Project World School | Sessions and the Spain Intro Trip – By Gianna Cino
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Sessions and the Spain Intro Trip – By Gianna Cino

Sessions and the Spain Intro Trip – By Gianna Cino

Hey there Worldschoolers! 

My name is Gianna and I volunteered on the Project World School Spain retreat this past October. For those of you who have never been on a retreat this is something you may or may not know: on every Project World School retreat, all participants are asked to come prepared with a session. 

A session can consist of absolutely anything that you want! 

It’s an hour during the retreat where you lead the group in an activity or game. There are no real rules or guidelines, only that you are required to lead the group through whatever it may be that interests you. The reason PWS does this is to encourage teens to take on leadership roles in a safe context, even when it may be uncomfortable or difficult.

Over the years I’ve led a few sessions, the first of which I was insanely nervous about! 

I was worried that I would mess up or everyone would be bored or maybe it would just suck, but after leading a few sessions I am more and more excited to have the opportunity to share the things that I enjoy and possibly inspire others to get involved in something new. 

Now, the flip side to sessions is all about having patience and holding space for others as they lead their sessions, and boy have I participated in lots of sessions! 

Sessions surrounding, Krav Maga, dance, meditation, creative writing and so many other topics. I’ve played games and made crafts and on one occasion a participant lead a conversation where we discussed education in its many forms. I learned so much more in that short period of time from a group of teens/young adults (between the ages of 12 and 24!) than I had so far in my twenty years of life. 

So after having been on my share of retreats and participating in so many amazing sessions I dare say that the 2019 Spain intro trip was my favorite in terms of sessions. I truly felt like I learned something from every session and felt better for having spent that time learning from the other participants. It really reminded me how important it is to keep an open mind and learn from everyone you meet. 

In addition to the learning that happened as a result of exploring Spain, such as visiting the Alhambra and learning how to cook traditional Paella, on this trip my learning was just as influenced by the people that surrounded me. Through them I learned about improv games, spray painting, snake raising and game making, rediscovered hide and seek and got to learn a bit about everybody’s music taste all in the span of nine days from the people around me. Most of all, it was always a fun experience.

A big part of the retreats is learning from your surroundings and most importantly, never! stop! learning! 

Many people are under the impression that you only learn in your younger, more formative years, but that is simply not the case. We are all in a constant state of learning, every day, even if we don’t know it. The key is being present and actively taking part in the everyday experiences you have and all the people you meet. 

Although that doesn’t mean you should forget about all the things you can teach yourself. 

You are the most important teacher you will ever have, because it’s your willingness to learn and the way you perceive life that truly defines what you gain from your experiences! That’s all a part self-directed learning, something that all of the participants in Spain got to experience first hand within the support of an engaged, caring community.

You’re never done learning, and that is the thrill of life; to live and learn along the way, whether it’s from your surroundings (such as flamenco shows or walking tours of old Granada) or from the people around you. 

So take a note out of the Spain Intro Trip Participant’s page: keep learning, keep living and never stop exploring the world around you. 


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