By Florin Balotescu
Olga Gudynn International School was honoured to host the sessions of the second international meeting of the Erasmus+ project “From (im) migrants to citizens project: old roots vs. new opportunities” between 12th and 16th of March 2018.
It was a Learning, Teaching, Training Activity, with international students and teachers, attended by 37 guests from partner schools, 25 pupils and 12 teachers. The project is coordinated by Italy and is co-funded by the Erasmus + program of the European Union, with English as a working language, representing a strategic partnership between seven secondary schools, all these with traditions in the development of international projects: ITALY, “Scuola Secondary di Primo Grado Ettore Romagnoli”; FRANCE, “Saint Denis International School, Loches”; GERMANY, “Hermann-Böse-Gymnasium”; POLAND, Gimnazjum nr. 94 im. CichociemnychSpadochroniarzy Armii Krajowej; PORTUGAL, “Agrupamento de Escolas Joao de Deus”; HUNGARY, “Baktay Ervin” Gimnazium and ROMANIA, “Olga Gudynn International School”.
The opening of the working sessions was also attended by representatives of the ministry and school inspectorate, UNESCO collaborators, and members of the Erasmus + group from the hosting school.
The meetings followed three main topics: presentations and discussions of the project outputs, working inside international groups according to the agreed schedule (choosing logo and slogan, using ICT collaborative tools, building strategies for collecting data on ethnic minorities and migration) and cultural encounters relevant to the project’s topic.
The Erasmus+ project was highly supported by the Olga Gudynn International School’s community, all the 25 students being hosted in families, to keep a safe, warm and inspiring environment for them during the whole 5 working days meeting. Beyond the achievements of specific goals in the project’s plan, the international group had some meaningful encounters with the Romanian culture and society. They could perceive elements of stability within Romania’s traditional background by guided tours at National Village Museum and Comana Paper Mill and Crafts Village, they could experience the eclectic landscape of the present-day Bucharest and they made their voice heard at the Radio Romania Cultural, as guests in the live broadcasting “Science in Proper Words”, by Corina Negrea and Dan Manolache.
Feedback was always positive. Mrs.Olga Gudynn, founder of the hosting school, expressed pride “that our school represents Romania in this project where seven countries are working together to promote one of the most important value that all children should learn at a very young age: Tolerance and the joy of bringing people together!” The founder also thanked all teachers and parents for their generosity and passion of doing things together, for their effort to make the world a better place for all of us, by “planting good seeds in the place where everything starts… which is education!” showing that “kids are the strongest dreamers and it’s important to inspire them to dream about friendship, love, tolerance, about peace and a beautiful big world”.
The international Italian coordinator, Tiziana Anna-Maria Finocchiaro thanked “the school, the staff and families, for the high quality standards they assured to the development of the project”, as “a good social dimension is maybe a key element in a good partnership, and it is crucial to have things run in full accordance to the project’s plan”.
Most of the participants left their impressions in OGIS Book of Honour. In the name of the coordinating school in Gela, the students Alessia Di Francesco, Anastasia Giuffrida, Giulia Passaro, Noemi Romano said “thank you so much for all and for beautiful moments that you gave us”.
Valeria Psaila, Italian teacher, pointed out that she “found a fantastic team, great teachers, dedicated people very fond of their job and education” and she expressed great confidence in our team work: “this let me hope in a better world. I’ll bring home the memory of happy Erasmus moments which help me open doors to Europe”.
The Polish students Natalia Borkowska, Weronika Siemiaszko, Grzegorz Starczewski and Pawel Szyk talked about “a brilliant experience, lot of wonderful people and amazing places”, whereas the French, the German and Portuguese delegations wrote and talked about the impressive hospitality and also about a wonderful experience which was motivating, unique and a good impulse for all our future work.
All the Romanian team expresses its confidence in this great work. It was the start of new relations and it also meant continuing a long term work. Migration is surely a strong force in the whole world, but it is also a mark of our life, of our spirit, of the invisible flow which connects us all.
It brings back symbols, traditions, it makes us think about our roots. The F.I.T.C.O.R.N.O. Erasmus+ project in which Olga Gudynn International School is a partner is sure a powerful example of how unity and creative dialogue may be the solution for most of the problems that our world deals with today.
What is left to be done is showing that there is something more than words. To bring these to reality. To make them visible, viable, persistent by creating and maintaining a working, collaborative, inspirational net. As the chosen motto of the project says: “Borders aren’t walls! Borders are doors to be opened”.
*Florin Balotescu is Coordinator ERASMUS project and teacher at Olga Gudynn International School , Bucharest
*Pages published with the support of MANPRES www.manpres.ro