MY EXPERIENCE IN THE “ERASMUS +” PROJECT IN BIRMINGHAM, by Imane Fedda

 

On Saturday, we took the flight and it was my first time to get on a plane, so I was really scared, but after a while, I calmed down. When we arrived, we went to wait for the English hosts, Patricia´s host came at the moment but mine took a while to arrive. Mine is called Faye and she had taken also a Belgian one who´s called Sarah, at first sight I found them really nice. We went to her house and it was pretty big and beautiful. The most surprising thing is that she has eight cats! We immediately changed our clothes because we were going to the cinema. First, we went to eat pizza and after that we went to see “The Fifth Wave” which is a film about an alien invasion, I really loved the film. After that we went back home and I was so tired, so I quickly fell asleep.

On Sunday we went to town with some of Faye´s friends, they´re all so funny and we enjoyed the day together. We also went to the “Bullring” which is a huge shopping centre and I bought some CD´s from there. We also went to the canals and I took a lot of photos, it´s amazing. At night, we watched “Scream” which is a scary film, I´m afraid of horror films but Faye and Sarah love them, I was screaming all the time and they were laughing at me. They liked it a lot, I did not like it that much, lol!

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The Spanish students being interviewed by two British ones

On Monday we went to her school, it´s so big and all the students must wear uniforms, something that I hate so much because I can´t stand them. I finally met Patricia, I hadn´t seen her since Saturday, and she told me that on Sunday they went skiing in the snow, I wanted to go there so badly :´(. We went to the “Bullring” again with Patricia, Courtney, Sarah, Faye and me. I bought three perfumes for 24£ from “Victoria´s Secret” but, at the airport I couldn´t bring them to Spain with me because they exceeded 100ml.

On Tuesday we went to school in the morning and when it finished we went to the bowling alley and then to the laser games. We had dinner for the first time in Faye´s house and we ate spaghetti, Patricia and Courtney came with us to have dinner too. When they went back home, we went upstairs and we watched “Scream 2” but I couldn´t finish it because I got really scared and Faye changed the film to “Scary Movie” which is a parody of “Scream”.

On Wednesday we went to Stratford, where Shakespeare was born, I thought that we were going to visit his house but we walked through the town and it was better and funnier. Sarah bought some soaps and bath salts for her family but her best friend Thomas didn´t buy anything. We had lunch in a restaurant and we ate burgers, chips and nachos, it was really delicious. In the afternoon, we said “goodbye” to all with a lot of kisses and hugs and we all promised that we were going to see each other someday again. We went back to the airport and we took the flight at half past five more or less, we arrived in Spain at nine o´clock.

It was a great experience and I had a lot of good and unforgettable moments. I’m sure I’ll forget the strange ones. In general, I had good moments and I enjoyed travelling to England and visiting Birmingham, I found it a lovely town

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the Spanish and Belgian students with some of the British hosts

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Erasmus+ Exchange Review – Host

As an existing participant of the Erasmus+ programme this recent exchange trip, with me being the host was very enjoyable as it was different from the previous exchanges.  This time, the students visiting were from multiple countries rather than all being one nationality like the previous Spanish exchange we had had. However, I must say that this exchange was the best and a really enjoyable experience for me and just as much for the visitors, I am sure. During the visit we all learnt a lot about one another’s nationalities and cultures; for instance I myself learnt about the national symbol of Portugal – The Rooster of Barcelos which I received as a gift from my visiting student. (see image)

 

Throughout the week we all took part in various activities around the school such as arts & craft and also the students were given the opportunity to visit Birmingham as well as travelling to Stratford-Upon-Avon for a day trip, which sadly, I could not take part in. The students arrived on the Friday and Saturday all at varying times, this meant that we were able to spend the weekend with our students to do any activity of our choosing.  We also did activities after school like bowling and going out to restaurants such as pizza hut. A group of hosts and me met on several days with our students.   On one of the days, we took our students around the town centre to shop and to take pictures to remember their visit to Birmingham. We all enjoyed being together very much!

 

After we had got to know one another we realised that my new found friend and I had a lot in common, we shared a few interests such as music and films which resulted in us being able to get along easier. We had grown close to one another by the end of the trip and we were sad to have to leave one another.  However, I am certain that we will be seeing one another in the very near future. The Erasmus+ programme has blessed me with new friendships, an insight on foreign European cultures and has boosted my language skills, all of which I am very grateful for and would gladly repeat.

 

WHAT BRINGS FUN & WHAT FUN BRINGS SURVEY

1. Has this activity made you reflect on Happiness and Fun?

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2. Do you think it is important to reflect on these issues to be able to be happier?

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3. The activity has been:

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4. Have you been creative when designing the activity?

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5. Are you satisfied with the result / product?

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6. Have you used ICT to search for information or to carry out the product?

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7. Do you think we can be happier if we learn how to control our emotions?

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8. Rate this activity from 1 to 10.

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Average Rate = 8

9. Do you think it will help you face better any problems or difficulties that may arise in your life?

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Surveys Completed = 102

 

Birmingham – 23rd to 27th January 2016

Travel:

Journey to Birmingham: I took a plane from Oporto to London and then we got two different trains to Birmingham. It was a really tiring trip.

Journey from Birmingham: The trip was the same as the one to Birmingham but with the opposite direction even more stressful and exhausting.

First impressions: England is a multiracial country where everyone is extremely nice.

Landscape and climate: It was really cold but it was mostly sunny; the landscape is essentially composed by plains and some woodlands.

Houses (similarities/differences): The houses are really smaller than in Portugal and I could see lots of streets where all the houses were identical.

What did you do on Saturday? The plain left Oporto at 10am and, when we got to London, we quickly went to a train station where we caught a train to London Euston and then, after changing to another train and having a two hours trip, we finally got to Birmingham. The host families were already waiting for us at the station so I went home and, after dining, I went to bed because I was really tired.

 Best part of the day: Meeting the host family.JB

Worst part of the day: The long and stressful trip

Food and drink: Lasagne, garlic bread, past with tuna fish and a salad. To drink, I had Dr. Pepper.

What did you do on Sunday? I woke up and had breakfast and I went with my host, Callum, to the centre of the city where I met with some of his friends that were also hosting foreign students. We walked through the city and visited the Canals which are one of the most well-known things in Birmingham. In the evening, we came back home and, after having dinner, I went to bed.

Best part of the day: Visiting the Canals and playing FIFA 16.

Worst part of the day: Happily, it was a flawless day!JB_2

Food and drink: For breakfast I ate a typical English Breakfast with orange juice, at lunch I went to Nando’s where I ate a burger and a juice and, for dinner, I had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with apple juice.

What did you do on Monday? On Monday, I had to wake up early to go to school. Me and my host, Callum, got the bus to school and a while after arriving there, an older student did me and the other Portuguese people a tour. Then, I met a boy from Year 10 with whom I spent the rest of the morning /afternoon with and whose classes I attended. After leaving school, all the students involved in the project went bowling and we played Laser Quest, which I won! In the evening, I went home and all the family sat around the TV watching a film.

Best part of the day: Meeting lots of new people.

Worst part of the day: Having to watch a swimming lesson take place for an hour while being alone and doing nothing else.

Food and drink: Waffles and apple juice for breakfast; I had the European Meal in the school’s library and, for dinner, we ate snacks while watching a film.

What did you do on Tuesday? On Tuesday, I went to school by bus again and, when I got there, I did some crafts with the other Portuguese student in an Art Lesson. After the class, all the foreign students went to Stratford-upon-Avon with some of the older students; we spent the day there and we had the opportunity to buy some souvenirs. We came back to Birmingham in the afternoon and when school ended I went with my host and some of the other students to a shopping mall where I had dinner at Pizza Hut. I went home and played on the Wii with Callum. At 9pm, all the family took me to the train station and, after a long time saying goodbye to them and thanking them for the amazing days, me and the other Portuguese people took a train to London Euston and from there, we took one to London Gatwick. Then, a taxi took us to a guesthouse, where we spent that night.

Best part of the day: Having the opportunity to wander freely through Stratford–upon-Avon.

Worst part of the day: Having to say goodbye to the host family which I really loved and the tiring trip to London.

Food and drink: Waffles and apple juice for breakfast; for lunch, I had a sandwich and a lemonade at Stratford and for dinner, I ate pizza.

What did you do on Wednesday? I woke up early, had breakfast at the guesthouse, and then we all went to the airport where I bought some more souvenirs. We got the plane at 1pm from London to Oporto and when we arrived, we caught a bus to Macedo de Cavaleiros.

Best part of the day: Getting to bed after such a long day of travelling.

Worst part of the day: The bus trip from Oporto to Macedo de Cavaleiros.

Food and drink: For breakfast, orange juice, a toast and an egg and for lunch, a sandwich.

Daily Routine:

School day (similarities/differences): The classes are shorter and they spend less time at school. They have to wear uniforms and have a really big school. On the other hand, they also have buses to take them to school, and similar classes.

Best part of your trip: Meeting lots of new people and creating a second family in Birmingham.

Worst part of your trip: The boring and tiring trips.

Your final impressions: I loved this experience and I can’t wait to go back to Birmingham to be with my host again.JB_3

Jorge Silveira (Portugal)

LIFE in Birmingham

Rita_3Travel: Journey to Birmingham: I travelled by plane. It was my first time traveling by plane, so obviously I was a little bit scared. However, Jorge (who is the boy that also went to England with me) calmed me down and, in general, it was a pretty good flight.

Journey from Birmingham: I travelled once again by plane but this time I was feeling more relaxed and it seemed that the journey didn’t take that long.

First impressions: We arrived in Gatwick, London at 12:30 and the amount of people we saw right there in the airport was impressive. As we left the airport and even though we didn’t see much of London, it felt just like we see in the movies: amazing (but really cold, though)!

Landscape and climate: It has an urban landscape with a lot of similar houses, restaurants and buses just going around the city. The weather in Birmingham is awful, I must admit. It was windy, cloudy and rainy all the time.

Houses (similarities/differences): The houses are totally different from the ones I’m used to here in Portugal. They are all really similar and inside they are a little bit small compared to the ones in my country.

What did you do on Saturday? On Saturday we got to the airport at 8:00 am, as we were already in Porto. Our flight was at 10:00 am and we arrived in London at 12:30 a.m. After we landed, we had to get on the train to Euston Station and once we arrived there, we had to go on another train to Birmingham International. It was about 5:30 pm when we finally arrived in Birmingham. My host picked me up and we went home. That evening, I met her family, which I really liked from the beginning because they are Portuguese as well, and then we went to a restaurant where we bought Fish and Chips, the traditional England food. Later that night, we watched a movie and then I went straight to bed.

Best part of your day: Arriving in London and getting to know Joana and her family.

Worst part of your day: All the trips we had to make by train made me really tired.

Food and drink: I ate a tuna sandwich and drank a fruit juice in Euston and for dinner I had Fish and Chips and drank some juice as well.

 What did you do on Sunday? On Sunday, we woke up quite early. We dressed ourselves and got ready to explore the city and do some shopping. Joana took me to the most interesting places in Birmingham and I really liked it. It’s a very big city with a lot of people from all around the world, which I thought it was great because I got to meet different cultures and people.

After that, we went home and had lunch. Then we decided to stay home that afternoon and in the evening I went grocery shopping with Joana and we had dinner.

At night, I helped Joana with her homework and went to bed quite early, since I was feeling tired.

Best part of your day: Getting to know the city and having some bonding time with my host.

Worst part of your day: There was no such thing!

Food and drink: At lunch we had egg on toast and for dinner we had an amazing salmon and potatoes!

What did you do on Monday? In the morning we had classes and I finally met all the participants in the project and got reunited with Jorge. Then the programme students had a conversation with the teachers and a student showed us the school facilities, which are nothing alike to the ones in my school. We also attended to some classes and at 12:30 we had the European lunch in the library, which consisted of traditional food of the countries involved in the programme.

After one more class, I went to meet my host and we all went bowling, which was an amazing experience, since I got to know my partners a lot better.

After that, me, my host, a polish girl and her host went to a pizza place and we went home afterwards.

Best part of your day: The day in general.

Worst part of your day: None!

Food and drink: For lunch we had the European lunch, in which we tasted a little bit from every country. For dinner, we had the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had in my life!

 What did you do on Tuesday? On Tuesday we went to school. Then a bus was waiting for us to take to Stratford. There we could do some shopping and buy souvenirs for our families. We had lunch and then we went to school again. I said goodbye to all of them, which was hard and went home with my host. I started packing my bags because I was leaving to London later that night, and I had the last dinner with the family.

At 9:00 pm I said goodbye to my host and her family and went to the station, where our teachers were already waiting for us to get on a train to London. By the time we arrived there, it was almost 2:30 am.

Best part of your day: Going to Stratford.

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Worst part of your day: Saying goodbye to my partners, my host and her family.

Food and drink: For lunch I had sandwich, chips and a juice. For dinner, Joana’s mother made us an awesome fish pie.

 Daily routine:

School day (similarities/differences)? Their school day is very different from ours! Firstly, their classes are in general more interactive and don’t last as long as ours. Then, they all have to wear the school uniform. Their subjects aren’t the same as well.

Best part of your trip: The European lunch, bowling and pizza!

 Worst part of your trip: The exhausting train journeys between Birmingham and London.

Your final impressions: It was a lifetime experience that I will certainly never forget. Getting to know my partners and exchange opinions and ideas about different subjects was amazing, as well as dealing with their cultures and habits. My host and her family were the sweetest and spending time with them was absolutely priceless. Lastly, knowing such a different city that concentrates so many different people made me grow as a respectful individual.Rita

Rita Bebiano (Portugal)