End of an Era(smus)
As mentioned in a recent post, I visited Bucharest a few months ago for what may be my final transnational meeting as part of an ERASMUS funded project, representing my school. I have also contributed to the final report for what is very likely to be my final ERASMUS project, and which is being signed off this week.
ERASMUS was one of the (many, many) casualties of the catastrophic decision to leave the European Union.
ERASMUS has offered me the chance to travel and work with colleagues across Europe since 2010 when I first got involved, thanks to Karl Donert.
I have worked on a number of projects over the years, on projects which received millions of pounds worth of funding. These have offered the chance for students at my school to visit other countries and connect with students in very different circumstances and work on collaborative projects over an extended period of time which have developed their own social and other skills.
DigitalEarth - a major European network - working on one of the SIGs (Special Interest Groups) - this was the most widespread of all the projects and a great place to start. It meant working with a large group of teachers, not all geographers.
I have also led several events for AENIE: an organisation in Portugal that organises a lot of vocational training courses for teachers and young people from around Europe. I hope to work with Jaime and Ligia again in the future.
Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of educators: academics, teachers, NGOs, project managers, and people from a wide range of European organisations from numerous universities and schools. I have worked on behalf of the Geographical Association, University College London and King's Ely as well as myself.
The projects have mostly had opportunities for travel and spending time in cities around the meetings and extensive work to create the intellectual outputs - writing, reviewing, creating and collaborating on all sorts of documents and training courses, many of which are still free to view on the EuroGeography website of EUROGEO.
I have had the chance to learn from so many expert geographers and people with other subject specialisms, including organisations with specific skills. Quite a few have developed my use of tools such as GIS, and the work has percolated down into my classroom teaching and curriculum making.
It has allowed me access to events I would not normally have attended, including events for geography educators such as the EuroGeo conference, and the GI Forum in Salzburg.
That included a memorable night as dusk fell over Hohensalzburg Castle.
Image: Alan Parkinson, shared under CC license.
I have had the chance to celebrate and experience the cultures of many new cities and take thousands of images.
There have been many memorable moments during that time, and I regularly see the daily memories on Facebook reminded me that 3,4,5,6 etc. years ago I was in some European city attending a partner meeting.
Ten memories from many:
- sailing on a Silja line ship down an ice-clogged Baltic from Helsinki to Stockholm
- drinking hot chocolate and eating apple strudel in the Hochalm mountain-top cafe on the Untersberg, above Salzburg
- drinking a Mythos in a rooftop bar in Athens, with a sundowner view towards Mount Lycabettus
- walking on the frozen Wörthersee in Klagenfurt as the sun set over the ice
- retracing the filming locations from In Bruges in Bruges after watching the Procession of the Holy Blood
- meeting at El Pilar, and seeing the amazing science classroom-cum museum, and attending the ESRI User Conference for Spain in Madrid
- walking the cobbled boulevards of Iasi, Romania in the sunshine
- a meal at the Stiftskeller in St. Peter's Abbey in Salzburg, apparrently the oldest restaurant in Europe or the World depending on what you read, and discovering a gathering in the baroque hall upstairs with hundreds of people in dirndls and traditional dress dancing
- visiting a vocational college in Villach in Carinthia near the Slovenian border
- a meeting on the UNESCO listed Finnish fortress island of Suomenlinna, in an old gunpowder magazine
Image: Alan Parkinson, shared under CC license