C3 Learning/teaching/training activity (Arad,
Romenia ~ March
03 – 10, 2018)
Secondary Medical School Ante Kuzmanić from Zadar set its foot
on the fifth step of the Erasmus+ project NAIS. Four teachers
(project coordinator Edin
Kadić, Ivana Lučić, Ante Ražnjević and
started the journey full steam ahead towards Technological High
School "Francisc Neuman" in Arad, Romania. Beside our team,
other NAIS teams that joined us there were from the Secondary
School of Tukums in Latvia and Sint-Jozefinstituut Buso from
Antwerp in Belgium. This exchange lasted from March 3 to March
10 and our hands were full with work and pleasant obligations.
The emphasis was still on examples of good practice when it
comes to the inclusion of students in the general education
system, regardless if they are special needs students or come
from various socially vulnerable groups.
Saturday, 3 March
Our adventure started in the morning when we drove from Čakovec
where we spent the night due to extreme coldness, snow, and
sleet on the road. However, not even the heavy snowfall nor rain
that followed us all the way from Čakovec managed to ruin our
spirit that was still high during our drive through Hungary.
Since we were traveling by car we took it easy at our own pace,
with frequent stops for refreshments while we were travelling
through sunny Hungary.
We finally arrived in Arad around 13. Hero of the day
was definitely our driver, the coordinator Kadić, and the
younger ones were resting and saving their energy for the
We settled in a hotel in the city centre and set out to explore
landmarks, culture, history, and gastronomy of this interesting
city on the Mureș River.
To replenish our energy we decided to sit in one of the numerous
cafes in the main street of Arad. After a few moments we saw
familiar faces, our dear friends from Antwerp. Belgian team had
just arrived and immediately set out to “explore” the city, just
like we did. What this cheerful gang was missing was the Latvian
team that arrived with a later flight and joined us later.
When the clock struck 19, it was time for the first informal get
together and dinner. Coordinator from Arad, Mrs. Adina, warmly
welcomed us and guided us through the plan for the upcoming
week. Even though there was a long road behind us and the day
seemed to never end, we continued chatting for a long time.
Suddenly, we were filled with energy and kept talking about the
project, goals, plans, and our experience of implementation of
practices we learned through our joint project. We talked until
small hours of the night since the next day was reserved for
Sunday, 4 March
On our first working day (Sunday) we set out to get to know Romania,
especially this region, and we went on a sightseeing tour of Temišvar.
It is a city that is 60 km away from Arad and is known for the uprising
of the people against the Communist government. It is also the first
city to get electrical lights in Europe, and there are many hidden
cultural and historical monuments that represent different religions.
Despite the extreme cold (-11 C), we’ve seen many landmarks, some
of them being the three main city squares, a beautiful cathedral,
magnificent opera, the national theatre, a 300 years old brewery…
Since we were really cold, we couldn’t wait to sit down and
have a hot drink. We decided to warm ourselves in a café, and later we
had lunch in a restaurant with rustical interior that, besides great
beer, offered even better food.
It was time to return to Arad in the freezing cold! We exchanged
our impressions during the drive in the minibus and we used to hour-long
drive to talk about events from Temišvar.
We concluded this exciting day with a welcoming dinner that
Our spirits were still high so we continued hanging out in the
hotel rooms, with loads of music and laughter.
Monday, 5 March
The first real working day.
Right after breakfast we went to the school where we would all meet
at 9am for the whole week. The principal, the coordinator and
other teachers wished us a warm welcome. Our coordinator
Adina presented the weekly programme and we gave her some
gifts. Technological High School "Francisc Neuman” is a school
where future hairdressers, beauticians, and seamstresses are
educated. This is the only school in Arad that was awarded the
VET mobility charter. It is located in the historical part of the
city, next to an old Jewish park… After a tour of the school,
the coordinator introduced us to the director of the “Rainbow”
center. Children (usually from economically disadvantaged
families) go there after kindergarten or school to spend their
free time. Teachers help them with homework, they organise
interesting activities, and children can also use the services
of a psychologist. It is interesting that it is finances by the
government and children also have free lunch. Students can also
stay in the centre during holidays.
We continued with a visit to another school where both elementary
and grammar school are located. The whole building was recently
renovated and we especially liked the well-ordered classrooms.
It was especially interesting to meet Romani children and to
attend Romani language classes. The goal of those classes is to
preserve Romani tradition, but also to ensure that all students
work on the same terms and same possibilities. They pointed out
that Romani children also had to know Romanian language, but we
also noticed that many students also study English and French.
In the afternoon we got to know the staff and the work of the
“Teacher training center” where psychologists, pedagogues,
school counsellors and speech therapists provide their services
to employees in kindergarten, middle schools and high schools.
Beside psychological support, the centre offers professional
counselling and professional development of teachers. Minor
teambuilding took place because we learned traditional Romanian
dance “alunelu” and we also worked on our social skills through
different activities of introducing ourselves and getting to
know each other.
Our Hosts took diligent care our meals so every day we had lunch in
a restaurant near the host school (so we wouldn’t waste any
time!), and during workshops, presentations and seminars the
breaks were filled with Romanian coffee (?!), cakes and
chocolate. The evening was reserved for Romanian gastronomy and
exploration of less known neighbourhoods.
It is important to note that our Erasmus family got really
close during informal gatherings, both in personal and
professional life. It is in those moments that we exchange
useful information on our profession, guided by the main idea of
our project: how to secure better conditions for students with
special needs and those who come from various socially
We rounded off the first working day with a magnificent
two-hour long tour of Arad. Our young guide made an effort to
present important sights of her city in detail: city hall and
fortress, theatre, the palace of culture, Catholic cathedral,
Orthodox churches and cathedrals, a synagogue, and numerous
small details of this interesting Romanian city.
Tuesday, 6 March
Teachers from Latvia, Belgium, and Croatia gave interesting
lectures on the particularities and methods of the guiding
system in their schools. Teacher Edin Kadić presented our
school, projects we engage in and particularities of work
methods. After him, the pedagogue Ivana Lučić presented
educational programs for children with special needs in Croatia,
examples of good practice from the work of our school with
children with disabilities, and areas of work that could be
improved. After all presentations we came to a conclusion that
it is of great importance to share experience and knowledge
because by doing so, we are creating new ideas and
recommendations for the future. After a comparative analysis of
all the lectures, we clearly presented the booming interest for
new perspectives when it comes to good practices in the
inclusion of all students. This was followed by various
problem-solving activities we all engaged in.
The rest of the day was filled with interesting lectures.
The first lecture was held by the representatives of the “County
Agency for Employment” who introduced us to their activities
that include sharing information and professional counselling of
their citizens, the system of financial aid while job searching,
labour market information, assistance in the development of
skills and self-initiative, connecting workers and employers,
and their programs for the development of required skills. After
citizens complete their formal education, they sign up at the
Agency and receive a 100 € bonus check. Because of that, the
idea of equal chances of everyone finding a job is being
We concluded the day with an interesting lecture and a workshop
on the topic of “Career Planning”. We discussed the meaning of
the word “career”, different ways of individual development and
the importance of continuous improvement and lifelong learning.
Wednesday, 7 March
No pain, no gain, so Wednesday went by in the same manner. School
counsellor presented their Erasmus+ project that places emphasis
on the development of competences and skills of young people
that are about to enter the labour market. We have also watched
videos of students talking about the university they would like
to apply to and steps they’re taking to achieve that goal.
Guys from the team took part in workshops “Learning how to
learn” and “Time management”, the pedagogue Ivana was
present in French class (since she’s a French teacher by her
profession), while Edin Kadić visited the School of Higher
Medical School Arad. He was introduced with the way the
school works, students and teachers and during his one-hour
visit and talk he presented some possible guidelines for the
future cooperation of that school and the Medical School in
It was followed by a visit to the district school that also offers
education for hairdressers and seamstresses, school workshops. In the meantime,
the coordinators held a meeting and analyzing the cooperation
and activities of the participating school in the NAIS project.
planned future activities and preparations for the final meeting
In the afternoon we have visited “Integra”
association (for people with intellectual disabilities) that
made quite an impression.
This visit was something special.
association attended a dozen children with Down syndrome and was
founded by the mother of one of these children. On
her initiative other people whose children have disabilities
The goal of the association is to socialise and integrate children
with Down syndrome into society through various workshops
(acting, dancing, singing…).
We really felt special when the children performed a small show
(“Raindrops”) just for us. They captured our hearts and during
that time we were really looking at the world through
Before we left, all the ladies from the team got flowers and
a number of warm hugs from the attendees!
Thursday, 8 March
We were still in action so we started with workshops and
lectures at 9:30 sharp.
School counsellor introduced us to various
pedagogically-psychological questionnaires they give to their
students in order for them to become aware of their own
personality, self-worth and skills, and to direct them in their
future careers. Some of the types were: multiple intelligences
test, attitude questionnaire, learning style questionnaire...
We decided to catch up, accept the positive examples we’ve been
introduced to and soon enough we will conduct a similar workshop
in our school as wellu.
We had dinner together and in a pleasant company marked the
International Women's Day“.
Friday, 9 Marc
All good things come to an end.
This was the last day that our Erasmus family would be together.
Not only did we have fair spring weather, but also enjoyed in an
exceptional lecture held by Mr. Cristian Ianosdan who, in
an interesting and creative manner, showed us the connection
between education, career, and the process of globalization. We
discussed rapid changes that are ubiquitous in the system of
education, the importance of the development of creative
thinking, and teacher’s profession. What would the school of the
future look like?
One of the main issues is the student indifference for certain
contents, but also ready access to information. How to stimulate
students in such environment? How to prepare them for the
society they live in?
It was a real debate on the European level where we compared
teacher experiences from Latvia, Belgium, Romania, and Croatia.
The afternoon was spent in souvenir shopping and enjoying the
Romanian sun. We were getting ready to say goodbye to out dear hosts on
the farewell dinner that would be organised in countryside. But before
that, we spent some more time together and coordinators had a meeting
regarding the future activities of the NAIS project.
We had to drive one hour to reach a small town called Ineu that
has 9000 inhabitants. In a beautiful restaurant we enjoyed traditional
Romanian food and music, and tasted local wine. Our biggest thanks goes
to our Romanian coordinator, Mrs Adina, because she was an excellent
host and organisation and arrangements were excellent.
After we had returned to Arad our get together continued in the
city centre and we shared our impressions from this exchange.
Saturday was the day when we had to part from our
wonderful hosts whose city will always remain dear in our
memory. We were sorry to part but we also knew we would all meet
soon in October when our final exchange will take place in
After saying goodbye to all the teams and our hosts, we set
off towards our beautiful homeland filled with impressions and