Easter in Italy

Since Italy is a religious country Easter is celebrated everywhere and in different ways, even by the ones who are not religious. I’m sure there are many traditions in whole Italy but in this text I am going to talk about the ones which are famous in my region, Apulia.

Starting from Palm Sunday I can say that people are used to go to church in the morning, especially the masses at 10 am are full of children and parents. The tradition is that people, after the Sunday mass, exchange crosses which are done with palm leaves, to wish peace to the others.

It is known that in this festivity, people who were in conflict before try to solve their issues and gift the other a real small olive tree. Palm Sunday is a day which brings people closer and allow them to make peace with one another.

Concerning Easter, it is a bigger festivity than the Palm Sunday since it marks the resurrection of Jesus. Of course also in this day it is tradition to partecipate to the morning mass. But the biggest traditions have their bases in the italian cuisine. For Easter, as also for Christmas, families are brought together to celebrate this festivity and they have Easter lunch together. It is tradition to eat lamb and hard boiled eggs. Besides, there are two famous sweet dishes that are eaten on Easter: one is almost always handmade, the other one can be bought. The first sweet dish is called “Scarcelle”. It is basically a simple dough made out of flour, eggs, sugar and milk, which gets shaped into Easter-like shapes, for example: a bunny, an egg or a dove. After the baking, the shapes are decorated with sprinkles or chocolate eggs. It is tradition to decorate the “scarcella” with an hard boiled egg at the center to represent the body of Christ.

 

The second sweet dish is calles “Colomba”, which literally translates to “dove”, because it is what it represents. It is an egg based dough, shaped like a dove, baked and finally decorated with white sugar sprinkles and almonds on top.

But the modern symbol of italian Easter is the chocolate egg. It is tradition to gift kids and adults a big chocolate egg with a surprise inside. It can be bought in normal stores or it can be done in a pastry shop and the surprise can be personalized. People have hidden engagement rings in easter eggs as a surprise! Kids (and adults) wait for the Easter time to enjoy their chocolate eggs.

Easter in Belgium

The people in Belgium are celebrating Carnival 40 days before Easter. It’s the last time the Belgians are partying before the period of fasting. Especially the people in Wallonia are walking in big carnival parades and live according to the motto “savoir vivre” (know-how to live).

As in other Catholic countries, the believers abstain 40 days from meat, sweets and even chocolate! For some reasons is the good Friday in Belgium, not a free day, as in many other countries. From this day on, the bells in most parts of Belgium are quiet. Especially on Saturday (“silent Saturday”). There is a history, which says that the bells are flying to Rome to be blessed by the pope.

That’s why you can’t hear any bell in Belgium until Monday. It feels like years have passed when you hear the happy melody again. In some Belgian cities, paper eggs fly down from church steeples on Saturday. The kids have to catch these eggs and the child who gets a golden egg wins a prize. Commonly, the kids color boiled eggs, there are even markets for the most beautiful Easter eggs. On Monday the kids find colored eggs in the gardens or their self-made easter nests out of hay. These gifts were not brought by the Easter bunny, but by the bells that returned from Rome. There are some special Egg hunts in Belgium, in Thumaide, for example, the eggs are dropped by a helicopter.

Like most Belgian celebrations, you spend the Monday with your family. On that day, they eat ham, lamb asparagus, potatoes, pancakes, and sweet bread. Many families are going to church, these churches are decorated with flowers and icons. On these days the kids in Belgium are eating a lot of chocolate. As Belgium is one of the world’s tasting chocolate producers, they have many different kinds of chocolate on Easter. Special for this chocolate is the filling, like hazelnut cream, pistachio or marzipan. The shapes are the Easter bunny and the egg because they are signs of fertility.

Marie Rauw

Easter in Denmark

In Denmark the religion of the country is Christianity and more precisely Protestantism. We, therefore, celebrate Christmas, Easter and other Christian holidays and of course holidays specific for Denmark.

In Denmark Easter is a holiday where the schools close from Maunday Thursday till Easter Monday. We celebrate it with chocolate as eggs and bunnies, Easter decorations and if you want to, going to church, but it is mostly the older generation. In Denmark, we are not very religious, and if we are it is most often very private and it is not a big topic in conversations.

We have a tradition in Denmark to gather with friends and family for a big gathering around Easter and Christmas. So you as a person can easily go to two or more Christmas parties in December: one with friends, one with family, one with work and/ or one with your classmates. And it is the same around Easter, but, it is usually one with a family that is the biggest and most important. Here you get to see all the extended family that you do not see otherwise. Here we gather to eat a lot of traditional food such as lamb, herring, shrimp and eggs, meatballs, beer and snaps. It revolves around the classic Danish food known as “Smorrebrod”.

In my family, we also paint and go roll the eggs. The Egg Game is who can roll/ throw his or her egg closest to the goal and see how good you are and how long your egg lasts.

When celebrating Easter all the students in schools usually make Easter crafts in art class. We call them “gækkebreve” which you can loosely translate to “Fool letters” that originates from 1600. You have a piece of paper that you fold and cut shapes in with a scissor. In the middle, you write a small poem and sign it with dots, the same amount of dots used in your name. Then you give it to a person in a way that they do not know who it is from like leaving it on their table. They then have to guess who the sender is. If they are wrong the saying is that they owe you a chocolate egg.

Marie Reif Hill-Madsen

Spain during Easter is worth visiting!

Spain takes Easter really seriously, in a way is the second most celebrated date of the year, after Christmas of course. It is a Christian celebration, and we call it “saint week” and it commemorates The Christ Passion. It lasts 7 days and during that time the streets of every city in Spain are crowded, full of music and colors, which makes it a great moment to visit Spain, but of course, not every part of Spain is in the same way.

The most popular activity in each city of Spain is the procession. These parades consist of a group of Nazarenes, wearing exuberant dresses, holding representations of Christ´s life and playing the drums at the rhythm of the steps, depending on the city there are other instruments, going from gregorian chants to the cornet. They are impressive because of the seriousness of the activity, but also worth watching.

The south of Spain has the most joyful celebration, pointing Sevilla as the capital of this festival in Spain. It has popular processions, but the proportions and emotions of these make it more special. With 50.000 Nazarenes participating and the population of Sevilla getting double only for that week, it is a unique event everybody should watch once in a lifetime.

Sticking in the south, we go to Hellín, Albacete with an impressive tradition made of drums and more drums and more drums… More than 20.000 people take their drums and go out to the streets to play them with a characteristic attire made of red and black. During one of the days of the celebration, the drummers stay all night without any rest playing the drums even until bleeding honoring Christ´s suffering.

Moving to the east of Spain, into Catalunya, during this week every bakery reveals a special dessert, this special food is called “Mona de Pascua” which is a kind of pie with an egg over it and it’s given from the godfather/godmother to the godson/goddaughter. It is well known for being delicious and for the family reunion that comes with it always on Easter Monday.

There is another kind of food that is traditionally eaten at Easter and it is “Torrijas”. This sweet can be eaten during the whole year but Easter is a special moment for that. This ritual is not about regions, in the whole of Spain during these days yo have to have “Torrijas” for breakfast at least once. Made out of bread, milk, sugar, and cinnamon, there is not a better way to wake up than smelling them.

For last but not least let´s get to something a little bit more personal, in some villages of Spain (and mine) during those days a different kind of celebration happens. It’s called “Quintos” and it’ss about esteeming the kids who are getting into adulthood and all the population of the village participates in it. Its history comes from long ago when the boys had to go to do the military service and this was the way of wishing a good farewell for them. Times have changed and now is a celebration for boys and girls although they don´t have to leave home after it.

This celebration in Spain, as I said in the beginning, is Christian but everybody is invited to enjoy it. Spain is not only a Summer holiday option, but our culture also goes beyond warmth and beaches, so if you are wondering, don´t hesitate and visit it.

Fabian Bajen

EASTER IN CATALUNYA

In Catalunya, a part of the religious traditions that we have during Easter, there is also a big food tradition where godmothers and godfathers take part with their godchildren. Probably, due to this sweet tradition, Easter is one of my favourite celebrations. In the next lines you are going to know a little bit more about what dwe eat, when and why.

So let’s start! Tortell de Rams is the typical cake for Palm Sunday, the week before Easter, and godparents give it to their godchildren after the celebratory service in the church.

In Catalunya, “tortells” are a very common dessert. A tortell is a sweet coca, a bread-like cake, which is usually ring-shaped and is the typical food of many Catalan festivals. For example, the Tortell de Reis and the Tortell de Sant Antoni are basically the same but with small variations.

The Tortell de Rams, like those in the other festivals, may be stuffed and decorated with various ingredients, although the most typical version is filled with marzipan and decorated with candied fruit.

For a long time, until well into the 20th century, it was traditional for the cake makers and also householders, to make tortells with hard-boiled eggs on the top, which godparents gave to their godchildren on the Sunday of Pasqua Florida (the Feast of Flowers), or the day after.

Nowadays, Easter includes a culinary treat eagerly awaited by the little ones: the mona. After centuries of evolution, the mona de Pasqua is a sweet, normally made of chocolate, that comes in various forms, often related to the annual trends for children. It seems that the word mona could be derived from the Arabic word munah, which means gift.

According to tradition, the cake had to have the same number of eggs as the age of the child to which it was given, until they had their first communion. Over time, the eggs became chocolate, and today the mona has become a chocolate figure of any manner of shape or colour: we can find everything from traditional eggs to cartoon characters, animals, and football players. But one thing that many have in common are the coloured goose feathers and little yellow chicks made of felt.

Welcome to Poland- Dawn of On-Arrival 4

The next day, while Ania was already in the bus, we met at Anthis and Rocios Flat, I mean they have a living room, so its optimal to meet. We decided to try something like food evening again, because our newly established tradition became, due to the absence of several people and the lack of motivation, more a wish than something which actually happens. Anyway, on that day, Theo and I decided to cook something typical German, especially for the east.

If you like history here we got something for you. As everybody knows Germany is responsible for the world wars. After losing both of them, the  allied forces parted the country in several zones, resulting later on in the Partition of Germany into the capitalistic west and the communistic east, separated by a wall ( though only Berlin had literally a real wall standing in the middle of the city, the rest of the border was more like a huge fence with heavy armed guards and mines hidden in the ground). In those years East Germany was influenced by the east European culture, may it be the way of thinking or the food, leading to a mish mash of the Slavic and German cuisine. One of those dishes I’d say is eggs in mustard sauce. I know it might sound weird but done right this deliciousness can be a real pleasure for your tongue. Of course, we wanted to show the other ones what we eat and let them experience that.  Therefore that it has been our first time to cook that I have to say, that it did not taste that bad, though the consistency of the sauce was more like pudding, as we weren’t patient enough to wait until the sauce thickened thus we put in way to much flour. The result looked like a weird abomination and every grandma probably would’ve killed us for dishonoring the imagine of the dish BUT as we went on and tried it, even though the other ones were quite suspicious and hesitated, it tasted quite well. So, what do we learn? It is the inside which matters, not the surface.

Filled with eggs, potatoes and mustard sauce we decided to go out have a little party and two of us had to prepare for their On-Arrival Training. This time it was Pia and me. Before we started this adventure, we picked up Emelyn and Maria from the bus stop. The day before I bought a certain brand of yoghurt which gives you one of those cheap tattoos for free, which at least I always connect with chewing gum and a long session in the bathtub, trying to get rid of it, before Sunday morning, so that your grandma is not freaking out about the thing you have on your arm while being in church. But now that I’m older and not at home, I thought it would be the right moment to start a rebellion, putting on a cheap, angry birds themed tattoo, showing one of those green pigs, joyfully cheering. Directly onto my shoulder, so I can lift up my sleeves and present it to everybody. New country, new me, I guess.

As I showed it to Maria, confidently inventing a story of me being drunk and getting that tattoo because I randomly walked into a studio and decided to get that one, her eyes went big and her mouth opened wide, releasing a phrase we’ll hear a lot for the next 9 months: “SHOCK MAXIMO”. I couldn’t believe that she was actually taking everything I said for real, neither did Pia, passionately explaining to Maria that it is a freaking joke and that the green pig comes from a package of yoghurt.

It is one of the first things I learned here in Poland, when joking with the other volunteers, especially Spanish ones. The German humor seems to be way more sarcastic and ironic, thus every time I’m doing a joke, Theo is smiling and at least one of the Spanish people is like: “Really?!”. Though by the time the people got better, detecting if I’m being ironic or serious.

When the sun rose on the next morning, I grabbed my suitcase, said goodbye to Emelyn and left the flat. On-Arrival training was going to happen, and its dawn was breaking over me and Pia. Off to Warsaw

 

 

 

Ankara became my next home, place to live – Julia’s EVS

Merhaba, my name is Julia, I’m from Poland and I was a volunteer for EVS in S&G in Ankara. It was my first time in Turkey. I stayed there two months and I can say, that it is definitely too short!

Turkey surprised me in may ways. I’ve never been to the country that is so welcoming and with hospitality like in here. Plus, it is incredible beautiful.

I wasn’t scared at all before coming here, even if there are some prejudices of being abroad, far away from home in a country which is so different than yours and you don’t speak even a word in its language.

Istanbul was crazy, full of tourists mixed with locals, noisy, colorful and it amazed me with variety of places Iwanted to see and visit. Coming from there to Ankara was like entering another new world, these cities are really different, with different vibes and atmosphere.

I enjoyed living there, Turkey is really big and there are still so many many many places to discover.
I studied photography in Poland, and considering that, this country is the perfect place for me! It is full of amazing beautiful places and happenings awaiting for you at each step.

I can say that time we had spent together, me and my flatmates found a few of our favorite places where we got to know the owners and even made some friends with them. During the days of the week we were doing our chores, and on weekends we traveled to another cities and on the evenings we enjoyed our time together and with other friends we met there.

By we, I mean our group from project, Noemi, Calin, Gina and Domenico. We make really good pack of friends after this one month, so we travel and spend most of the time together.
My impressions about EVS here, in S&G were quite good, we had a lot of free time, so we could discover the city and even the whole Turkey. Of course, we had everyday chores and schedule, but beside the fact that this is hard work, it has been also an adventure and pleasure to make other people happy and to do something meaningful and good. Maybe, for me sometimes there was too few of these things connected to volunteering, but travelling and getting experience are the best things to do in live and I think this is the main idea of EVS and Erasmus+.

After two months, Ankara became my next home, place to live. With knowing my favorite and least favorite places, areas, activities and food (!), I can say I could spend there more time to discover more and more. Turkey got me. This country is the second after Poland, where I live that long. And it got me, I will definitely leave some piece of me here.

Ankara is the city that right now I will always connect with cig kofte, sarma, kofte from night bazar, ayran, kokorec, cay and night bazar in Kizilay, where you can experience and see a rich variety of street artists, stuff to buy and eat, full of people and it is pulsing with life and lights. It is unique and at the same time it is nothing special, but the way you make it special for you and how significant it becomes during staying here is hard to describe. I came here without knowing Turkish language, a little bit lost, little bit dizzy, because everything was so new and strange. And left it with knowledge how people live here and how to find myself actually living here.

I traveled a lot, I’ve been to the east: Mardin, Gaziantep and Hatay, to Konya, to Beypazari, to Istanbul, and to Cappadocia, with people that I met here and after these two months I can call them my friends.

These are the main advantages of going to EVS. People, travels and unforgettable experiences. We worked here with people with disabilities and with refugees and these moments when you do something good to the others with no expectations are lesson for life and that makes you cry and gives you huge goosebumps.

 

I came back to Poland more open and with this amazing energy that I can share with my friends and family.

I left Turkey with feeling of mixed sorrow and happiness, I know I will never forget this time. And I know that moments from there will be one of the very best memories for life.

 

Meeting with Open Kraków

On Friday March 22, the volunteers were invited by the City Council to talk about the ‘Open Kraków’ program. The program was briefly presented to us after which we were able to ask questions.

Open Kraków, or Otwarty Kraków in Polish, is a program created in 2016 by the City Council aiming to create an sense of solidarity, awareness and knowledge of the culture and customs of people of different nationality or ethnicity living in Krakow.

The program is firstly addressed to foreigners living in Poland by providing assistance for various issues. Some parts of the program however are also addressed to all of Krakow’s citizens, such as a multicultural festival.

As the program is still recent it is still a work in progress, but the main achievements already obtained include:

  • A welcome package for foreigners which consists of a guidebook full of information about education, health care, social benefits, insurance, work principles, the procedure in cases of crime, renting apartments, driving license, legal advice etc. The guidebook can be downloaded for free here. Additionally, a Krakow guide for families was also created.
  • Information Point for Foreigners, launched in April 2018. The aim of this information point is to provide information on all kinds of subjects in Polish, English, Ukrainian and Russian. In addition to these four languages, help might be provided in another language as the Information Point tries to compose a team as diversified is possible language-wise. The main focus lays on increasing the knowledge of foreigners about their rights and obligations and issues related to city life, increasing civic involvement of the foreigners living in Krakow and their integration with the inhabitants of Krakow and strengthening the information and promotion of activities in the area of integration of foreigners.
  • Interkulturalia Festival with the aim of integrating the local environment around the idea of cultural diversity, good neighborlines, the community of regional and European heritage and respect for religion.
  • Educational and informational activities such as Polish-Ukrainian Culinary-Educational Workshops and Middle East Speaks
  • Conferences referring to the idea of multiculturalism. Issues addressed include gender balance in leadership, multicultural schools, dialogue and intercultural cooperation, Polish Armenians on the path to Polish Independence, migration etc.
  • MURAL project in cooperation with Great Britain, Portugal, Greece, the Netherlands and Germany. This project’s aim is to promote the principles of pluralism and democracy, to support transnational cooperation and the exchange of knowledge and the most effective practices to counteract intolerance.

A few volunteers had some questions about the program as well. Most questions concerned either the specifics of their educational program or the residence / work permit application procedure for non-EU citizens. The question about the educational program was asked by those working in a primary school as they wanted to know what exactly the workshop held in schools consisted of.

More information about the Open Kraków program can be found on their official website.

Meet Marija and Series of: How I got addicted to ERASMUS+ projects: Introduction: The beginning

Hello everybody! My name is Marija and I am 25. Do you want to start traveling and get addicted by discovering something new? So, please read my stories carefully, and I am sure you will get interested in this projects.

It all started when I was 21. I was in my second year of University in my country, Macedonia. One day, at the Faculty, one of my colleagues came to me and asked: “Do you want to go to Turkey for one week?
With covered food, travel expenses and accommodation?” Of course, at first I said, I have no idea what are you talking about it, tell me something more. What is it about? What I will do in Turkey? With whom? How is it possible that I do not pay for accommodation, travelling and food??? Here was his answer: “So, my dear Marija, the European Union has a program which offers to the young people across Europe to travel, learn new things using non-formal methods of education and make friendships around Europe. That program is called ERASMUS+.

However, this project that I am talking about, is part of this program and it is called Youth Exchange. In other words, this is a project led by one organization (usually Non-governmental Organisation), which has international NGO’s as partners, and they organize a week (7-10 days) on given topic where around 25-60 participants can take part. In this specific project, they should have 30 participants from 5 countries, one of them is Macedonia. The others are Georgia, Azerbaijan and Romania. And of course Turkey, as a host country. So, they need 6 participants from each country, who will have non-formal activities and tasks, so in the end they will get more knowledge about the multiculturalism in Europe. The topic of the Youth Exchange is “Small steps, big effects”.

Back to the main point, the NGO which is international partner from Macedonia, is looking for Macedonian participants and I remembered that you are always open to learn something new, so I was wondering if you would like to be part of this group of six young people! In addition, definition for young people in the EU is 18-30 years old, which means that all the participants on this project are between that age. Back to your question about how is possible that you do not pay anything of this, here is how: The European Union is providing all of the expenses. The only thing you need to do before you go there is to buy your flight (travel expenses), but during the project or some days after the project is finished, you will get your money back on your bank account, or in cash (depends on the hosting organization), because they need to reimburse every participant for their traveling to the country of project and back. That is how this ERASMUS+ program for young people works. Do you like the idea now? We already have five participants, would you like to meet them all and to make your first international friendships next month? “

I will keep you updated what happened after. I hope you realize that I accepted being part of this Youth Exchange. And for sure I can say, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

Why not try? #5 Series of: How I got addicted to ERASMUS+ projects Chapter 2: Training course is about…

Hello everybody! My name is Marija and I am 25. Do you want to start traveling and get addicted by discovering something new? Read my stories carefully, and I am sure you will get interested in this projects. I hope you read my first two articles, how my story started.

Well, this is how it went with the projects called Training courses. Going back to the definition about what ERASMUS+ contains, using non-formal methods of education: There are Youth Exchanges, Training Courses and European Voluntary Service. That is all under the big umbrella of ERAMUS+ program.

When I had my first Youth Exchange in Turkey, we had one session about what is ERASMUS+ and how does it work. On that session, I learned that the part of ERASMUS+ that includes non-formal education contains all these Youth Exchanges, Training Courses and European Voluntary Service. Since then, I was wondering what and how does it look like to be a part of a Training course. By theory, I knew that on a Training course can participate only a Youth Workers, which means that people who work in NGO’s, with young people, with methods of non-formal education, people who are actually organizing a lot of activities.

I participated in two Training courses. First one was in Tirana, Albania in 2014, the second was in Newcastle, England in 2017. During one training course, you will usually meet less people than on a Youth Exchange, and it includes more “professional activities”, if I am allowed to call it like that. From my point of view, when you are on a Training course, you will spend more time working on a professional level, sharing experiences, sharing good practice with the other praticipants, while during the Youth Exchange, you have more time to discover yourself. Yes, this difference between the projects is small, but at the same time, it helps you grow as a person. Of course, the travelling is a part when you discover, make friends, which is also the part that is common with YE, but during the sessions, there is something which is called how to work with young people and which methods to use. This is the part why these projects are called- Training courses.

Again, the official language of the projects is English. So, again you build your vocabulary listening to the others and using your own words to express your feelings and needs on another level.

Ah, and yes. There is always a facilitator- man and/or woman. Usually, these facilitators are giving directions to the participants what to do. And another difference is that during these projects, you will work mainly individually, not always, but mostly yes. And then, you will share what you discovered with the others and you will have kind of a feedback. This part of giving feedback is something that no training course can pass without doing it.

One of the lessons I learned was: As far as you want to travel and discover, take all the opportunities that ERASMUS+ is giving to the young people from all over Europe!

Why not try? #4 Series of: How I got addicted to ERASMUS+ projects Chapter 1: Youth Exchange is about…

Hello everybody! My name is Marija and I am 25. Do you want to start traveling and get addicted by discovering something new? Read my stories carefully, and I am sure you will get interested in this projects.

I hope you read my first article, how my story started. Well, this is how it went with the projects called Youth Exchanges. Since April 2014, I participated in six Youth Exchanges, in six different cities, of five European countries. Talking about traveling and visiting other countries, you will for sure see other cities on your way, because you will travel by plane, so you need to wait in one city, then go to another by bus or train and this is how you discover more about the country. Another way to discover the Country, is the part when you make international friends. That is when you meet people from the country you went for the project. That is when you are ready to think out of the box, to go out of your comfort zone…

One well prepared and organized Youth Exchange would look like this:
At first, you arrive at the place, together with your group from your country. Next, you usually have activities in the evening which includes tasks; through non-formal ways of getting to know each other.
Often there are some games, energizers, short work in international groups etc. The next days you usually have four sessions per day, in which you are also divided in international working groups and you work on given tasks. Through these activities, you will not realize it in the beginning, but you make friends, you have fun, you learn, you discover yourself, you push your limits, you give yourself a chance to live out of your comfort zone! One main point to mention about work in groups, is that you need to speak in English. In my opinion, this is the best way ever to improve your English, your vocabulary, your ways to express feelings and needs. Speaking about the English language, on my first YE, I was reeeeally afraid to talk in English. I thought that I have no idea what to say, that I am lost, I was ashamed of sharing my interests and needs! But then, other important moment was when I realized that nobody there is native English speaker! So we are all, more or less, on the same level, and that is the moment when I slowly started speaking in English. Day by day, project by project, my English was getting better! My friends were the first who said that. After, I made self-reflection and I understood that they are right. My English was better for real!

Ah, and yes. There is always a facilitator- man and/or woman. Usually, they divide the participants into groups. Those tasks are connected with the topic of the YE. The topics of the Youth Exchanges I was participant in, were: “Small steps, big effects” in Turkey, “Different cultures- common goals” in Portugal, “Take active part” in Lithuania, “Organic Farm for Youth” in Wales (UK), “Community Leadership” in The Netherlands, “Share Diversity- STOP Radicalism” in Portugal.

In the end of the project, day before the last day, you usually do a reflection on the whole project, you share your opinion on what you liked the most, what you enjoyed the most, what you didn’t like, you will have a possibility to describe the project in one word etc. You will fill an evaluation form as well, which goes to the hosting organization. The last day, comes the saddest part. You need to say goodbye to friends that you made, with the ones that you know you can always count on if you go to their country, as well to the ones whit whom you didn’t get along the best. On your way back home, you realize: I liked this week. I hope I will have more projects like this…

P.S. Do not be surprised if you meet the same person from Georgia (my example), on two different youth exchanges! Those Georgian people are amazing … One of the lessons I learned was: You cannot generalize things, we are all sooooo different as individuals and you cannot say Germans are like this, or Portuguese are like that… You just need to be open to meet new individuals and to learn from their stories, they perception of the world, their culture. That is how you get experience.

Living Library in Giebułtów

giebultow_10

 

Our project Act2Activate went to the village Giebułtów for a special day. The school organized a language competition of the English and also German language.

We, volunteers, contributed by organizing the Living Library as well as making a presentation about Kassel. We arrived by bus in the morning and were welcomed warmly by the teachers and students preapring the language competition. The students prepared some stories and presentations to show to the audience. The topic countries of this years competition were Scotland and Austria.

Furthermore our two German volunteers had the opportunity to present their home-city Kassel and give some fun-facts. After a short break we became books. All of us, telling a different story. And that`s exactely what is the aim of the Living Library: People become books and tell their audience what`s inside of it. Students searched the contact to us, even though in the beginning they were a little shy. In the end we`ve had some interesting conversations and a positive outcome. We are happy to come back some day for another event.

 

 

 

article by

Katharina Becker

photography by

Natasza Romaniuk