Empower Myself – Portugal

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Dates: 24.11.2020 — 3.12 2020

Venue: Covilhã, Portugalsko

Programme and action: programme ERASMUS+, Key action 1: youth exchange

For more information please read the info-pack. 

Hostitelská organizace: Vineyard Youth

Participating countries:  Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Spain

Czech participants: Kristýna Liptáková (GL), Lukáš Makáň, Miloslava Macková, Héloïse Enjalbal, Aneta Daněčková

Report:

Last week in November, five Czech participants had a great opportunity to escape from the daily reality of coronavirus this year. Most of us signed up at the last minute, but all of us were much happier when we were selected for the Empower Myself project in the Serra da Estrela mountains in Portugal. The Czech team met together in Lisbon and from the first moment when we saw each other, there was a good mood.

We met the Spanish, Serbian, Slovak and Romanian teams before the bus took us together through mountain serpentines to the hostel, where we spent a wonderful ten days. However, we got along with the Slovaks the most, from the beginning to the end we formed a good group, teased each other, joked about the stereotypes that our nations have and learned how we actually differ.

The main topic of the project was rural entrepreneurship and the first days of lectures and workshops seemed a bit challenging. Our hostel was surrounded by white mist and we had no idea until the third day where we were. In addition, the Portuguese did not manage to maintain an acceptable room temperature inside, so we hardly took off our jackets. None of this spoiled our experience, but we still laughed and even though we were wearing face masks in all our activities, we forgot about the hard times with coronavirus in the world and created our own safe bubble.

Our main task on the project was to create a business plan in the teams, which would be implemented in rural areas. Some teams were more involved in planning, some less. However, the result was mostly really good ideas that are just waiting for someone to implement them. We also received lectures from entrepreneurs on the topic of entrepreneurship, and our leaders also included a lot of useful information on how to start your own business. If someone really wanted to start a business, then there is probably no better time than after a similar project, because in the end we were all kind of entrepreneurial and enthusiastic about what we managed to come up with in those few days.

No youth exchange should miss the intercultural nights and performances of local culture. This time we had the opportunity to take part in a tasting of Portuguese wine, we saw real Spanish paella being cooked and we visited the local farmers’ market at the highest point of mainland Portugal. We tried to present Czech culture with our famous humor and irresistible sweets. And as we had great day-to-day fun, we didn’t even notice that the project was coming to an end.

The farewell was not dramatic, no one even cried. We knew we were not saying goodbye for long. We already plan to spend New Year’s Eve together, go on another project or have a reunion when the coronavirus situation improves. And even in such Erasmus plus exchanges can happen,  that you will find friends for life.

                                                                                                                                       Aneta Daněčková

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