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Zoom in, Zoom out

On a beautiful April Saturday, our group which consists of 9 high school students from Nitra, set out on a super-long train journey. Our destination was Rzeszow, a city in Poland, where we participated in the Erasmus+ project "Zoom in, Zoom out". After eight hours of sitting on a train, stretching our legs in unpredictable places, playing games, eating, and gossiping, we arrived to train station in Rzeszow. Fortunately, the project took place near the train station, and we didn't have to go far away from the train.

When we came out of the train, we couldn't wait for meeting other participants from Hungary, Ukraine, and Poland, who were doing the Youth Exchange with us. We started the project by dining all together, in a pub near our hostel, where we got to know each other a bit. After the first impressions, we were only able to shower and go to bed, exhausted after a long and tiring journey.

During the first morning, we became familiar with all the rules connected to living in the hostel, and also Youth Exchange itself. We had a lot of fun getting to know each other and doing some team-building activities. Thanks to them, we knew who were we going to cooperate with. In the afternoon, we were shown a presentation showing some photos as an example of what were we supposed to create during the project.

The very next day, we started to explore the technical side of taking photos. We compared digital and analog photos and discussed the meaning of taking photos. We learned how we can use photos to express opinions, teach others something new or just please the sight of the viewer. We worked in teams and took some photos. One of them was a documentary, one of them artistic, and the others were photomontage and commercial. We presented our work in front of other participants and discussed them. In the afternoon, we attended an organized City Tour to see the Rzeszow city center.

On Tuesday, we also had an Intercultural night, where we introduced Slovakia to others, and we learned something new about other countries as well. We gave them bryndza, peanut puffs, hašlerky and parenice... And we realized that we like them the most, and we have better cuisine than other countries participating in this Youth Exchange.

On Wednesday, after a lot of talking about how to take photos, we had time to do so in real life. We grabbed our cameras and tried to take the best, most interesting photos that express something. Later on, we presented those photos on vernissage on Thursday. We spent the whole day taking photos, editing them, and at the same time, getting to know Rzeszow. In the evening we attended an Open cafe, an event organized by INPRO every week in Rzeszow for students. This time, the main topic of Open Cafe was climate change. We answered questions connected to the topic in teams, mixed with Polish students from Rzeszow who also came there.
The whole Thursday was dedicated to a vernissage, which was an output of the whole Youth Exchange. We framed our printed photos, placed them where the vernissage was supposed to take place, and we talked about our photos-we explained our intentions, what the picture should express, etc. We tried to use the Sustainable development goals of OSN as a topic of our photos, or at least we considered them inspirational when taking photos and choosing the topic of our own.

Last morning we went to Piwnice, a guided tour in the underground hallways under the City hall. The guide told us about the history of the city and Poland in general during a two-hour-long tour. After that, we just evaluated the whole project and told goodbye to everyone.

The journey back took us longer than we expected since the trains were not cooperating with us. The ones that we were sitting in were late, and the train that was supposed to wait for our late train didn't do so. At least, we saw one more town on our way home. Everything bad is good for something. At the end of the day, we arrived healthy, happy, tired, and also smarter, full of memories, and looking forward to the next Erasmus+ experience.

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