We wanted to offer our international students’ a ‘different’ weekend trip in which participants would enjoy taking part in workshops that aligned with the ESN causes. Our goal was to demonstrate that Erasmus is more than just pure leisure activities and that you can have fun while you learn skills and debate about important topics.
This event consisted of a small trip to Caldes d’Estrac, a seaside city outside of Barcelona. Both coordinators and participants took a train in Barcelona and commuted to the place where all activities would take place: a rural house full of sport facilities and a swimming pool.
We presented the ESN causes to our participants and told them that the weekend would be all about having fun while learning about the ESN causes and about each other (thus, fostering intercultural conversations that naturally happened even outside of scheduled activities, as expected). We had different workshops:
-LGBTQ+ workshop: a volunteer from the association ‘Ahora Dónde - Le Refuge’ gave us a presentation about how they support and shelter young LGBTQ+ people that were rejected by their family. This also prompted discussions after the presentation.
-Healthy Cooking Workshop: we split in groups and made vegan and nutritious choc chip cookies.
-Dance Workshop: we had a sweaty and fun zumba session that everyone loved (and after which the showers were overbooked! :P)
-Volleyball matches: the house had great facilities for sports, so some participants played some friendly matches there.
-Ancient Greece and Rome Theme Party: the social plan was aimed at fostering connection between participants in the evening. We all dressed up and had fun dancing to international music.
In the end, we all hiked to the beach and had a homemade picnic. We asked for some feedback and reflected on the weekend while tanning in the sun. Most participants said they would love more events like this rather than just parties - they even asked if they could join the event next semester if we’re repeating.
Overall it was a great weekend, both international students and coordinators had a great time - the amount of workshops was enough and the schedule was not as full as in events for ESNrs only, which was highly appreciated for a change.
In the future, we would love to have the tools and budget to repeat this kind of event every year, because our international students deserve to have the opportunity to take part in events like these.