Under the coordination of Instituto de Enseñanza Secundária Justo Millan, in Hellin, Spain, once again Agrupamento de Escolas Emídio Navarro embraced an extremely fascinating project involving teachers and students coming from 6 different European countries. One common topic – National Heritage and Traditions.
In a time when Portugal is yearly awarded the best Tourism prizes, disclosing the cultural wealth of our “small country” and sharing it with youngsters and educators, the beautiful treasures of each of our countries, should be themselves a captivating experience. In December 2019 our School hosted, within the context of this Project, teachers from Spain, France, Italy, Bulgaria and Turkey, for a week during which, we all had the opportunity to visit our beautiful capital, our city, Almada, where we live and work, and we also exchanged valuable information about each of the countries’ gems. All the time, it was done taking advantage of the never-ending resources offered by new technologies, social media and specifically the School webpage for the dissemination of all the achieved activities.
In February 2020 it was the Portuguese team of students and teachers’ turn, to head to Hellin, Spain, where besides the outstanding gastronomic discovery, we were taken to various places of historical interest, ranging from ancient times to the present – we visited the Historical cities of Toledo and Murcia where we could unveil these cities’ religious and cultural treasures. In Hellin, land of drummers, we visited the Drummer Museum and learned about the extreme tradition when thousands of people every Easter, walk through the city streets, striking their drums in a loud celebration moved by extreme Faith.
Then the Covid pandemic struck and the World had to stay at home, so we didn’t meet again until October 2021. On this occasion, we hosted the teacher-student teams from the other 5 countries that were accommodated at the local Youth Hostel, a place built for this type of events and whose panoramic view to our beautiful capital is breath-taking. The whole group had the opportunity to visit our city, our school premises and we were nicely received by the local Parish Council and by the school Board.
Among the group outings, a major shout out to the visits of Lisbon historical centre, Belém and Sintra, where we visited “Quinta da Regaleira”, a space where History, Nature and Tradition live together in perfect harmony. To complete this visit, the group discovered the Azeitão area, Michel Giacometti Work Museum, S. Simão “azulejo”(tile) factory and the beautiful Arrábida mountain where everybody could experience a short visit to the local beaches.
The last day of this experience was spent with the presentation of the videos made during the week by the students in multinational groups, the certification and an exchange of souvenirs during a wonderful farewell dinner. As it is customary in these events. there were many tears hugs and promises for new meetings in other locations and other moments in time.
If a proof is needed that these encounters are worthwhile, all we had to do is ask one of the students who started this week very shy and hiding in a corner, how she scored this meeting out of 10 at the end of the week and her immediate reply was self-explanatory “11” .
You can see the film of this great week at https://youtu.be/cXGgw_sDt0k