^ Vissza Fel
My name is Alba Requejo Hernández and I am a 23 year old graduate in International Relations with Translation and Interpreting by the Pontifical University of Comillas in Madrid.

Presently looking back

On Wednesday we had a morning to reflect on the changes that the town of Săcueni has lived to. We exhibited some photographs that were a combination of the buildings back in the rural times, even before communism or any other ideology molded the different sites.

Today Săcueni is a town that has the buildings and facilities that are found in an archetypal town. It has the major’s house, the public library building, the station, the police office, the museum and so on. The repertoire of photographs included Săcueni’s main sites and contrasted past & present views of the same spots. The evolution these have experienced is evident for the spectator and so realized the three classes of students (two 10th graders and one 5th graders’ class) from Liceu Petofi, leaded by Ingrid Egeresi. After looking, contrasting and comparing we commented on a superficial level and ended with a game to see if we could identify the places. The context was the following: a hurricane had blended past and present. The photograph was completely distorted to become a seeming abstract creation of combined colors. However, I must say that for the next game the challenge will increase, given their ability to recognize and link each present place to its past… Săcueni is safe and things are back in its place.

Maraca Maraca

The last activity we organised was different to the previous ones so far. There were no traditional crafts, no business entrepreneurship ideas nor gastronomy-based themes involved. This time it consisted on a dancing oriented initiative we decided to do with the children. The chosen song was Asereje, the Spanish summer music boom from a bit more than a decade ago. It is indeed a timeless song which is a must-dance when played at a party or anywhere its emmited by the loudspeakers. The hips move to the beat marked by Las Ketchup, the three integrants of this hit. I met the children of Oláh Katalin’s class, one of the two class´teachers they have at the Petofi elementary school.

For the purpose of the dance, we needed some instruments that accompanied the dance. Conversely, it would be something like making a Cesar salad with no dressing –don´t try this at home-. Anyways, so we decided to make them for the fun of it. The instruments we chose are maracas, a famous instrument in many Latin American music genres. They usually have an egg shape and a handle so they can be shaked to make sound. They are easy to use, user friendly, colourful and vibrant instruments. We made them with used toliet paper rolls and rice on the inside for the noice, covering each end with cardboard and using tape to close it as hermetically as possible. See, our maracas are ecofriendly with recylced materials! We decorated them by drawing personalised designs in paper that we stuck around the grey rolls.

We practiced the dance various times and I must say they are little dancing machines. They looked eyes wide opened and followed the steps carefully, thrilled by Asereje´s contagious moves. This week we are practising again because last week I was off being a tourist in Budapest –btw, beautiful and highly recommendable-. The flashmob will take place on Friday taking advantage of these recent sun-kissed days that announce spring is here to hopefully stay.

Local entrepreneurs

So what is it to become the owner of your business? How can you start from scratch an idea and see it grow and flourish as in your best dreams? Let me tell you how I see it.. everything is possible in what respects to materialize an idea into a business. That is the thought which some high school students from the Látogatás a Petőfi-líceumban and I followed through last week.

After a presentation on the basic knowledge concerning the business models, we saw the different steps of how it would be to start a local business regarding some of the most remarkable crafts of the region (except for the alcoholic beverages such as wine and pálinka are for those over 18 years old). From a list consisting of pasta making, chocolate, soap and honey making, the students had to plan in groups of 5 how to run their business and what would be the approximate costs of the first production round.

I have to say that the presentations left me thinking and likewise made me laugh and enjoy some creative expressions. For instance, some sentences worth mentioning are¨With our profit we would built a Profi¨ or ¨Our honey is amézing, being méz honey in Hungarian¨. Besides, equally noteworthy was the amount of effort they put into designing the brands that would be the face to their business. It was a wakening activity to get to know them better and encourage them to participate in their local production from a more, let´s say, visionary perspective. The activity ended with some winners that we rewarded with a sweet-tooth treat. However, they all deserved recognition for their business founders´ skills.

Pasta making with mini chefs

After the first event we did two weeks ago in the Liceul Tehnologic nr 1 Cadea, concerning the most practiced and popularized traditional crafts of Sacueni, this week we held an event on the craft that the kids had chosen to try out for themselves: Pasta making! Getting our hands dirty with flour and eggs was a very entertaining and pleasing experience (even if the pasta dough turns out to look like a yellowish dry modelling clay).

For the sake of St. Valentine’s day, we decided to give the pasta fancy and quite big heart shapes. The kids were committed to properly blending the ingredients and impersonating short-height Italian chefs. While waiting for the dough to rest, we did a pasta facts quizz to see how much of pasta makers we were. At the end, the workshop turned out to be more decorative than future eatable, but we were happy with that outcome and the big hearts we created with our yellowish dough. Another good news is that the class remained quite clean after the event, regardless of two or three scattered dough pieces I can say it was very successful 🙂

The EVS On Arrival Training

We started the On Arrival Training on the 3rd of February and until the 9th we spent the week at the Ibis Hotel. In two words: multicultural booze. There were 40 volunteers from projects throughout all Romania. There were people from Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Latvia, Estonia, France, Georgia and even from Egypt! That gave us quite a broad vision of the extent to which people are keen to participate in initiatives concerning the development of a country, in this case being it Romania. We had a cultural evening where we could enjoy the most salient traditions from each of our places of origin.

The EVS was well thought out: the activities implied active participation, in many stances, and enthusiasm (sometimes induced by the energizers that the coordinators recurred to at the start of each session when we seemed more tired than normal). There were also informative speeches at many levels which encompassed broad domains, from a cognitive stratum to an interpersonal stand and besides, details regarding the EVS and Erasmus plus organization chart and working procedures. Additionally, we had a session of the cultural adaptation flow and stages and some informal talks on the Romanian culture, history, human rights and music. During these days we had time to learn, meet new people and enjoy all sorts of conversations while the sessions took place, session breaks and on a night out in Bucharest.

The magic of traditional crafts


I was happy to do my first event on Wednesday, just before the kids were going to go on a holiday for a few days. I had been organizing the event for a few weeks and was very keen to finally meet the fifth graders and tell them about the crafts of their town that I had been learning about. To start, I decided to play a game with them. I thought that by catching their attention it would be easier to reach them. So, the game consisted of asking for eight volunteers and blind sighting them, to make them feel different materials and guess what these were. I joint tables at the front of the class and put some wool, a wooden spoon, thread, honey, two cracked eggs, flour, soap and pasta on top. When I asked for volunteers, I was happy to see they all reacted with enthusiasm and I didn´t have to pick them, they came immediately and I found them lining up to be bandaged. I laughed in delight and continued as planned.

I must say that, even though I counted with committed and active kids and, on my part, patience and energy, the endeavor of speaking with them was quite hard. The help of Noemi interpreting eased the process (thank you!), but still, it felt as an obstacle to fully reach them (ps. friendly reminder to myself- learn hungarian!) So there we were, playing ´the sensing game` (the original name I gave it) icebreaker and having a laugh together. The purpose was for them to relate each material to the craft, but the clever kids guessed every single one easily (lol). To continue, I told them a bit about the craft and showed them some pictures I had stuck to the posters. The event ended when the bell rung, and they decided they were saved by the bell. Overall, I was happy to keep them interested during the time together. I also announced the fact that the next event will be a craft, and they decided by majority they wanted pasta making 😛 So there goes my first event, I have learnt some tips for the next one and on the whole, so far so good!

Látogatás a Petőfi-líceumban

On Monday 13th Jon and I went to the 9th graders class to teach them about Spain. We wanted to share with them some basics about our country, like where we are in the European map, how far away it is from Romania and what we Spaniards are like. 
The professor, Levente kindly facilitated the biology room so that we could project the photographic presentation we had made. 
The children were very respectful and we could feel that they were keen to get to know us a bit more, which was nice.
Besides, we counted with the help of Zsombi and Orsi, who translated our speech and helped with the linguistic boundary that is always a turn off when connecting fully with the audience. However, it was a pleasant time where we could share our culture and feel the eagerness to learn and discover that these younger students radiated. 
We aim to continue touring with our culture presentations and events! Don’t lose track 🙂

Acclimatising to Săcueni


I come a bit later that I wanted with this second post, but the truth is that the first two weeks here have gone really fast and I have been embracing the changes.

The first week was about getting to know the town and realizing that it is very different to my routine back home. A new breeze of culture, aesthetics, people, customs and food, also very distant from the mediterranean diet I have lived with for many years. I see changes in nuances like the facial features of the people, to the way we move, express and the gestures; the way we glance at the snow, concerning we are not used to it back home. I share a cozy appartment with two more volunteers, from Madrid and Gran Canaria. It has been good to share this initial period with people that share that curiosity to experience this volunteer experience.

Moreover, the first week we were lucky to enjoy a winetasting at one of the wine cellars, the Karaoke event on Friday 18th night, were we could sing a few songs like the classic ABBA ´Take a chance on me` and some other Spanish songs requested by the public. Besides, that same weekend we had the 11th Edition of the Hungarian Cutures Day Charity Ball. We had been dress-shopping during the week and we were ready to dress like princesses for the night. I felt a very welcoming sense surrounded by the locals of Săcueni and witnessing the local dance that was performed by some children. I also loved to listen to the choir performance by the orphans of Săcueni.

I hope you enjoy the bits and pieces I will continue sharing. The next post will concern my first event, how I organized it and what was the result. Also, jointly as a team of Spaniard volunteers we will organise Spanish linguisting and cultural events in the short run. So…Stay tunned! 🙂



A taste of Săcueni

My name is Alba Requejo Hernández and I am a 23 year old graduate in International Relations with Translation and Interpreting by the Pontifical University of Comillas in Madrid. When I was little, I went to a British school close to my small town. I was raised enjoying simultaneously the Spanish and English cultures and languages. Since there were students from around the world, I started to benefit from cultural diversity at an early start. My school friends and acquaintances were from all around the globe and my teachers were not Spanish like the rest of the people I knew at that young age outside of the School perimeter. This might be part of the reason to why I have always felt the need to be in a culturally diverse environment. Of course, I discovered this older, when I felt that sense of comforting peace when living abroad experiences and having international encounters.

After highschool, I decided to pursue my studies on international relations to fulfill my curiosity regarding the world beyond Spain (generally speaking) and how it worked. Besides, I thought that translating and interpreting were two key tools in the process of acquiring cultural understanding and mediating between cultures. The fact of living a year abroad also influenced my decision to enroll in this degree. This is how in 2014 I traveled to Australia where I lived for a year where I attended to University. When I came back, I decided to continue combining my national studies with international experiences. The next year I decided to work for the summer months at an online languages’ platform based in Ghent. I loved to feel part of a broad world and a new culture. Besides of the locals, I became good friends with a Turkish, a Bulgarian and an Italian. I also covered my international dose the following summers: I went to an English camp in Ireland and I decided to try something new and live in a farm in the beautiful region Pays de la Loire in France. The routine there was different to anything I had done before: feeding rabbits and pigs, recollecting prunes, helping with the cooking for wedding events, cutting of bad herbs and speaking in French (trying at least) and English with the other volunteers.

When I read about the opportunity of promoting the cultural heritage of a Săcueni, a small town in Romania, my eyes gleamed with hope as I started to think of the ways to reflect in the cover letter my willingness to contribute to this EVS project. I had never taken part in a cooperation and volunteer project on terrain before, but I had been long thinking of the idea of participating in one. Besides, Romania called my attention as a completely remote culture to that Western-like-world that I have been surrounded by up to today. So I landed in Cluj-Napoca 2 days ago and I caught a train to Oradea where I was picked up by my coordinator and my volunteering colleagues. See, when I arrived to that -0 cold it is not a problem when there is human quality that keeps you warm and when the snow tints with an extra white sparkling charm the landscapes. I am thrilled to live the volunteer experience in this village of vibrant uniqueness and to continue learning from what will come.

Rögtön jövök! Viszlát! 🙂