POTPOURRI Joins the Culture and Civilization Course in Spain

POTPOURRI Joins the Culture and Civilization Course in Spain

Anamaria Cătănoiu

Potpourri Association President

Foreign Languages Center Coordinator – Vrancea County Public Library

Fokko (left), Ana Catanoiu, Angela Espin, Irina Zlei-Seville
Fokko (left), Ana Catanoiu, Angela Espin, Irina Zlei-Seville

Recently, I attended a lifelong education training course on cultural heritage, Las Otras Orillas (The Other Shores), as part of Grundtvig – Lifelong Learning Program. The course was held between 22nd of November and 2nd of December, in Seville, Spain.

Searching for the course and application procedures

The course, listed under the title Las Otras Orillas (The Other Shores), was selected from Grundtvig Catalogue 2012, published on the National Agency`s website: http://www.llp-ro.  It particularly caught my interest, for the objective was the collaboration between people and institutions involved in the preservation of the European cultural heritage. The course language was English.

In March 2012, I pre–registered to reserve my place and sent an e-mail to the organizers, Educatief Centrum Noord en Oost (ECNO–http://www.chain.to/) from Holland, who sent me back an invitation letter; afterwards, the competition started as the participation involved a grant from the National Agency for Communitary Programs in the Educational Field and Vocational Training. A few months later, in June, I received the notification that I obtained the grant and I can participate in the course, therefore I announced the organizers and registered. For the registration they asked me to write two articles on their website: the first one to introduce myself, and the other, to present our county, from a cultural and traditional point of view.

Participants and Organizers

Now, since we are at this point, I will introduce you to the team:

Fokko Dijkstra – the course initiator; a man very well built for a 63 years old, who chased us on foot all over Seville, and not only.

Angela Espin – the organizer and collaborator from Seville; a very pleasant, knowledgeable and sociable history teacher;

Abdeslam Mouden – the organizer and collaborator on the Moroccan side and tour guide;

The three of them were great, jovial, very conscious people and on time with the schedule, in a very German way.

Elleni (stanga), Fokko (org.), Abdeslam (org.), Ana, Angela (org.), Rubi, Fani
Elleni (left), Fokko (org.), Abdeslam (org.), Ana, Angela (org.), Rubi, Fani

As about us, the participants, we have been 15 people from 8 countries (except Netherlands, Spain and Morocco), each of us representatives of different schools and cultural institutions, the majority being teachers with collaborating intentions.

Burette, Véronique (Belgium) Catanoiu, Anamaria (Romania)
Dafni, Roumpini (Greece) Emonet, Juliette (France)
Dudek, Anna (Poland) Even, Isabelle (France)
Hermanovske, Anita (Latvia) Iatropoulou, Theofani (Greece)
Kawiak, Iwona (Poland) Kołodziej, Urszula (Poland)
Kowalska, Ewa (Poland) Pietilä, Olli (Finland)
Penkinienė, Rasa (Lithuania) Zlei, Angela Irina (Romania)
Sidiropoulou, Eleni (Greece)

During our stay in Seville, we received accommodation in Hotel Don Paco, where we had great conditions, but which we got to see only in the evenings, due to our busy schedule.

Chain of the participants
Chain of the participants

Programme of the activities

* Introduction chain and the course theme: las otras orillas (the other shores)
* Teams and tasks
* School visit and meeting with project El Vicino de Enfrente
* Technical aspects and tasks

* Sevilla as the port to America.
* Santa Cruz
* Cathedral, Giralda – Moorish traces in a gothic monument, American silver and Columbus’ tomb.
* preparation of input into the virtual book
* Evening: guided visit to the Alcazar and gardens

Andalusia and northern Africa: Cordoba and Carmona
* Carmona – Roman, Visigoth, Arab, Christian
* Mezquita, Jewish and moorish quarters
* Medina Azahara – archaeological museum and site

* Departure for Tarifa
* Tarifa: Carthagenians, Romans, Moors (Tarif ibn Malik)
* Crossing to Ceuta

* Ceuta
* Presentations: Reciprocal influences between Africa and Andalusia, an overview:
Phoenicians/Carthagenians, Romans, Almoravids, Almohads, colonial period (Portuguese, Spanish, French)
* Modern Imperialism: Museo de la Legion, Spanish colonial influences
* Morocco as a ‘multicultural society’.

* Ceuta
* Presentation about Chefchaouen (a city founded in 1492 by Andalusian refugees)
* School visit: meeting with teachers
* Andalusian musical traditions

Modern influences between Europe and northern Africa
* The future of EU-Maghreb relations
* Migration from northern Africa to Europe
* Return to the ‘European Continent’: Ceuta to Algeciras

* Algeciras
* Visit to Gibraltar
* Visit to Ronda: Arab baths.
* Sevilla
* Flamenco session

* Computer practice: course magazine/reports
* La otra orilla: Triana
* Meeting with Sevilla Acoge (immigrant organisation)

* Ateneo – reflection on course theme
* Europe and ‘las otras orillas’
* Europe as ‘las otras orillas’
* Evaluation
* Chain of poetry

Sunday – departure

One of the main themes of the course was the interaction between Europe and other parts of the world. From this point of view, European culture can be defined as the result of various influences between the European countries or between them and the neighboring continents.

The course coordinators scheduled a series of applications in areas with historical and cultural objectives, where it was studied how “other shores” have influenced the cultural heritage in southern Spain, respectively Seville, close to Mediterranean and Atlantic, Guadalquivir River, making out of this city a bridge between civilizations.

We studied Seville as a starting point to America, the influence of the Moors, the archives of India, Andalusia and North of Africa, archeological sites, Roman and Carthaginian ruins, and Spanish colonial influence on Morocco.

The course was well structured and the organizers were great in managing the time and as well as the group. There were permanently group works, and we have played little drama actors at almost every visited objective, which was a great deal of fun for us!

A special experience was also the flamenco performance, which we have seen in one of the evenings, with a dancing couple full of passion that I have rarely seen “live.” In that moment, with no second of thought, I would have immediately go and buy a pair of flamenco shoes!

In the last day, when we received our participating certificates, we had to translate in our languages the poem called “Ultimas Mareas.” Then, each had to recite it in their native language, while Fokko recorded us.

Culture and Civilization

The urban architecture in Seville, as well as in the other cities we visited, is extremely interesting, demonstrating the mix of culture and influence. The best of it we could be seen in fortresses, ruins, and archeological sites that we visited. They call this mix “mudéjar.” All are proud of their history and culture, which they take care of properly. They value everything, rebuild, renew, and advertise with the utmost care.

…and they are patriots. In Seville, English is hardly spoken. You have to try your best to communicate in Spanish; but, in Morocco there are spoken many languages (Arabic, Berber, Darija, English, French and Spanish). Nevertheless, people are always welcoming, smiling, helpful and calm everywhere. Civilized…

As for the food, I ate the traditional tapas, which is the smallest dish one can find in all the pubs and restaurants. By the way, the city has plenty of socializing places often called “cerveceria” which means the places where you have a drink and eat tapas. Everyone eats and drinks out in the city, often standing, outside, or at the main table. The atmosphere is extremely pleasant…I have tried some spinach with chickpeas or gnocchi, different sorts of salads, with tuna or sea fruits, chocolate and fruit tarts, biscuits with almonds, asparagus soup, salmorejo ( a mix of garlic, vinegar, tomatoes, and oil served together with paella – a softer kind of mashed potatoes). The nice part is that they offer olives and breadsticks every time when there are tapas.

Morrocan expressions

To impress you and to demonstrate the complexity of this experience, here is some precious information from Abdeslam, the most suitable person to educate us in …a Morrocan style.

Languages and dictionary: Berber, Arabic, English


Darija Dialect spoken by all Moroccans. It differs from one region to another.
Arabic Spoken only by educated people. It is the language of newspapers, tv and radio.
Berber Spoken differently. In the Rif mountains people speak Tarifit.
In the Atlas mountains people speak Chelha.
In the Souss area (Anti Atlas) people speak Tassousit.
French Spoken almost everywhere in Morocco. It is the first foreign language taught at schools.
Spanish Mostly spoken in North Morocco and Western Sahara.
English Taught in the scondary schools in Morocco. About 35% of Moroccans speak English.
Berber Arabic English
Labas!!! Sbah lkhair Good morning
Orilli la No
Iyeh Yes
Amaitanam Salaam Alaykum May peace be upon you
Wa alaykum salaam May peace be upon you too
Mezyan Good well
marhaba Welcome
Shukran Thank you
Barak’Allah oufik may the blessing of God be upon you
Bissmi Allah In the name of God
Al Hamdou Lilah Thank God
Ma’assalama Good bye
Ch’wiya Little,small
Bezzaf a lot
Zid More
Kbir Big
Bish’hall How much
Balak Get out of the way
Afak please

Note: Last year, in October 2011, I participated in a Grundtvig workshop, in Messina, Sicily, with a topic on volunteering, action financed by the Sicilian organizers. In April 2012, I participated in a training course with a Grundtvig grant, with the topic on Business and Professional English Communication, in Malta.

Translation made by Oana Zlatovici- Potpourri member and volunteer from Sweden




Seville Cathedral
Seville Cathedral
Alcazar Palace-Seville
Alcazar Palace-Seville
Carmona ruins
Carmona ruins
Mezquita - Cordoba
Mezquita – Cordoba
Alhambra Palace - Granada
Alhambra Palace – Granada
Final ceremony
Final ceremony
Flamenco performance
Flamenco performance
Spinach with chickpeas
Spinach with chickpeas

2 comentarii la „POTPOURRI Joins the Culture and Civilization Course in Spain”

  1. Dear Anamaria,
    I have just seen all photos from Granada and our course in Sevilla. I’m deeply gratefull for that. The potpourri.ro website is very interesting. I admire you. I like you very much.You are very enthusiastic and sincerly person.
    Best regards

  2. Great work Anamaria,

    I´m very glad you´ve enjoyed the course. Congratulations for your site.

    Muchos besos y hasta siempre


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