German students' impressions of Ourense

With a lot of anticipation I started the journey to Ourense in Spain on 16 March 2010 at 5.00 am in the morning. At 3.30 pm in the afternoon my host family welcomed me very kind and lovely. From now onwards it meant: kisses left, kisses right for every welcome and parting even with people I did not know actually. This custom brought the feeling of safety and being part of the family and friends.
My host family was very solicitous and they were asking me a lot of times if I am feeling well and if everything is like I want it to be. I was touched by that frankness and sincerity because in Germany it is very rare to be welcomed in that way.
I was very interested in the “Workshops” because I could learn the likings of the young persons from the different countries. In this way I recognized that the cultures, traditions and customs are different than ours.
For my part the dinner was requiring getting used to because it only starts at 10 pm. After the dinner we always met the other “Comenius people” and we were out three hours more. We went from pub to pub, per evening at least four different ones. The reason why we left the pubs very often was that they were very little and overcrowded.
My host parents went out as well to enjoy their spare time. I had the impression that in Spain everything is more stress-free and just like that everybody enjoys his spare time willfully. In Germany you are more under pressure of success.
Too fast the six days in Spain had passed and I had to return home. For me Comenius was a new and great experience. Moreover the nice relationship between the students and the teachers contributed to the amazing journey. I thought I am staying in another world for these days.
The contact to my host student Candela and especially to the Spanish students is still existing. We are looking forward to seeing us again.
I was very glad to be part of the Comenius project otherwise it is very difficult to get the chance to get to know other students from different European countries.

I think it´s not possible to put the whole Comenius project into one main event. It´s just the way young people get together every day and experience new cultures and languages. For example the optional trip for students to a really really old site (castro) in the mountains. Almost two hours walk, but every single student came, just to be a part of the group and to see all people as much as possible in this short week.
I can´t describe how much I treasure this week in Spain. I got up with a smile on my face every morning, ´cause I knew I would see these great people again. If I think of one great thing I learned during Comenius, it´s this: personal relationships are the most significant aspect of life, because you can hold on to them forever!
I can only recommend such an experience to every student, even if they are shy or scared, it´s worth it!

Tuesday (16.03.2010) in the morning - we start at Bremen airport. Our destination is Ourense (Spain). This is the last Comenius travel in this project. The main question at the beginning of this trip is: What can we learn about the Spanish culture? Will we have fun? How are the Spanish host families?
At Paris airport, we had to wait two hours. The waiting area has a funny toy. We found a very cool toy for the two hours. @France: Very good idea!
At 15:30, we arrive in Ourense. The weather at its very best. Sunny, warm temperature...
In Spain, we spent six days. The results of the six days are: The Spanish culture is interesting and very different to the German culture. For example the Spanish people eat in the night at 10 o’clock. The Sport lessons are only one hour long, a little bit too less for the football nation Spain. The city Ourense is very beautiful. The city has a nice old town with a lot of bars and cafes. Other program highlights included: a day trip to Santiago de Compostela, visited the "Outariz Termas“ (hot springs trip), went to Portugal, participated in workshops and last but not least the evening program in the old town of Ourense.
My time in Spain was coined by great conversations with great people. To sum up, I would like to say, that the trip to Ourense was really brilliant. Thanks to the organization team(s) and the host families. Thanks for everything!!

For me personally the Comenius meeting in Ourense has given me so many things that I value.
As a guest I immediately felt like an affilitated son in the family and got established in the everyday life. Particularly the relaxed attitude of the Spanish people towards life impressed me. They enjoy life and don´t seem to live to work. At least they don’t seem to be interested in driving a big Mercedes or wearing designer clothes or having a big house. Rather they like to do something with their friends after work or school. The feeling of being together and joint activities have top priority. Even if I only stayed for five days in Ourense, I do not want to miss that time. Within this short time, I improved my language skills and got to know new people. For me it’s certain that I am going to come back to Ourense. I hope that as a representative of our country I could show my host student Sara and her family a convincing picture of Germany.

Our great trip began on Tuesday. We took at 6 o'clock a plane from Bremen to Paris. In Paris we had two hours free time. It was very boring and the chairs very uncomfortable. Our plane took off to Vigo at 10 o'clock. In Vigo we landed directly next to a golf course.
Another world started now. Before we went to Orense by train, we sat down in a little café and had a hot chocolate. It was really delicious. Now the last stage to our final destination started: The train to Ourense City. We arrived in the afternoon then going home to our host families. Sara was my and Leif's host student. Everybody was nice. The communication was no problem because everybody was able to speak English, the Germans a little bit of Spanish and the Spaniards a little bit of German. Only to start a conversation was a thing we had to come across. German is one of Sara´s school subjects and her father Luís works every year for one week in Germany. That made the interactions way easier.
Sara and her parents were very very friendly and it was a lot of fun to live in this family.
The Spanish food was very delicious, especially the Spanish tortilla and the bacon.
Ourense is a very amazing city. Ruins on the little mountains, thermal bath near the river and a lot of interesting shops and bars in the city centre. But the best was, we could reach everything on foot.
My time in Spain was overwhelming and coined by great and friendly people. I never made a bad experience with Spanish people and I was impressed by the politeness and openness of them. I very much enjoyed the experience of being part of an international team which gave me the feeling of being special.

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