Have you ever heard about Erasmus+ Key Action 2? Of course you have but if you haven’t, you should know that under this Key Action, organisations and schools from other participating countries usually work together in order to improve the so-called “ lifelong learning” for learners (and for teachers, too!), developing and transferring innovative practices in education and training. The key words may be: opportunity, exchange and share! The Erasmus + experience is a great resource for students who have the opportunity to concretely deal with different cultures developing social, civic, cultural and linguistic competences, too.
Our school is involved in an Erasmus + K2 project called “ID&EU- IDENTITIES, DIVERSITY AND EUROPEAN UNITY” together with other four partner countries: Turkey, Lithuania, Romania and France ( Martinique). This project is a tool for promoting the values of peace, respect for all human rights and respect for everyone despite all differences. As a matter of fact, the main aims of this project are to be open to new cultures and people, to respect different cultures, values and norms and to solve social problems caused by diversity.
The project lasts two years and Partners meet 5 times ( 5 LTTA Learning Teaching Training Activities) and learn about cultures, religions, customs, traditions of the other Partner countries; they also work on intercultural values of Europe to gain the common positive values. During each LTTA Partners show their work, share activities together and enjoy time discovering the cultural heritage of the place, meeting local people, going sightseeing and staying together sharing different cultures.
Last year, in December 2019 there was the first mobility in Turkey, Antalya, and it was a great experience! The mobility in Turkey at the “Mahmut Celalettin Ökten Aihl Kepez” school took place in the first week of December 2019, with a rich calendar of educational activities within the school that hosted us and a lot of visits to places of cultural and social interest. We split presentations about our schools, cities, countries and landmarks. We worked on the definitions of Identity, Diversity and Equality; we introduced important famous people (heroes, scientists…) from our countries who were or still are originally immigrants, refugees or coming from disadvantaged groups and we talked about current situations in our countries. However, apart from working on serious and interesting topics, that experience was great fun, indeed! We were involved in several cultural trips, too! We visited the city centre of Antalya where the hosting school was located. The Old Town of Antalya, with the ancient clock tower, the port, the Hadrian’s Gate and other monuments, is a very beautiful place to visit. And its beaches are very relaxing too: the view of Taurus Mountains is magnificent! Going shopping in lively bazaars and spicy markets full of colours was so fun!
We also visited the Duden Waterfalls located near Antalya and formed by the course of the Düden River; Hierapolis, the ancient “sacred city” (hieron) with its incredible ruins such a huge Roman amphitheatre and Pamukkale ( “cotton castle” in Turkish) that is a natural site in Denizli. This area is famous for a carbonate mineral left by the flowing of thermal spring water: everything is so white that it looks like winter snow in a fairy tale!
We ate delicious local food like meatballs made with lamb and yogurt sauce and the Baklava, a sort of cake with dried fruit, honey and spices. We also drank lots of Black Turkish Tea! Teachers drank a lot of Turkish coffee, too but, luckily, they were never nervous!
A touching moving experience was an educational visit into another school hosting Syrian refugee kids: it was heart-warming to see Turkish and Syrian children playing and studying together, sharing the same classrooms.
On the last day, all Partners had dinner together, celebrating a farewell Turkish night, enjoying a Turkish show and having fun all together.
After Covid-19 emergency, we hope to live such experiences again: it is a real great opportunity to know different cultures and share our own identities in the name of equality, by breaking the walls of discrimination based on prejudices and cultural stereotypes in order to deeply understand that we are all UNITED IN DIVERSITY!