This year’s Erasmus project started with our train ride to Brussels on Sunday at 8 am. If everything had gone as planned, we would have arrived in Brussels at 5:30 pm, but after we faced some of the everyday problems of the ‘Deutsche Bahn’ like spontaneous “the journey ends HERE and EVERYONE has has to get out NOW” announcement, replacement trains being cancelled, and not cancelled trains being 2 hours late, we were at pretty much exactly midnight at our hotel. Luckily, we all found this train ride extremely funny, and we were in a good mood most of the time. Like this, that train ride wasn’t too bad. The good thing about arriving 6 hours late is that we didn’t miss any activities because they didn’t start until Monday morning because the Italians didn’t even plan on coming before Monday. The bad thing is that we couldn’t explore the city on Sunday.
Monday morning, we walked to the Greek Embassy and met all the others (except the Italians) there. We were all really excited for that. The first thing each country had to do was to introduce ourselves and our school to the others, then we played a few games to get to know each other, like “get to know each other Bingo” for example. It didn’t take long to realize everyone was really nice. Then we all went to the Parlamentarium, where we finally met the Italians. We had a few minutes to talk to them before we were all sorted into groups of six, one from every country. Every group had to go to different spots in Brussels for our tasks there. We were supposed to be creative in some sort of photo challenge and talk to some strangers to have street interviews with them. That was really fun, and we met a lot of nice people. At around 3 pm everyone met in front of the Parliamentarium again, but this time we also went inside. There we played a role game, which was kind of fun but also really stressful, because we were all members of the European Parliament. When we finished, we had a few hours of free time. We sat in a park to relax a little and on our way to meet everyone for dinner we went inside some cool souvenir shops. When we arrived back at the hotel later that evening, we all started to prepare our group presentations, which we were supposed to have on Tuesday evening. It was an amazing and exhausting day, so shortly after that we all went to bed.
The next day started really early again considering we had a lot of plans for the day. It started with going to the House of European History. In new groups, which were only for this task, we walked around there and did some group work. It wasn’t as interactive as the day before, although we still learned a lot about the European history. When we were finished there we went to the European Parliament, which was really interesting as well. Then we had some free time again and we were all kind of hungry, so we got something for lunch in that time. The last place we went that day was the EU Commission where we got told a lot of interesting stuff again. The person who told us all of that even made it all real fun by randomly picking people all the time, without making someone feel uncomfortable when they didn’t know something. So even though it wasn’t such an interactive day we still had a lot of fun at all those activities. We went back to the hotel and had some time to finish our presentations before finally showing everyone what we did the day before. The time after that was used to relax a little or to play games with the other delegations until all the students went to the Hard Rock Café to eat dinner without the teachers. We all got to know each other a lot more and talked to a lot of people we didn’t have a lot of time to talk to before. We only had to be back by 11pm so we had a lot of time.
On Wednesday we went to the Greek embassy again to listen to three people who told us interesting things about the EU. There was also something else before that, but unfortunately all of us Germans and some others missed it because we decided to walk there. Walking instead of taking the bus on short trips is always a good idea, as long as you don’t walk in the wrong direction. Well, after that we stayed there to talk about what events each delegation is planning for their own school and what we want to do as an international activity. That was the last big planned activity, so we had free time until dinner, which was like 6 hours. First we got lunch and did some other stuff with the Norwegian and Dutch people but at some point we were all somehow exhausted, which is why we went back to the hotel before getting dinner with everyone one last time.
The last morning wasn’t really stressful because we didn’t have to leave before 11 am, nevertheless, some of us got up early to say goodbye to the Dutch and Norwegians because they left really early. The Greeks and Italians left only a few minutes before us, so we said goodbye to them later. Those days were absolutely amazing and if we’d get the chance, I think all of us would do this again. We met a lot of lovely people there and all the activities were a lot of fun as well.