Theo & the Gap Year Summit
At the weekend of the 25th-27th of March there was the Gap Year Summit 2022. Gap Year is partner organisation of Rota Jovem, so they invited us to represent our organisation at the festival.
The event was for people that want to inform themselves about doing a gap year and there were different people that talked about different aspects. For example, there was one blind person talking about traveling with a dog, or an other session about doing a gap year as a family.
For me, the weekend started at Friday evening when we arrived in “campo grande” where a bus was supposed to pick us up. As it was a private bus, there was no platform number on the tickets, so we were a little confused in the beginning. But luckily, we met a group of people also going to the summit. Surprisingly in that group was our Portuguese teacher and another girl that I knew from Lusotopia.
After a bus ride of 3 to 4 hours we arrived in a small village, named “Carregal do Sal”, which is located northeast from Coimbra. There I met 5 other volunteers, that I met before on the on-arrival-training in Porto, which was super nice.
In the next morning the program started at 10:00. As every talk was in Portuguese I didn’t understand to much, but still thought the ambience was nice and I tried to understand as much as possible. As there were different places with different talks at the same time you had to choose what you would like to go to and change the places during the day. I really enjoyed that, because after the weekend I saw all the village and also you would meet different people randomly all across the village.
After Lunch, that you could buy in the gym of the local high school, Pasquale presented Rota Jovem on one of the stages, and right after we started our booth, where we talked to people about our organizations and the different projects and sections that Rota Jovem offers young people. That was the more fun part in my opinion because I could talk to different people about what they want to do and share my Experience with them, instead of listening to someone in a language I only understand by 20%.
We finished the booth around 18:00 and had dinner after in the gym again. Later that night there was a party in the gym which was fun, and a great opportunity to talk to new people, which wasn’t that easy during the day because most of the time we had to listen someone.
At Sunday morning me and Pasquale opened the booth again, and talked to multiple people, which was great fun. Later that day there was the ending ceremony at the main stage, so we packed everything and went there.
After the ceremony the weekend was pretty much over. We went back to Lisbon in the bus and said bye to everyone.
In total I really enjoyed the weekend, because I could get to know some people, I saw a new place and talk a lot about living abroad, traveling, and going outside you´re comfort zone. Also, I was really surprised by the event itself. Everything was organised very well, and it seemed very professional.