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martes, 23 de abril de 2019

Inventaciones

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Recently we helped out again with the last event of the Inventaciones project, organized by the 
Asociacion Carreteras Segundarias. Inventaciones is a multi-event project, which was developed to help social workers throughout Andalusia. The aim of the project is to help increase youth participation, and the international participants in the project, from Poland and Portugal came to share best practices with the participants from Spain.


If you are interested in what we were up to in the first event, read about that HERE. This time, we went to Armilla, near Granada to the Ciudad Deportiva ("Sports City"), where the sessions were held. The sessions here were all about summarizing the results from the local meetings held since the first session in which local politicians, youth workers and youth discussed youth politics, resources and youth participation.


The summary of the results and the further sharing of good practices sparked lively discussions, with many young people, youth workers, politicians and of course the international participants. While there were some clear differences in views and priorities between and within these groups, everyone gained valuable knowledge and insight into the state of youth politics and participation in the region and the summaries will be used to improve work on these issues in Spain.












martes, 9 de abril de 2019

Youth Democracy Academy

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As usual, we are busy with all our projects and work, and we have recently successfully finished yet another youth exchange! This one was called Youth Democracy Academy, bringing together people from Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden and of course Spain! This was a special one, because the theme was youth participation in politics, especially related to the upcoming European elections in May. The participants were young people who are especially interested and involved in the topic, most of them campaigning at home, promoting voter participation in the EU elections.

During the project we not only built a great team, but did a wide variety of politics and elections-related activities. We interviewed people on the street about their knowledge about the EU and then tried to convince them to vote. We created promotional material that we used on the street and in the faculties to get people to think about European issues.

Moreover, we spent a lot of time contemplating how we could better campaign in our own countries and we tried to come up with the most creative campaign ideas through some unusual means: creating joke political parties, promoting elections in the world of Game of Thrones and Star Wars or rapping about politics in our countries. Clearly, not all of these ideas translate directly into real-world campaigns, but we think it was a great mental exercise and we came up with a ton of ideas that participants can take home and use. And most importantly? It seems like everyone had fun, because that's what is going to motivate people to act!

Enjoy a small selection of the tons and tons of photos I shot during the exchange:






















domingo, 31 de marzo de 2019

Our Midterm Evaluation – Marci

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Time flies, as we are already halfway through our EVS here! Being near halfway also means that it was time to go for the Midterm Evaluation, a 3-day session with EVSers from all around Spain to share experiences, learn and re-energize our projects. Unlike the On-Arrival Training which was about 2 months after our arrival, this was actually halfway.

The event was in Mollina, a little village in the middle of nowhere close to Malaga, in a massive youth center called CEULAJ. Around 80 people from all of Spain arrived – there were people all the way from the north of Catalonia and down south from Malaga. The projects were just as varied, from self-sustaining ecofarms, through conducting experiments and running around in T-Rex costumes in a science museum, helping young, elderly or disabled, working with refugees, all the way to the type of work we do, implementing and preparing international projects and working on the visibility of Erasmus+.


Of course, 80 people can hardly work together in a productive fashion, so we split up into four groups. There were three Spanish-speaking groups and one English one. While Hanna and Kürsat were in the English one, I actually ended up in a Spanish one, which proved to be quite a challenge and a really awesome experience.

My Spanish is not great – while I understood pretty much everything around me, actually replying to things proved to be a bit of a challenge. I’m not great with past tenses, I could use with a greater vocabulary and overall just more language practice. Luckily that didn’t stop me from talking a lot, even if it was a sort of tarzan-Spanish, almost exclusively speaking in the present tense with lots of gestures, some English words and lots of laughing. I was scared at first that I won’t be able to be a proper part of the event this way, but it in fact it proved to be extremely empowering and motivating!


Throughout the event we did various teambuilding activities, reflection sessions and brainstormed about the future: how to improve the second half of our projects and what we will do once our projects are over. The best part of this experience was the group! While of course it’s impossible to get to know 80 people in the short period there, the group became super close in no time! There was such an amazing variety of interesting people, I would have loved if the event lasted for a whole week or more!

During the event, we had a short day-trip lined up. We spent an afternoon and evening in Malaga, running around the city, promoting Erasmus+, chilling out on the beach (I could only convince one person to go into the water to swim with me!), exploring and hanging out in a cool ruin-pub like place.


The Midterm Evaluation has definitely been an inspiring and motivational experience for all of us. Now we have more friends in all corners of Spain, I am more motivated to improve my Spanish and to try new things in my EVS. Now we just need to organize an EVS Goodbye Week for the end of our projects – it would only be fair if we have an On-Arrival and a Midterm!






jueves, 28 de febrero de 2019

Where Does the Albaicín Pottery Come From? – Marci

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A friend of mine was visiting me in Granada and he spent a year here not that long ago, so he knew plenty of places that are off the beaten path. I already pride myself in knowing a lot of cool, less well-known places, but he definitely introduced me to a few new ones.


One of the new places he showed me was the Fajalauza ceramics factory. This is a place just outside the city walls near or in the Albaicín, just along the road up to Mirador San Miguel Alto. It is outside the area most people would walk to, but it is actually quite close. There is a small factory on each side of the road, both called Fajalauza, but one with an opening date of 1517 and the other with a date from the 1600s. I wonder what’s the story behind that!


We went into the one from 1517. It consists of a series of very odd, old buildings which were once the place where these were ceramics were made. The old oven is still visible, although I assume that now this whole site is more just a place to sell the ceramics. There is a small museum/shop where you can buy some tiles, plates, bowls, cups, etc. with typical Granada pottery. They are still hand painted, although they use modern ovens now.



They are certainly not trying very hard to attract tourists. I imagine most of their business comes from selling the tiles, but it’s hard not to see what potential this place has as a provider of hand-made souvenirs and maybe with a nicer museum or ceramics-making workshops… In fact, just a decent website would be a start! But I guess this is the different mentality towards business in Spain, versus that of a US-style business-driven mindset. Here as long as your company provides enough for your family and employees, it isn’t a must to scale it just because you can…

PS: If you want unique and cheap souvenirs from Granada, Fajalauza is definitely a nice option