Erasmus mobility programme celebrates similarities, differences

Students from the Alternative Learning Programme in Paola travelled to Latvia
The students with their educators in Latvia.

A group of four students and two teachers from the Alternative Learning Programme (ALP) in Paola have just returned from a five-day Erasmus mobility programme in Latvia.

This mobility was part of an Erasmus+ project named ‘Digital Interculturalism’, in short DIGI-CUL. Apart from Malta, there were other schools from four participating countries: Croatia, which is the project coordinator, Turkey, Latvia and Greece.

The group landed in Riga, the capital city of Latvia, and then visited Preili, where the Latvian school is located. Preiļi is found in the Latgale region of eastern Latvia. The town is known for its picturesque surroundings, with several forests and lakes in the vicinity. The town itself has a rich history, with settlements dating back to ancient times.

The first day of the trip started with a welcome ceremony, organised by the hosting school. Following an introductory speech by the head of school, the Latvian students presented an entertaining concert enriched with traditional music, singing and dance. Each school then had the opportunity to give a presentation about their institute alongside information about two contrasting museums in their country.

As part of the project activities, the students visited several museums. These included the Museum of Occupation of Latvia, where the students could compare their countries’ history as the Latvians were ruled by both the Nazis, as well as the USSR, before they gained independence.

“The students participated in hands-on workshops such as soap-making, Latvian dance and street art”

In Preili, the group also visited the Doll Gallery Museum and the Museum of History and Applied Arts.

While the students engaged in ice-breaking activities aimed at getting to know each other better, the teachers had an evaluation meeting during which they also discussed the plan for the mobility which will be held in Malta in October.

In order to truly get a taste of Latvian culture and traditions, the students participated in hands-on workshops such as soap-making, Latvian dance and street art. They also visited the Livani Glass and Craft Centre, where the students could witness the manufacturing of a vase from scratch in a glass-blowing workshop. All the students and teachers were given the opportunity to create their own designs.

The Nester Custom Design Art Gallery was also on the itinerary. This gallery comprises sculptures made from scrap metal, mostly used car parts.

On the last day, the group visited Rundale Palace, a stunning baroque palace located in Pilsrundāle, Latvia. It is often regarded as one of the most magnificent monuments of Latvian architecture, built in the 18th century for the Dukes of Courland.

During the trip, the Maltese students experienced a culture quite different to our own. They also made new friends and enjoyed a novel cuisine. The group unexpectedly experienced  snow for a couple of days, which made the trip even more memorable.

Together with their teachers, they will cherish the inspiring and thought-provoking learning experience.

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