Mobility 1 Spain

Mobility to Spain.

So long awaited … It has finally come! The famous first mobility, scheduled but postponed since last year.

On Sunday, October 17th, 2021, a delegation composed of 8 students and 2 teachers was ready to leave. Together, they represented France and the Marcel Pagnol secondary school of Noyen-sur-Sarthe to Portuguese, Slovakian and Spanish partners, all gathered in Spain, in the Catalan area, for 7 days of exchange around the common theme: “Living in a rural area”. The journey began at the train station of Le Mans. Last goodbyes and advices, multiple forms and papers in hand (passports for “freedom” in covid time): the departure was finally launched!

After many changes and other cancellations and postponements, our TGV headed to Massy station. RER B and Orlyval took us straight to Orly airport where our plane to Barcelona took off. Some of us flew for the first time, an unforgettable memory. All of us enjoyed that journey which was safe and without any obstacles.

When we arrived in Spain, we were welcomed by Neus and Marta, two teachers who were coordinating the project. It is with a strong emotion that the group met the Portuguese and Slovak partners. It is shyly that we began the presentations and first exchanges. Together, we took the bus towards Mora d’Ebre, place of our mobility for all this week.

After a long day travelling, each one was able to get to know his host family. First evening in immersion for our 8 students…

Monday, October 18th

We all met at the “Julio Antonio Institute” where the headmaster and the teachers involved in the project welcomed us during a short ceremony. On this occasion, the amphitheater of the school reopened its doors and welcomed us each morning for a presentation of the day’s activities and a reminder of the instructions: in English of course!

We could enjoy a moment of conviviality around a breakfast composed of typical dishes, prepared by the school. It was during a richly commented walk that we were able to discover the host city, the main streets, the banks of the Ebro and the heights overlooking them. We quickly understood that we would have to acclimatize to the mildness and the sunshine of this month of October, for the greatest pleasure of all. The following hours were devoted to the discovery of traditional Spanish games during activities dynamically organized by the PE team and supervised by various Spanish teachers. The multi-national teams allowed everyone to get to know each other better. The local schedule was respected: the students were released each day in the early afternoon. This allowed them to return to their families and to meet with their partners for rich moments of exchange and sharing. We can’t thank the Spanish families and the school enough for the warm welcome they gave us.

Tuesday, October 19th

After the traditional presentation of the day, we all boarded the buses to Flix: a nature reserve not far from the village. After a snack, it is under a beautiful sun that we left to discover the local fauna and flora, protected in this calm and preserved environment. But guided tours are not always easy in Spanish! Especially for our poor Slovak friends who didn’t learn this language.  During this visit, we had the opportunity to observe some of the migratory birds that come to nest in the reserve. But we also found, with surprise, horses of Camargue introduced a short time before because adapted to this environment. Finally, traditional fishing, typical of this area, was presented to us in a short exhibition illustrated by a video and archive images.

The reserve’s store, which supports local and environmentally friendly agriculture, allowed our students to do their first shopping: local products such as oil or olive-based soaps.

Wednesday, October 20th

This morning, the buses took the direction of Benifallet: a steep territory in the surroundings. Two activities awaited us this day: A guided tour of caves and a sports activity. The guided tour of the caves allowed us to discover magnificent limestone formations. But in this place, we also approached a page of the history of Spain because there were refugees during several years, Spanish Republicans. After this page of culture, we went to do physical exercise. We needed courage and strength to face the tree climbing course and the huge zip line, while others tried to handle a gyro-pod. The few hours of waiting before going back to the institute offered us a time of sharing around a picnic which turned out to be a very nice moment of exchange and conviviality. Less shyness, and more accustomed to foreign languages, the students showed a new ease that led them to mingle more easily with partners from all countries. The “Erasmus” bet was won!

Thursday, October 21st

A day full of camaraderie, laughter and thrills awaited us on Thursday, October 21st. Our Spanish hosts spoiled us by planning a day in the famous amusement park “Port Aventura”. The students enjoyed the different universes and animations of this theme park, but especially its rides: strong sensations!

Friday, October 22nd

And the last day came, already. This time, it was on the banks of the Ebro that we settled. On the program, a canoeing session on the river and a commented visit of the navigation club where we could discover the typical boats used in local competitions. Then we went back to the school to share our last moments together. To close this wonderful week, the Spanish had planned a closing ceremony where gifts were given to the host families, to the tune of traditional music. We gathered around the specialties brought back from each partner country and above all, the local dishes prepared by the school.

We all enjoyed a final evening of festivities as we were present during the week of the annual fair where we found the atmosphere of the local fairs. This event is very popular and attracts many exhibitors and artisans from the area.

Saturday, October 23rd

After a short night, we meet at school at dawn. After an emotional farewell with our families and partners, we boarded the bus to Barcelona airport, which we shared with our Portuguese partners. The same journey awaited us on the way back. It was with a lot of memories that each of us met our families at Le Mans train station in the late afternoon.

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