ERASMUS+ Vocational Educational Training in Ireland
We’ve all heard of the Erasmus Project. The project that allowed students from all over Europe to see the outside world, broaden their horizons and, most importantly, strengthen their position on the European job market. This year, the time has come. It was our chance to prove ourselves that we were able to preserve the honor of our school. On January 11th 2018, 25 students from our school, plus two teachers, have left the country to seek prestige in Ireland. Many hours later, we arrived in a place that would become our home for the following month. We also met the people who were supposed to take care of us. Complete strangers. But thinking about it, so were we. We were all on the same boat. We had to trust them and let ourselves be trusted. All of it felt surreal but also magical at the same time. All of the students have been divided into several groups, each with 2 to 4 people. Every group went to live with a different family. I was in a group with three of my classmates. Many people call Ireland the “Emerald Isle”. I can’t really think of a more fitting name. When our group woke up the next day, we were greeted by a view of green pastures, fields scattered with numerous sheep (there were so many sheep!) and grassy hills all around us. You can joke that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but in this case, it really looks greener. I don’t know why. The first day was mostly introduction. We met the representatives of Your International Training (YIT), who gave us the plan for the following weeks. They also told us about our accommodations and internships, and shared some useful tips on how to make our trip safe and enjoyable. Their help was very valuable. All of them were very nice and friendly. The general plan was that we had a 40-hour work week plus 20 hours of the English course in the first week, for 4 hours right after work. The English course was surprisingly informative. It wasn’t strictly about English. It DID teach us the language, but… in a different way. Not “how to speak”, but more “how to behave”. The inseparable part of behaviour is the manner of speech and that was the most crucial part of the course. Our tutor told us about common and useful phrases in Ireland (and the English speaking world), how to use them, how to not misunderstand the people. He also gave us a list of words that we would have to use in our work environments. Work was possibly the most important thing in the trip. Most of us worked with 1 or 2 other people from the group and each of those smaller groups had a different workplace. I worked with one of my friends from the same house in a flower shop, while the other two worked together in a brewery. Since we’re in IT, our job involved managing and designing websites. There was a lot of stuff to do, some more entertaining, other less, but all of it educational nonetheless. Our co-workers were extremely nice and respectful. And then there were the trips. During the month we were in Ireland there were four of them. In the first week, we drove around County Sligo – we saw places like Holy Well, Glencar Waterfall, Mullaghmore or my favourite – Gleniff Horseshoe. In the second one, we got to visit some more distant places, namely County Mayo, County Galway and Galway itself. The third week ended with us visiting the capital of Ireland – Dublin. And in the fourth week, we went to County Donegal. All memorable experiences, they showed us the beauty of Ireland and encouraged us – or at least me – to visit that place again. There are still some places in Ireland that I haven’t seen. I’d really like to change that someday. On February 9th 2018 25 students from our school left Sligo with a ton of new experience and memories they wouldn’t forget for years to come. One of these students was me. Could the trip have been better? For some, possibly. But for me, it was a fantastic month brimming with new things to see and great things to do.