Students at International House Braga in northern Portugal volunteered and took part in a project entitled ‘How Can I Help You?’ as part of the many well-known Holy Week celebrations and processions in the city before the Easter weekend in April.
The 57 students were given training in communication skills and the history of Braga, and then were stationed in pairs around the historic centre of the city ready to help tourists during this busy commemorative week.
Students helped tourists find important landmarks in Braga, gave information about public transport and local sights, and tips on which cafes and restaurants should be visited.
The aim of the project, which is the brainchild of Sílvia Correia, an ex-IH Braga student, was to present tourists with an image of Braga as an open and welcoming place. In total, it is estimated the students helped around 2,500 tourists!
Supported by the local Council and Commercial Association, the project generated a lot of publicity and the students thoroughly enjoyed the experience of meeting people from many different cultures and countries, including Spain, Brazil, the UK, the USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy and Russia.
One student commented, “I liked putting into practice what I‘ve learnt at IH in English, as well as practising other languages.”
Another said, “I liked the sensation that the tourists were made to feel very welcome in Braga with our efforts. It was cool to see that the tourists felt so grateful for a simple act of kindness on our part in giving them some useful information.”
With such positive feedback, IH Braga hope to repeat the project again in the future!