Sustainable Tourism management course in Castellon, Spain.
I wish to start from explaining what is this intensive program about? So TAMK University of Applied Sciences collaborates with Universitat I of Spain and University of Salford in UK on organization of intensive program in the field of tourism. This intensive program takes place once a year and lasts for 2 weeks. And host university is defined by turns, so this year program took place in Castellon, Spain in the end of March.
|“Le Cordeliers” by Juan Ripolles, Castellon, Spain. Many Spanish people don’t like this kind of modern art. But it is so colorful and positive.|
Application period for the Spring 2012 was announced in the end of October 2011. I decided to write a motivation letter. In the program could take part just 14 student from each university.
|Participants of the IP.|
When I received the information that I got a place and I was really excited. It supposed to be my first time in Spain and my first time participating in the intensive course.
Before the trip we had info sessions and in teams we were doing presentations about home country which we were representing.
Time was passing quickly and finally long-awaited moment arrived we came to Spain. Spain greeted us cheerily. Spring sunny days were so contrasting comparing to cold snowy Finland. During 2 weeks it was raining just once, so it was no way to complain about the weather, what is really common thing in Finland.
Spring mood. That was so easy in Spain to get more positive and motivated - all you need is just to look around.
Spain amazed me. Castellon, the city where our program took place is situated in the Valencian Community. It’s close to the sea and mountains. That is such good location, although it is not really touristic because other places in Spain could offer more opportunities and activities for tourists, there is a huge competition there.
We arrived on Monday, 19th of March and next day the official program started. Corse contains lectures, trips to destinations, group work, final presentations and final report. We were divided into groups, each group contains 2 persons from each University.
The main task was to analyse 3 different destinations and think out some major and minor proposals for sustainable development of the destination. The destinations to analyse were Sagunto, Castellon and Morella. We had study trips to destinations. First time in my life I was not just enjoying beautiful locations, not just admiring sightseeing but studying and analyzing destinations from the professional point of view. I consider this experience very important for me.
Work in team is a very usual way of implementing assignments in the Tourism Degree Program in TAMK. But this time it was a bit different for me. Program took just 2 weeks so schedule was quite busy and I spent many days in a row with my team, we were always together. And during this project we united and teamed up, I never felt that kind of closeness and mutual understanding with my teammates during other project although I had many of them. I appreciate the chance to meet and to work in team with those people.
Schedule was tight but that is logical for the intensive program. It was planned very well. So I appreciate the efforts which were done by our teachers. Host University also did a great job. We did not have any dramatic changes in the program, delays etc. although southern countries are famous for their disorganization. We had enough of time to work on our project. Trips were managed very well, in every destination we had appointment in the City Hall with mayor of the city or other high-ranking official. On weekends we had self-study time. I spent Saturday in Barcelona, because I dreamed to see it. And Sunday we spent on the beach in Castellon, it was too cold to swim but warm enough to take sunbath.
So during the IP program we had to study a lot but we have also time to enjoy Spain. It was a good balance between study and rest.
Study time in Castellon. Beer is sold in cafeterias of the University Jaume I. Just 1 euro for 2 small bottles, or even for 3 bottles in the special hours.
During these 2 weeks I saw a lot of beautiful places, I met a lot of interesting people, I started to know better my classmates, I learnt a lot of new things in my field of study. I will keep memories in my heart about this trip. I fell in love with Spain, so I set a new target for me: I wish to go to Barcelona for my next practical training, although before that I should improve my Spanish, because it is hard to manage things there without Spanish, but I have one year ahead for that. España, Hasta luego!
Text and pictures: Elizaveta Nazarova