Meet Fernando Carro, one of the Citizens of Limerick to be nominated by the public.
Fernando was nominated by friend and colleague, Eoin Barry, who says Fernando “really gives the students a genuine insight into contemporary Irish culture by engaging with local artists, bands, schools, colleges, community groups and businesses alike. I have worked with him for a number of years co-ordinating activities for the students and I don't think I have ever come across a more sincere and genuine individual. I asked him on a recent trip why he chose Limerick to keep coming back to and he simply just said 'I love it here.'"
“When I heard about the nomination I thought it was a joke!” Fernando laughs. “I always tell people that I know more people and more places here than in my country where I grew up. Every corner I turn, every step I take, I say hello to someone I know.” It is no wonder Fernando is as familiar with Limerick as he is with his native Buenos Ares as he has been bringing Argentinian students to Limerick for the past two decades.
Colonias de Inmersión al Idioma runs cultural exchange events between Argentina, Ireland, England and Scotland.
“What we do is kind of alternative. We try to deliver a programme of things you wouldn’t usually do but of things you want to explore. We plan activities for students so that they interact with the locals. For me it’s not about taking pictures, it’s about getting to see where people live and how they live here. We organise concerts, exchanges with schools, youth centres. Tonight we are going to Lava Java’s for a hip hop workshop. We go all over the place. Eoin has run printing workshops, we do drumming workshops, music workshops. We try to get projects through which the Argentinians and the Irish can interact.”
An immersive experience is what it’s all about for Fernando. “Creating educational adventures” is the tagline on the Colonias website and the camps are run with this ethos in mind. “It is an activity programme where you don’t just pay your ticket, we set up interesting intimate situations where students can interact, from meeting a storyteller and having tea in his house to little interactive projects in the Milk Market. It’s a supplement to learning the language; you find the reason why you study the language.” Fernando definitely has a passion for his work “It is really rewarding as you see people enjoying themselves so much; all the people who lend a hand.”