we were nervously skiing down the green slopes (the easiest ones), but by the end of the week, we were speeding down the red slopes (the second hardest ones). The amount of improvement I made in that week definitely shocked me and helped me realise how capable I am of learning new skills when I really put my mind to it.
By the end of the trip, we were all so sore, tired, and cold, and I’m sure most of us slept for the whole bus ride back to Ollerup. We drove through the night and arrived back at around 6 in the morning. After coming back from Norway, we all noticed that the vibe at the school had changed. Everyone now felt closer to each other and the community environment was definitely strengthened. It was the experience of a lifetime and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity!!
If I was to say the main lesson I have learned while being a student at Ollerup, it would be to always remain curious; about other people, new experiences, and how things work in the world around you. Being curious has helped me to make new friends from all over the world, with some of my closest friends here being from Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Iceland, the Czech Republic, and Guatemala, just to name a few. I will now have these connections with these amazing people from different parts of the globe for the rest of my life, and a place to stay if I happen to visit these countries, which I am so grateful for. Being curious also helped me to learn about a whole new type of gymnastics- Danish performance gymnastics. This consists of teams doing performances to music, which include tumbling, trampette, and rhythmical dancing (sometimes with clubs, hoops, or other props). The team wears performance suits (as pictured above right).
This type of gymnastics is very different from what I’ve known, as there is no competing, judges, or scoring of any kind. Teams are simply performing for fun and to show off their jumping and dancing skills. It is such an inclusive and uplifting form of gymnastics where everyone can participate no matter their abilities, and although it is nerve-wracking to perform, there is no extra stress about scores and deductions. So far this semester I have performed in Denmark with the Ollerup team at the Megamix event in Herning and the Aspirantstævne event in Nykøbing Mors. In a couple of weeks, we will be performing again for a whole week in Germany!
As well as learning to be curious about the external world, I have also become curious about myself. While being over here I have begun to think a lot about what path I want to take in life and the type of person I want to be for myself, my family and friends, and my colleagues in current and future jobs. We have done a lot of thinking and exploring our life values and passions here at Ollerup, which I haven’t had a chance to think very deeply about before. I am definitely going to return to New Zealand with a much better idea of who I am, what values I want to live by, and what type of people I want to surround myself with, as well as a greater appreciation for the amazing country I come from and my family and friends that live there.
I am extremely grateful to Gymnastics New Zealand for this scholarship which allowed me to live in Denmark for these 6 months and experience all of these awesome things, and I am also very appreciative of everyone who supported me on my pathway to get to Ollerup and during the time I have been over here!“
Applications are now open for 2024 scholarships – if you’re interested in expanding your gymnastics coaching through a unique international experience, email us for more information. Applications close 1 September 2023.