From the Host`s Point of View – Meeting in Szczecin- March 2017

In March I took part in an Erasmus+ project. Our school hosted 12 students from 6 different countries- Finland, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Italy and England, I got a girl from the UK, Hannah. I really enjoyed getting to know her. Everyday we had something else planned. We did so many great activities, but I still feel like we didn’t get to show them everything.
It’s a shame that the exchange was so short because there were so many students- it was hard to get know all of them.

Wiktoria, Daria, Weronika, Ola, Karolina and myself were the organizers of the free time for out guests. It was hard to find things to do that everyone could enjoy, but I think all worked well enough. It was a very interesting experience.
On Saturday the students arrived. They got here at different times so we all met (but not the Spaniards who arrived at night) in the evening, we did some shopping in the “Galeria Kaskada”. During the day me and Hannah went for a walk around Mierzyn, we watched some TV – we just tried to get to know each other.
On Sunday we went sightseeing. We saw the National and Art Museums, Wały Chrobrego, Filharmonia- we just wandered in Szczecin. Sadly it was raining all day but we still were having fun. Later that day we went bowling which was very fun, too.

During the week we were at school from 9 a.m. to around 2 p.m. We played some get-together games, had some classes, wrote a song, made posters, had a debate and did a lot of other great stuff. I especially enjoyed the lunch we had on Monday where we could try some traditional food from all over Europe. There were delicious olives from Spain, almonds form Portugal, meat from Croatia, cheese from Sicily. crossbuns from England and reindeer pate from Finland.
Overall I loved the project a lot. I had a great opportunity to have some great new experiences and meet amazing people. I would love to take part in other projects like this. It’s a lot of hard work to do but it’s worth it.

Karolina Pacholska

Our adventure by Karla Erdelji, Croatia

Our adventure

Our adventure started in the middle of the night, after a pleasant drive to Budapest from where we took a plane to Warsaw and then to Szczecin. To make things a little bit more interesting, a metal detector made that annoying sound while I was going through airport security. Already a little bit tired, we landed in Szczecin, and the Polish weather welcomed us with a heavy shower. We soon met the families who were going to be our hosts during our stay in Szczecin. My family was great and they did everything for me in order to feel good. The adventure went on when we went to the host school and met all other children from Spain, Italy, Finland, Portugal, Great Britain and Poland. Every day we had all sorts of workshops which helped us learn more about diversities of our countries. We had debates, we wrote a song, we created banners, we had a quiz on the debate and we tried delious food from other countries at European lunch. Every day our activities started at 9 o’clock and we ended around two in the afternoon, which means that we really worked a lot during our stay in Poland. The hosts did their best to organize the rest of the day as well. We went bowling, we played billiards, we visited museums and shopping malls. We had a lunch in a real Polish bar. One of the students organized a great farewell barbecue party in her own garden. I spoke English all the time and it felt so good. My English teacher would surely be proud of me. Days spent in Poland will always stay in my memory as a great experience. I made new friends and I learnt a lot about other cultures and countries. I believe we succeded in presenting our school, town and country in the best possible way.  My host family invited me for another visit. A similar invitation came from my new Spanish friend, too. And finally I must say that I tried the best ice cream in the whole world. It was on the 22nd floor of a building from which the whole Szczecin was lying in front of me. Priceless…

 

Karla Erdelji, 8th class

Osnovna škola Višnjevac, Croatia

Visiting Szczecin by Helena Andrašek, Croatia

Visiting Szczecin

My visit to Poland was fantastic. I met new people, different cultures and customs, I visited many interesting places… It was an incredible experience that I will always remember.

Our trip started on Saturday, 18 March at 2 a.m.! We drove by car to Budapest and then waited for a plane for Warsaw, where we took another plane for Szczecin. Our new families welcomed us warmly. I spent that afternoon in the pleasant company of my host and a new roommate Gabrijela and her friends. Next day Gabrijela took me for a sightseeing. I had a nice time with her family. We also met all other students who took part in Erasmus Plus project and went bowling. This was the beginning of our friendship.

Monday was the first day at school. We had all sorts of interesting activities there. The thing I liked best was the European lunch. We had a chance to try various specialties from Poland, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Italy, Great Britain and of course, kulen from Croatia. At the end of the day we went trampoline jumping. I found out that it is a very popular sport in Szczecin.

Tuesday: a new morning, a new day in front of us! We wrote the music and the text for our song about migrants and we practised singing it. We visited the underground shelter built during the World War II. There I learnt many interesting facts about world and Polish history.

Wednesday was the day when we became „famous“. We were on Polish TV! The TV crew came to school and made a short story about us while we were making the banner of the project. We used a large surface to write messages to migrant children, in which we wished all of them all the best in their future life and sent the messages of encouragement. We wanted them to know that we think a lot about them.

We had a debate in the European Youth Parliament on the topic „Migrants vs Hosts“. This debate brought us even closer together, although our opinions were not the same all the time.

We also prepared a role play in which every team presented their country. Karla and I presented our Croatia and at the end everybody was dancing our Croatian kolo.

And then came Thursday! Already?! During that day we created posters whose aim was to show all our activites and to remind us of our friendship during the five days. We presented the posters to our teachers and got a big applaus for that.

That evening I had to say goodbye to my new family who gave me a lot of beautiful presents to bring back home. On Friday early in the morning, full of impressions, we started our trip back to Croatia.

I will always remember so many nice things from Szczecin: the shopping malls, candy factory, barbecue, games, sports, fun. All of that brought us together and I know that it is an unforgettable experience.

I believe that this kind of a project is perfect for all the people who are ready to learn something new, who want to meet new friends and who like travelling. I learnt a lot about various cultures, people, customs, I met many new friends, I improved my English and I got a different perspective of some problems. I am very happy and proud to be a part of this project and I think that even more effort, money and attention should be devoted to such projects. They improve our young people, and the young people are our future. It is the future with a lot of new ideas and different opinions. I’m looking forward to staying in touch with my new European friends and I really hope that we will keep visiting each other even when this project comes to its end.

Helena Andrašek, 8th class

Osnovna škola Višnjevac, Croatia

My amazing experience in Birmingham by Joana Bourbon

My experience started with a looooong trip that involved travelling by coach, subway, plane and train. I don’t have to mention that it took us forever to get to our final destination!

On the first day, I met some of the teachers from the several other countries and my amazing host, Aneta, and her cosy house. We started off with talking and getting to know one another and we instantly clicked.

The next day, because I had been in a different country before, I didn’t feel nervous. Sometimes the accent was so “thick”, I couldn’t understand much, but I got through it pretty fast. That morning, Aneta and I met up with her friends Jack and Shona and their buddies Daria and Klaudia from Poland.

We all went to the mall together and had a great time! After an amazing morning and a great afternoon, we all went to Jack’s and played pool and laughed as if we had always been friends (and from now on, I hope we always will). That night, due to the excitement, I didn’t sleep much, though I knew the next day we would be going to the school.

On Monday, after we met all these fantastic people from “all over” Europe, we got to attend some of the classes our hosts had. The classes were superb just because we don’t have that kind of lessons: from media to health! But the most amazing one was the artwork where we had some very interesting conversations with a tasty lunch in-between.

After school ended, we got to watch the rehearsal of the school play, “Cinderella”, which involves a big and talented group of people. That night we went laser quest and that was really fun for everyone, I think!

The next day was our trip to London and although that meant Aneta and I had to get up super early, we were all really excited to go to London and see the Houses of Parliament.

To say London exceeded my expectations would be an understatement! It was great both since we got to talk a lot and we learned a ton.

The end of that day was really sad, because of the simple reason that we wouldn’t see each other the next day and the friendships we had created those days might fade away. If it is up to me it won’t and now I know I have a home and 2 pairs of open arms to take me in and I am very thankful for that because if any of them decides to come to Portugal I will happily do the same!

Bring food special those amazing cupcakes Marin!!!

My experience in Birmingham by Filipa Alves

The first time I heard about the Erasmus+ KA2 project – Embrace – I knew I wanted to participate in the project. So, I did! And I don’t regret even for a second, it has been a fantastic experience so far, especially the learning event which took part in Birmingham, UK.
I must confess that the trip was exhaustive, but it was also very exciting! When I found myself for the first time on a plane, and later in a foreign country, I couldn’t believe it, they were all new experiences to me.
The night I arrived in Birmingham, I met Mr. McCarthy, who is a teacher, and his wife Mrs. McCarthy. They were my hosts for the next few days! When we got to their house, I met their beautiful family as well as Luisa, an Italian student they were also hosting.
I only met my “Erasmus Buddy” the next day, her name is Hannah and she’s great!

Along with her sister, she showed me the city and then we went to the Bullring shopping mall to buy some souvenirs. I loved meeting her and all her family, they were really caring.
Next day Mr. McCarthy took me to Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School where he teaches were, Hannah and the other people involved in the project were. Everyone was truly friendly.
First Hannah showed me the school which is really big. I found that the little boxes they have in the hall and where the students can insert anonymous ideas on how to make the school better or point any change that they think should happen particularly interesting. After the school tour, we watched the Junior Parliament, where the pupils present their ideas and discuss about what they would like to change in school in order to feel more comfortable and learn better. Then I went with Hannah to her math class. After lunch, we had an art class which was amazing because we could show how creative we are.
Tuesday everyone was very excited to go to London, including me. We first visited the Houses of Parliament that is the centre of the political life in the UK, then we were able to see very famous places like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Eye and others.
The trip was coming to the end, so, back to Birmingham we all said goodbye to each other and everyone followed their way home the next day.
It was an amazing and enriching experience which I hope to repeat and I recommend it to everyone who’s willing to have fun, meet new people, places and learn at the same time.

Artwork in Birmingham

Below is a video showing artwork created by the students when on the trip to Birmingham, England in November 2015. Thank you to Mr. M. Morris who helped the students and created the video.

My experience in Birmimgham

Hi, I’m Sergio and I am going to talk about my experience in Birmingham, England.
The daily life in Birmingham is very different, because they organize very well; they know who has to do what in every moment. The house isn´t very big but neither it’s mine, they have a normal house. Their house is very beautiful and it´s very well organized.
The weather is horrible because it’s very cold. I prefer the Spanish weather but I managed to bear the cold of Birmingham.
They have a very beautiful school but I think that it’s too big for me. I also prefer my timetable because I go to my house at 2:15 p.m and it’s better for me. Some subjects are very interesting and very enjoyable. The school rules are simple and similar to Spanish schools. The English teachers are very good and very friendly.
In Birmingham the tradition is to have a big breakfast with milk, cereals, sausages, etc.
The family is formed by the parents, Annie and Russell, the two sons, the young son, Jack and the old son, James. They have a dog, Maise, very beautiful. They are incredible.
I’ve enjoyed a lot, I am very lucky and this experience has been incredible. I recommend this kind of trip because it’s unforgettable.
I want to express my thanks for the Erasmus + project and thanks to my secondary school for giving me this opportunity, I would have never imagined that I would go to England, I’m very thankful.
I made lots of friends in England, Portuguese friends, English friends, Italian friends, Croatian friends, Polish friends and Finnish friends. They are incredible and really nice.

Sergio Barquero

Erasmus visit to Birmingham – a host’s review

Erasmus visit to Birmingham by Jack Hanley  
I took part in this Erasmus Project and acted as a buddy to Daria from Poland. This is the fourth time I have taken part in an Erasmus project and it was just as s on the previous times.
Sunday – Met up with Daria who was staying with my friend James. We then met up with my friends who were also hosting/buddying with guests from Poland and Portugal.   We went up to Solihull shopping centre and spent a day shopping, which the guests loved as they didn’t have a lot of the shops we have in Solihull.   We then went for something to eat.   Following that we all went back to my house and I taught everyone how to play ‘Pool’.   We all had a very nice time as the day allowed the guests to get to know each other and to get to know all of us very well.
Monday – James bought Daria to school and I met up with them. Daria stayed with me for the duration of the day.   We all met up (the English and the guests) in the library and played some games to get to know each other’s names and a little bit about each other.   We then all split off into smaller groups and my friend Aneta and I showed our guests around our school, their teachers also came along.   They seemed to like the school and noted that they don’t have the space/facilities that we have at Ilsley.   This was an interesting perspective.   Following the tour, all the guests and English hosts attended our school pupil Parliament.   This is a group of nominated students who represent their peers’ concerns by raising them to the senior leadership team of the school.   The guests all seemed very interested and their teachers liked our format of the pupil parliament and wanted to take this idea back to their schools.

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Then Daria and I went to my media lesson, she seemed to like this subject.   We then had a 2-hour Art workshop to create something which we thought represented the word Embrace.   We drew a love heart into clay as we thought this was the most suitable symbol for the word Embrace.
After school, I took the guests to our rehearsals for the school pantomime “Cinderella”.    After that, we all went to Laser quest which the guests enjoyed as they had never experienced it before.
Tuesday – Started At 5am.   We arrived at school for around 5.45am and left on the coach for 6am and headed down to London.   We arrived in London for 10am and made our way straight for the Houses of Parliament.   We had a tour around Parliament and even had the opportunity to see a live session at the House of Commons. Everybody was impressed by it.   After this, we were given a tour around some of the main monuments/attractions in London such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and The Mall.   This was a great experience for not only the guests, but also for some of the English students who had not visited London before.

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We had lunch and started our return journey on the coach.   The traffic was horrendous so we started to play music and had a ‘sing song’ on the coach.   Everybody joined.    We had fun.    Arriving back at school around 8pm, everybody was tired.
Wednesday – Daria stayed with me throughout the morning as her flight was later in the afternoon.   She stayed with me for 2 lessons and then her teachers came and picked her up along with her friend.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this project as it allowed me to make new friends and talk to people in my own school to whom I wouldn’t normally have spoken to.
I would thoroughly recommend that students at Ilsley get involved with this project or something similar as; you make lots of new friends that will be potentially for life and you can meet new people and get to understand how they live and what is similar in our lives to theirs and what is different.   It allows you to also get to know people in your school community whom you would not normally get on with or talk to.   It is a great project which will leave you with memories which you will remember forever.
Some Photos of the trip:

 

 

My experience during the Erasmus project by Sofi Haroon

I took part in the EMBRACE / Erasmus project this year and honestly, it was one of the best things I have ever done.

When I first heard of it, I didn’t think it was going to be interesting but I took the chance and told Miss Saggu I wanted to help out. When I got the profile of my buddy, Marin, I was kind of scared that he wouldn’t like me.  However, when I met him he was very polite and we went to walk around the city centre.  He said he had thoroughly enjoyed the day and I was very pleased that he was really nice; it was a fantastic opportunity to bond a little and to get to know each other.

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When we went into school on the Monday, we got to know all the other visitors as well as the people we already knew. This was great because I hadn’t really talked to anyone older than me before at school.   I got to know people older than me, including 6th formers. Initially, whilst we were in the library, we all did some ice-breaker activities to learn more about each other  – such as their favourite colour, their hobbies (even though Callum didn’t have any!) and about their family. We took the guests on a tour around the school and they told us how different our school was for them, as they don’t have a swimming pool, a pupil parliament  WP_20161107_10_22_27_Proor some of the other facilities we enjoy.   After school, we went to the laser quest and that definitely helped us to become closer as a group. It was such a good experience as it involved us doing teamwork.

We had the opportunity to go London on the Tuesday – something I was looking forward to very much.

On Tuesday, we went to London and it was absolutely amazing! We had a tour of the Houses of Parliament and it was quite an exciting experience as we got to watch a live debate in the House of Commons.

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We had a walking tour of a little bit of London from Miss O’Connor and I learned so many things, it was great.  We had lunch and it was honestly probably one of the best parts of the day!

When we were on our way back to Birmingham, we stopped at a service station and I was surprised that it had so many shops!

We finally arrived back in Birmingham and I was exhausted but I enjoyed the day and I’ll always keep memories of it.    Fortunately, I did take a lot of pictures. The coach ride was the best part of the Erasmus project for me and we all had laughs, giggles and fun.

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We were very lucky that Jack had brought his speaker as we could all listen to music -however Callum had been complaining that he couldn’t hear the music for most of the time!

I would definitely recommend the Erasmus project to anyone who has the chance to host/buddy as you can learn a lot of things from doing it. Also it gives you a chance to speak to people you have never spoken to before.