At the end of last term, and to coincide with the beginning of summer, the Institut Ramon Llull funded a group of 20 students from the universities of Liverpool, Durham and Newcastle to travel to Majorca for five days on a cultural exchange to explore the island and its history and culture. A total of 11 students from the University of Liverpool took part in the second edition of the cultural trip, co-organised by Joan Mas Font from Modern Languages and Cultures. Last week, Catalan student Alice Hammonds shared her experiences of the first half of the trip and, today, Alice tells us about the rest of the trip.
Saturday morning was left free of activities and, after all the wine Felip had provided the evening before, we were content to relax on the beach close to our hostel. The views at the beach were stunning and we all felt very lucky to be there enjoying each other’s company. That evening, the enjoyment did not stop as we walked across Palma to meet with the Castellers de Mallorca during their practice time. Having never seen castellers, or human towers, in real life, we were excited but also nervous. Having only just arrived at the practice, we witnessed a small child climb the height of three adults. However, the shock subsided after talks and demonstrations and we were all encouraged to join in and support the towers from the bottom. The feeling of community in the workshop left us all elated as we headed for dinner together back in the centre of Palma, which was followed by a game of Jo mai mai (Never have I ever) over some copes.
On Sunday we left the hostel by minibus once again, arriving an hour later at Coves d’Artà. The long journey was worth it, as the caves were stunning. We were accompanied once again by Gaspar Valero. After leaving the caves, we travelled to the historic town of Alcúdia and visited its medieval walls and, later, the beach Ses Casetes des Capellans. This beach topped that of the day before, with stunning views of blue sky and clear water.
That evening, we celebrated the end of the trip with a group meal during which we discussed the last few days and how lucky we had been to receive this opportunity.
Having spent just one year studying Catalan, this was the first time I had witnessed the language being used day to day and, furthermore, the first chance I had had to use it outside the classroom. We all left Majorca feeling fortunate and excited for the next part of our journey learning Catalan. Jo mai mai he pensat que seria tan interessant estudiar català!
The visit was documented by newspapers and social media from Catalan-speaking territories, which helped to raise awareness of Catalan as a foreign language abroad. Such media attention also helped to highlight the work that the Institut Ramon Llull and the Catalan teachers in the United Kingdom are doing for Catalan language and culture.