~ Mark Twain
September 1 – I learned that I would fly to Portugal – the news was extraordinary. I could not believe it, that is would happen. My emotions from fear to the joy and excitement raged and did not give me sleep. With me went Kinga Trochanowicz and Michael Chełmniak , of course, our teachers Mrs. Ela Luczak and Mr. Janusz Olczak – Director.
On the night of 18 and 19 September at 03.05 we met at ourschool, from where the bus took us to the airport in Berlin. There briefing went smoothly and soon thereafter we boarded a plane to Brussels. In Brussels, waiting for the flight to Porto, we met our new friends from England. At first we were shy, but fortunately it did not last long.
Porto welcomed us with hot sun and the streets full of people. We ate dinner and went to explore the beautiful city. We could see wonderful, well-kept houses, where there were plenty of elegant patterns of mosaic on the fasades, and the breathtaking landscape. This was not the end of the exciting views. The road to Macedo de Cavaleiros etched in my memory the most. Endless curves and corners were effectively overshadowed by the panorama of Portugal countryside. Everywhere are hills, valleys and their olive groves and fields of vines, the grapes are doing the best wines known and exported all over the world. About 19 hours we were there. Our family collected me and we went to their home. The first evening I spent with “my family” at the festival ending the vacation.
In the center of town, you could hear traditional Portuguese music, which residents enjoyed a lot.
The first day at school was quite ordinary. Everyone simply went to their classroom, in which was waiting a teacher. Then we visited every place of the school. The building was large, with professionally equipped rooms. The gym was really huge! After the school sightseeing, we went to an international lunch, at which participants from different countries prepared typical snacks from their countries. The school day passed in a relaxing atmosphere.
The next day was spent at the lake Azibo. There, our international teachers prepared a surprise for us – singing us a song that they wrote themselves. The title ESBELENPOPOR contains the first letters of the names of the countries participating in the project. As it turned out, we had to learn not only to sing it , but also choreography to it. Joy and laughter was endless. Taking advantage of being together, we presented our national dances to each other.
Dominika Kowalska, Poland
My name is Tiago Barreira. After almost two hours thinking about what to write, I finally started with only one goal, to let you know how it is to be part of something so special as the Erasmus+ program!
I could write a lot about this program, flattering it and its organization, but what really matters are the experiences you get to live through it. For example, I, a simple Portuguese student, with the help of such a program managed to go to Belgium and spend a week there, and then, a year later I was hosting an exchange student in my own home. Actually I am here to tell you about that very same experience!
Receiving an exchange student is not easy. Don’t fool yourselves! It requires a lot of understanding and patience at first. And when I say a lot, it’s a lot! After all you are receiving in your own house, to be with you and your family for an entire week, a complete stranger that doesn´t even speak the same language as you. For you it can be easy, using English as a bridge, but what about your parents and the other people who can’t speak English? That can be a problem, don´t you think? Another difficult part is the initial communication, you have to be ready to be you giving all the first steps. I mean, think about it, he is the one who is far away from home, he is the one surrounded by strangers.
However, with great effort and cooperation, you will get past that part and that´s when one friendship is born. And believe me, it´s not any friendship! As I was saying, getting to that part may be difficult but once you get there, there´s no stopping you guys. You will start having lots of fun together, you will start talking for hours closed in your room, you will start having another sibling! And that’s exactly what happened to me!
So, being a part of something as special as an exchanging program changes your life forever, it makes you grow as a person, it makes you see that there´s more to life than the little world you live in, than the little world you know. Of course that another difficult part is when it gets to an end and you have to say goodbye. You will be far from each other but tell me, aren’t there a lot of means nowadays to overcome that?
Hi! I’m Lidia Parra Sanchez, I’m 16 years old and I will tell you what things I am doing in this Erasmus+ trip!
We had to wake up very early to be at the Alicante airport at half past eight. Alex and I bought a lot of mentos sweets, then took our plane at half past ten and it arrived to the Madrid airport at half past eleven more or less. It was a nice and short flight. Then we stayed four hours at the Madrid airport, we ate there, talked, saw several shops,…Our flight to Oporto took off at half past four and since Portugal is one hour behind us, we arrived there at half past four, too. After that we took two buses with the Belgian students and teachers and finally we arrived at half past eight to Macedo de Cavaleiros. We had a good journey but we were very tired.
When we arrived we went with our hosts. My host is Marta Gonçalves, she’s 15 years old and very nice. I had dinner in her grandparents’ house, then I left my baggage in her house, gave her family and her some presents, ate a bit of birthday cake(it was her little brother’s birthday) and went out. We stayed all the night with rest of student and hosts, we met us although I had already known some of them. Like Chandni, the girl who was my English host, it was amazing to see her again!! We went to two cafés and it was good but it was too cold for me.
Finally, we came back home at twelve more or less and went to bed. It was a long and great first day of my trip.
I woke up at ten more or less and I stayed at home all the morning. I had breakfast, had a shower and at one we had lunch.
Then Marta, her brother, mum and uncle and me went to Podence to visit a museum of caretos which are the people who dress up with a type of special and strange clothes, masks and sticks in carnival; it’s a portuguese tradition. After that we went to Bragança and there we met Chandni and her host Joana and Ceryl and his host Eurico and we visited a castle, a church and another caretos’ museum. We also went to the praia fluvial da ribeira in the Albufera da Ocibo and had a cold drink in a bar. I took some awesome photos and had a good time.
Then we came back home and had dinner; his little brother went to a bar to see an important football match while we were listening some traditional portuguese music. When the match finished we walked around the village a bit and went to the bar to pick him up and stayed there a bit. After that we went home to sleep, it was a nice day.
We woke up at 7 o’clock and went to the school. I went to the P.E. and history lessons with Marta and also took one school card for me. After that, the erasmus students did an interview where we answered some questions about us.
Then, we visited the school in groups, I was with Marta, Michael and his host Tiago and the spanish teachers. I liked a lot that school, there’s one game room!! And a tv with music videos in the café!
After the visit, we did the international lunch, it was cool to taste food from other countries. We ate a lot and when we finished the portuguese teachers gave us a bag with things like a notebook, a pen or a cap.
Then, we did a quiz with an app called “kahoot”, we had to choose the correct answer to some questions and the one who more correct answers choose win, I was the second. Then we had to make a quiz of five questions in groups, my group did a quiz about music and after that we did the quizs of the other groups. We had a really good time with this app.
Then, at 6 more or less some of the people went to their houses. I went with my host, Dominika and her host Ana and two friends of our hosts called Mariana and Lara to two shops of souvenirs and we walked around the town a bit. I saw the hospital, the church, a fountain,…
After that, we went with the rest of the people to have dinner in a restaurant, I had a delicious sandwich. Then we went to a bar and had a good time there, we talked and laughed a lot together, we became good friends.
Finally, we went home at twelve more or less, I had a shower and went to bed. It was a fabulous day because we were all together.
We woke up at 8 and went to the school. There, the erasmus students and teachers went to a lake, the place was called Albufeira do Azibo. It was a bit cold because of the wind but it was very very beautiful. We took a lot of awesome photos; sang and danced “sumsare”, a song that the teachers invented; ate the rest of the international lunch,etc. We enjoyed a lot there.
When we came back, I went with Marta, Dominika, Ana, Chandni, Joana, Mariana and Lara to walk around the town and to the supermarket. Then, we went with the others; we went to a café and I tasted the empadas. We had fun for the last time together because at 6 more or less Ana, Dominika, Mariana, Lara, my host and me went to the Ana’s house. I was very sad, I didn’t want to say good bye to the amazing people I had known but at least I enjoyed the night with these girls. Ana’s house was in the mountain, so we climbed until the top and took lots of photos. After that, Eurico and Cyril came and we had roast chicken with chips, rice and salad for dinner. It was delicious, it’s a typical dish there; and we also had créme brulée and arroz-doce for dessert. Then we had to come back home so I said sadly good bye to everybody and went. In the house I took some presents from my host family, they are so cute; packed my things, had a shower and went to sleep. It was a good last day, maybe too short, I want to stay more time with those incredible people.
I woke up at 7 and went to the bus stop at 8, I said good bye to Alex’s host, Marta, her mother and her little and cute sister and brother. Then we went to oporto by bus. When I saw that city I fell in live with it, it’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The place where the river and the bridges are is just perfect. We had some hours to visit this city so we did a tour by motoreta and we saw the most important places like the cathedral or an important library while the driver was telling us interesting things about Oporto.
After that, we had a quick lunch and went to the airport where we took the plane at five. We arrived to madrid at seven and I bought an awesome cologne in Victoria’s secret! Then Alex and I saw a not very famous spanish actor and we had mcdonald’s food for dinner. We took the plane to alicante at half past nine and when we arrived there our parents picked us up and went home. I arrived late, so I was tired but also happy for have lived this experience, I enjoyed a lot and met so amazing people, I hope I’ll be able to see them again and to repeat a trip like this!! Thanks Erasmus!!
-First day: Saturday
First day we were traveling all day, first we caught a plane in Alicante, to go to Madrid, there we spent four hours waiting for our plane to go to Porto, when we got there we took a bus to Macedo de Cavaleiros. It was almost three hours of travel, we finally arrived in the evening, and there I went home with my host: it was a very large house that was in the mountains. And despite being very late after dinner, we went into town for a walk with everyone else.
-Second day: Sunday
The next day I wake up late, when I wake up and had breakfast I was playing video games with my host till lunchtime. In the afternoon we walked around the area where he lived, we swam in the pool, we went by bicycle, at night we went to watch the match of Port-Benfica, then we went back for dinner and finally we go went to town to hang out with the others.
-Third day: Monday
On Monday I had to get up early and I had to go to school, have breakfast and leave to school. When we arrived there the first class I had was calculation, which lasted almost two hours and after it a biology class. At the end of the lessons they showed us around the school and then we did the international meal in which all countries took typical food of their countries. Then we came home and we went to prepare for dinner at a restaurant with everyone else.
-Fourth day: Tuesday
The fourth day we did not go to school, because we hiked to a lake, we had to go by bus as it was at some distance. When we arrived there we walked along the lake to a picnic area. There was also a dock where we all sat down and then we had to sing a song that the teachers had written about de project. After that we went to eat and then shortly after we returned to the city. There we were walking around all together and finally we returned home to have dinner and since this was the last day we met again in the evening to say farewell.
-Fifth day: Wednesday
The fifth was the last day, early in the morning I had to prepare quickly to leave, because the bus arrived early at the bus stop, I said goodbye to my host and I went on the bus to Port. There, as the airport bus did not come out till two o’clock and it was twelve o’clock were we able walk around Port and visit famous places and monuments of the city. Then we took the bus to the airport and later the plane to Madrid. There we were waiting two hours to take the plane to Alicante, we finally arrived at eleven o’clock in the evening in Alicante.
Alex Illán Pardo
I never thought having a person from another country in my house would be such an amazing experience.
Kinga Trochanowicz is the Poland girl I hosted. She is sixteen years old and I loved meeting her.
On the first day, Saturday in the afternoon, I picked up Kinga at the bus station and then we went home, I showed her my house and we had dinner. Then me and the rest of the people that were hosting somebody decided to meet and showed them the town.
We gathered together at school and then we went for a coffee and for me it was one of the best moments during those five days.
I had the chance to meet everyone and I spent a really good time and it was a lot of fun.
On Sunday morning, Kinga woke up really early because she was very excited to visit the region.
So we had breakfast and we decided to visit Barragem do Azibo, a fluvial beach in Macedo de Cavaleiros, in the morning. She loved it because she told me that she loves nature and she said that the Barragem do Azibo was beautiful.
We had lunch and then we visited Mirandela, a town near Macedo de Cavaleiros.
I showed her the most beautiful parts in Mirandela, the river and the park and we talked about a lot of things. I learnt a lot of things about Kinga and Poland.
In the end of the afternoon we went to my grandparent’s village and she met almost all my family. She tried some food she had never tried like “alheira” and I think she liked it.
On Monday morning we went to school and we showed all of them and their teachers our school. Then we had lunch in the library and it was really funny too, because there were tables from all the countries in the project and I tried a lot of food I’d never tried before. In the afternoon we all met to have dinner together and we spent a really good time too. After dinner we were together again and we went for a coffee. It was really nice.
On Tuesday morning all the teachers and students met in school and we visited Barragem do Azibo. We took a lot of pictures and we invented a dance for a song that the teachers created about our Erasmus+ project and that was really funny. After that we lunched and we spent some time there.
After that we came back to Macedo de Cavaleiros, we had a snack and we went to some stores so they could buy some gifts for their families.
And Wednesday was the saddest day. We all woke up really early and I left Kinga at the bus station.
This was an experience that I am going to keep forever in my memory. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be in my house.
Maria Vaz (Portugal)
I loved the experience of being a host to an exchange student because it helped me to see how other cultures live their day-to-day life.
I was so excited about the trip even though I wasn’t the one doing it, I spend days preparing so everything was perfect. By the time I went to pick Chandni at the bus stop I had all the minutes of the trip programmed.
After having my first vegetarian dinner ever, we went to the town to meet the others, where I met the group for the first time, we had a good time getting to know each other and joking about the different accents.
On Sunday we went on a little trip to a nearby city called Bragança to see the historical past there, it was a beautiful sunny day so we went to the dam, Azibo, for a coffee and a good photo.
On the first day of school we attended my History and English classes where we just did the normal things in class. At lunch we tried the traditional foods from all countries, which was terrifying but very good in most cases.
By the end of the day we already were inseparable, went all around the town together in a big group.
The next days were spent exploring the town and its surroundings. Singing and dancing, taking a lot of photos because after all we are from the 21st century. Lunch and a lot of selfies after that we were tired and full of cookies.
The hardest part for everyone were the goodbyes although at six in the morning we were feeling sick to the stomach to say goodbye but all these days after I still speak with Chandni and that’s all that matters.
I learn that a thing is to learn English at school and another one is to live with it on a daily basis.
Joana Bourbon (Portugal)
From 19th September to 23rd September I hosted Cyril, a Belgium friend I met virtually, when I decided to take part in the Erasmus+ programme.
Despite having chatted with Cyril for a month previous to the meeting, we didn’t know each other very well, the first contact was very informal, maybe because we both Portuguese and foreign were students very excited to be together.
After picking up my host at the bus station, we came home and our dinner had a typical Portuguese ingredient, codfish, which I can say Cyril loved. We finished with a Belgium biscuit Cyril brought.
The journey had been tiring to Cyril, so he went to sleep early, we would have the whole Saturday to enjoy each other’s company.
As indeed we did, in the morning I was his tourist guide in Macedo and in the afternoon we went to Azibo where we ate an ice cream and walked a little and then we proceeded to Bragança. There we met Marta, who hosted Lidia and Joana who hosted Chandni. We visited the Iberian Museum of Mask and Costume and the castle, where we climbed the tower.
Monday came, school stared for me, in the morning we went to classes until 10 am and then we took part in some activities organized by our teachers, such as the school visit, made by Portuguese students and the international lunch with food from all the five countries, Portugal, Spain, Poland, England and Belgium, a lot of delicious food that we spent about an hour and a half eating up. In the afternoon we did a cultural quiz and when we finished it we went to the city centre and had fun together, we came back home at night.
The last day came too quickly, Tuesday we went to Azibo again, but these time with the group, and despite the cold wind, we had an amazing day, since Tiago´s jokes to our song, “ESBELENPOPOR”, that although our floppy voice still sounds well. The day finished at Ana’s house, we had dinner with Ana, Missia, Lara, Mariana, Lidia and Marta.
Cyril left on Wednesday at daybreak but we still text each other.
Eurico Afonso (Portugal)
It was a very thoughtful decision, knowing that we had conditions and that would be an enriching experience, we said “yes” very quickly to the teacher’s invitation.We think it was an experience to repeat.
For five days I hosted Lydia, a Spanish girl who made this “task” of hosting someone much easier.
This experience began with the arrival of all students and teachers from other countries. I soon realized that my guest was very friendly and I got even more convinced that it would be a magnificent five days.
At home I showed her the rooms and explained that we needed to realize that the fact that we had to speak English whenever we wanted to talk to our guest was a big difference, and also the largest and perhaps the only difficulty. We always tried to make her feel as comfortable as possible and to enjoy this little stay at our house.
These five days coincided with the beginning of our school year, which made us take our new friends to our school. At the beginning, I did not find it very funny, because in addition to being in a new class, I was taking a foreigner with me … but as the day went by, all the activities became more interesting and fun.
During these days there were many activities, from visits and games to school everything was different and captivating.
This project allowed me to become friends with people from other countries, but also with colleagues from the same school who I had never spoken to before, and with this, I always try to keep in contact with everyone. I could also get to know the ways of life of foreign students, which in some aspects are quite different from ours. We shared a very nice international lunch, in which I could see the differences and similarities between meals of each country, this lunch also served to strengthen the most remarkable aspect in this project: the friendship created between hosts and guests, students and teachers.
Shortly …. A tough goodbye … Some longing ….
but the most important…
A wonderful encounter … New friendships … A great experience!