MALAGA - Dale Porter
Ten students were selected to travel to Malaga from the following courses across GTI: Art, Emergency Care, Sport and Animal Care. The following is a short account of their experiences while in Erasmus+ placements.
After the flight to Malaga, we got our bus straight towards the hostel that we would be staying at for the next three weeks. The rooms itself were immaculate, both in hygiene, as well as what the rooms offered. The air conditioning could not have been any better, so good in fact that I felt like I was right back home since there were times that it actually got too cold. On that Sunday we had an introduction meeting with some of the people who would be managing our work placement. We were given a blue rucksack with a three-week timetable included. The timetable showed the details of the times we would be doing our work placement as well as trips and other leisure activities organized for us such as a boat trip, biking and beach sports.
On Monday, it was more of an introduction/tour of the place, as well as being told by the members of staff as to what I would be doing. The next day, Tuesday, was when the work actually began. The work place itself was situated in a crossfit-esque gym. One of the trainers, John, was one of the main trainers who conducted gym classes, as well as one-on-one personal training. For my work placement specifically, my objective was to focus on instructing the gym classes specifically. For the first week I was told to do so entirely in English despite the language barrier. I learned various phrases in Spanish, my confidence grew to speak bits of Spanish more and more with each passing week. There were four phases to a gym class – The warmup, explaining the exercises, keeping time of the clients making sure they switch stations, and the cooldown. Throughout all four phases I had to speak loud and clearly, making sure that my explanations on each exercise could be understood properly. After doing the warmup and keeping time, I would make sure that each client was doing the exercises correctly. What’s great about correcting form is that it transcends language barriers, as it involves the body itself, physical motions that can be understood regardless of if you speak the same language as the client or not. Given the size of the room, as well as the constant music, I had to speak very loudly throughout the 45 minute workout, which definitely put some strain on my voice for the first week but I eventually adapted. I learned to speak more loudly and with more confidence, as well as key words in Spanish that would apply to my vocational area. During that first week I visited the Cathedral with a few others, and the Picasso Museum.
For the second week, I was told to take more initiative with the classes. To compare the second (and third) week to the first week, in the first week the trainers were shadowing me quite a bit, though that’s reasonable because I needed time to adjust to the new work environment. As the weeks went on, however, I was taking more of the reigns for the classes. The Friday classes of each week were also unique. The majority of the time I was doing Tabada classes at this time of the week. Tabada workouts involve timing exercise and rest with music I.e. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. These classes would last about half an hour – typically quicker than your regular class that would take place from Monday to Thursday. On the first weekend of our Erasmus work placement, we all went up north to Grenada for a day trip. It first started with an hour-long tour of a castle. Afterward, we were given two hours to free roam the town. When it came to going out for drinks, we had done so only one time this week on a Friday before the trip, deliberately on a day where we wouldn’t be working. For the entirety of my stay, I paid for a gym membership, as did the two other Erasmus members that I was there with. A small group of us went to a car museum which was about a 30-minute walk from the hostel. It included vintage vehicles for the most part, as well as some unique ones seen from movies and celebrities I.e., Michael Jackson, as well as some cars from James Bond, plus a batmobile.
On the final week we went on a 50 minute bus ride to a beach, to which we were free to roam around the area and town for a few hours. There wasn’t a tour here, and it was generally a bit shorter than the Granada trip and definitely one of the hotter days of the Erasmus trip altogether. We visited the Alcazaba fortress which consisted of many winding paths which all lead up to the peak of the fortress, offering some great views of the city center of Malaga itself. We celebrated the birthday of another Erasmus member this week, which resulted in a short night out. On the last week I put some time into visiting QQBikes which was an electric bike rental business. On the first night I was chatting with one of the workers for well over an hour in regard to the electronics they used for building and repairing the vehicles. A few others on the Erasmus trip and I rented the go-karts and E-bikes multiple times coming up near the end of that week. The bikes required a deposit of 100 euro, but only 10 euro per hour of use, not bad considering that each bike went for well over 2,000 euro. Before leaving for Ireland I made sure to keep in-contact with the worker via social media. The flight back home was quick and comfortable with Aer Lingus, though having to re-acclimate to the cold was one of the more difficult parts. Despite working 5 days a week for each week on Erasmus, the entire trip flew by. If I could do it again I would without second thought
Ceuta, Malaga, Tenerife
Aoibhinn Ni Coille
Alicia Spellman Nalty
Isabella Giolla Ri
Sam Walsh Spellman