About two years (three now that I am writing this version in English) ago my experience in Granada would come to an end. Turning back the clock of time and memories without being left longing is practically impossible. I tried it anyway.

It was an Erasmus for traineeship that lasted three months: April, May and June 2018. I was in an agency whose main activity was to receive and distribute groups of high school students in work-school exchange projects. My responsibility was to organize and carry out the cultural activities. The company had four offices and four residences, where the students were received: Granada, Malaga, Cordoba and Martos (in the province of Jaén). I spent my first month in Martos, and the company warned me of this right before my departure for Spain. Martos is a sleepy town lost somewhere in the Andalusian hinterland, far from the famous tourist attractions and from the life that you would expect to live in Erasmus. One month spent among works of every kind, even manual works when needed, and not much fun, except for the last two weeks. I keep a good relationship with everyone met there, we are still friends. 

I would eventually move to Granada in the first week of May. It was love at first sight. A wonderful city, crowded but not that much, filled with youngsters and vitality. The amount of work was basically the same, but the tasks now would involve more cultural activities and more contact with the groups and the other colleagues. It is in Granada that I built the best friendships with people that I still love today. I would have never thought I would built such great relationships with people that live that far away from me. What was supposed to be just a traineeship led me to build relationships with people from everywhere. Activities that range from travels around Andalusia to visits in the countless monuments and museums in Granada. Guiding groups around, making tickets for foreigners and with the exact amount of money needed. Moreover, strict timetables so the drivers could respect their work-rest balance. The issues while working where a lot. Once a girl disappeared in a shopping centre and made the whole group arrive late in Granada. She was just shopping. By the way, that is what a normal workplace is about, I understood it only by living it. Anyway, it was an experience that I would relive thousands of time again. 

In the meantime, I learned how to get out of every problem possible: from shopping to the house stuff, to asking for and giving help when needed and generally learning to behave in a foreign land just like a local would do. I really learned how to be independent. 

I came back home during the first days of July with an enormous set of experiences and human relationships, much more skills and moreover a heart and a mentality that were radically changed. Boys and girls from everywhere in Europe that I built a relation with and whom I still have many memories. Now-a-days I really feel European, even with the countless issues of the current European Union.

Today I can say that I have a second home. That home is called Europe.

Author: Angelo Panicciari.

Angelo has already published for L’Eclettico Cracow e Kocham Polskę and Malaga: my ‘space mountain’ Erasmus.

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