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"It was one week in Rumania and I imagine it like years. With the friends, I felt as if we had been friends for many years and as if my host family was my second family. During my time there they really took care of me like a member of the family, talking and living with them was a good experience for me, and I will never forget it. Maybe I will visit them in the future and all my friends there. The Erasmus program connected us together from four countries, international people with different origins but with the same goal. We worked on an EU project, gave our opinion as teenagers and ideas about being better EU citizens. We had a lot of fun working together too, but after school we had much more fun visiting the city of Timosoara, Sibiu and Sighisoara, dancing and celebrating on Halloween in a wonderful hotel. Everything was perfect, even those many hours on the bus, but the last minutes we were all sad and hoped that we would see each other again. I did great and had an especially good time there, but without those friendly friends I wouldn't have had so much fun. There are many moments to remember and I can only wish to have that week with those people one more time..." (Imran, Germany)

"Three weeks ago, 15 teenagers from 3 different countries came to Romania to experience something unique. For us, the hosts, the curiosity of meeting these people was getting more intense by the second. When they finally arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to realise that they were so genuine, nice and friendly. The activities we did together really helped us bond and gather a lot of knowledge. The trip was, I personally think, the highlight of their visit, because it was just so relaxing and fun, and we had the possibility to get to know one another so much better. It was also interesting to meet people that belonged to such different cultures, to hear their thoughts and learn just a little bit more about the countries that they came from. I was happy to see that they liked Romania so much, and that made me appreciate my own country a little more. The experience was overall very enjoyable for me, and I am really grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this project and spend some quality time with some really amazing teenagers." (Iudith Nichescu, Romania)

"Since the moment I saw Erica, the girl from Portugal that was going to live with me for the next week, I had known that we would get along very well and that we would have a lot of fun together. In the first evening, when she arrived, we talked, we got to know each other better, we became friends. The next day, I found out more things about her school and about the other schools from the other countries. We went then to the Freshers' Ball where we spent more time together and talked about more stuff. On Saturday we talked about the Erasmus Site and we declared the winning logo. Then we made a visit to the Arts Museum, which was so exciting. Sunday we had the themes presentation and then we danced specific dances of each country. We had so much fun. Monday and Tuesday we went on a trip to Sibiu and Sighisoara. It was cold, but in the end we warmed ourselves with some hot chocolate. At the stop to Sighisoara it started to snow. I have seen the happiness of a 16 year old child who had never seen snow before. In the evening, we dressed for Halloween and we had fun with the Portuguese girls. In the next morning, we had the pleasure to ride a horse. We then visited the Sighisoara City and we ate a very nice pizza. We came back home at around 10 PM. The next day was the saddest because Erica had to leave. We are still chatting on Instagram. Maybe she will visit us in a winter. It was a very nice experience, and I hope I can live something like this one more time." (Iasmina Balint, Romania)

"Well, I don't really have words to describe my feelings after I have attended such a great project! It was my first experience of this kind and it was amazing! I didn't expect to get along so well with the foreign students and some of us even made long term friendships. I am really thankful that I have been and I am a member of FACE family." (Ana Maria Cristean, Romania)

It's so hard now for me to tell how happy those Erasmus days were. I'm looking down at my hand right now, as I'm writing this. I see two bracelets there, both from my dear Marina: one she gave me when she arrived and one she gave me when she left. I will resume our story by talking about... these bracelets. While the one she gave me when she arrived was really beautiful, but having no story, the one she gave me when she left was just a simple black thread with a pendant in the shape of a half-heart saying "... friends" as she had the other half saying "best...". In seven days we became best friends and, I must say, none of us have extremely friendly personalities. On my desk there's her "I'll miss you" letter that she gave me few hours before she left, I'm gona quote it there:

"Dear Maria,
It's been a week since I got off the plane and arrived to your beautiful country. If anyone told me a month ago that I would get so rich at soul by completing a simple form, I wouldn't believe him. But here I am, coming to the conclusion of one of the greatest weeks of my life. The reasons are more than obvious, but as we said, let the people you love and care about know how much they mean to you. So I just wanted to let you know that I feel like the luckiest person who's ever been on this program thanks to you. I'm so glad I met you _ I've learned so much through our friendship and it's only the beginning. [...] You'll always have a special place in my heart and I'll be right next to you whenever you need me. Can't wait for you to come to Cyprus, I'm counting the days. I love you and I'm gonna miss you like hell. Take care. With all my love, your soulsister, Marina."


And I must confess, I cried. Marina turned into my best friend and this Erasmus+ project turned into one of the most amazing weeks of my life. Shortly, formalities turned into love. Thank you, Erasmus+. Thank you, F.A.C.E. Thank you, EU. Thank you, World. (Popescu Maria, Romania)

It was in a cloud of sleepiness (and actual water vapour, as it was a little foggy) and a healthy dose of expectations that I got dropped off at the Lisbon Airport at 4am in the 26th of October 2017. We took off at 6am and, after a rushed layover at Munich, we arrived at at 12pm. Iudita, my host, was holding a personalised sign with my name written on it, even though it wasn't needed for me to actually recognize her, as I had already met her through the Internet and was so excited to meet her. Then, her dad, Mugur, drove us home, a cosy flat in a pre-revolution apartment building, and her mother, Ileana, served us sarmale (cabbage rolls with pork) with mamaliga (a sort of yellow pudding) and I totally fell for the sarmale! I was a little dizzy from the flight, so I didn't eat much. Then, we took the tram (that, for my surprise, was free) and went to the centre to do some sightseeing. Iudita explained that Timisoara is also called the City of Roses when I pointed out the beautiful roses blooming everywhere. At the end of the tour, we went to a hipster cafe downtown with some romanians and cypriots, and, by that time, I was totally jet-legged - I was feeling off-balanced and dizzy, like I was still on the plane - so we went home to rest. The next day, Iudita's mother drowned me in food again for breakfast: unfortunately for me and for her, my stomach is the size of a pea. At 9am, we went to school and Liceul Pedagogic Carmen Sylva absolutely kicks my sweet Escola Secundaria Manuel Cargaleiro in every way possible; I don't think I can call that place I have classes in a "school" after seeing the beauty and functionality of the Liceul. That morning, we were supposed to present our school. The portuguese students didn't know about that and I was already preparing myself to do some improv when our teachers started playing that staple video we have about our school. Although the quality is questionable, the kids liked the soundtrack. After that, we went to do some sightseeing where, while we were learning about iconic places like Piata Unirii, Piata Libertatii, Catedrala Mitropolitana and the Opera, we were told the ancient history of Romania, along with some cool fun facts. In the afternoon, we went to have lunch at a nice restaurant downtown and then we went home to get ready for the Fresher's Ball: a school party held at a club to welcome the freshmen. Talisa (a friend of Iudita) and Estoril (Talisa's german guest, and the sweetest boy ever) met us at Iudita's place and Talisa's mom gave us a ride to the Heaven Club. We danced, we drank ice tea (because we're good kids), we jammed romanian songs and, by the end of the night, we couldn't talk nor hear properly. Another day, another awkward moment for me caused by my squirrel stomach. Romanian food (especially the snacks, bless Bake Rolls) is a gift from the gods and I just wanted to eat them all, but I couldn't! Later in the morning, we had a meeting to make some decisions about the project's website and logo (Romania's logo won and we had 2nd place, yay). Then we had a workshop about typical dances from Romania, Cyprus, Portugal and Germany. After that, we went home, and Iudita's mother served us gouchlas, a hungarian beef stew made with carrots, and pireu (smashed potatoes). I loved the sweet flavours in the gouchlas so much I'll try to recreate it at home someday. In the afternoon, we decided to take a nap and then go to the mall to do some shopping and meet with other kids from the Erasmus program to go to a food festival. There, we tried a typical romanian beverage from Christmas that's called vin fiert, that literally translates to boiled wine and it's basically like boiled sangria, kurtos kalacs, a sweet hungarian bread roll made in the grill, and carnati, a romanian sausage. When I mentioned some romanian items that were being sold there, Iudita told me about this holiday called Martisor held in the 1st of March. In that day, boys give girls red and white things, the red meaning love and the white meaning purity. That being said, I bought a red and white bracelet for my boyfriend. After that, we went home. When we got there, I had the not-so-brilliant idea of holding my phone with my teeth while I was taking off my shoes. Then, I heard a crack: I had broken the screen and the touchscreen feature stopped working. And if that doesn't work, the whole phone becomes useless. Fortunately, Iudita's mother lent me one of her old phones. Bless romanian hospitality! The next day was the fateful day: we had to do that presentation we weren't prepared for. But we all took a deep breath and it went great; I was so relaxed I even cracked a joke. All the other countries' presentations went great, especially the romanian one: they were so creative! After the presentations, Iudita and I left to have lunch at her sister's place, where we met her sister, her sister's husband and their beautiful baby Luca. We played a little with Luca and Iudita taught me how to read in romanian (she said I did great!). In the afternoon, we went home to dress up for dinner with the other kids from the project. Then, we went to the restaurant; it looked like a tavern. The food wasn't great but we did have some laughs. As Iudita forgot her home key, we crashed at Talisa's place for a while till her parents picked us up. On monday, we had to get up extra early to catch the bus at 6am to go to Sibiu. Before getting there, we made a stop to do some hiking and it was freezing! The trip was long and when we finally got there, we were all extremely hungry, so we went for lunch at a fast-food chain called Super Mamma that serves the best lemonade ever! After that, we went to do some sightseeing at the centre, bought some souvenirs and went to grab coffee at a lovely place called Hug The Mug. Then, we took the bus again to Sighisoara, land of Vlad Tepes, the Dracula, where we would spend the night. We arrived at Domeniul Dracula Danes by the time of dinner. At night, we were all supposed to do some Halloween activities, but the other kids bailed on that. Nevertheless, we, the portuguese kids, did spooky make-up anyway to have a “sleepover” at my room. We shot fun videos, played games and devoured candy. It felt just like Halloween at home! It had snowed during the night and when we woke up, we could see the hills covered in snow from our window. Before going to have breakfast, we did a subtle Halloween make-up, and then we had breakfast at the hotel basement that was decorated like a dungeon. After that, we got to explore the hotel: we took pics in its beautiful garden and saw some farm animals like goats, donkeys, horses and rabbits, and other animals like llamas, ostriches and camels. Then, we went to the centre of Sighisoara to do some sightseeing; we saw the landscape covered in snow, the village and visited a tower. Then, we had pizza for lunch and blew the rest of our food budget on romanian snacks for the trip back home. When we got home, Iudita's mom told me to keep the phone she lent me while I was packing my stuff. I was shocked and said no because it's such an expensive gift, but her family told me to keep it anyway. If I thought romanians couldn't be nicer, they proved me wrong in that moment. Iudita and I spent our last night watching crappy romanian reality shows, to be distracted from the fact that we had less than 24h together. When I woke up in the 1st of November, I just wished I could go back in time to live all of that again. Before leaving to the airport, we had breakfast and, as usual, I was stuffed in delicious food I didn't have stomach for. Then, we left and I spent my two last Lei in lemon tea at the airport, to drown my tears because I was already missing Iudita. The trip back to Portugal was long and tiring, and, after two layovers in Munich and Frankfurt and a total of 16 hours, we finally arrived home. We were exhausted but happy that we had the chance of experience such an amazing trip, meet lovely people and learn a lot of new things. (Catarina Valada, Portugal)

After a long journey through the clouds and a quick stop in Germany's territory, we finally arrived at Timişoara's airport, where we met our partners! Then, by bus, until we reached the "Carmen Sylva" school that we all said was more like "Hogwarts", we had a small vision of what we were going to admire in the next few days: a wonderful city that in 2021 will be recognized as the European capital of culture! At the school my partner's mother was waiting to take us to a comfortable and humble house. It was at that moment that I was really lucky to stay with that kind and humble family with origins in Serbia: Snejana, my friend for the rest of my life, Spomenka, a cultured mother (geography teacher) and very kind with me and Danita, a beloved grandmother and a fantastic cook. The afternoon of 26th October was spent through the city to discover new cultures, languages, religions, traditions and of course always taking pictures of unforgettable moments! On the second day, we were in the school, in the first part of the morning, listening to the presentations of the schools of the different countries and we (Portuguese people) showed the video of our school. In the second part we visited Timisoara, for me the most beautiful city, and we saw monuments like "Piata Unirii", "Piata Libertatii", "Catedrala Mitropolitana", "Opera". Then, everything became more interesting, because of the tour guide who told us facts about Timisoara and also about legends and expressions such as for example "Why do you hit wood 3 times after you say something bad?" that we never imagined! After that, Snejana and I went to lunch and rested a little bit at home and at the end of the afternoon we went to a school prom named "Freshers' Ball" in the "Heaven" club! On Saturday, we were at school again and it was the day that we chose the logotype (the Romanian's won, my congrats!). We also watched traditional Romanian dances and then we danced together other dances of other countries! In the afternoon I went with Snejana and Ioana (a friend of Snejana who quickly became my friend and was one of the most incredible people that I met in that week) to watch a basketball game where Snejana's boyfriend Darios played, and also Cipi, a good friend! Karina watched the game with us, a nice girl and a good friend, and later we went all together to the Mall and the wine festival! It was really good and funny spending time with them and it was one of the most interesting days because I met good friends and I'm already missing those moments! The next day, we presented our work about the European Union, which we did with great effort and dedication! We did well but the truth is, the presentation of the Romanian's impressed me a lot! I learned a lot about the EU and how it started! The Schuman's declaration, The Maastricht Treaty, etc. It was on this day that we had dinner at the restaurant "Miorita" and I really enjoyed all the traditional food like "Sarmale", "Mamaliga", "Polenta", but what I enjoyed the most were the entrees! On 30th of October, in the morning, we went, by bus, to Sibiu and it was already lunchtime when we got there. So we went to a restaurant and I ate Kebab and I was with my partners from Portugal! After, we visited the city and some main places of tourism, such as "Piata Mare" and "Piata Mica"! Before we left, we (the Portuguese people) went to a store that sold hot drinks and cakes, "Hug the Mug" and I drank a "Flavoured Caramel Latte" and it was delicious! Then we went, again by bus, to the hotel "Dracula Danes" and on the way it started to snow! We had dinner at the hotel and it was Halloween night, so the girls from Portugal, including me, we spent the night in the same room and played the game "Never ever have I ever” and of course, we ate a lot of sweets! Finally, on Halloween day, we had breakfast, we visited the hotel where we stayed (where they had farm animals, horses!) and we went to Dracula's city, Sighisoara! On that day, there was snow on the ground and it was very cold and made everything more beautiful! We went up and down many stairs, but it was worth it because everything was amazing, including the pictures! We had lunch at a pizza restaurant and then we went back to Timisoara! Everyone was tired and sad at the same time because it was the last day that we spent together. However, everyone was thankful and happy for the opportunity to spend one of the best weeks of our lives where we met people who will stay in our hearts for the rest of our life! The last day was very difficult because it was time to say goodbye to our friends and partners! Even knowing that we were going to see them again, it was really hard for me to leave, at the end of a week, a wonderful country with amazing places and INCREDIBLE people! I don't have more words to describe how special this week was for me! Thank you for everything! (Ines Pinto, Portugal)

I have always believed that we shouldn’t let any chances get wasted, and that’s pretty much how I got to apply for the program. In spite of all the things that could go wrong, I focused on the ones that could go right and the truth is that there is no way they could have gone better. It’s crazy how by filling up a simple form, one of the thousands we do every year, just one of them can change your life. So I had the honor of being selected to take part in this program called Erasmus Plus, and as the clock was ticking, it was finally time to go. From the very first moment I knew that a wonderful week was coming ahead and the warm smiles of the people who welcomed us at the airport made me feel even more positive. So, we were eventually at home, that’s how I felt like calling my hosting apartment by the end of the week. My hosting family made me feel very comfortable and even though I was really tired because of the trip I didn’t want to waste a minute from this experience. So, I suggested to Maria, the girl hosting me, to go to the mall and then the rest of the guys with their hosts came along. We had a great time talking, sharing thoughts and opinions about many things and suddenly we all felt like we’ve known each other for years. On the second day, we had our presentation about Cyprus and we also learnt a lot about Germany, Romania and Portugal from their presentations too. We met all the members from each country and we became friends with them. Maria and I decided to have a “Spa Afternoon” before the prom that we were invited to, that evening. We had so much fun, and the prom was something really different in a good way. We were all dancing together until we couldn’t stand anymore. The next morning we had our second presentation which was about our school. When we all finished with our presentations we had a meeting about the F.A.C.E website’s formation and we ended up with some unexpectedly good ideas. At the logo contest we had to vote for the F.A.C.E’s logo. The dinner at the traditional restaurant was amazing. We got home tired yet excited and we had to pack our bags for our trip to Sibiu in the next morning. It got us 10 hours to get there but believe it or not the trip wasn’t as tiring as we expected because we kept ourselves busy with a couple of games and actually had fun. The stop at the mountains was outstanding but I have to admit that it was incredibly cold especially for us coming from warm Cyprus. When we left the mountains we went to the town and had some time on our own exploring the place, then headed to the hotel. I can’t even put into words how surprised I was in a good way when we arrived. Horses and horse riding have been my passion for as long as I can remember and seeing a hotel full of horse paintings, horse sculptures and most importantly stables with horses and a real arena seemed like fate to me, like I was meant to go to that trip. It was the Halloween night, so my two lovely roommates and I decided to put on some makeup to be in the mood. Suddenly, as we were all hanging out together it started snowing. It was the first snow of the year so we all put on our coats quickly and went outside snow fighting taking photos until we couldn’t feel our legs anymore. I just can’t imagine a better way to welcome winter. After playing games all together it was time for bed because we had a long road trip to do. The next morning was definitely the highlight of the trip. I rode a horse, a Fresian one, and it was so unique because I’ve never ridden one before, they are pretty rare to find. Saying goodbye to that place was really hard to do as it was a place I’ve always dreamt of. Soon enough, we were on our way to Transylvania where we had a tour and also visited a museum about Dracula. It was really interesting. Before we could even realize it, we were only a few hours far from our last day. After we arrived home we all got so emotional we just didn’t want to leave. No matter how crazy it seems, after a week spent with so many different yet truly beautiful both inside and outside people, the world felt like another place, like every little thing mattered. There was beauty everywhere I looked because I started realizing that happiness is made of so many things, feelings moments and mostly a decision. I realized that there are so many beautiful things in life, things that we can’t even think about. The sun rose up even though I know that if it could, it wouldn’t. We packed our bags and headed to the mall for our last few hours together. It was the first time in my life that I was in a mall full of shops and I just didn’t want to shop anything for myself because I felt so full of all the things I gained through the trip. Although, I am a shopaholic I had given up a thousand of shoppings to have one more day with those amazing people. I really wish I could freeze time, but I couldn’t and it was time to say goodbye. The tears were inevitable. Hugs full of love were all over the place. The trip might was over but the truth is that, it was only the beginning of so many wonderful friendships. We headed back home, I won’t lie to you, we were all sad that we left but we were also over the moon for having the chance to live such an unforgettable experience. So whenever you have a chance, take it because after all we have nothing to lose. Do it! Nothing lasts forever. Stop thinking about the things that could go wrong and start believing in one reason it could be right. For me, expectations turned into the best surprises of my life. Take the chance cause there is the possibility to be as lucky as I was. Take the chance because you can. (Marina Stasi,Cyprus)

When I come to think about my trip to Timisoara, I think about a story. A story that started with a bunch of unknown people who, through those seven days, have created probably the strongest friendship ever… The moment we had to say goodbye to those amazing people was just so emotional that everybody burst into tears. What we felt during those seven days cannot be written on the paper. (George Malathouras,Cyprus )