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Digital News AFS Reconquista Local Chapter

Number 10, October 2011

“When I meet someone new I do not care if he is white, black, a Jew or a Muslim. I content myself knowing he is a human being”. Walt Whitman

AFS in Reconquista E-mail: rl.reconquista@afs.org  1544-4471

José Manuel Buyatti, volunteer from AFS Reconquista, having mates in Faroe Islands. In the background: the Tindhólmur Islet, and in the foreground: the Faroes – the native sheep which the country is named after.

Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures


Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

2nd AFS Orientation For exchange students

On 1st and 2nd October, the exchange students who arrived to our Chapter in August 2011, participated in the 2nd Orientation organised by AFS Reconquista. It was meant to help them adapt to our culture and to guide them in their exchange experience to make it more positive and fruitful. During the meeting, many topics were dealt with such as the host family, relationship among teenagers in Argentina, culture, their expectations, their families expectations and what AFS expects from them. Also, about their behaviour, the meaning and the importance of their exchange experience to contribute in the understanding between people from different cultures.

The newly arrived took advantage of the meeting to clarify their many doubts about the Argentinian culture from their point of view and from the time they have been here. The students who had arrived in February 2011 also took part in the meeting. As they have already incorporated many features of the Argentinian lifestyle, why not explain the newcomers about the necessary changes they had to make to face and adapt to the new environment? The students who are planning to go on an exchange programme in a distant and exotic foreign country, also came to share their views and to incorporate the AFS students’ anecdotes and experiences as their own. This way, they are preparing for the big moment, in case they are finally chosen to participate at the nation-wide selection. Thanks to all for being there! Page 2


National Reading Marathon

Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

Friday, 30th September

The Local Chapter exchange students were invited by N° 452 “ Las Heras” School to the National Reading Marathon which took place in its facilities, as well as all along the schools in the country. Alfur, Ma. Grazia, Bara, Carlo, Anne and Mook were received in the school by its headmistress Clara Bais, who is Myrthe’s host

mum, and all the students who attend this primary school. The children read many stories together and Alfur ventured reading a story from his native Iceland in front of all the students, teachers and parents who were participating in the activity. The children could learn about different countries and also to ‘travel’ thanks to the AFS students who showed them in the map where they are from and also a bit about their culture and customs.

Volunteers and AFS exchange students

Mook, Alfur, Carlo, Bara, Anne and María Grazia with some local students 

Mook from Tailandia points in the map where her country is located 

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Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

Sverrir Helgason and his family

Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures...

… says the AFS Programas Interculturales slogan. That is what I felt when I visited Iceland, Faroe Islands and Denmark in October 2011. I have had the fortune to travel to three beautiful and distant countries with marked differences compared to my culture and context. However, when I arrived to each of them, I found myself among friends and people who feel AFS same the way I do. In Iceland I met Sverrir Helgason, AFS student in Reconquista in 2007. I also met his family (Helgi, Sigurborg, Jóhann, Sverrir, Agust, granny Lilian & grampa Sverrir, Sandra, MariaLind y Aneka), who hosted me in their home for 5 days. They showed me parts of this exotic and wonderful country, with its rustic nature which surprises the visitors everywhere. I also had the chance to experiment their culture. In Iceland I also met Alfur Bjarnason‘s family. He has been in Reconquista since February 2011 and up to January 2012. His family (Bjarni, Anna, Baldvin, aunt Kristín, grandma Auður and grampa) received me in their home and we had a nice traditional Icelandic supper.

Álfur Bjarnason’s family

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AFS Iceland National Office

I also visited the staff at the AFS Iceland national office, with whom I had a wonderful chat.


My next stop was in the Faroe Island. It is another exotic destination I came to know thanks to Beinta Kristoffersen when she had her exchange experience in Reconquista in 2005. I travelled to Vestmanna, Bara Kjærbæk‘s home town. Bara has been in Reconquista since August 2011 and she will go back home in July 2012. This time I had the chance to attend a religious ceremony, as it was Bara’s sister’s, Herborg, confirmation. I spent a few hours in their home where I could talk to her dad Hjartvard and his wife Bettina, just while they were preparing the party to celebrate their daughter’s confirmation. I also met Bara’s little sisters Svanna and Lív.

Bara Kjærbæk’s family in Faroe Islands

Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

In the end, I got to Denmark. Just outside the plane were Ida Andersen (AFS student in Avellaneda 2008/9) and Søren Gravgaard (AFS student in Reconquista 2009/10) waiting for me. It was really moving to meet them again and to spend three days in Copenhagen together, walking around the city, visiting museums, interesting landmarks. It was really nice!. Then I met Ida’s family: her sister Anna, her mum AnneLise, her dad Geert and her boyfriend Christian.

Ida Anderson’s family together with Søren Gravgaard

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Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

At Agnete’s bar with Ida, Søren, Alex, Signe and Agnete

Alex Bjørlig’s family and Signe

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In Denmark I met Alex Bjørlig and his family (his dad Max, his mum Agnete and his sister Xinia) and Signe Barslund, with whom I had a nice and delicious supper. Alex and Signe were both AFS students in Reconquista in 2006/07. Visiting Tivoli Gardens and travelling to Malmö (Sweden) together is something I will always remember and cherish. In Denmark I was invited to dine with Augusta Kirkeby‘ family (Augusta has been in Avellaneda, Santa Fe since August 2011 and will stay here until July 2012) in Birkeroed. Her family cooked a nice meal shared with the company of Mogens (dad), Berti (mum) and Theodor & Osvald (brothers). It was more than just dinner, it felt like meeting friends!

Augusta Kirkeby’s family in Denmark


Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

I could finally meet Beinta Kristoffersen from Faroe Islands. I met her in Copenhagen where she is studying at the university.

To conclude the accounts of this wonderful experience, I can say that I loved the places I visited and that the cultural differences I experimented were enriching. However, what I enjoyed the most of my trip was sharing each of my days abroad with “friends AFS has given me in all

these distant countries” and the chance to “meet the families of the exchange students who are living their AFS experience in our Local Chapter: Alfur, Bára and Augusta.” This strange sensation of “ feeling someone you have just met as an old acquaintance” is what makes

AFS a ‘people-transforming’ organization. And as we get transformed by AFS, it is through us that it changes and transforms the world around us as well, making it a better place to live in, and where the differences are accepted. In the end, those differences are the ones which enrich our very existence. Gracias, thanks, tak.

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Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

AFS students travelled to Villa Ocampo

to participate in a cultural activity organised by teachers of Instituto Gral. Manuel Obligado. I was after the visit of José Manuel Buyatti and Sergio Sanchez that the school authorities decided to have such event. The volunteers had given a mini workshop to all the teachers where they also talked about the AFS Mission. Teachers and students alike showed their interest, highlighting the values AFS promotes, so everybody helped organising the meeting as well as getting families for the students to stay in for the weekend. The AFS students participated in several activities. On Thursday night they went to a TV programme called “Realidades” (‘Realities’) to talk about the AFS programmes and activities taking place every year in the area. Each of them expressed their own opinions from what they have already experienced and had no fear to speak in from of the cameras at all. On Friday morning they went to the local Town Hall where Mayor Enrique Paduan received them and had a nice chat. As part of the project aiming at encouraging the respect for cultural diversity (presented by teachers Maria Laura Bosch, Olga Grismado, Laura Martinez, Betiana Yaccuzzi and Ana Maria Zorat), the AFS students and all the students from the aforementioned school

shared their own experience at Club Arno on Friday afternoon. The local students showed the AFS students different customs and features of the Argentinian culture such as traditional food, its geography and dances. Friendship and joy were clearly visible, and everyone showed interest in learning about the other. The families who hosted the AFS students, and also other members of the community, expressed how happy they were with the AFS visit and that they loved connecting their lives and sharing their culture. Page 8

AFS students and Villa Ocampo’s Mayor: Mr Enrique Paduan


VI° International Solidary Cycling

Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

Just like every year, AFS and Caritas Diocesana (a religious charity), joined forces to help the ones in need.

The 2011 edition of the AFS International Solidary Cycling took place last Saturday, 22nd October. For the last 6 years, exchange students, host families, AFS volunteers and fellow citizens have met at the Plaza 25 de Mayo (main Square) in Reconquista to cycle together to the main square in Avellaneda, which is about 6 kilometres away. All exchange students carried their national flags, which together with the AFS and Cáritas flags, moved in the wind all the way – right in front of the eyes of several onlookers of both cities.

We would like to thank Caritas Diocesana Reconquista, the Police Departments of both cities, Reconquista and Avellaneda, Página as 6 well as the Sports Secretary of Reconquista and Reconquista’s City Hall for all the support.

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Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

International Training on Intercultural Education

José Manuel Buyatti, AFS Reconquista volunteer and member of the Trainers

& Facilitators’ Team from AFS Argentina & Uruguay, took part in a training on Intercultural Education in Denmark.

José Manuel Buyatti, as well as other 17 volunteers

and staff from other countries – members of the AFS network – gathered in Copenhagen from 12th to 16th October to get trained on the new curricula AFS International has on Intercultural Education.

This new initiative is called AFS Intercultural LINK Learning Program. Its aim is to standardise the content AFS offers to its many participants (exchange students, facilitators, trainers, families and teachers), so that all of them have the same theoretical and practical information. This is to make AFS programmes of an even higher quality. The training was developed and delivered by Lisa Cohen, Laura Klire-Taylor, Marcela Lapertoza, Annette Gisevius, Anna Collier and Lucas Welter, who had been working on the content of the project since 2009 and during all 2010.

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Volunteers and Staffs from AFS Argentina & Uruguay, France, New Zealand, Germany, South Africa, Canada, Costa Rica, México, Turkey, India, Brazil, Austria, Check Republic, Malaysia, Italy, Denmark and the United States, in front of the AFS Interkultur office building in Copenhagen (Denmark) for the group picture.


Franco Lorenzini

Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures

Writes from Finland, and he tells us how he is living his AFS experience...

I am Franco Lorenzini and I have been in Finland for the last 2 months, living my exchange experience which will last almost a year. When I was still in Argentina I was really excited, I really wanted to be here and thought of nothing else. However, when I had to say goodbye to my family it was not easy at all. I started thinking that a year without them was long time. When I arrived here in Finland, I had to stay one day in Helsinki with the other exchange students. We took the train together the next morning and when I got to Jakobstad - Pietarsaari in Finnish - (my town) it was really nice to see my host mother, my two sisters and one of my brothers waiting for me. They took me to a football pitch where my other host brother was having a football match my host father was there, too. That was how I met my family. My host family is great. My parents help me a lot and I have a nice relationship with my brothers. As for my sisters... they are really close-minded but I try to get closer and closer to them. School here is really different. I have to choose the subjects I want and I can have only 7. They are changed every period which lasts about 4 weeks. The first day at school was weird. People here are very shy, and that is way it is very difficult to make friends. I already knew that because Eveliina (a former AFS student in Reconquista) had told me, so I did not wait long and I approached to talk to some boys and we have been friends since then. We get on really well.

Pietarsaari

My first days were really difficult because I felt lonely and time went very slowly. “I am not going to last a year here, it is a lot�, I said to myself. However, when you start making friends and you have things to do to forget about problems, time goes by really fast. The first month was very long for me, but the second was very short! I am quite happy because I like Finland a lot. I think that the idea of going on an exchange programme is a great idea. I want thank my parents and AFS for this great opportunity. THANK YOU ALL!!!

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The AFS mate from Faroe Islands.

In the front page of this issue we can see José Manuel Buyatti having mates with the Tindhólmur islet in the background. The islet is west of Vágar and it receives its name from five peaks: Ytsti, Arni, Lítli, Breiði, Bogdi (Farthest, Eagle, Small, Broad, Bent). The islet is uninhabited. Faroe Islands is a small nation of approximately 49.000 inhabitants and it is situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. Its capital is Tórshavn. In the centre of the port area is the peninsula where Tinganes is situated, and where the Parliament meetings (Løgting) have taken place for the last 1000 years. It is one of the oldest parliamentary meeting places in the world. Nowadays, Tinganes is the Faroe Islands’ home-rule government seat.

AFS Reconquista Contacts José Manuel Buyatti  1544-4471 María Elena Landi  421350 Claudia Lanteri  424507 Sergio Sanchez  1545-7527 E-mail: rl.reconquista@afs.org www.afs.org.ar AFS RL RECONQUISTA

Connecting lives, Sharing Cultures


Digital News AFS Reconquista Local Chapter - October 2011