Adventures at the Spanish Coast
During the course of the Summer University “Coast AdvenTures” by AEGEE-Tarragona and AEGEE-Castelló, the 21 participants enjoyed plenty of outdoor activities and workshops and got to know this part of Spain very well. The event took place from 8 to 20 July 2022. Below you will find the report by the two antennae.
Our SU was mainly organized by four organizers from AEGEE-Castelló and AEGEE-Tarragona. There were also eight helpers, three of them stayed almost during the whole event. The event started in Oropesa del Mar, a small village located by the seaside. We introduced each other through ice breaking games and team building activities – and we made Spanish food workshops, where in the end the 21 participants had to create their own version of Spanish food. We also organized a gymkhana through the village to tell them different stories related to the history of the regions of Valencian Community. Additionally, we tested our acrobatic abilities on the beach in a workshop.
We then travelled to Castelló de la Plana, capital of the province, for one day. In the ethnological museum the participants could explore freely the rooms, followed by a city tour. Of course, after the tour, we gave them paella for lunch! Then, we introduced them to the famous workshop “what is AEGEE”. During the workshop, we asked what AEGEE meant for them and, as usual, the answers of the experienced participants were “friends, a way to learn, practicing soft skills, memories or family”.
After having sunbathed and partied for one week in the seaside of Oropesa, we gave the participants the opportunity to know our mountains. Therefore, we spent two or three days in Morella, a mountain village located on top of a hill and surrounded by the walls of a thick fortress. The atmosphere was lovely because all organizers, helpers, and participants cemented our friendship through several activities, including traditional southern European dances and engaging debates.
The political activism workshop treated hot topics related to abortion, homosexual marriage, the war in Ukraine and the position of Europe, immigration, and further issues that concerned us as citizens. It was impressive to see how youths from diverse cultures and perspectives exchanged their point of view and commented on delicate issues through respect.
For the dance workshops we had an experienced helper in that area, and although she had been a member of AEGEE-Castelló for only two weeks, she developed the workshop brilliantly. Moreover, it’s hard to forget the European night! Spanish food, Turkish homemade cuisine, Dutch, Romanian and Italian sweets, Czech spirits and other international dishes contributed to a great dinner.
Adventures in the Province of Tarragona
The last place we visited in the Castelló region was Peñiscola. We spent a whole day exploring the citadel and its castle, stopping from time to time to drink the slushies that were sold in the small shops, they got them in a wide variety of flavors! Although we had to say goodbye to some helpers and participants of AEGEE-Castelló there was still a lot to come, plenty of experiences were waiting for us in the Province of Tarragona.
People got out of the bus a bit sleepy, we had arrived to El Delta de l’Ebre, a natural park located by the sea. Once in the accommodation, a camping near the beach, we settled the tents that would be our bedrooms for around four days, and went for a swim in the pool. During this time, the workshops were related to sports and Latin dances. We were lucky to count on a helper from AEGEE-Tarragona who had experience in the area of salsa and bachata! El Delta de l’Ebre brought us unexpected activities like dancing under the moon, going skinny dipping in the Mediterranean Sea at night, and enjoying the traditional festivities of a small village.
Exhausted but motivated we reached our final destination Tarragona, known for its ancient Roman origin. In that city we carried on several activities such as the visit to PortAventura, a gymkhana to watch the city, an entrepreneurship workshop and the closing ceremony. PortAventura is the biggest amusement park of Spain. We stayed a whole day there and we would say that our participants liked its water attractions and roller coasters over all, as well as the slushes they sold all around. For the gymkhana, participants were divided and sent to watch different important locations of the city. Once there, a helper or organizer gave them an activity to perform, and then, he or she explained a characteristic of the city or of the Catalonian Community.
As for the entrepreneurship workshop, it was given by two organizers of Tarragona who are partners of some small companies. Additionally, they have taken courses on management, and one of them is graduated in business administration.
At the closing ceremony we awarded participants, helpers and organizers for their commitment along the SU and got feedback. In general, we agreed, the SU was a success. The participants, who were easy going throughout the event, told us that the team of organizers and helpers had undertaken the SU very well and that they felt that we really cared for them during the event. Actually, we all cared for each other.
All in all, we are satisfied with the result of this SU since we had several difficulties while organizing it, mostly related to the accommodation. However, we decided to go on with the event and we do not regret it at all. Besides, the content of the letters that some participants gave us before leaving Spain means a lot to us. “Good job, it has been the best experience of my life”, “thanks for making it possible”, “you are a great team”, “thanks for the effort you put in the SU”… There were also some personal and emotional comments in those letters, some people did put their heart in them, but we prefer to keep those comments only for us. Honestly, we do not know if we will be able to have another SU as cool as this one but, after all, we are happy because we are still in contact with the participants after the SU. We have met again in other places, and we will definitely meet in the future.
Dear participants, thanks for being a pineapple (inside joke), hope we can sing ABBA together somewhere in Europe very soon.