Between the 20th and the 25th of May 2019, the MELT partners had their third mobility, this time in Serpa, Portugal. Serpa is a town in the Alentejo, a beautiful region in the south of Portugal, well known for its delicious cheese, award-winning wines, beautiful landscape, and whitewashed houses.
As in the other mobilities, all partners teams were constituted by teachers (two or three per team) and students (three to four), and these students were hosted by Portuguese families. This is a major experience for everyone because students can experience life in a regular Portuguese home and family and the host families can gain so much by learning cultural aspects from the visiting countries.
The first day is usually the day when all the teams arrive. The Maltese team was the first to arrive. All teams were welcomed by the hosting families and the students taken to their Portuguese homes for the week ahead.
On day two, everyone was welcomed at school and taken on a tour so that everyone could get to know the school facilities and classrooms. In the afternoon, students and teachers were welcomed at the City Council by the mayor himself and his team, who talked a bit about Serpa, its development and touristic interest, as well as the importance it gives to education. The students were offered an App with a tour of Serpa, which they enjoyed a lot. To this warm welcome to town, followed a nice walking tour around the historical centre of Serpa, with a special visit to its ancient castle. The students went home to their families and the teachers met at a local restaurant for a delicious dinner.
After visiting the school and the town, it was now time to start working on the project itself. The morning started with a lecture by Claudia Sabatano from the Italian team, the coordinator of the project, about Inclusion, the motto for this mobility. The topics of inclusive school, inclusive education and special needs were discussed by all the intervenients, in an attempt to find principles and pathways for true inclusion in schools.
In the afternoon, the teachers visited our partner school in Pias, where they could see the drama group preparing for the end of the year performance. After this visit, the teams were welcomed in the Adega Cooperativa de Pias (Pias Winery), for a visit to the winery, a wine tasting session and an unexpected Cante session prepared specially for the visitors.
After such a delightful afternoon, dinner was served at one of the local restaurants, offering true Alentejo dished for everyone’s delight.
This was a very special day for everyone. Thanks to the fine weather, everyone took a bus to Mértola, a town not far from Serpa, where there was a guided tour around the olf town which is held inside ancient walls. We visited the excavations which are still taking place there and had the opportunity to experience the feeling of living in an old Muslim town. After the visit, everyone had luch at the local school and then took a quick bus drive to Mina de S.Domingos, where, due to the beautiful weather, the students could sunbathe and enjoy some time in the calm waters of the river beach.
On day five, nothing better to start the day than a workshop led by Filomena Mourinho on Positive Psychology and its importance in Education. Some aspects of this not so well-known discipline withing psychology were discussed, such as, for instance, character strengths (how to assess and potentiate them), wellbeing, and positive education.
As this was the final “working” day, it was also time for the hading out of the project banner and for preparing the next mobility in Lithuania. The afternoon was left free for families and students to spend time together.
As for the teachers, it was dinner party night at a typical Alentejo “monte” (farmhouse) with typical food and music until late.
It was time for goodbyes. The last day of the mobility was spent in Lisbon. All teams were taken by bus to the capital city of Portugal and they all had a great time visiting the most famous monuments, sightseeing and trying the delicious pastéis de nata. Goodbye is never easy and this was a very deeply emotional mobility for everyone.
Our next meeting will be in October, in Lithuania, but we believe everyone’s hearts melted in Serpa in our third mobility.