Eszter: One Week for Equality
Italy has always been my most favourite country, so I was really glad when I was told that I had been chosen to go there in the Erasmus+ project. It was my first Erasmus project, in the years before this I was much more afraid of travelling to a foreign country and getting accomodation at a family I don’t know. I haven’t been that confident with my language skills either.
But when I heard that human rights were the subject of the project I immediately decided to hand in an application.
With the two boys we were extremely lucky to get the first travelling opportunity. Before the tour, as we were making our little film of Hungary, we got to know each other and we were laughing a lot. In my opinion, they were the best choice for this journey and excellent companions. We made a great team.
Then came the day when we would travel to Italy. I prepared everything with my parents and we all have been excited.
On the first day we travelled from Budapest to Rome, where we had a 6-hour waiting time with our teachers and the two boys so we could go inside the city centre where we saw the Colosseum and the Trevi-fountain. We walked in a fast pace in order not to miss our next flight, but we made it in time as we didn’t have to stop our little group.
We arrived to the airport of Pisa around 11 pm where our families were waiting for us. I was so delighted because my hosts were really nice people, who wanted the best for me. I greeted them with a great hug.
On the next day we went to the Italian school, where we had a school tour guided by the teachers and students. It was so nice to see that even the students who weren’t in this project came to guide us, and even the teachers who couldn’t speak English that well took their part in the presentation. The school was enormous with many classrooms and workshops for machines where they worked with wood and steel, so the whole tour took like 2 hours. After this we had our school presentations of our countries. Everybody was great, the Italians were clapping a lot.
In the afternoon, like in all of the afternoons we spent in Pisa, we went into the centre for lunch. The Italians were so helpful! We had a lot of fun every day as we were walking through the beautiful streets of the town. They never left us alone for a moment, all of them were so talkative and full of feelings. I’m allergic to gluten so they were worried about what I would eat, but luckily my host family made me gluten free sandwiches every day. They were really kind as they took me into their everyday life, giving me all of their attention and teaching me a lot about Pisa.
We spent some time in the Piazza dei Miracoli, where there are breathtaking buildings like the Leaning Tower or the Dome of Pisa. The teachers and students (the students spoke every time we went sightseeing in Pisa, Florence and Lucca. They got a particular sight to tell us about and they did it very well) gave us presentations.
On Tuesday we had a day with workshops, which I really enjoyed. We had interesting topics with great discussions and exciting debates. I talked a lot because acceptance (and how to leave prejudices) is something worth raising your voice about.
As the time passed, everybody started to be more and more open. Even by this day I had many kids from the other countries with whom I could talk to and laugh with. Even those who didn’t show that much activity on the workshops started talking more and more. It was good to see that they were becoming more happy in here, and they were able to show more of their personality.
On Wednesday we went to see Florence. It’s a miraculous city with many breathtaking buildings. The Renaissance radiates from every wall like a golden sunbeam. The friendships started to bloom in this beautiful atmosphere. I couldn’t tell with whom I sympathised most with as we made such a good team altogether. I talked a lot with the really original and friendly Cyprians, but I spent a lot of time with the elegant and lovely French, the emotional and kind Romanian kids, and of course the social Portuguese, who could make everyone laugh within one minute. The Italian kids, as always, were perfect. They always took us in time to our meeting points but without stressing us or being in a big hurry.
In Florence we saw the Dome, the Ponte Vecchio, the Statue Of David, and many other interesting sights.
On Thursday, after two wonderful workshops we got into the school gym to do (mostly) team sports, like volleyball, football and table tennis. I love sports, but at home I’m always worried about how well I perform in the team. But this time there was no place for fears. Everybody played well! Some of us only needed a confirmation: „You’re awesome! You can do it!” and he really made it! It was a miracle to hear all teams shouting from joy as they ran through the gym wearing their coloured Erasmus+ t-shirt.
Late in the afternoon the Italian kids took us to the shopping centre of Pisa, and we had so much fun there we couldn’t even feel the cold.
On Friday we went to Lucca, but before that we went to see the mayor of Pisa. He couldn’t meet us but his representative gave a big speech about how important our job is to erase cultural prejudices and to create world peace. He spoke Italian, so one of the teachers translated what he said.
Lucca was perfect for relaxing and to get some souvenirs. It was a beautiful historical town with not so many tourists. In our freetime I went with a group of only Italian students, whom I saw for the first time, as they haven’t been in the project, they were only kids from the school who decided to come with us and to present us. They treated me really well, they walked their feet off to show me the best ice cream shop in Lucca, waited for me as I bought souvenirs, and always stayed next to me. They asked me a lot about how I like it here and what my country is like. I felt that they really cared about me although it wasn’t a „task” for them to complete.
After we got back to Pisa, most of us went to the shopping street like we did last day. The Italian kids were always ready to party!
At night we went to a pizzeria, where we had a huge room reserved only for us. When everyone finished his meal and we left the restaurant we walked through the beautiful streets of Pisa once more, and suddenly the unstoppable laughing stopped and most of us started crying. Some of my friends (now I can call all of them my friends) have told me before how they will miss me and all of us, but before the goodbye none of us wanted to think about our leaving tomorrow. Even the Italians cried from their whole heart! I didn’t because I was more happy to have made a lot of friends than sad to have to say goodbye for a while. And I knew we would communicate in every possible way, but I asked many of their phone numbers, just in case. With hundreds of hugs we said goodbye, but now we are communicating daily.
With my host family we spent an amazing week. They really treated me like a princess, driving me to school and everywhere I had to go. My host’s father was excellent in English, so he always told me interesting facts and stories about Pisa and every town I went to and he was even quite interested in Hungary, so I have told him many things. He had even learnt how to count to ten in Hungarian! My host had a really extrovert personality. He was always in the middle of social life and he wouldn’t have left you alone with your problems in any case. His mum is a really nice lady too. She was always worried what I would eat, how I would get to school or to the stations. One day we spent more than half an hour trying to figure out when and where we have to go in the morning, because the programme didn’t say it. They stood open with me and really got me into their family.
It was a pleasure for me to meet all these wonderful people. I hope even with this one week we could make the world a little bit happier!