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Human Stories: Future Glories Erasmus exchange in Ares, Galicia, Spain

Published by Katarzyna Sarbak — one month ago

Blog: Life-changing experience
Tags: General


After mobility in Porto I had another occasion to feel Erasmus spirit on the Atlantic coast. This time it was Erasmus youth exchange organized by Ticket2Europe organization (You can find them on Facebook: @ticket2europe). It lasted around 10 days, but it will stay in my memory forever.

When you think about Spain which region is the first one you think about? Probably not Galicia - the region in the Nortwest of Spain with breathtaking nature and interesting culture. It's worth to mention that Galician seafood is known worldwide as one of the best in the world! Our exchange took place in Ares, in province of A Coruña. This is the most North-western province of Spain surrounded by Atlantic Ocean to the West and North.

The main aim of the project was to deepen our knowledge about 'storytelling' in the background of international and intergenerational cooperation. In the programme there were participants from participants Poland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

Every day we had a few sessions where we could increase our knowledge. During activities we learnt how to be a perfect storyteller and how to express the stories using various methods. Some of the activities were particularly unforgettable for us. One of them was dividing us in national teams and showing our culture to children at local school by short perfromances. Either participants and children had really enjoyed this day. The other day, during on of the sessions we were supposed to do a few tasks one after another. We shared with some chosen participants some personal things about our lives, what really connected us as a team. After this exercise we increased our awareness about vulnerability. The most memorable activity, at least for me, was sharing the stories with other participants of the project with obligation to answer the question 'What makes you you?'. We experienced many thoughtful moments and realized that there are many things that differentiate us: the culture, the quality of living,  past...but for all of us the same values are the most important.

In the end of the project, there was final event for local people from Ares. The days before we could meet with interesting elderly who told us exciting stories about their lives. Our task was to divide into groups and show their stories by different methods (among others: silent theater with the music from the storytellers, performance with the actors coming to the stage from the audience, visualisation and photo exhibition). We learnt that there are so many ways to express what we want to say. At the event there came around 200-300 people (and Ares has less that 6000 of citizens). Besides our perfomances there were shown typical Galician dances and music, famous Galician singer and lot more. I will never forget the touching moment, when Carmen (the lady whose story my group showed) called me and gave me the bracelette with owl. She explained to me that it will bring me luck and this symbol is really popular in Galicia.

Besides classes we had some time to have fun and find out more about Galicia and each others' cultures as well. The example were international nights. There were some quizes about different countries, typical dances and a loooot of food. One of the days, organizators prepared for us something really special as. They separated us into groups and gave us opportunity to spend the evening with local Galician families. We have tried some delicious food for the first time in our lives. I had occasion to try the typical Galician dish 'Pulpo a gallega' - octopus with spices. (To be honest, few years ago it would have been totally out of the question...but if you haven't tried I highly recommend!).

During exchange we had one totally "free day". Thanks to local government (Deputacion da Coruña, Mancomunidade de Ferrol) we had opportunity to visit interesting and beautiful places around the province. The most awaited and exciting moment of the day was surfing lesson in the Pantin (thank you Pantin Surf Camp!), one out of five top places to do this sport in Spain! I have tried this difficult sport in Porto and in Pantin I could again realize how strong is the power of ocean (my body realized as well!). After surfing we had a guided tour Santo in André de Teixido - the village located on cliffs (highest in continental Europe). The quide told us that there is popular saying in Galicia: "A San Andrés de Teixido vai de morto o que non vai de vivo”, (“If you don’t go to San Andrés de Teixido in your life, you will go after death). Well, we agree!

In conclusion, I can say that taking part in this project was unforgettable experience for me. It was totally another Erasmus experience from the one that I have had before but equally as wonderful. I can reconmmend the hosting organization to all of you and Galicia of course as well.

Once Erasmus always Erasmus! <3

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