One hundred young VET students met in Zaragoza on 15 and 16 February to prepare for their internships abroad.
¡A Europa, pues! is a training that students do before leaving abroad. We organise this meeting in collaboration with schools in Aragon, La Rioja and Catalonia, to prepare students about interculturalism, conflict management, Erasmus+ documentation and other relevant aspects of mobility.
The arrival of the participants from different parts of Aragon and Catalonia was managed by two members of Mundus Association.
At the beginning, all the participants had arrived at the Pignatelli residence and the key moment began: the drop of the accreditations.
Although many of the students came with more people from the same school, others did not know each other. This moment before the opening of the weekend provided a perfect space for them to start talking to each other. Once the bags were left, the accreditations were handed over, they began to go to the hall where the welcome session was held.
In this session, Quique (Vice President of Mundus Association), Alberto and Hugo (coordinators of the event) welcomed the event and explained how the different activities would be developed. Similarly, Sara, Mundus Communication Manager, presented the challenge that was to be made over the two days and through which they had to complete 10 creative challenges in their Instagram profile.
At the end of the opening session, people from Ideas for Zaragoza explains in what their work consists: implementing ideas seen in other countries and make them possible in the place of residence, to give more opportunities to the local community. They also encouraged young people to bring proposals that they see abroad to implement in their city or town.
After the initial session, each couple of trainers took their group to the different rooms for training and activities. The first activity was focused on fears and expectations. It talked about the different events that they could live during an international experience, the individual fears and, above all, the ways to prevent some situations. Moreover, how to manage this important step, that is a professional internship abroad.
After this session, some time was left to take up the challenge of social networks and to continue getting to know each others. During the morning the teachers of different centers participated in the training organized by Quique and Luis (head of the department of VET): this was an important moment in which our colleagues resolved the doubts about the experience abroad and the process of sending for students.
After the meal and full of energies, the afternoon session did not leave anyone indifferent. One of the most important activities in preparing participants is the team building session, in which they realized the importance of teamwork and the amount of tools that can be developed working together. This session was one of the most appreciated during the first day, as they got to know each other more, the initial embarrassment had already passed and the bond between the students and the educators was growing in confidence. After the afternoon break, in which we recharged our strength with chocolate smoothie and fruit, we carried out the last session of the day called conflict Resolution, in which each of the groups gave solution to the different problems that appeared throughout the day, as well as possible events that could find during their international experience.
At the end of the first day, the participants went to dinner near the accommodation where they spent the night and had free time to talk and visit some places of the city. Many of the attendees will do the internship in the same place, and leaving with someone known from Spain, is already a step towards feeling safer.
To conclude, during the first day students and teachers took part several sessions full of information, good practices and activities that make this new experience an opportunity to discover themselves in a new and international environment, breaking barriers and overcoming the fears of new adventures. The scholarship will allow them to do internships in their professional sector in different European countries.
The second day began an early hour, but full of energy. The morning began with the interculturality session. This session was, without a doubt, the most fun of all. The students had to represent the tribe of the morlocks and each one had a different role. It looks like a very funny moment but it is helpful to think in a transversal way about different situations that could be found in the destination country.
After the break and before the farewell, the Erasmus+ session was held, in which the trainers explained to the participants the different opportunities existing in the field of Erasmus+ program, in which they can be part in the future. Some of the groups also had the opportunity to talk to Silvia, one of the volunteers who is now doing her European volunteering in Zaragoza. She explained to them what it means to be in a different city than yours, in another country and working in a place where they do not speak your language. These types of situations experienced and told in the first person are the ones that help most in the face of losing the previous fear and empower the participants to jump into the pool and to be safer for themselves and themselves.
After this weekend, full of desire, enthusiasm, new friends and above all, full of tools to fight the fears of new experiences, came to an end. This experience has only just begun. Zaragoza, Europe and then the world!
Now it’s just time to say: ¡A Europa, pues!
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