The first time I set foot in Spain, more precisely in the wonderful city of Seville, was on 16th -23rd June, 2018, due to an Erasmus+ KA1 training programme. The NGO that chose to send me there was “Asociatia Babilon Travel” through his executive director, Gabriel.
The training course had a useful topic for young people and youth workers around Europe, namely “From Labor Market to Labor Makers”, and it consisted of daily activities, such as: group-connecting exercises, creating a personal branding scheme based on each participant’s skills and competences, producing a video CV that was meant to be viewed and commented upon by the other participants, grasping the key-concepts connected to project writing (based on labour market prospects), starting from analysing a given model, followed by goal and objective-setting for a potential project. The exercise ended with each group’s presentation of their ideas and final draft of the project, followed by the questions and answers session. We couldn’t have stayed focused without the help of some well-chosen energizers which helped connect even more with the rest of the team.
Apart from the indoor activities, during this training programme we also had a chance to go on a study visit to Europe Direct, an institution that has as its main purpose to inform young people on the European Union’s international mobilities and programmes they can benefit from. The organizers there prepared a very informative presentation focusing on various directions that Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (the new profile of the former EVS) can offer to young people interested in volunteering programmes.
During the last-but-one-day, on Friday 22nd June, our whole team made a different study visit, this time with historic reverberations, at Santiponce and its archaeological site, “Italica”, which marked the birth place of the Roman Emperor Traian. Much to my surprise, I was very excited to discover a black memorial marble plate sent by the Municipality of the Romanian city of Alba- Iulia, in recognition of the Emperor’s major role in Romanising our territories.
That same afternoon, after returning to the campus, we had the ceremony of receiving our Youthpass Certificates; the feedback we got from each other and from our trainer was constructive, yet also emotional.
Following the rules and regulations of any Erasmus+ programme, this training course gathered a number of 20 participants from 8 countries, namely: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Croatia, Poland, Greece and Bulgaria. Thus, we had a chance to enrich our knowledge about nowadays challenges and requests of the labour markets, youth expectations and favourite directions for future projects, we practised our skills and formed some new ones, but we could also share some information on each national specific cuisine and traditions, during our intercultural night. There, we proposed and solved quizzes, we danced a couple of folk dances, we told jokes, stories and bonded nicely.
Each night after dinner, when the temperatures seemed to cool down a little (there were 37-38 degrees Celsius instead of 40-42 degrees Celsius during the day), we strolled down towards the terraces from the lively and colorful area by the Guadalquivir river benches, we analyzed with our Spanish team members the variety of palm trees, flowers and vegetation from the lovely Maria Luisa Park, we felt the vibes of a traditional flamenco club where we admired the locals’ passion for music and dancing, we listened to fragments of live open-air Spanish guitar concerts in beautiful, well-lit piazzetas, and we stylishly ended our stay in Seville by attending a Debussy piano- violin concert held in one of the special Alcazar Palace gardens.
Naturally, a big, warm “Thank you!” is due to our Romanian trainer, Vlad, (a collaborator of the Italian organizer NGO, “Mine Vaganti”), who proved to be highly energetic, very focused on each subject, constantly motivating us to strive for more, but, most of all, very close to the participants, willing to help when needed, offering professional feedback and advice, joking a lot and being passionate about his work.
I also need to express my gratitude to the Spanish hosting team from the Inturjoven Youth Hostel (Maria del Mar, Blanca Chia and Maria NT), who stood next to us and beside us every step of the way, being very friendly, helpful and always smiling!
To conclude my considerations, I truly hope that Debussy’s “Clair de lune”, perfectly reflected in that hot, yet serene moonlit Spanish night, would accompany us all through future personal projects, reminding each that determination, teamwork, kindness and empathy can and will create a better world.
So, thank you very much again, Babilon Travel NGO and Gabriel, for this special opportunity, for a chance to travel more, learn more and live more!