What to do for New Year's Eve in Coimbra?

There are various events to attend, we picked a few for you lot, staying there, so you can have a nice passing of the year in the beautiful city of Coimbra - or on a trip to Lisbon, maybe?

(Of course all events are on december, 31st, except the ones with differing details given.)

Where? Centro Norton de Matos (Coimbra)
What? From 28th to 31st, there are going to take place different workshops and concert of European music and dance, finishing off in a great presentation on the last day of 2012 - (for further information: http://www.passagem-de-ano.net/)
How much? An over-all ticket for all days is 50€, but it is possible to buy single tickets for single concerts and/or workshops.

Where? Aqui Base Tango (Coimbra)
What? Aqui Base Tango is a concept bar/club/café in Coimbra, and offers a special New Year's Eve celebration for you. The festivities start around 22.30h and signing up for a table is possible by sending an email to junglepolis[at]gmail.com

Also many hotels offer New Year's Eve parties, you can just google that and choose according to your preferences.

Or why not going on a little trip to the capital? Lisbon holds a great deal of festivities for you: the bonfires and public spaces where many people go to celebrate are at Parque das Nacoes, Torre de Belém and Praca do Comercio.
Hotels do offer parties, too and the Casino is organizing their annual celebration.

Or staying a bit more close to Coimbra, Figueira da Foz is hosting a free "Passagem do Ano" at the beach. They're having DJ sets, bonfires and fireworks, concerts and a lot more. And it's on the beach!

Happy New Year and see you in 2013!

How Christmas is in Poland

Ola gathered some facts for us about how Christmas is celebrated in Poland, where snow is not an exception but normal in this season.

All the family is united on Christmas Eve, and there are many strong traditions linked to Christmas in Poland. 
It starts with my favourite part of all this time, we're dividing a wafer, a reminder that Christmas is about sharing and friendship. The wafer is really delicious and combined with the meaning, it's even more heart-warming and I'm always a tiny little bit sad when this part of Christmas is over.

But, I don't have much time for being sad, since there are twelve different dishes waiting for me at dinner. They include borsch, fishes of different kinds ("killing the carp" is also very traditional - when the familiy "chief" is killing the alive-buyed carp before preparing it for dinner), dried fruit compote and also amazingly delicious - pasta with poppy seeds.
Desserts are uncommon, as you can imagine, we're rather full after this huge serving! But they're saved for the next days and we can indulge in Christmas food for the next days, too.
What you might have noticed - we don't eat meat during this dinner! Because Christmas is about peace, it would be cruel to kill animals for food, says tradition (well, questinable about the fish - but still!).

Some non-food traditions include setting a spare plate at dinner for an unexpected guest and putting grass or hay under the tablecloth to bring good luck to the family.

Feliz Navidad in Spain!

Ezequiel introduces us to his traditional Christmas in Spain in the following article.

A typical Spanish Christmas Eve needs to have a good dinner with the family. We usually have seafood on the table, and "Cocido de pelotas" or lamb.

Would you like to know what the cocido is? It’s simple! This dish is made with turkey meat, vegetables and other meats, all into a pot, cook over a low heat for three hours and ready! Easy, isn't it? 

Of course, everything needs on the side a good  Spanish wine, could be rosé, red or white, it doesn’t matter the colour! But the best comes at the end... desserts! All hand-made by my mom, my aunts and my  grandmother: mantecados, polvorones, turrón, cordials, mazapán moratallero, and so on.
I have to say one important thing! In Spain, Santa Claus doesn’t exist! We only receive presents in January the 6th by the Three Wise Men, in Spanish "Los tres reyes magos", Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. For this reason, Spanish kids have to wait a few days more.
Also, it’s very typical to decorate the houses with the crib, belén or nacimiento in Spanish. They’re little figures that show nativity scenes, but nowadays we have the Christmas tree, too.

German "Weihnachten"

Here's a short introduction to what Christmas is like in the (some say so) "mothercountry" of Christmas - Germany.

Usually, Christmas preparations start in the end of november, beginning of december, with all the traditional Christmas markets opening. There, every evening people go and buy little presents to store till Christmas, drink hot wine or alcohol-free punch and eat little biscuits (families also make these biscuits at home, there are hundreds of different recipes, butter cookies, chocolate sticks, with marmelade, with almonds, ...)

On Christmas itself, the main action is happening on the evening of december, 24th:
Families gather with their relatives, the Christmas tree's lights are turned on and the presents are given to the respective destinators after a festive dinner and singing Christmas carols.

The dinner can be different, but it is very common to have fried sausages or sausages in general and potato salad (that's weird, isn't it? Doesn't sound too festive...).
But there are so many different possibilities on how to make a potato salad, sure it is possible to enter some variation!

Many people (although they're not really practicing Christians) also go to church and celebrate part of their festive season there. Churches are far more crowded with people during this time than during the rest of the year.

Brazilian Christmas traditions

 Although this year, he's going to travel Europe, our own Renan Becker is going to introduce you to some Brazilian Christmas traditions and customs. And shares his special Christmas moment with us.

The night before Christmas to me it’s a moment when my close relatives (mommy, daddy and my brother) stay together inside our home in Porto Alegre (in the south of Brazil), to eat a special dinner made by my parents, called “Ceia de Natal”. After the dinner and after midnight we give presents to which other.

But when I was a kid I remember to spend that night with all my cousins and uncles and aunts in my grandma’s house on the beach. After the dinner, you know, “the old man dressed in red” used to come to our house and give us the presents. This awesome guy is for us “Papai Noel”. As we don’t have kids in the family anymore (we are all grown ups or teenagers now) we don’t have more the pleasure to meet Santa Claus (actually I thinks it’s better,because in Brazil on the 25th of December is very hot and that poor man would really suffer if he has to wear those red hot cloths!) Well, maybe not yet, but viewed that my little cousin is now 1 year old, it could happen to see again the good “Papai Noel” back to our house! And I hope that the one who’s going to be Santa Claus for the new generations (and have to wear that hot cloths), won’t be me!!!
Besides the fact that in Brazil Christmas is a really strong christian holiday, everybody enjoys the feeling of being together with the ones who love more.

The happiest moment in the Christmas season to me it’s always been preparing the Christmas Tree with my Mom. Every single year we both do it together or with my brother too, and we usually put the same decorations everytime, but the fun we have doing that is always different!



Cultural Agenda 19/12/2012

When? Friday, December 21st (23h)
Where? à Capella (Rua Corpo de Deus)
 What? "Entre o Tango e o Fado", show about exactly these two musical registers. Hosted by Joao Gentil, a great singer, quite famous in Coimbra, special guests include Rita Marques and Nuno Silva will sing tangos. It's a great chance to discover the mix of these traditional music styles!

When? Friday, December 21st (21:30h)
Where? Sala Arte à Parte (Rua Fernandes Tomás 29)
What? A concert by Azevedo Silva, a famous Portuguese author and singer/songwriter. The entry is 4,- € and all the money raised will be donated to Associacao Integrar. So, if you want to spend a good time and also help the needy, here's to you! 
(Remember, Christmas is about sharing, too!)

When? Saturday, December 22nd (16h)
Where? Salao Nobre da Cámara Municipal de Coimbra
What? Traditional Christmas songs showcased by the Coro dos Pequenos Cantores de Coimbra and the Coro do Colégio Bissaya Barreto. The entry is free, so don't miss the chance to see one of Portugal's most prestigious choirs, with a history dating a long way back, live.


25 Years of Erasmus

25 Years of Erasmus - 25 interesting facts about Erasmus:

As you've heard, there won't be a Babel show this week but we're proud to host a debate on 25 years of Erasmus together with the International Relations Unit of UC. But for your entertainment - and education, of course - we've gathered 25 facts about Erasmus, not all historic or scientific, but definitely all informative and intriguing.
HERE you get to the broadcast anniversary debate. Enjoy! 

1) „Erasmus“ is a student mobility program, established in 1987 by the European, thus it's celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – 2012.

2) The name „Erasmus“ derives from the Dutch Renaissaince scientist, philosopher and humanist Desiderius Erasmus from Rotterdam, who had been traveling the study and knowledge centres of his time in Europe. Also, it's a backronym for „European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students“.

3) The program primarily aims at European exchange, Non-European partnerships and mobility is included in the Erasmus MUNDUS program.

4) Right now Erasmus is part of the umbrella program Lifelong Learning Program 2007 – 2013, which is going to undergo some changes in its structure during the renewal following next year's expiration as „Erasmus for All Program“.

5) The first academic year Erasmus took place was 1987/1988. Overall 3 244 had the possibility to spend a part of their studies abroad that year.

6) Inititally eleven countries participated in the program, among those France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, to name a few. 

7) Right now, Erasmus provides mobility into 33 countries (that have university partnerships), which are the 27 EU memberstates, the AELE/EFTA states and the two adhering states Croatia and Turkey.

8)In the academic year 2010/2011 about 231 408 students participated in the exchange.

9) Erasmus is hosting the classical student exchange program, a traineeship program called „Erasmus Placements“, a mobility program for professors and lecturers and one for university staff.

10) Overall, Erasmus provided mobility to more than two million students, the goal is to reach the three million limit at expiration.

11) Refering to 2010/2011, Spain sent the most outgoing students, followed by France, Germany, Italy and Poland.

12) But also Spain was the most popular destination, again followed by France and Germany, after whose the United Kingdom and Italy.

13) The duration of an Erasmus stay can range from three months up to one year.

14) The average stay was around six months, which is easily explained by the duration of the average academic year.

15) Around two thirds of the exchange students are in their Bachelor, one third is in their Master classes, and a tiny amount is on short-term stays or doing a doctorate.

16) On average, students get a monthly grant of 230€, but there are also students going on Erasmus without grant and of course the amount is varying from country to country.

17) The students participating have an average age of 23 years.

18) Incredible, but true, despite all obstacles women come across in the professional sector due to discrimination or the „glass ceiling“, around 60 percent of Erasmus students are female.

19) Averagely speaking, every three minutes a student leaves his/her home country for an Erasmus stay.

20) 20 percent of all mobility students were doing a trainee program/Erasmus placement.

21) The most „mobile“ subjects are social sciences, business and law, with around one third of all Erasmus students taking these studies, closely followed by humanities and arts students. Science and engineering subjects were rather underrepresented among mobility students up to now.

22) In Valencia, there is a regular concert every year called „Erasmusjam“ that originates from mobility students staging and is now linking the different generations of Erasmus in Valencia.

23) „Erasmus Student Network“ (ESN) is a student organization founded in 1989 with now over 12 000 members all over Europe. They're present in 36 countries and aim at helping exchange students integrating socially and personally.

24) There is even some kind of an Erasmus „newspaper“ called Cafebabel.com, where Erasmus students contribute articles and feature on all kinds of topics and which is availiable in many European languages.

25) And finally, Erasmus experiences were immortalized by Cédric Klapisch in his infamous 2002 movie „L'Auberge espagnole“ about a French student having the time of his life during his Erasmus in Barcelona and finding out more on life, love and everything that goes with it.


We hope we could provide you with a little edutainment and for you having an equally amazing stay in Coimbra as Xavier had in Spain...

by Franzi


Musicalia: Brazil

Also, for you to get into the Brazilian spirit, our tiny selection of the musical variety from there.
Turn it up! 

Caminhada - Geraldo Vandré

Que país é esse? - Legião Urbana

Roots Bloody Roots - Sepultura

Pra ser Sincero - Engenheiros do Hawaii

É uma Partida de Futebol - Skank

Pagu - Rita Lee & Zelia Duncan

by Renan

Perspective change

Maybe you've already wondered how it is to be a guest on Babel Radio Show. 
Well, and even if not, here you can check out some pictures our recent guest Pedro took from the travel show.

Ola working the desk

Wait... are we already on air?

Nothing like a good laugh "at work".
 We hope to welcome many more guests as interesting and sympathetic as the ones we've already hosted. Hopefully you enjoyed their stories as well, and stay with us for the following sessions.

If you know any persons that do amazing and interesting things in the Erasmus and/or University Community or in Coimbra that we should talk with and about, feel free to submit ideas via email or facebook messages!

Pieces of Brazil in Coimbra

Native from that beautiful country across the Atlantic Ocean, Renan checked out Coimbra for us in search of places where you can get a cheaper insight than by buying a flight and for all Brazilian exchange students places to keep them up when overwhelmed by homesickness.

Here are some tips to where we all can find some Brazilian way of life here in Coimbra.



– It’s a classical place to find ‘churrasco’, a delicacy from the south of Brazil.

Where? Fórum Coimbra

Restaurante Brasil

 – Nothing can be more typical than a restaurant with Brazil in its name and placed in the Brazil Street.

Where? Rua do Brasil, 530

A Brasileira 

– This is a famous place in Coimbra, installed in 1928, closed its doors in ’55 and re-opened for us to enjoy their fantastic coffees!

Where? Rua Ferreira Borges 124



– It’s a group for Brazilian researchers here in Coimbra, where you can go and find all the help a Brazilian may need, and also they have an overview on Brazilian's activities here at university.

Where? Rua da Ilha 1

by Renan

Further you can check out the website for the Ano do Brasil em Portugal for all kinds of events connected with Brazil, its culture or its relation to the former "mother country" Portugal

My way to Santiago

Babel's own Aleksandra, also known as Ola went on a very impressive and peculiar trip some time ago. You probably already heard about it in our last show, but here's her story...

Santiago de Compostela is an old city in the north of Spain, Galicia. So- what makes it so special? Well, nowadays it is a place full of students, tourists, souvenirs shops but also… Real Pilgrims, coming from all over the World, with their sticks and big backpacks, even taking months of walking there by foot...!

For more than thousand years, Pilgrims from all over the Europe used to make their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. During medieval times, it was the third most popular destination to go, after Rome and Jerusalem. This tradition had started when, according to the legend, the remains of St. James were discovered close to Santiago. Traditionally, the way to Santiago de Compostela (also known as the Way of St. James) should begin at your home and end at the sanctuary. Well, people really used to do it this way. But when the medieval times had passed, less and less people decided to follow in the pilgrims's footsteps...

The way was re-discovered in the 1980s - as a great tourist attraction, the first official European Cultural Way and a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. Today, you have the main ways, mainly through Spain but also other countries, where your trip would be fully covered with a lot of signs, showing you the proper way and usually also telling you the remaining distance. You have very cheap hostels to sleep- ‘albergues’, which are available only for pilgrims travelling by foot. For your trip's preparation, but also in case you're just curious you can find a lot of information on the internet (if you consider “Caminho de portugues”, I recommend this website) If you will do a few days on the Way by foot, in Santiago pay a visit to the Office nearby the cathedral- you will get a special certificate.
Now you can tell your friends, what a special thing you've accomplished!

I did 109 km on the Way of Portugal (Caminho Português) during the first four days of November, in the rain, without any preparation, in my sneakers (which are for sure not the best shoes, NEVER repeat my silly mistake and take your trekking boots!). However, in fact I DID IT, so I am really proud of myself and my 5 Polish friends. Yes, we were 6 girls there, walking faster than some men we met on our way (because we walked in 4 days the way which you are supposed to do in 5 days).

Walking there I wondered: why do people still do it? Well, on my way I met people guided there by various motivations. Most do it because of religious reasons of course, but also ‘to clean their mind’, to be alone, ‘to find themselves’, to see the views and interesting historical site, to do it as a kind of sport… As I have heard, it is becoming more and more popular. We did it during the “long weekend” and the first day, we had to sleep in a private hostel, because all the 60 places in the ‘albergue’ were already taken. Anyway, it was a really great adventure, worth the effort, I would recommend it to everyone. 
And imagine- you will never know people better and get a closer relation than by experiencing such an adventure, all the time together. Of course that kind of trip is full of challenges - walking during the night, losing your way etc…

From Coimbra it is really easy to do the Caminho. As I know, the easiest way is to take a bus to Valença, which is a Portuguese city on the Spanish border. Starting from there, you just cross the river and you are in Tui, on the Caminho Português. Don't forget to pass by the pharmacy and buy some band aids, bandage and all the stuff to help you with your hurting feet. You should take also a sleeping bag and a torch, it may occur that you will need to walk after sunset... And do not forget to send us pictures afterwards, so we can congratulate!

by Ola


On the road pt. 2

Following you will find useful links to last show's topic of travelling and some pictures to give you a little bit of wanderlust. But then, isn't Erasmus all about exploring new horizons and pushing your comfort zone to new, beautiful experiences?

First, the website that shows the different ways to Fátima our guest mentioned is availiable via Rota do Peregrino . Here you cannot only get specific information for your own trip, but also check out further information and have everything related to the topic of Fátima and pilgrimage edited and collected.

Speaking of information... you also might want to read the legend of the miracle of Nazaré, in case our show made you curious. Since nothing is more reliable for students than our good friend Wikipedia, here's to you!

Finally, to end with a bit of "opticalisation" of our show, Marina decided to pick some of the pictures that give a bit of an impression of her awesome trip to Talasnal. Following you get a little insight and hopefully our goal of giving you antsy pants is reached!

Tiny street in Talasnal

Pedro, a GREAT bar owner in Vaquerinho

Aldeia de xisto (= houses made of slate, very typical for the Central region of Portugal)