On the third day of our exchange week in Borås, where Spanish and Polish students came as our guests, we had film production day! As the name of this exchange project is “Europeans for Fair Trade”, the aim of our short movie was to make us understand and, from that point, act by helping make people more aware of fair trade.
On the previous days, we learnt many things about fair trade and sustainability. Even those who thought they knew enough didn’t miss to hear something new. Our teachers held touching presentations making us care for the subject. So everyone wanted to help, and teachers gave us that opportunity by giving us the assignment- to make a movie!
We were separated in a few, randomly made, groups and started working on this task. You could see students busy, with a lot of enthusiasm, full of ideas, waving around and giving their best to make a perfect movie which they could be proud of. Some of them went outside the school, into cafés, restaurants and shops; some of them stayed at school and recorded only their voices, including many different languages, and some of them chose to make a song! Some of the movies were touching and some of them put tears on our faces from laughing.
During the third day of the Erasmus project in Borås, as a study visit, we went to the Textile Fashion Centre that combines the past, present and future.
First of all, we started exploring the wonderful Smart Textiles showroom that have loads of advanced textiles with special characteristics. We were told by the guide that some of the ideas are designed by university students and they will certainly have a bright future!
After that, one of our teachers, Terese, guided us to the historical museum to see the antique weaving and spinning machinery that were used in the past days to make textiles. We were also told about the history behind some of the machines and how they were used. The situation of the Borås textile workers in the first half of the 20th century was also compared to that of Asian textile workers today.
Then we all gathered in a room, spread out in groups and started to design and colour posters to promote Fairtrade and sustainable fashion habits inspired from a guide by Fashion Revolution. My group decided to have a poster with all the habits promoted on it. For example, DIY, second hand, swap since all of them were sustainable options.
We divided the work between us so one would take care of colouring the poster and make it neater and the others give ideas on how to make the poster more inspiring.
After an adventurous day full of exploration, it was time to go home and spend the rest of the day with our guests.
For the guests from Poland and Spain our school decided to organize a cultural event on the 16th of October. The event would give the opportunity to all the participants of the project to exchange cultural information through presentations, to taste delicious snacks from all around the world, and to break the ice and soothe the nervousness of the first day.
After a day full of activities and walks around the city of Borås, the students with thecompany of the teachers gathered around 4 p.m. in the big hall. When they entered they were able to view many flags and souvenirs from different countries, people preparing for their presentations and smells from the southern part of the world (New Zealand) up to the northern.
There was great variety of foods and dishes and most of them were really delicious even though they were different from what each one of us was used to. Although you could easily try many different flavors the majority chose to play it safe and pick dishes close to their own homeland. The Balkan food and the Polish appealed to me the most since the taste was really close to the Greek ones. After the self-serving everyone sat on the chairs ready to listen to the presentations. Among many presentations those which really stayed in mind were the Armenian dance, the Syrian images full of hope apart from the war and the Balkan facts about the history and the culture.
Around 7 p.m. the teachers let everyone go home. However, all the students, both guests and hosts, were willing to help cleaning the hall showing respect for the environment they were in and for the teachers.
Without doubt this night was a wonderful opportunity for all the participants of the Erasmus project to bond and to get to know many cultures through taste and images.
During two days, September 11- September 12, the teachers from Porriño (Spain) and Borås (Sweden) visited their Polish colleagues in Poznan.
During this meeting we all had a fruitful and productive time focusing on taking our joint project to the next level: namely the student meeting taking place in Borås in October where they will work on “Fair Trade and business”.
For the Swedish and Polish exchange students, the day started with about an hour long bus journey to Santiago de Compostela, during which many of the bus passengers slept soundly. Our Spanish hosts stayed behind for lessons whilst we were given the opportunity to learn more about Spanish culture and pilgrimage. It was a very good followup from the previous day when we had walked part of the Camino de Santiago, and now we were going to see the actual destination of this 800 km journey.
Upon arrival we entered the breathtakingly beautiful cathedral to look around. We were informed by one of our teachers Mikaéla, that it is here that Saint James the Great, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, is thought to lie. After wandering around the church hall and admiring the amazing architecture and tremendous historical significance, we went down a narrow passageway in single file, and got a glimpse of the chest containing the remains of Saint James. We were also told that many people who came here went up to a statue of the apostle to whisper a wish into his ear, and so we were given the chance to do this as well. Some of us grasped this opportunity and followed in the footsteps of hundreds of thousands before us, which felt meaningful.
When we were all gathered outside again, it was decided that we would get some time to independently explore the city in smaller groups. Some went shopping for souvenirs, others wandered around the streets and parks and some spent time getting to know one another better at cafés. The final group activity of the day was visiting the museum. There we could gain a better understanding about Saint James, pilgrimages around the world and Santiago de Compostela itself. Through looking at objects, reading descriptions and watching short films we understood that it is because of pilgrimages that the city’s infrastructure has developed immensely. We learnt that Saint James was the first martyr, which therefore made him an important role model for Christians all over the world. During the 9th century his body was found and it served as a boost for Christians who were fighting a war against Muslims. It was also interesting to discover that the scallop shell that is often portrayed together with Saint James, is a symbol for protection.
After a long, tiring, but very interesting day, we once again boarded the bus to go back to O Porriño and spend the evening together with our Spanish hosts.