Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Laanila Students' Memories from Melilla

The changing experience

Erasmus+ is a program that is about making people, especially young people, aware of the problems we still have in the world. Such as inequality. The program is also helping students to understand and accept different kinds of people and cultures and that we should all be equal. It is good that the project gets financial help from the EU because it gives international experiences that we are going to remember our whole life.

I participated in the first student meeting of the program in Melilla, Spain. During the first day it was very weird, because the cultural differences were quite big. Many things were very different like the weather, people, buildings, food etc. And I noticed those differences more easily because I was living the whole week with a very nice Spanish family.

First, when I arrived in Spain, I noticed that people are very outgoing and they like to speak a lot. Then the weather, it is a lot warmer than in Finland, of course. Maybe Spanish people are a lot more outgoing than the Finnish people are because of the weather. Who knows?

The buildings in Melilla looked very interesting because the architecture was a mixture of Arabic, Spanish, new and old. Also the food was a mixture of Moroccan and Spanish foods. And imagine that in Spain in a Muslim restaurant you can also have alcohol even though Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol.

Even though the culture is so multicultural, my host family was very Spanish. They were very welcoming and they spoke a lot and very loudly. It felt as nowhere was silent because there was so much talking. People weren´t shy and they wanted to know where I was from and who I was.

I think the experience wouldn’t have been that good without all the people we met and all the friends we made. These kind of projects and trips are more life changing than trips that you do when you have holidays. On these kind of trips you can go way deeper into the culture than when being just “a normal tourist”. That is why these kind of projects and programs give you so magical experiences that it makes you a better person and you will remember it for your whole lifetime.

Jenni Oikarinen

ERASMUS+ Meeting in Melilla, Spain

”What a delightful experience!” These are the first words that come to my mind if I have to describe this wonderful journey.

It all started about six months ago when our school had a search for ERASMUS+ participants. As soon as I noticed the possibility to apply for this project, I became so excited. So, as you may have guessed, I sent in my application right away. Then the results came and that was a bit sad moment for me because I found out that I wasn’t chosen for the trip. Luckily, I was given a chance to participate if I was able to get funding for the flights. At first I was very skeptical about my chances to get any funding from my parents, but at last we were able to make the ends meet with the help and support from my parents and family. Words can’t describe how grateful and privileged I feel having so understanding parents. Parents who are willing to invest in their own child’s future is an enormous blessing.

Our journey began on a cold Saturday from Oulu. We flew from Oulu to Helsinki and I stayed the night at my aunt’s who lives pretty close to the airport. Oh, and by the way, we were traveling with the crew that consisted of the students and teachers from Laanila and Svenska Privatskolan. Elias and Jenni from Laanila, Ossi and Alexandra from Svenska Privatskolan. I had so much fun traveling with these guys. Back to the story. So, we flew from Helsinki to Malaga and continued to Melilla from Malaga. The flights went well. Nothing too special happened during the flights.

After almost two days of traveling, it was pleasing to reach our destination. I was a little nervous about seeing my host family, but everything went so well right at the beginning. My host brother Pablo was waiting for me at the airport. And of course all the other Erasmus+ partners of the Finns! Pablo and his family were so nice to me the whole time! They treated me well and I would like to go back there as soon as possible. Pablo had one smaller brother called Jorgé. He was so adorable!

It is very hard for me to tell about my experiences and try to fit them all in this text, but I’ll try my best! Erasmus+ meeting was such a great experience to me. My host family was amazing, Pablo was the most suitable partner for me. I couldn’t imagine a better one. He’s like a brother to me! We did all the cool activities together with Erasmus+ students from all over the world: Wales, Portugal, La Reunion, Italy, Spain and, of course, Finland. We went on sailing, danced in the streets of Melilla, tried out some foods we have never tasted before… the list is endless.

And all this for a good cause: fighting against inequality. This project has been one of the highlights of my life. Making new friends from all over Europe was a huge bonus in all of this awesomeness. I didn’t regret a second or a single thing about this journey. There were, of course, some stressful situations, for example, breaking my mobile and fainting in the airplane, but I wouldn’t change a thing as I said before. Finally, I would like to thank Laanila High School for making this happen. I’m truly grateful for everything.

Thanks! <3

Julius Hugg

Erasmus+ Project in Melilla, SpainMe and four other Finnish students left Finland in May and went to a small city in the 

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