Spanish respect

Monday, 18th March saw the start of the final part of the Respect 4 Diversity project, subsidised by Erasmus+ and the last class taking part in the project. One of our atheneum 3 DLE classes flew to Alicante and headed west to the beautiful town of Caravaca de la Cruz.

Our day started with a run through the programme for the week and the pupils realised how much has been packed into our stay here. The Red Cross was our first set of guests to focus our minds on what respect 4 ethnicity is and what the differences are between being a migrant and being a refugee. We met Elsie, who had fled from the civil war in Colombia and had sought protection from the Spanish government in Madrid. Catherine from the Red Cross and her colleague explained the two phases refugees go through when being processed. Phase one being getting to know Spain, the culture, learning the language and understanding how the way of life is in a free country. In phase 2, they enter the autonomy phase when they become more independent in society and get into paid work. Elsie was looking forward to starting work again as a relationship counsellor, which she had been doing for many years in Colombia.

The French, Spanish and Dutch asked questions about the refugee system and thanked Elsie for having the courage to share her story with us.

After a bus ride, we entered the regional capital, Murcia, where the afternoon was spent learning about the history and architecture of the ancient city. The town hall looked incredibly grand with its palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze, but it masked a dark secret as it was refashioned from a building that had once been erected by the Muslims who used to reign over this part of Spain. The old Medina was also represented on the checkered paving at the rear of the cathedral which dominates the ancient city centre – a cathedral that was built over a period of time and once looked like the leaning tower of Pisa as the clay-based ground had shifted during the build, making the cathedral tower list. The architectural detail was exquisite with many of the details being missed as you walked past. Luckily the guide pointed out the most important parts.

After a picnic lunch in a local park in the baking sunshine as temperatures topped 31 degrees, it was time to be driven off for some air-conditioned shopping in a local mall just outside Murcia and a visit to the Golden Arches was also in store…and a lot of respect was earned for the teachers running the orders out to the pupils…

The week is off to a great start!