This article’s aim is to present the perceptions and experience of the Macedonian group with the ‘Stand up against bullying’ mobility. The mobility took place in Arcos de Valdevez, a municipality in the northern part of Portugal, from February 24th to March 2nd. Located in the valley of the river Vez and surrounded by green hilltops, it offered breathtaking sights and fresh air to us, the visiting teachers and students of six European countries.
Proud of their rich history and brave ancestors, the residents informed us about the first settlements in Arcos de Valdevez in the 5th mil. BC. This is only a tiny bit of information that we learned during the plethora of sightseeing tours through the town. First, we started getting to know this lovely small town by visiting the Peneda Geres National Park. Strolling through the park, we were able to see its biodiversity in the form of a variety of oaks, pines, birches and bushes, but due to the lack of time, the fauna remains to be seen during the next visit of this astonishing place. J Spiritually energised, we enjoyed the street folk-dance ‘event’ on the town’s square. A spontaneous gathering of the elderly attracted us all into joining the mesmerizing traditional Portuguese dances, without knowing the exact steps, just having a great fun.
Furthermore, we visited the Town Hall and the town’s library with the most warm-welcoming vice-mayor and librarian, respectively. During our sightseeing breaks, we enjoyed our free time at the cosy tea house ‘The florist’. Its sedate atmosphere combined with the delicious tea and cakes made us wish to stay there forever. Not to forget the cinema, a small but comfortable one, which offered us three-hour enjoyment and enlightenment about the value of human life vs the value of money. Our hosts also organised a tour to Viana do Castelo, a neighbouring town with its oceanic surroundings. Climbing the steep castle on a windy day will certainly remain a memorable experience among us.
Last but not least, our host – the Epralima school, for the best is left for the end J A private vocational school where everything functions in a perfect order. The visible synergy among the management, the teaching staff and the students created a highly hospitable atmosphere for the realisation of our planned activities. Everyone was willing to participate due to the positive vibes, ignoring the language barriers. The energy was transferred to the football match and the aerobics class, where it reached its peak – everyone was hectic and doing their best in performing the activities. But the most invaluable were the dinners when we all got together and enjoyed the delicious Portuguese food and long conversations about anything and everything J.
As ‘all that’s good lasts short’, this mobility came to an end after seven days, leaving us with lots of photos and unforgettable memories and hoping to visit this remarkable town sometime in the future.
Ivana Simonovska attended the student exchange together with her students Sara Mihajlovska and Monika Spasikj.