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Summer University: el verano de tu vida II

Following the example of Fernando, here you find the experience of Belén García, also a member of AEGEE-León, in her Summer University. This time, it is written in English, if you are thinking about going to SU you must start practicing this language. Continue reading and enjoy with her words.

Did you know AEGEE before going to Summer University?: I first knew of AEGEE at the SU advertising meeting. I read that email: “travel around Europe, 2 weeks, 200€, with other young people from European countries”.  My first thought was: ‘this is impossible, where’s the trick?’.  In fact, when I finally decided to try it, I chose The Netherlands as I thought it was a safe country just in case I had to run away hahaha.

workshop-What summer did you chose?: I went to AEGEE-Groningen’s SU: Paint the sky with a spark of Dutch creativity. Creativity was the main theme.

-Why do you joined AEGEE?: I joined AEGEE to go on a SU but I have to say now I was so ignorant about AEGEE back then. Summer Universities are not even the beginning of what AEGEE means and does. This is something you learn with time. It’s very difficult to explain all what AEGEE has to offer in a 30-minutes-meeting, even with more time. It’s too much information to understand so quickly. I say this from the perspective of the impatient person I am. There are so many fields to work with in AEGEE that you just need time to learn about them and to see how they work.

Why did you choose this destination? What was its topic?: I chose Groningen for many reasons. I’ve already said one, safety. But the most important ones were that I love the Netherlands and I felt this was a great way to get into the real society of the country and not just travel as a tourist. This SU is different to the others as you stay in AEGEE members’ house, which, to me, was a nice way to get into Dutch lifestyle and gave me the opportunity to meet people out of AEGEE as well. I also chose it because of the main theme: Creativity. It was a Summer Course, what means a lot of workshops, so it was important to me to find those interesting.

-Was the selection process difficult?: To be honest, I didn’t find it very difficult. At first I was sure they will never choose me.  I heard other people talking about the funny videos they were doing, other organizers they knew from many antennas who would surely choose them and so on. I didn’t know where to start or what to do to get chosen so I just did a letter expressing my real feelings, how I love to travel and why would I be a good participant. The key is finding a way to show you are different and funny but that’s not easy at all. I just wrote a letter trying to be funny, original and telling my truth. The day after the deadline to send the letters, I got my confirmation email. I couldn’t believe it!

Can you make a summary of your 15 days of SU?:  There’s no way I can resume all the adventures lived every day I was there. I met fabulous people, getting to know them more and more every day with their different cultures, points of view and ways of life which always make you learn. After a few days we stop being embarrassed and so we start doing the most stupid things and the craziest parties. We learned a lot about Europe as well. Discussing themes from every country’s point of view and we alsrelaxingo learned we are very similar as well as so different what makes us part of this “Europe project”. I especially liked the weekend in Schiermonnikoog, a little island which seemed taken out of a dream. Every place you looked at was just perfect, but maybe with the eyes of the excitement everywhere in the summer looked like that.

-Tell us an anecdote about what can happen in a SU: What I loved of my SU is that I lived in a house with Dutch people and had my own bike, so I felt totally Dutch there. Maybe this is not the best story to tell, but is one that shows how kind and understanding can be the organizers as they are people like you. Some people of the group went to a friend’s house to drink before going out. As it was in the other side of the city I took my bike to go and when coming back to the city-centre I thought it wasn’t a good idea to ride so my friend borrowed the bike. At some point I turned around and I saw the wheel out of the bike! I freaked out, but a very nice lady in the street fixed it easily and we get normally to the city centre and that seemed to be all, but when I got back home at the end of the night the bike wasn’t working as usual so I crashed with a traffic signal and I flew over the bike. I was immediately worried about having broken the bike as it wasn’t mine so I checked carefully everything was in its place and luckily it was. Or that I thought in the confusion of the night. The next morning when I saw the bike again I really freaked out this time. It was completely trashed, the wheel was an 8, cables broken everywhere. What would I do? How would I explain it? Luckily, the bike didn’t have an owner. It had been found in the street and had been fixed to the SU but I learned the lesson: Don’t drive if you are drunk, don’t let drunken people ride your bike.

-What is what makes this experience different?: The perfect word to define this experience is different. It’s different because you do everything you expect from a travel without having to look for it. You get to know the country from the inside while you discover other cultures as well. You do new activities and share them with people you would never forget. You surely see them again as you are now part of the AEGEE family which always holds your back and gives you a bed everywhere you go. Once you travel this way, the other experiences feel just boring. It’s also good for you the fact that you go alone, as you learn how to manage this situation, getting to know people is suddenly easy to you and you practice your language skills.

I will never forget those days. How this people treated me. How I felt and feel part of something big. Because AEGEE is not just about party, but also about learning and sharing opinions and strategies which may change our countries in the future. This was my first trip with AEGEE and my trips from now on will never be the same.

Belén García Álvarez

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La Navidad española

Ya es Navidad. Algunos hemos vuelto con nuestras familias y otros la pasaremos en León con nuestra familia Erasmus.  No sabría decir qué es mejor…

Estar de Erasmus es descubrir un país, su cultura, su gente, su lengua… La Navidad española tiene muchas costumbres, muchos sabores y muchas curiosidades. He aquí una breve explicación.

 

Lotería

En Navidad, Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, empresa estatal creada en 1812 que se encarga los juegos de azar en España, organiza dos grandes sorteos de lotería: el de Navidad y el del Niño.

El de Navidad se celebra el 22 de diciembre y su premio máximo, llamado el Gordo, tiene un valor de 400.000 euros al décimo (boleto mínimo de lotería, cuesta 20 euros).

El del Niño se celebra el 6 de enero y su premio máximo tiene un valor de 200.000 euros al décimo.

Todos los años los españoles gastan en lotería navideña una media de 55 euros. Del dinero recaudado, sólo el 70% se destina a premios. Al ser una empresa pública, el Estado recauda el resto (unos 1000 millones de euros cada Navidad).

 

Dulces

Turrón_blando_y_duro

Turrón blando o de Jijona (el de color marrón) y turrón duro o de Alicante (el de color blanco)

700 años de presencia islámica en España han dejado su huella en la arquitectura, la lengua, las costumbres… y en la Navidad. Prácticamente todos los dulces tradicionales de la Navidad española son de origen árabe. Los más conocidos son el turrón (masa cocida de clara de huevo, azúcar, almendras y miel), el mazapán (masa de almendras y azúcar) y los polvorones (masa cocida de harina, manteca y azúcar).

 

 Nochebuena y Navidad

La noche del 24 de diciembre (Nochebuena) los españoles se reúnen en familia para cenar. Se considera como una fiesta de carácter cultural y familiar, más que religiosa. Es una cena muy exagerada y las abuelas intentan cebar a sus familiares, especialmente a sus nietos, con carnes, mariscos de Galicia y sidra de Asturias o cava de Cataluña. Además, los niños reciben el aguinaldo, regalo en forma de dinero de parte de los abuelos.

El 25 de diciembre (día de Navidad) muchos niños reciben los regalos de Navidad. Tradicionalmente, se recibían el 6 de enero, Día de Reyes, pero la costumbre se ha adelantado.

 

Nochevieja y Año Nuevo

La noche del 31 de diciembre (Nochevieja) al 1 de enero (Año Nuevo) los españoles toman 12 uvas al compás de las 12 campanadas de las 12 de la noche de la Casa de Correos de la Plaza del Sol de Madrid, una por cada campanada. Las campanadas son retransmitidas por televisión y son uno de los programas más vistos del año.

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Plaza del Sol de Madrid en Nochevieja

Esta tradición tiene su origen en diciembre de 1882, cuando el alcalde de Madrid prohibió salir a la calle la noche del 5 de enero. En respuesta, algunos madrileños salieron a las calles el 31 de diciembre a comer uvas al son de las campanadas para reírse de los ricos, que solían tomar uvas en la cena de Nochevieja. La broma se hizo costumbre en todo Madrid y en 1909 los agricultores de Alicante y Murcia, ante una cosecha de uva excesiva, hicieron una campaña de publicidad sobre las “uvas de la suerte” que la convirtió en costumbre nacional.

Después de las uvas hay fiesta con los amigos, siempre con vestido y traje. A la mañana siguiente, la resaca se pasa con churros con chocolate.

 

Día de Reyes

En España, la tradición es que los niños escriban una carta a los Reyes Magos con los regalos que desean. Antes de irse a dormir el 5 de enero, se les dejar algo de comer y beber (normalmente algún licor o vino, y dulces) a los Reyes Magos y a sus camellos y se coloca un zapato de cada persona de la casa en fila. La mañana del 6 de enero, los niños encuentran sus regalos junto al zapato correspondiente.

roscon

Roscón de Reyes

Para el desayuno o la merienda del 6 de enero se come el Roscón de Reyes. Es un bollo elaborado con una masa dulce con forma de aro adornado con rodajas de fruta escarchada o confitada de colores variados, suele rellenarse de nata montada o crema. En su interior hay “sorpresas” que se descubren al comer. Si se encuentra la figura del Rey, se recibe la corona; si se encuentra el Haba, se debe pagar el Roscón.

Además, la noche del 5 de enero hay cabalgatas de Reyes en muchas ciudades españolas.  

 

¡Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo!

 

Javi Gonzaga

YiA Exchange en Horezu (Rumanía)

Del 01 al 09 de Noviembre tendrán lugar un intercambio en Rumanía con la subvención YiA (Youth in Action). Esto significa que está pagado al 100% el alojamiento y la manuntención y el 70% del desplazamiento (desde León a la ciudad en cuestión).

El proyecto se llama “Paper Handicraft Business-Winter Edition” y AEGEE León busca participantes.

33 personas de entre 18 y 25 años de 5 países diferentes junto con 5 líderes podrán disfrutar de este intercambio durante 10 días en una ciudad a 200km de Bucarest. Los países son España, Italia, Turquía,  Polonia y Rumanía. Durante el intercambio compartiran experiencias, aprenderán y se centrarán en acciones concretas para el desarrollo del espíritu emprendedor. Se basará en hacer productos de papel de tema navideño usando una de las técnicas más antiguas, el Origami.

El objetivo principal es incrementar el nivel de conocimiento respecto a la producción de papel artesanal. Más info aquí: INFO PACK_Paper Handicrafts Business – Winter Edition

Si os interesa mandad un mail a aegeeleon@gmail.com con vuestros datos (nombre apellidos, edad, telf de contacto y mail), carta de motivación. SE DARÁ PRIORIDAD A LAS SOLICITUDES QUE LLEGUEN ANTES.

Voluntario en Hungría II / Volunteer in Hungary II

Hola a todos. Aquí estoy de nuevo dispuesto a compartir mis experiencias en el Servicio de Voluntariado Europeo (SVE) con vosotros tal y como os prometí. Antes de entrar en detalles de cómo es la vida en Hungría o las actividades concretas que realizo, me gustaría seguir un cierto orden cronológico para facilitaros la comprensión de lo que un SVE supone. Por eso en la entrada de hoy haré referencia a las razones que me motivaron a dar un pase adelante y solicitarlo, así como a lo que está significando para mí.

Bueno, en primer lugar he de destacar que esto es algo orientativo y, evidentemente, subjetivo puesto que es mi punto de vista, son mis razones. Así que no lo interpretéis como algo dogmático LOL

Tras haber pasado casi un año en Suecia como estudiante Erasmus, sentía la necesidad de volver a salir al extranjero y vivir nuevamente en otro país, conocer otra cultura y seguir creciendo como persona. Además por aquel entonces se despertó en mí un gran interés por las labores sociales. El resultado de todo esto fue decidirme a realizar un voluntariado y obtener una perspectiva diferente de la vida.

Desde el principio tenía claro que quería optar a un proyecto de larga duración y lo máximo que te pueden ofrecer es un año. ¡Pues adelante! Muchas personas me dieron la enhorabuena al conocer la noticia… ¡incluso me admiraban porque entregaba un año de mi vida a personas que lo necesitaban! Bueno, tampoco es para tanto. En lugar de entregar un año, prefiero decir que lo estoy invirtiendo; y tampoco penséis que al hacer un SVE vais a tratar con gente totalmente pobre o desfavorecida. Esa es una imagen errónea que muchos nos hemos creado por los documentales de la televisión.  Hay actividades de todo tipo y con toda clase de personas, pero con un resultado común: un aprendizaje y una experiencia que ni la mejor Universidad o empresa del mundo te puede dar.

Una vez empezado el SVE, el tiempo coloca a cada uno en su sitio. Ya llevo dos meses en Hungría, y al echar la vista atrás comienzo a comparar las ideas que tenía en mi mente cuando lo solicité y el actual significado que representa para mí. Para algunos es su primera vez en el extranjero, para otros su primera experiencia “laboral”, algunos viven por primera vez sin sus padres, otros lo ven como una buena vía para practicar un idioma extranjero… A mí me está ayudando a conocerme mejor a mí mismo, qué es lo que realmente persigo en la vida y cómo, cuáles son mis valores humanos, qué soy capaz de hacer y, en definitiva, quién y cómo es Fernando Gutiérrez Chico. Sé que aún es pronto para sacar conclusiones, pero creo haber empezado a hacerme una idea.

Una vez más, muchas gracias por estar al otro lado de la pantalla leyendo estas líneas. Espero que os sean útiles. En la próxima entrada  prestaré atención a la dificultad que conlleva el inicio del SVE.

Hasta entonces, un fuerte abrazo

Fernando Gutiérrez Chico
———

Hi everyone. Here I am again ready to share with you mi experiences within the European Voluntary Service (EVS) as I promise. Before providing details on how life in Hungary is or the specific activities I do, I would like following a certain chronological order for you to understand easily what an EVS means. That is why, in this entry, I will refer to the reasons that encouraged me to go ahead and apply for it as well as what it means for me.

Well, first of all I have to underline that this is a kind of orientation and, definitely, subjective since it is my point of view, my argumentation. So do not take it as a dogma LOL

After having spent almost one year in Sweden as an Erasmus student, I felt the need to move out abroad and live in a foreign country again, know another culture y keep growing up as a person. In addition, a great interest in social tasks woke up inside me by then. As a consequence of all this, I decided to volunteer and thus obtain a different perspective of life.

From the beginning I was sure that I wanted to opt for a long-term project and the maximum you might be given is one year. Let’s go on! A lot of people congratulated me after knowing the news… they even admired me because I was given a year of my life to people in need! Well, it is not such a big deal. Rather than giving one year, I prefer to say that I am investing it; and do not think that you are going to deal with totally poor or disabled people when doing an EVS either. That is the wrong image that most of us have created in our minds due to the documentaries shown on the TV. There are all kind of activities and all sort of people, but all in all there is a mutual achievement: a learning and an experience that neither the best University nor the best company will ever give you.

Once the EVS is started, time will put everybody in his/her place. I have been in Hungary for two months, and by looking back in times I begin comparing between the ideas I had in my mind when applying for it and the current meaning it has for me. For some it’s their first time abroad, for others their first “working” experience, some live without their parents for the first time, others feel it as a good way to practice a foreign language…It is helping me knowing myself in a much better manner, what I am really after in life and how, what my human values are, what I am able to do and, definitely, who and how Fernando Gutiérrez Chico is. I know it is still quite soon to have a conclusion, but I think I have started shaping it.

One more time, thank you very much for being in the other side of the screen reading these lines. I do hope this is useful for you. On my next entry I will pay attention to the difficulty of an EVS’ beginning.

Best wishes

Fernando Gutiérrez Chico

we help you in your first days in León

(Versión en español)

Due to the massive arrival of new international students that are coming soon, we are going to try to solve, somehow, all your raising doubts on housing. As a student coming from another city I hope you can find this helpful.

Firstly, I will underline albergues (kind of hostel)…Where to stay after your arrival if you have not found any room or flat yet? The first option and the best in economical terms is the youth hostel in León (Albergue Juvenil), oftenly used by ERASMUS students like you or pilgrims on their way to Santiago (St. James’ way). You can opt for a full service cheaply. You can find the link below:

http://www.reaj.com/info-albergue.asp?id=144

If you are somewhat posh (no offenses LOL), there are also hostels for a very good price. You can have a look at them in websites such ashttp://www.infohostal.com/guia/leon/leon/1543/alojamiento/hostales.html   . Over there you can compare prices and rent your room. But as I have mentioned before, these are just some short-term solutions…what you might be interested in is coming now.

In León you can choose between living in a dorm and sharing a flat. The first option, since you do not know anyone here, is always something unforgettable. You can find the different dorms (contact info included) all over the city in the following link: http://www.jeule.unileon.es/?page_id=11 Among all of them, the best one in terms of money might be Emilio Hurtado, next to the campus. It is basically small flats with a shared kitchen for three or four students. Most of my friends, who have spent some time there, remember it as a lovely stay. There is always someone who you can watch a film with, have a pleasant talk or partying.

On the link above, you can find el programa vivienda. By clicking on the image you will see a list with flats ready to be rented as well as their respective information. These flats are ordered by neighbourhoods. To be honest, I would say that from my point of view the best location to live in León are La Palomera and El Ejido, close to the University and the nightlife area. Sharing a flat in León is quite ordinary and so you should not have any problem in order to get one quickly. In addition, I would add that you could find a good place for 220 € a month (costs included). If you are asked for more than 250 €, start distrusting. It is likely to find a better relation quality/price.

Another site to have a look at, and where I found two of the places I have lived in is http://www.milanuncios.com/pisos-compartidos-en-leon/ , a permanent refreshed website. You will be able to see new offers every day.

There are always more alternatives such as contacting the former ERASMUS students, boards at the faculties, Facebook…I hope this information has been helpful and, of course, if you have any further question you can contact AEGEE – León (aegeeleon@gmail.com). We will be pleased to make it easier for you

leon

Ruth San José Blasco  /translation by Fernando Chico