I had been looking for a project like Erasmus for some time and even after some of my attempts had failed, I kept searching. When I heard about an Erasmus+ project that my teacher was participating in and that she was looking for people to join, I naturally said yes. When I learned that I was chosen to go to Spain as a part of the project I was ecstatic. After the announcement we started preparing the presentations and more.
Somewhere around December I started texting with my host sister Lorena. I was really happy, because we had so much in common; therefore, we never had a shortage of things to talk about. In the coming weeks we had to put in some work into our presentations and quizzes which taught us how to use modern apps that help teachers educate their students and we also understood that to participate in a project like this you have to earn it.
After a long flight, that had taken over half of the day, we finally met our host families. It was amazing. My host family was so warm and welcoming, even though the parents didn’t speak English I understood them just fine, because they were extremely expressive. Throughout the days we participated in many activities that helped us get to know each of us students and teachers. It pushed me out of my comfort zone a little, but I learned to be a little freer than before and that’s a win in my book. We also went on short trips around Madrid, where we were acquainted with the city center via treasure hunt and a stroll around the parks and monuments of Madrid. One of the things that we all gained from that was sore feet, also we learned a lot about Madrid, its history, and best spots to hangout at.
After all of the countries presented their schools and the methodologies that they use on a daily basis, I was surprised yet happy to hear that some of the countries were just taking the first steps to including new methods in their schools, because that’s what we were there for – to learn. And that we did.
The worst part for me was leaving. Getting very close to my host family and liking Spain and Madrid a lot made it much harder to leave. The goodbye was very emotional, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The experience that I gained is invaluable, not everyone gets as lucky as I got with my host family and even if you don’t get lucky with your host family that’s ok. Any kind of experience is still valuable and do not be shied away from it, because in the future you’ll have to deal with different situations and not all of them are easy or good.
All in all, I would highly recommend this project or any other like it, because you don’t just get to travel, you get to experience things you wouldn’t if you were just a tourist. It’s is one of the best ways to immerse yourself into a different culture, learn new things, get to know other countries and their traditions.
Indrė Grigaravičiūtė, class III a