Friday, 29 November 2013

Bilateral Meeting in Hungary: Final Thoughts

By Hannah Roscoe, 
IES Julio Caro Baroja BHI Comenius Language Assistant.

When I first sat down to write this ‘final thoughts’ article I had no idea how to describe my experience. I’m extremely lucky because I was able to see the exchange from several different viewpoints, each one having had its own impact on my final thoughts. There is, however, one viewpoint that stands out more than any other. For those of you who don’t know, I study languages at university in the UK. I’m currently in my third year, which I have to spend abroad in the countries where my languages are spoken. The exchange with Hungary and Poland allowed our students to travel to a foreign country, live with a foreign family, and practice a foreign language. I was so happy to be there whilst they experienced that, because it’s exactly what I am experiencing right now in Spain. For them to have an opportunity like this is incredible. I had to wait until I was 21!

To be completely honest, when I first heard about the trip to Hungary and Poland I had no idea what to expect. It was the first time that I had the chance to take part in an exchange programme, so I had no previous experience to relate to. But it certainly wasn’t something I was going to turn down. When you are presented with an opportunity to travel to new and exciting places you’d have to be crazy to say no! It didn’t take long for me to decide that Hungary was the place for me, and I can’t find the words to describe how right I was.
I had the most amazing company in Carlos and the students (most of whom I teach at the school). We spent an unforgettable week in Budapest and it will always have a special place in my memory. Summing up how incredible the trip was is going to be difficult, but here goes…

As you can expect, we did a lot of sightseeing whilst we were there. Some of the most important sites we visited included the Houses of Parliament, the Castle District as well as Heroes’ Square. There were also opportunities for us to learn a little bit about Hungarian history; especially in the House of Terror Museum. This visit proved to be both an eye opening and shocking experience for everybody. As a teacher I was able to do even more things when the students were with their Hungarian partners. Carlos and I were treated to dinner almost every night, meeting people who will remain firm friends. We also visited the National Gallery for an exhibition on Impressionism and were spoilt with a trip to the theatre. Time well spent!

But it wasn’t just fun and games – the students were there for a more important reason. The objective of this exchange was to share information; more specifically, information about how festivals are celebrated in different countries in the European Union. The students had several workshops during the week where they had to compile information about festivals in both countries. They then worked in groups to prepare PowerPoint presentations explaining what similarities and differences they had found between Spain and Hungary. This activity proved to be extremely useful for me as well as for the students. I had no idea what Aste Nagusia was when I arrived in Spain, but I can now say with confidence that I know absolutely everything about it.

Hannah Roscoe's Final Thoughts
Obviously the common language of the exchange was English. For me it wasn’t a challenge as I am a native speaker. I am very proud of our students for practicing their English as much as they did, and for trying their best to improve their skills. I know how difficult it is to be thrown in at the deep end and I am very happy that they enjoyed their time in Hungary as much as I did, and as much as I am enjoying my time in Spain.

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