Youth Exchange Blog: Equestrian Tourism in Spain by Carmen

It has always been a dream of mine to explore as much of the world as possible. But I had never truly committed to making this dream happen. So, when I happened upon this exchange opportunity focusing on equestrian tourism – a topic which I had never heard, much less thought about – I knew that this was my chance to truly challenge myself and to discover a completely new world. But as it turns out, the world was not so different. My biggest takeaway from this project is that people are much more similar than you would think. Their goals, ambitions and desires are similar, their successes and failures mirror each other. Even though the topics or focal points which are discussed may differ, the fundamental themes are the same.

When I was accepted to participate in this project, I immediately started telling people around me about the wonderful world of unused opportunities around them. After coming back home, I will definitely continue to encourage my friends and family to step out of their comfort zone to truly learn something new.

During the exchange I loved our cultural nights. During the cultural nights, participants from each country were able to tell others about their home. Since Estonia is a relatively small and unknown country, I was thrilled to tell others about how wonderful it is living here. I hope I did my home justice, and a few other participants will be visiting soon.

Regarding other aims of this project (such as how to market equestrian tourism, etc), I always tried to bring in a new perspective, either based on previous work experience or on the ideas that our debates sparked. In addition to the anthropological knowledge mentioned beforehand, I also learned quite a lot about equestrian tourism as a field in general. I know now how big a role it plays in Spanish (more specifically in Extremadura’s) economical and social levels, what are its difficulties and challenges etc.

I was also happy to learn a bit about Spanish history in general. A big portion of this exchange focused on teaching us about historical figures and sites. I believe it’s the kind of knowledge that can only be taught in the place where it happened. Our visits to the historic sites, towns and villages also helped better my understanding of the contemporary Spanish cultural and social customs.

I think the given format worked well. Even though a big part of the exchange was understanding the local norms, I think that there could be even more of it. In addition to understanding the local customs, it would further help promote the overall integration we have with people from different backgrounds. We learn something together and also learn from each other.

Although this exchange was an amazing opportunity to grasp the general outline of the topic, it might be beneficial to narrow the focus even more next time. To only focus on one specific problem.

I would definitely recommend this exchange to my peers and friends. Three of the most memorable aspects/activities/emotions were as follows:

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