Past Events/Reports

“Keep Going forward – Become entrepreneur”

Training Course in Bakuriani, Georgia

Hassina:

During the week of the 21th till 29th of November, I was able to participate in the training course “Keep Going forward – Become entrepreneur” in Bakuriani, Georgia. This course dealt with the issue of how to generate business with a social mission.

I arrived two days before the project has started. I used the spare time to get to know Tibilis better. Within the first moment I was amazed by the city. From its history to culture, food and people – the country has so much to offer and never fails to surprise and enchants you. Ps: In case you’ll be there sometimes – try khachapuri and relax afterwards in a sulphur bath!! Best experience. Trust me.

After adventurous days in Tibilis, the day has come to meet the other participants of the project and start the three-hour road trip from the capital city to our accommodation in Bakuriani.

The first day was all about team building. We all came together and get to know each other with different creative ways and activities. Of course, remembering all the names was the biggest struggle. But eventually at the end of the day we drunk Georgian wine, created funny story’s and felt like we knew each other for many years. BTW: The average age of our group was 25 years.

We were 29 participants from France, Ukraine, Armenia, Germany, Romania, Croatia, Poland, Moldova, Belarus and Georgia. All of us were curious and aiming to attain knowledge and share and listen to each other’s experiences and questions. This was a good base for a fruitful exchange.

Through various interactive workshops and group dynamic activities, we discussed about different criteria’s and characteristics of Business – so that eventually at the end of the training course, we all were able to present a well thought social enterprise. Accordingly, we all were well prepared beforehand. Different tools and activities helped us to generate an idea for a business with a social mission.

In between the training course, we had one spare day for an excursion to Vardzia caves and Rabati Castle in southern Georgia. We’ve ended the day with gorgeous food and wine. It was an amazing day.

During the training course we had a lot of time to get to know each other. At the intercultural nights every country shared some insights and facts about their culture and country. Since there were 10 countries represented, there was a lot to share and exchange. Personally, I love to learn more about cultures, countries, languages and people. I’ve learnt a lot and was throughout the project very grateful to be a part of these moments. I’ve met so many great people and made a lot of good friendships and contacts. This project really helped creating a network among young people of European Union and Eastern Partnership Countries.

Overall, I can say it was a great experience being a part of this project! This was my first Erasmus + Project and I loved it! Thank you.

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„Final Destination

Youth Exchange in Jelgava, Latvia, November 2019

Anna:

From 16.11.20 9 – 24.11.2019 50km from Riga, Latvia took place the Youth exchange „Final Destination“. We were 25 young people from Latvia, Greece, Germany, Poland and Portugal.

At the first day we had a tour around the house area. It was a wooden house in the middle of a forest, next to the river and small lakes with a lot of animals like alpacas, goats, sheeps, dogs and cats. The first game exercise was about the Youth pass competences, where we needed to complete 24 different tasks according to the competences. After funny name games where we get to know each other better and drown pictures of the other ones, we continue with teambuilding exercises.  We needed to create different geometric figures with closed eyes, holding on to a rope. First it was chaotic, but we managed to organize ourself and complete the tasks.

We learned about the funeral rituals of every country. What the traditions are, how people deal with the death, how the funeral works and what the different ways of funerals are.

We thought about how we would like to be buried ourselves and also wrote our own will and described how we imagine our funeral.

We visited a local cemetery and learned about the rituals of the local society.

In little plays we prepared and presented some inspiring near death experiences in our country groups. We also read and discussed national fairytales on the death topic.

The failure night was very emotional and intense. We talked in small groups we trusted about our negative experiences in life and the ones we would discribe as fails.

During the movie night we watched „The bucketlist“, which was also very inspiring and connected to the main topic of the project.

On our free day in Riga we were divided into groups with one Russian or Latvian languaged person, to be able to communicate and aks for held if needed. We needed to complete a few tasks and to communicate with locals and afterwards we had free time to discover the beautiful city.

Each afternoon before dinner, we came together with our national teams and did a reflection of the day.

The project was very good organized and the group was acting as a team from the very beginning.


 

„Be the Change“

Training Course in Trnava, Slovakia, November, 2019

Ronja, Anna, Daniel, Konstantin:

“Be the Change” is a training course that aims at transforming our everyday lives by introducing the principles of mindfulness, self-development tools and coaching techniques. We attended this course from 15.11.-24.11. in the beautiful city of Trnava in Slovakia. We were hosted by two young and engaging coaches, Filip and Monika, who created a great atmosphere in which to learn and connect.

We started off day one by getting to know each other’s names, motivations, strengths and challenges. Knowing each other’s needs, we co-created an agreement with rules on how we wish to support and treat each other.

The afternoon was dedicated to our first experience of stereotypes. We engaged in exercises which demonstrated how easily we use stereotypes and make assumptions about people we do not know yet. This realisation allowed us to reverse the process of perpetuating stereotypes. Instead we turned them around in a playful way of storytelling. In the evening, we formed international reflection groups which we would meet every evening and we ended the day coming together in a candle circle with the whole group.

Day two was focused on our individual patterns and how mindfulness can serve to break them. During the day, we discussed what patterns, stereotypes and prejudices are. Then we reflected upon how these patterns have been formed in our own lives. As a remedy, the trainers introduced us to mindfulness principles and how to apply them practically. Furthermore, Monika and Filip led meditations throughout the day to give us an experience of mindfulness in practice.

The third day of our training course had the big topic family. We started the day with a little gratitude and intention meditation and then talked about “Thinking traps”. These are for example Mindreading, negative comparison, overestimating etc. To clarify them, we divided into small groups and performed little sketches in front of the whole group. We reflected about our personal Thinking traps, that limit us in our daily life. Afterwards, we created pairs and had to answer questions about our partner. This exercise showed us, how we mostly act in the daily life. Instead of asking people, we mostly assume something and base our opinions on these judgements. In the evening the trainers created a calm and safe atmosphere to reflect on our relationship to our parents with a partner. For some of us, this exercise was very emotional, but it was great to share our feelings in such a safe space.

Day 4 was dedicated to society and culture. We reflected on how media and the society influence our opinions. Then we had a small introduction to Neuro Linguistic-programming-filters and learned about the Johari’s Window. Later, the whole group created their own rules for a good discussion, and we implemented them during an exercise where the objective was to find a compromise. During this day we learned, how much our surrounding shapes our mind and our thoughts.

On the fifth day we got a list of tasks with the focus of learning more about Slovakia, Slovakian people, Slovakian culture and Slovakian history. To complete those tasks, we had to talk to local people and, for example, ask them about what makes them happy in life or how they experienced the Velvet Revolution. We had a lot of freedom in structuring our day to accomplish this; from breakfast until the afternoon it was up to us where we wanted to spend our time. Some of us used this opportunity to take the train to the small town of Smolenice, we discussed our questions with other people in the train and then went on a hike to visit a beautiful, ancient castle.

In the afternoon we met back at the venue of the Training Course and had to gather in small groups of 3 to 5 people with the assignment to organize workshops that we would realize the next day with the whole group.

On the sixth day we, the participants, had the responsibility to carry out the program by undertaking the workshops we prepared on Day 5. We started the day with team building games where we had to work together as a group and trust each other to succeed. After that we used our creativity and ingenuity to create a small comic together, consisting of around 20 pictures. The following workshop was focused on contact improvisation, we danced together and performed “trust exercises” where bonded further as a group. The first half of the day was concluded by a meditation in combination with drawing a flower, to teach us forgiveness.

We set off the afternoon by writing two poems together to express our feelings and emotions, each participant had to add one verse. We then practiced our will to cooperate in a survival scenario and learned that making decisions together and discussing them will often lead to better results then doing them on your own. The day was completed with a workshop based around caring for and connecting with each other, we massaged each other’s hands and whispered compliments in each other’s ears to share our gratefulness for being able to feel trusted and supported by the group.

Day 7 of the training course was dedicated to giving feedback and coming back to ourselves and our personal development. After a little face massage, we had the space to reflect on what we have learned about Slovakian culture and people during the “Outdoor discovery day” by presenting still images about certain stereotypes. Afterwards, we went back to the Open Space Workshops and gave each other feedback. We also created Workshop templates for a booklet that is going to be designed by the trainers as a follow-up to the training course.

In the afternoon, the trainers introduced the model of SMARTer goals to us as well as different question types. Subsequently, we learned a coaching method and got the task to coach each other in small groups about our personal stereotypes that we are struggling with in our lives. We met once again in our reflection groups and finally ended the day with an Intercultural Night were the different national groups presented stereotypes from their countries.

After a week full of workshops, discussions, sharing ideas, feelings and emotions, the trainers closed the project with some evaluation activities, follow-up planning and presentation of the Erasmus+ program. In a very emotional last candle circle we finally had to say goodbye to the group, the trainers and to Trnava. We felt very touched by the strong connection and peaceful atmosphere that the group created within only one week and we are very grateful for this experience!

Each one of us brought home a lot of great memories and learnings. “Be the change” were not just empty words, but the project really shaped us somehow. Each one of us became aware of some little things that were part of our “hidden unknown side” before and we took home what we needed in that moment: a lot of positive energy, new motivation to deal with the struggles in our everyday lives, a feeling of being cared for, being relaxed, finding a new balance, new life goals and the determination of how to reach them, etc.

We are ready to spread the peace and gratefulness that we experienced in Trnava in our surroundings and to start a process of change in others as well, always following our motto: “Sharing is caring”!


 

AMSED Networking Meeting

Strassbourg, France, November, 2019

Shakir:

NGO representatives from 7 countries came to gather in Strasbourg to discuss the on going projects, Erasmus + programs and exchanges and the most important about the future cooperation and partnership in projects. each country represented their on going projects and the plan for the 2020. JUBUK gave a detailed explanation and picture of past and on going projects plus the upcoming ones. first round of discussion is also done with the NGOs which were interested in partnership with JUBUK and or wanted to receive and send participants to the youth exchange programs.
The participants decided to keep the network and connection in loop and share the relevant information with the rest as soon as possible.
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Where is myself-power?: facilitating youth empowerment

Seminar in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, November 2019

Elena: 6 days in Errenteria with a trip to Donostia – San Sebastian was a great opportunity to get to know the participants from all over Europe and gave me some time to think about new ideas for the projects.

The seminar was focused on ourselves, to take a step back from the daily routine and find a moment for our own feelings and emotions. The main goal was to share our knowledge, experience and best practices from different countries and we have succeeded in it. It was a good chance to someone without the knowledge in this field to get inspired and get some insights from the volunteers with experience.

Despite of not very welcoming weather, I enjoyed the time spent in Basque Country and also learned a lot about their culture. Intercultural night gave me an opportunity to see the countries from a view of the locals and that is very valuable for me.

I am grateful for this experience and to all the participants, that made the time in Errenteria beautiful.

Helena: The seminar in Errenteria was very interactive and contained various activities. The topic was very important to me because it gave me the opportunity to connect with myself and with other participants. I enjoyed the multicultural interaction and the local traditions as well. I learned a lot about the traditions of Basque Country and I am very happy to discover that the locals are very welcoming and cheerful people. They really made me feel like home.

Moreover, I had the chance to acquire new tools and methodologies to empower youngsters.

We also had the chance to share good practices with each other. In my opinion sharing practices and knowledge is a good way to understand the concept of taking and giving. I find this concept very useful not only for my work but also for my personal life.

Overall, I would say that this seminar was an enjoyable experience for me and I am very grateful that I had the possibility to learn, share and meet new people from all over Europe.

Narek: Young people from different European countries gathered in Donostia San Sebastian to find out what is the essence of youth empowerment, what are the advantages of it, how young people and themselves personally can be empowered, and so on. During the project they had a chance not only to know each other, to explore their cultural differences and similarities, but also they had a chance to figure out or to be sured one more time about their personal strengths and goals, etc. Especially meditation activities helped to discover and analyse personal advantages and drawbacks. Finally, they shared their knowledge, experiences and skills together in the result of which they became more enriched personalities than before.

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Migration and Migrants

Training Course in Bakuriani, Georgia, November 2019

Veronika:

From the 11th till the 19th of November three participants from Germany Josepha, Milano and me, Veronika attended the training course ‚Migration and Migrants‘ in Bakuriani, Georgia.
6 nations were present to share experiences challenges and opportunities concerning this topic.
With non formal training methods we experienced the perspective and problems migrants face. How it is to not understand the common tongue and how it feels to not be part of a group.
To in depth information about migration we received so much insight into the culture of our host country Georgia.
It was a awesome time with marvelous people we will always remember. ♥

Josepha:

During the week of the 11th till 19th of November, I was able to participate in a training course organised by the Georgian youth organisation Caucasus Youth Nexus Caynex. This Training course titled “Migration and Migrants” dealt with the issue of and the evolving conflicts around the topic of migration, as well as its impact on affected societies and individuals.

18 participants from the six countries of Greece, France, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Armenia and Georgia came together a small mountainous city of Bakuria in central Georgia to work on different aspects of the topic. During the seven days there, our organisers provided us with a well thought through schedule of sessions containing group dynamic activities, various interactive workshops, the sharing of personal experiences, collective celebrations and of course one day of excursion within the Caucasus.

To me, participating in this training course was a very valuable experience. Applying for the project, I expected it to be mostly about the refugee crisis as it was and is being reported about in e.g. the German news. I was wrong. In a good way. Instead of a one-sided view, all of the participants shared their experiences on the topic in a very broad sense. In that way, we were not at all only talking about the western European refugee crisis, but also learning for example about issues the Caucasus region is facing because of emigration.

However, overall, the personal exchange with participants who had lived through hardship and problems related to migration were the most valuable to me, because I was able to relate on an emotional level. Besides that, of course the transcultural communication, group building, and mutual learning via non-formal educationgave me new perspectives on the every day lives of individuals around Europe. I am very thankful for learning from all these open, kind people.

Also, I appreciate the work of our hosting organisation Caynex very much. The smooth, interactive yet organised way of conducting the workshops, their openness towards participants‘ ideas and the time schedule (sessions starting from 10 a.m.!) made my time there very enjoyable.

A huge recommendation for anyone!

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Simulate Your Way to Media Literacy

Training Course in Kolin, Czech Republic, November 2019

Astghik:

No matter how many Erasmus projects you had before or how much experienced you are: every next project is still going to impress you and leave with tons of memories, new connections and, of course, new knowledge, that fosters your personal and professional skills. The training course “Simulate Your Way to Media Literacy”, that took place on 09.11.2019-17.11.2019, in Kolin,  Czech Republic was not an exception. The professional team of trainers was not only caring during the project, but also before and after it, providing all necessary information about logistics, accommodation, participants’ personal needs. Moreover, during and after the project they carefully shared all the information and tools, that we had learned, the links that will help us go through our gained knowledge later, and they even encouraged us to spread what we have learned.

The topic of the project was media literacy, which is crucial nowadays and, personally for me, many things I learned, were eye-opening. I really liked the way the trainers combined their different skills into one topic, making it even broader and more useful to us. Through our interactive sessions and simulation games we learned to differentiate fake news from real ones, watch out trolling wave in internet, be careful what personal data we post in social media and how, do not become a “victim” of conspiracy theories, and even learned some financial literacy, which is certainly not less useful. For me it was especially amazing, how we, the participants created our own simulation games and media research at the end of the project, that turned into presentations and official reports, which we can use later in studies or at work, or even at another Erasmus project;)

The location was really great! Kolin is a small, cozy and very beautiful town, 55 km to the east from the capital city Prague. All of us had a chance to stay for two more additional days, either before or after the project. This was a good chance for me to explore also Prague, old, wonderful city, that inspired many writers, musicians and artists to create amazing pieces of art.

The accommodation was really good, due to which we had a very relaxed atmosphere and could combine intense sessions with fun and also discovering Kolin. The organizers made a space also for some short trips, and during a free evening some of the participants traveled to famous sights nearby Kolin.

The project was certainly a very successful one, which was not only because of the great team of the trainers, but also the great team of participants, a group of very intelligent, curious, enthusiastic young people from Germany, Poland, Spain, Croatia, Romania, Latvia and Greece. The whole group was very collaborative as a big team, as well as in small working groups, that trainers divided us and called “houses”. This was an amazing idea, as the participants started to take care of the members of their “house”, got to know each other better and became more motivated in all tasks to make their “house” the best. This was definitely an effective method, that worked out brilliantly.

I really feel lucky having been a part of this amazing team and getting all the useful knowledge in such an easy and fun way. The only challenging part for me was to get adapted to Czech cuisine, but it was compromised by famous Czech pivo;) So I can say, this was a week with no disadvantages!

Huge thanks to JuBuK for giving me this opportunity!


 

Hiking up to Entrepreneurship

Youth Exchange in Dilijan, Armenia, October 2019

Mona:

International Youth Exchange Project „Hiking up to Entrepreneurship” Report October 2019, Dilijan, Armenia From the 20th to the 31st of October 2019 I participated in the Erasmus+ Youth Exchange “Hiking up to Entrepreneurship” in the beautiful mountains of Armenia. With this report I want to share some of my experiences and give a small insight of the great time I had during this project. I arrived on the airport of Tbilisi during the night and took the bus to Armenia the next day. I was a bit nervous about my arrival in the night and the bus ride alone as I have never visited the countries before but our organisators provided me with all the information I needed and were very helpful and kind. I was joined by another participant after all and we both felt very comfortable and enjoyed the beautiful views from inside the bus on our trip to Armenia. We arrived in Dilijan at around lunch time and I was stunned by our beautiful location, the guesthouse “Popock”. The whole project was held at the area of this hotel and to me this was the best location I had so far in my projects abroad. The nature surrounding the buildings is just beautiful and we sat outside in the sun at the terrace and looked over the mountains and woods every day during our coffee breaks. The staff is very helpful and nice, and the food was freshly cooked every day and tasted amazing. I am Vegetarian and we had lots of options to choose from, the organisators and cooking ladies paid great attention to all special wishes and needs concerning meals. The rooms were clean and nice, and we shared double rooms with own bathrooms, a luxurious situation during projects! On the first days we started to get to know each other better by playing some introduction and name games and doing a city quest in Dilijan. It is always so interesting to start sharing information with people who turn from strangers into friends in just a couple of days. Everyone is different and has own experiences and cultural backgrounds but if you learn one thing during these projects, it is that in the end we are all the same and you can discover similarities, gain new perspectives and learn something new from every single person you meet. Dilijan is a small and rather quiet city but with very nice nature and people and if you love dogs you will not want to leave again as they are everywhere. I have never seen so many lovely and friendly stray dogs in my life and I had some discussions with my parents about taking a couple of them home! Besides exchanging information about ourselves and our lifes we also had some interesting activities. We had three hiking trips and visited beautiful locations like old monasteries, great viewpoints, waterfalls and lakes. I personally really enjoyed these trips as they offered an opportunity to discover the area and were a nice variety to the sessions and workshops. Having nice conversations, singing and joking while hiking through the woods loosened things up and brought new great energy to the group. Another highlight was the Intercultural Evenings where every national team presents its country by serving traditional food and sharing information about their culture and history.

We learned traditional dances and had a lot of fun. I got to know new delicious dishes and a drink called Chacha, the Georgian wodka, a very dangerous thing! Besides all the fun of course we also worked together. We had the very interesting topic of social entrepreneurship, business ideas for rural tourism and discussed a lot of related topics like sustainable vs mass tourism, crowdfunding opportunities or business promotion on social media and almost all input came from the participants themselves. We did many presentations in small groups and developed own small business ideas and concepts. It was especially interesting to hear about local realities in rural tourism in the different countries with the first-hand information of the national teams. Maybe for some topics it would have been better to provide first some professional theoretical input to form a common understanding as the quality of presentations was very varied but nevertheless all contributions were interesting and enriching. Altogether, I enjoyed my time in Armenia to the fullest and am very thankful for the many opportunities to learn, grow, form connections and travel which are provided by Erasmus+ and the project organisators. During these projects you can get to know amazing people from all over the world, develop yourself as a person, learn new interesting facts about important topics and just have a great time! Thank you to everyone I have met and who was involved in the organisation and for your amazing and important work which can really change the world!

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Startup Mosaic

Training Course in Ludbreg, Croatia, October 2019

Anna, Nicole, Ziad

TC Startup Mosaic is my first training course. It was organized by LUMEN in Ludbreg, Croatia, a small beautiful town. Participants from Portugal, Lithuania, Croatia, Germany and Romania came together at the Hotel Raj on 13/10 and we had an amazing dinner.

The activities were mostly carried out in LUMEN training room, which is located 10 minutes away from the hotel. On the first day, we got to know each other better by sharing our background and expectation through creative games. Our facilitator Emilia is very experienced in what she did and we enjoyed the ice breaking session a lot.

Later on the day, we had coffee break and lunch at LUMEN main building and were introduced about the establishment of the organisation and etc. The responsible persons, Igor and Denis did a really great job on building everything from 0 to what we were looking at, I would have to say, that is simply amazing.

Throughout the project we were guided by Emilia step by step on how to make the startup come true. After the basic introduction of the program, Emilia setted up activities for us to find our potential, interest and strength. I was very inspired by this part of the program as I actually discovered that I could do a lot of stuff that I am good at and also beneficial to the society. Next, we were introduced to the method of how to prioritize our tasks and how to make a concrete plan for our own.

After self-discovery session, we dived deeper into entrepreneurship. We had time to do research on the topic of startup community in our countries and share it with the group. I was again surprised in this session as I discovered that Germany has one of the best startup-friendly environment. From the presentation amd research, we learnt about Startup hub and bootcamp material that we would soon get to know better in few days.

In the middle of the program, after learning some methods and techniques, we proposed our business ideas and formed ourselves into 3 groups, which are youth center for young teenagers, online nanny searching platform for parents, toy kits made of recycled and upcycled material. With our business idea, we were guided to make a business plan and learnt ways to sell our ideas.

During days when the weather was amazing, we had afternoon session by the lakeside. It was a beautiful experience to sit in the nature and learn.

Not to forget about the visit to the Startup hub in Varazdin, it was the first time I visited one. The person in charge of the hub introduced the community to us and we had chances to talk to two companies in the hub. In real life, I often encountered people who felt helpless during the first phase of establisng their startups, with the help of a startup hub and supporting community, I believe it would make it a lot easier.

During culture nights, we got to know each partipants countries better with presentation and… food!!! My favourite is the traditional liquor from Lithuania and Portuguese wine. Besides, I was really impressed by the beauty of the Romanian traditional costume. One of the partipants from Croatia, Dajana, also showed us how to do Mandalas and Henna.

All in all, I would say it is definitely a fantastic training course. I have learnt a lot about the importance and methods of establishing a startup. Besides I gained lots of new insight on myself and also on every participants countries. Thanks to LUMEN, thanks to Emilia, Christian, Igor and Denis for making this TC amazing. I look forward to hear the progress of our startups. (:


 

“Trust me, I am a volunteer”
Youth Exchange in Barcelona, Spain, October 2019
Hafsa, David:

The Erasmus+ project “Trust me, I am a volunteer” is a youth exchange that addresses the need to increase the quality of volunteering activities in Europe and motivate/encourage young people to become volunteers. It was held in Barcelona from 16th Oct 2019 to 24th Oct 2019 and organized by Youth BCN. 42 participants from Germany, Spain, Turkey, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Italy were part of this youth exchange.

Day 1

A night before all the participants arrived from their respective countries at Xanascat youth hostel and most of them met and greeted the fellow participants during the dinner while enjoying Spanish delights in the cafeteria. It was a new place, new experience and new surroundings for many and therefore stupendous. I had never visited Spain before and my first impression of Barcelona was a bit overwhelming. The first day started right after breakfast, when everyone met in the auditorium for the very first activity. I got to know my team members, what they do, why they were here and where they came from. The hosts and organizers officially welcomed all teams and kicked the day off with some icebreakers and energizers focusing on the names and other small fun games. The idea was to help everyone remember names, start conversations and build a sense of community. They were also important to set the tone for upcoming sessions and give participants ownership of the learning ahead. On the first day, I could finally remember some of the names especially those of my roommates.

Before the lunch, there was a short coffee break in the auditorium where everyone could enjoy warm drinks, snacks and small informal talks. After lunch, the activities were related to accessing and analyzing the fears, concerns, expectations and contributions of the participants. The idea was to evaluate at the end of the project if the expectations were met and concerns were addressed. Each of us got papers to write them down and stick them on the chart so everyone could read and get to know what others are contemplating before the start of the project. After lunch, we had another fun activity during which we helped creating each others’ profiles with a physical mailbox attached to it. The idea was inspired from Facebook. The profiles were taped on a wall so the members could saunter and read the interests, hobbies, favorite things etc. of their fellow participants and drop a handwritten note in their mailbox if they wished to. The day ended with rather an enthralling and absolutely riveting game called “Passion Night” which also facilitated the process of forming us into one team. It was full of fun and laughter.

 Day 2

On the second day I felt really motivated and driven. After the breakfast, we walked to a park nearby for our first activity based on social exclusion. The facilitators inculcated the idea by having us play a game based on stimulation. Everyone got a role based on which he had to decide where he stands in the society. The roles were kept secret and the result was eye opening. Some of us were at the beginning and some of us were at the front row with majority scattered in the middle. It symbolized a society and the privileged and underprivileged members. After the activity we gathered to talk about our roles, why we did or did not step forward, which groups among us are or could potentially be socially excluded. It is a sensitive topic, but extremely important to be addressed. The discussion was rich as we all came from different countries, cultures and background with our very own experiences and perspectives. Shortly, after the stimulation exercise, we came back to the hostel and continued the discussion. It got fairly centered on the idea of privileges. The questions addressed were if we are aware of our privileges, what we understand by the word “Privileged” and how it is subjectively perceived by all team members.  After this, the next exercise was directed towards volunteering, named “Who wants to be a volunteer”. The right wall of the auditorium pointed to YES and the left to NO. The facilitators asked various questions to which the members responded in yes, no or neutral by placing themselves accordingly. They had to explain their answers and why they believed it to be yes, slightly inclined towards yes, no, slightly inclined towards no and neutral. The discussion was a mix of distinct responses but sundry and diverse. In the evening, we prepared for the cultural night. The evening ended with lots of music, delicious food from all member countries, a short presentation of the respective cultures and funny chats. At the end of the day, I felt we knew more names and the respective owners a bit more than before.

 Day 3

Day Since I was really tired from the massive dose of cultures, food and music and had just forty winks last night, day three started rather lazy and relaxed.  The idea of free time in the afternoon escalated it further. I skipped the breakfast and chose to rest instead. The first activity was about the fundamentals of photography and how to make very simple picture impressive by just using some really basic methods and techniques.

After the lesson, we had to practically use those techniques, by choosing an object, a team member, and random spots in and outside the hostel for taking pictures. I chose a pine cone because of its color, the symmetry and its charm in autumn season. We shot various pictures, selected the best three and posted them in our Facebook group like other teams. Once everyone was done with the shooting, we met in the auditorium and enjoyed all the pictures on the projector together. It was particularly helpful for those of us who want to volunteer in the field of photography, and for the rest, it was a fun exercise. After lunch, most of us bailed out to see the city of Barcelona and decided to have dinner outside. I went to see the Sagrada Familie, the museum of modern art, some random narrow yet pretty streets of Barcelona. We were a bit concerned about the protests and strikes in the city center and got to see some of the protestors surrounded by police men and police vans but it was peaceful.  We had a dinner in a Spanish restaurant followed by some drinks in the bar. I found the architecture in Barcelona stunning and breathtaking. The city has a soul and it speaks to you. After a long tiring day, some of us returned to the hostel and some of us left for a club.

 Day 4

Day 4 started with lots of rain and bad news that the park we wanted to go to for volunteering exercise was closed due to the ongoing protests. Therefore, we had to improvise the schedule a tiny bit and had presentations about Youth Pass, European Solidarity Corps, Erasmus+, volunteering activities and opportunities for volunteering in general.  Each of us was placed in a group with a topic and we had to present it to others. After that, we grabbed the lunch boxes and left to volunteer and clean the beach. The activity was organized by “Pure Clean Earth”. As we arrived, we got some free time for us to explore the area around and see the places we wanted to. I went to visit the Barcelona Aquarium located right next to the beach. It was fascinating to see so many sea creatures, creatures I had seen only in pictures and films. After that, the actual activity began. An instructor from Pure Clean Earth told us how to go about it, they also told that this activity was done every Sunday evening with volunteers to keep the beach clean and raise awareness. we got gloves, bags and glasses for cigrette buds to start cleaning. Each of us encountered different situations where some people ridiculed us for cleaning saying that it would be dirty in no time again, some visitors were appreciative of the cause and some even joined. All in all, it was a successful task, we managed to gather 21kg of trash which was later sorted out in different materials like paper, plastic, metal, organic waste and so on. It helped to identify what could be recycled and what not. After a long tiring day, we all returned to the hostel, had dinner and called it a night.

Day 5

Fifth day was also exciting because we got to do another volunteering exercise with another organisation.  After the breakfast, we left to volunteer for “Madra Coraje”. The facilitators split us up into two groups and both had to work at different locations in Barcelona. Our group took the metro and arrived at a small thrift store organised and managed by an organisation called “Madre Coraje”. according to their website, they cooperate in the development of impoverished communities with humanitarian aid and sustainable development projects, with volunteers and partners committed to equality, the fight against injustice and respect for the environment, educating and sensitizing the environment. Their ideal is LOVE through their principles: Solidarity, Equality and Gratuity. The staff at the store nicely welcomed us. An old gentleman, committed to the cause, briefly explained to us the history, mission and goal of the organisation. Later, we were given tasks to do. We sorted the boxes, folded the clothes, assorted them according to the colors and sizes, hung them on the hangers and so on. The staff was very pleased  to get some help. Moreover, they told us all the money they made from selling these articles was used for charity. This encouraged many of us to buy small souvenirs from the store and show support and solidarity.  Around lunch time, we came back and met again in the afternoon to talk about the day and discuss about our own volunteering projects for the next day. We had to figure out what was the primary and secondary cause we wanted to volunteer for and communicate it to the facilitators. Based on that, we were grouped together.  After dinner, we had a movie night. We all enjoyed “Inception” in the cosy auditorium with popcorn and drinks.

 Day 6

After the breakfast, we met the facilitators to get briefed about our own volunteering projects. They instructed us how to start, what to do and how to eventually share it with other participants.  The categories included, online volunteering project: Wikipedia, mental health, hugs and love, flower planting, clean working environment, bird feeding and picking up cigrette buds from public places. We had almost the whole day to execute the projects and then share the process, findings and results in the evening. Each and every group did their best to ensure the best possible outcome in this limited time. Online volunteering group edited some articles on wikipedia and told the group how anyone could do the same. The group based on mental health awareness tried to gather the anonymous stories from all the participants and read them out later to others to make everyone realise that it is alright to talk about mental disorders. This is the only way to develop understanding in our societies for these issues. Hugs and love group offered free hugs to anyone they encountered. Many researches show that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress. Flower planting group planted flower plants in the meadow and did their part to make a tiny contribution to the environment. Cleaning squad cleaned the auditorium and the working space in the hostel. It made us realise how easy it is if everyone would clean up after themselves. Bird feeding group went to the parks around and fed parrots and pigeons. As the winters are approaching, it is very important that we realise these birds need food. We have taken over their natural habitat by building massive cities and disturbing the ecosystem and food chains. It is, therefore, our responsibility to make sure they have enough food when the weather conditions are extreme. The last group went strolling around the city, picking up the cigrette buds from the public places. The idea was to aware public how seamless it is to just dispose the bud off at the right place instead of throwing it around and littering. Before dinner, every group presented the work and shared pictures/videos of the process. It was really inspiring to see so much done in one day and everyone of us experienced a sense of accomplishment afterwards.

Day 7

The last day is always nostalgic because everyone knows that the week has finally come to an end and we all have to depart and say goodbyes. However, we still had to follow the schedule and do the activities assigned for the 7th day. It was mainly about the dissemination of the project by all teams and how it could be done in different ways. To ensure we have fun preparing and doing that, facilitators made sure there creative and innovative ways along with conventional ones. Different groups for dissemination included, theatre play, songwriting/singing, social media, short film, photography, interviews and articles. I, with two other participants, opted for articles and this exercise is part of it. We had enough time from morning till late afternoon to prepare and then eventually present what we did. The idea was to start an interactive process of communicating knowledge about Erasmus+ projects to young individuals so that it may be used to lead to change by encouraging them to participate in youth exchanges. The challenge was to improve the accessibility and inspire others who might be interested in knowing what happens during these projects, what are the goals and what are the learning outcomes. After these activities, we were gathered for one final meeting where everyone shared their experiences and what they learned from this project. It was bittersweet followed by many tears and laughter. The meeting was wrapped up after a small ceremony organised by the facilitators to distribute the “Youth Pass” among all the participants. Saying goodbye was definitely emotional especially after having a sweet bond developed with each other but we left to get back to our respective countries the day after with many memories, experiences and friendships.


 

Media4You
Youth Exchange in Constanta, Romania, October 2019

We are pleased to announce that 66 participants from 11 European countries got together in Constanța on Saturday, 27 October. Their mission was to improve the media literacy competences of young people and to issue a warning on the news that are invading the Internet. Thus, for one week participants from Greece, Turkey, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Italy, Serbia, North Macedonia, Lithuania, Germany, Croatia and Romania carried out indoor and outdoor activities with common objectives: to help youngsters to consume media wisely, analyze media messages, test reliability and develop critical thinking.

Teams from the 11 European countries (including Romania) prepared attractive scenarios and involved young people in international working groups. The activities were educational, entertaining and fun. Role‑playing games, images that convey messages, workshops for understanding how information is perceived by young people, but also sessions for analyzing how information is distributed in the online environment, were all appreciated by participants. One of the most attractive activities involved visiting the Old Center of Constanta. Once they arrived in the Casino area, divided into groups of 5-6 people, the youngsters were reporters for a day: they took interviews, they talked with the locals and they took photos of people and places.

The long-awaited intercultural evenings gave each team the opportunity to present their national culture, dances, costumes but also the traditional delicacies specially prepared for this occasion.

On Thursday evening, the young people celebrated Halloween together and on Friday they benefited from the presence of the professionals delegated by the Google Laboratories in Bucharest who organized a workshop dedicated to this event.

The activities took place at Dobrogea Hotel in Constanța between October 27 and November 3 and are organized by Team4Excellence within the Media4You project: https://trainingclub.eu/media4you/. The Media4You project is part of the Erasmus + program and received funding of 39,952 Euro through the Romanian National Agency for Community Programs in the Field of Education and Vocational Training.

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LOVE EAT PRAY
Youth Exchange in Chania, Greece, September 2019
Nicole:
This is my first Erasmus+ Program, I am glad it happened! Love, Eat, Pray is the theme and was organized by System & G. We had participants from Portugal, Finland, Latvia, Slovenia, Greece and of course, Germany. The program took place in a lovely island of Greece called Crete, and our stay in Camping Chania is 10mins walk from supermarket, beaches and a lot more!
The activities fit the theme very well. We first had name game and ice breaking session to get to know each other better. The games designed were really lovely, we desoigned our own profile and envelope and hung them on the wall. Throughout the project we played a game called secret friend: everyone was assigned a secret friend randomly and he or she had to take care of that special person secretly in the entire project. Either small notes, little snack or flower in the envelope, it was full of love!
As the days went by, we learnt a lot from the facilitator and participants from other countries. We had session in natural cosmetic, healthy habits from each country, healthy food, daily yoga, healthy diet, Karaoke Night, cultural night and etc. Besides, we had just enough beach or pool session to take a little rest and get to know each other more!
Apart from daily workshops and sharing, we also had a hiking day, in which we went to an amazing canyon. Besides, we also experienced being a journalist interviewing the local regarding their lifestyle and awareness on the Youth organisation in the area. We realized that there is almost no youth organisation in Chania but most people are aware of Erasmus Program, which is very nice. Oh yeah, not to forget about the food! We tasted lots of greek cuisine and also snacks and wine from every participant countries, it was heavenly.
I really learnt a lot from the project, healthy lifestyle and cultures from othet countries. The thing I like the most about the project is the people! I never knew I could connect so much to people from other part of the world. The connection is simply amazing. I appreciated the opportunity to join the program and I hope that more people get the chance to go through similar project!

Check out our video and blog! And don’t be jealous. XD

https://loveeatprayproject.wordpress.com/

 


 

“Youth Worker OS”
Training Course  in Vilnius, Lithuania, 19.10. – 27.10.2019
Elena, Rebekka, Anela:  

About the project

The training course “Youth Worker OS” took place in Daugirdiškės in Lithuania, about one hour away from Vilnius, the capital of the country. 21 participants from Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Germany gathered together for a seven days training course discussing the topics of youth work and digital tools, including many group activities during and after the training. One of the main objectives of the training course was to sensitize regarding the relevance of digital tools in the field of youth work and to develop and/or improve according basic competences which would contribute to a more holistic and consistent approach to youth work. By an interactive approach to the topic, the training course aimed to contribute to the development of conscious and reflective selection of tools and methods for the work with young people.

Organisation / Accommodation

Before arrival we received very detailed information of how the training course will be conducted and information about the shuttle service. The participants were asked to prepare a small video introduction and post it in a closed facebook group created for this training course. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other before meeting in Lithuania. Through the group we also had a chance to contact the others and make some arrangements to meet up before coming to location of the training course.

The training course itself was organized very well. We were picked up from Vilnius and also brought back to the airport. Due to shuttle arrangements we had an opportunity to explore the city and get to know each other.

The location for the training course was a great place not far from Vilnius. Quite isolated, we were accommodated in two traditional houses near a lake and a forest – an area that we were lucky enough to enjoy during autumn which revealed its golden colours and guaranteed a relaxed mind away from any stress in the city as well as nice walks during the breaks. The accommodation was provided with all necessary appliances. Catering was great, everyone of the participants enjoyed the food. The organisers were always friendly and took care of anything we needed, e.g. they took us to the supermarket when we needed something, tried to fix things when they broke, and organised a sauna evening for the whole group.

TC Content and learning effects

It was an intense training course with a lot of input connected to traditional and digital youth work. We have talked about youth work in general, differences and similarities in represented countries, what personal features and professional components every youth worker should have and know. Apart from that, many group building activities helped us become an amazing team and daily reflections made us process the things we learned.

The content itself was characterized by impressive variety, trying to present the topic not only theoretically by providing models, theories or daily reflection, but also by approaching the individual sections practically through own researches, games or interactive communication. For idea generation and exchange, kahoot, menti, padlet or badge wallet have been used. Theories of Ruth Cohn, Bruce Tuckman, Stephen R. Covey, Eric Berne, Friedemann Schulz von Thun or Kolb, to only name a few, formed the basis of connecting praxis to theory, while reflective sessions in the form of world cafes, movie analysis or group presentations helped regarding professional, but also personal development. Workshop that were organized by the participants themselves, who were given the responsibility regarding content and organization, helped us connect all the gained knowledge and practice in a safe and comfortable environment, being provided constructive feedback at the end.

Even though the time management had not always been perfect as the organisers tried to fit in as many theories and activities as possible, however, they always listened to our suggestions of improvement and changed the schedule to our needs. Therefore, we were able to profit more then expected.

Future

Elena: The gained knowledge I will definitely use in my future work. I will apply the digital tools and presented activities in my work with groups and also during my studies. Such apps as Padlet and Badge Wallet can be implemented in to work to gain more ideas and get a view into the digital life of youngsters.

I do think, that represented theories and activities can be used not only in youth work, but in work with different groups in general. This training course gave me inspiration and motivation to improve my current work style and get some new or deeper knowledge on different topics.

Rebekka: I had a fantastic experience in Lithuania and I am very glad that I have had the chance to take part in such an interesting, but challenging training course. I learned many things concerning youth work which I will not only be able to use in my work with youngsters, but also in my everyday life. Especially group building activities and the experience of learning in an international group will help me in my private and professional life.

Anela: Future organisation of presentations and thesis at universities as well as seminars and lessons in the framework of my (volunteer) work positions can be optimized based on the gained expertise during this training course. Besides the “hands on” activities during the course which made me reflect my own methods in the work with youngsters and made me improve inevitably relevant social competences such as teamwork, flexibility or patience, the presented schemes and models are great recommendations which can be used as a base of upcoming events and projects. Regarding my personal development, I am grateful for the opportunity of an exchange within a conglomerate of diverse origins, sectors, experiences and visions.


 

Final Destination

APV Meeting, Jelgava, Latvia, October 2019

Jens:

The APV Meeting in Jelgava was the first of its kind for myself. In order to guarantee an intense and impressive project for all participants the team leaders of all participating countries met to discuss the current status of the project activities. After a first night in Riga to get to know each other Alexander from the organising locals drove with us to Jelgava to work out the last details of the project.

After introducing us to the very friendly owner of the venue and the cute animals like alpacas it got serious. Since the topic is very sensitive it was very important to speak about possible impact on the youngsters. The project is ment to be a positive experience for everyone. So in this context it was most important to have regards for the personalities and cultural differences, especially also religious feelings, but at the same time not losing the focus on the intention of the very sensitive topic at all.That is why every single activity was discussed deeply and the resulting outcomes were implemented right away. But also the general rules of the short time of living together were topic of the APV, so that the project itself will be an unforgettable experience for everyone.

On the whole I have to say that this APV meeting will not be my last one and I plan to engage even more into organising Erasmus+ Youth Exchanges and youth working itself. In this context it was very helpful to intensify my learning process by meeting new people who have the same spirit but also share my own experiences to make the project a great success for everyone.

Stay tuned for the updates from the exchange.


 

“Beliefs in motion“

Youth Exchange in Torre del Greco, Italy, September 2019

Anna: 

From 18.09. – 27.09.2018 in Torre del Greco, Italy took place an Erasmus+ youth exchange. To the topic, „Beliefs in motion” attended 30 young people from Germany, Italy, Estonia, Portugal, Poland and Turkey.

We spent 10 days submontane the Vesúvio on the Mediterranean sea coast. The program was all about intercultural and interreligious dialog, diversity and migration. We worked with non-formal educational methods and exchanged the current situations in our home countries. Most of the program was created by participants. Every country was responsible for energizers in the morning, for some workshops and exercises and to present their country at the cultural nights.

Every country had an evening, where they shared traditional food, showed videos about their country, teached us traditional dances and created contests on our knowledge about the culture and the presented country.

Over several days, we worked in groups and created youth projects to fight local problems in our home countries. One project was about an application on medical care access for refugees and other people in need, the other was an after-school care club for youngsters and kids from 12-20 years, where they would have a safe place and the opportunity to learn different things on behavior, communication skills and life. We created a presentation video on the one and a PowerPoint presentation on the other project. Those presentations we should have showed at the local government and have a discussion afterwards in the headquarters of the Youth Forum of Torre del Greco, but the Italian government turned us short terms down. So we presented our projects and ideas to interested members of the Youth Forum in a nearby building of the Red Cross.

Another interesting workshop was on the topic of stereotypes and prejudices, where we learned how the stereotyping works in the society and how it affects people and their mindsets.

We had the chance to be very creative and to create many different colorful posters about our fears, expectations, our countries and to draw mandalas on the the things we’ve learned.

We also used the great opportunity with the sea next to us, to practice daily swimming in the calm salty water. Above all we used our free time to clean the beach and a group of volunteers collected several bags of trash. The Italian who saw us on the beach, brought us water and were very lucky about our help.

Beside the learning and the workshops, we created also different fun activities for ourselves. We went to the beach, danced different dance battles to Just Dance or played movies pantomime. We learned many beautiful and interesting times from each other and had great discussions. The exchange was a great opportunity to meet new people, learn interesting thing about other cultures and other ways of life. The group bonded very well and we created an unforgettable happy time together.

Xuan Trang:

The Erasmus+ Youth Exchange “Beliefs in motion” took place in Torre del Greco, a little town near the city Neaples. With its stunning view between the volkano Vesuvio and the high sea.
The participants are from five differents european countries. We come from Italy, Turkey, Estonia, Portugal amd Germany.
This week was full of activities, workshops and parties. Most of the days we spent at the
Hotel Holidays, participating at games, discussions and workshops. Every morning we played an energizer which helped the participants with the team bonding and the good
atmosphere. We could share our ideas and knowledge in many interesting and wellstructures workshops and presentations. For example the organization IANUA Australis invited an african refugee. He told us about his story and his difficult way to Europe. Another highlight was the underground tour in Torre del Greco. We learn many interesting details and story about the volcano Vesuvio and how the eruption affect the city. In our freetime we could swim on the beach.

In the evening after dinner each country had an own intercultural nights. We gathered
together and each country introduced some products we bought from our home country.
The concept is, that each team prepared typical things and created an own presentation.
Every group was able to present interesting trivia facts to give insight about their country to the others. It was a good opportunity to presents local dishes, drinks, music, dances and clothes from our home country and our culture. Afterwards we enjoyed the red wine from Italy, sweets from Estonia and Turkey. The italian group even bought us the typical neapolitan pizza and let me tell you it was delicious.


 

Media4You

APV Meeting, Constanta, Romania, October, 2019

Shakir:

In order to be well prepared and make the upcoming youth exchange (Media4You) the best for the youths of the 11 countries coming to the beautiful and touristic city Constanta, Romania, we the team leaders from relevant NGOs and countries, came to gather to Constanta and met on 4-5. October. The main issue and center of our meeting was how to make the upcoming exchange much more better, interesting and memorable for the youths while in Constanta. The Venue of staying and daily activities has been visited, agenda of the meeting was reviewed in detail and proposed changes for betterness would added to the program.

The organisers and team leaders will be doing their best to make sure every activity run based on plan, organised and at the end of the day everyone is happy.

In total the 4 days trip helped me widen my network horizon, make new friends, share experiences, and learn from the participants.


Be Active in Eco Way

Youth Exchange, Komotini, Greece, 31.08-10.09.2019

Lina:

The youth exchange dealing with the topic „be active in an ecological way“ took place in Komotini, a town in Nothern Greece. The project was rich in lively discussions concerning environmental issues and exchanging ideas on how to improve the situation on personal and global levels.

We had a closer look at ecological problems presented by each national team.
In groups we developed concepts for social enterprises and presented them to the rest of the participants. We camr up with local gardening, an eco-friendly hotel and other substainable and creative ideas.
Besides analysing problems and trying to find productive answers we enjoyed the amazing atmosphere thanks to the great group dynamic. Fun and intersting Intercultural nights plus dance sessions at the main square created a strong bond between the participants.
As we it is not only important to theoretically touch the topic but also to take things into our own hands we took action and collected trash around the city center after questioning locals about the main issues in Komotini.
Through building our own model of eco-friendly buildings such as houses in rural areas and the city center or an eco-mall, we were able to implement our new knowlege. The pedestrians passing by (and the TV) took a great interest.
It has been exciting to have the opportunity to compare eco standards in different countries of the EU. By this exchange we have grown interest and responsibility measured by our own possibilities.
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Non-violent Europe

Training Course, Kolin, Czech Republic, 31 July – 8 August 2019

Sveta:

Of the 9 mobilities I have done with Youth in Action this training course was the one I benefitted most from. The organisation was great; Ondre from CEFIG is a well-organised, calm and fun person. Both trainers Marco and Lorenzo work together well and are great at delivering this course. They would always do individual slots, not necessarily do a session together but build on each other’s topics. The structure around the training, energizers, games and free times was in the ethos of non-violence as well.

From day one, we dived into the topic with various simulations, examples, social analyses and more. To give you an insight, here are my favourites:

On the first day, we had an exercise in mindfulness: we walked to an island, walked around it in silence answering some questions to ourselves, who we are and who we rely on. These questions turned out to come back on the last day talking about hero journeys and travelling through adventures in general.

I was very interested when we learned about the spiral dynamics by Clare W. Graves. Many of us have not heard about this before: Spiral Dynamics is a theory about the development of human life steps, or to phrase it better, levels of personal and communal ideology. Look it up! We spent a good amount of time understanding and discussing this.

Another great thing to learn was KAVKi, the ways of communication: Kinaesthetic, Auditory, Visual and Kinaesthetic internal. Trying to understand those and their practical meaning to us we split up in groups looking at different political speeches. From Trump to US civil rights movement, Greta Thunberg, Martin Luther King – we identified the way big political figures use their speech. We even looked at some extracts of Harry Potter identifying KAVKi.

This lead to a group task where we looked at different documentaries of non-violent movements in the world and presented them to the other groups. Here I learned a lot about countries and movements that do not get taught at school, as they are not related to your country, which is a shame. Most impressive to me was the example of Denmark’s protests in the Second World War. Not wanting to deport their Jewish population they simply started working slower – if the bureaucracy is too slow to get the papers for a deportation done, it will never happen. Also, instead of protesting on the streets they all didn’t come to work one day because they had to ‘water their gardens’ – an impressive way of dealing with the pressure during WW2.

Those examples made me connect my knowledge and activist history in my mind and made me realise that I am more connected to the topic than I thought; through my interests, engagement and political activism I do at home anyway. Always empowering to realise and reflect on what you do and see it in a different light.

The whole week was aimed at each of us creating a story and plan we want to realise at home, non-violent, community orientated. The last 2 days we spent on slowly developing the stories, ideas as well as skills to speak about and act upon it. Each of us spent a whole afternoon, some until the night writing their stories and ideas down. These were as individual as the participants, from introducing sport activities and healthy lifestyles to rural areas in Romania, working with deaf youth, working with the council to revive empty shops and districts for youth to work in and around, religion, arts, creating opportunities.

I am looking forward to see how those projects develop, if some get realised. Overall a great training course with lots of group as well as individual learning in a strong team of creative, lovely people.


 

„EU&U“

Youth Exchange, July 2019, Agros, Cyprus

Mona, Laura. Lea, Louisa, Xuan Trang

About the project

Agros, the location of the Erasmus+ Youth Exchange “EU & U”, is a small village in the center of the island of Cyprus on the Troodos Mountains, the largest mountain range of Cyprus. With a total population of about 800 people Agros can’t be compared to the tourist strongholds Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos or Ayia Napa. With its stunning view and the narrow streets with beautiful houses, Agros offered us an atmosphere, most tourists coming to the island won’t experience.

We prepared ourselves mostly during Skype group calls some days before going to Cyprus, where we discussed and created the content of our workshop “Which Europe do we want?” and what we wanted to do at our intercultural night.

Our journey started on the 12. July 2019 in Larnaca, where most of the participants arrived. We were picked up from the city center and the airport and went to Agros, where we were greeted with delicious Cypriot food. The group was split up, some countries were staying in a youth hostel, where also our workshops took place, some were staying at Vlachos Hotel, mostly in rooms of three participants.

This week was full of activities, workshops, parties and trips. Most of the days we spent at the youth hostel, participating at games, discussions and the workshops every country had to prepare. In the evening after dinner we had three intercultural nights in total. Every group was able to present typical food, drinks, dances or interesting trivia facts to give insight about their country to the others.

On Tuesday we made a daytrip to Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, which is the last divided capital. The northern part of the city is part of the area occupied by turkish forces, the south belongs to the Republic of Cyprus. In the morning we met Antigoni Papadopoulou, a former member of the European Parliament and Androulla Vasiliou, a former European Commissioner. They both gave very interesting speeches and we were able to ask some questions about the EU and discuss current topics. Before having free time in the afternoon, we visited the Cyprus Museum, an archeological museum including a temporary Picasso exhibition. On Thursday we went to Limassol, a city on the southern coast of the island. There we learned a lot about Erasmus+ and its involved projects. In the afternoon we had some free time, most of the participants spent at the beach enjoying the sun.

What can’t be missed out as well are the two legendary parties we had – one welcome party and one farewell party, which was also a party for welcoming the participants of an Erasmus+ training course that would take part the week after our stay in Agros. We had music and a lot to drink at a local park to celebrate our time in Cyprus.

Intercultural nights

The participants are from twelve different european countries. On the Intercultural Nights we gathered together and each group introduced some products we bought from our home country. The concept is, that each national group prepared typical things and created an own presentation. It was a good opportunity to presents local dishes, drinks, music, dances and clothes from our home country and our culture. The aim is to learn about the various cultures and to reduce stereotypes. Each country used a different approach. Some countries like Greece or Cyprus chose to play advertising videos about their countries. It shows the beautiful countrysides, unique sights and scenes from local citizen. The hungarian girls showed us a typical dance from their country. We were invited to learned the dance steps. The slovenian group tried to challenge our knowledge with a quiz. The italian team demontrated typical italian gestures and we guessed the meaning. Afterwards we enjoyed fruits from Cyprus, chocolate from Czech Republic, sweets from Estonia, olives from Greece, red wine from Italy, cheese from Slovakia and many more delicious things.

In the second Intercultural Night we got the chance to present our country. Our group created a Kahoot game. Kahoot is game-based learning plattform where participants can log in and answer the questions with their mobile phone. For each questions were four possible answers. The questions were about the german stereotypes, the sights in Germany, the typical food or drink behaviour. Soccer is another subject with is always associate with Germany. For example one question was „Which teams wasn’t a founder of the Bundesliga?“ In the end, the participants enjoyed typical german gummy bears and sweets.

Overall atmosphere

What I can definitely say is that when we were all together in fun situations, for example in some group activities or energizers, the atmosphere was great and we enjoyed having fun together. Despite all differences and some minor problems due to coming from 12 different countries with different cultural backgrounds and opinions,  we found our way and grew together as one big european family.

Apart from that, some aspects really supported that great atmosphere: First, being on a mediterranean island in summer, in that beautiful village of Agros with its stunning views in the mountains, made any bad mood nearly impossible. The sun and fresh air even cured some hangovers and the lack of sleep. Our accommodations were fine as well, and in the restaurant they really did their best to provide us with fresh, delicious food. The most important factor though: our amazing Cypriot hosts, who had so much energy and always spread a positive, motivating vibe.

In the end it was quite hard saying goodbye to each other and to beautiful Agros. That is why since then we actively stay in contact via lots of messages, video calls, social media posts and photo shares. I am sure some of these friendships will continue for a long time.

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„Expert Up!”

Training Course, July 2019, Kolin, Czech Republic

Ole, Misha, Nellie:

The Training Course „Expert Up!” took place in the midst of July in Kolin, which is a small little town in the Czech Republic. After spending a day in Prague, the bus fetched most of us in the evening at the trainstation there to  Hotel Theresia in Kolin. A total of 24 people gathered there from the countries Germany, Poland, Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Portugal and Macedonia to learn more about Social Enterprises, Digital Tools, Public Speaking and exchange Cultures.
After we got to know each other through a lot of games and fun evenings, we got taught the basics of social enterprises and then delivered presentations based on our homework to give an overview about the situations of them in our local countries. After being given an array of Digital Tools to use in a short course, we designed our own projects and ideas completely with Research, Canva Presentations and feedback by the group as well as the trainers. Afterwards we got presented information about Erasmus+, the Youth Pass and had the chance to give our own input by designing ideas for future projects that could be held in the frame of Erasmus+. We certainly learned a whole lot throughout the week.
Learning and Training effect aside we of course also had a lot of fun. Through the international night we exchanged many cultures (and garlicy snacks) and partied together. It was a really awesome and dynamic group where no one was left out and quite a few friendships formed. We all loved the project and hope that we can use our knowledge to give the possibility of such an amazing experience to more people in the future.

 

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„It is Not a Myth“

Youth Exchange, July 2019, Bakuriani, Georgia

Maria:

In July 2019 I was fortunate enough to take part in the youth exchange program in Bakuriani. I will remember this trip forever, because it was not only my first Erasmus+, but also my first visit to Georgia. Before the program, I was very worried, because I didn’t know what would happen. I was afraid not to get along with the people, I was afraid that my English is not good enough for the project, I was afraid of a new country and culture differences. But the trip exceeded all of my expectations. I’ll start with the city where we lived, that’s a small village in the mountains. Bakuriani is a winter ski resort and it’s quiet and calm there in the summer. Nature is amazingly beautiful in those places. Even such simple and ordinary things as going to a nearby shop became almost an adventure for me. The organizers and participants were very kind and always ready to help. There were 40 participants from 8 countries and all of them are different and exciting human beings. Being around a group of such kind and interesting people helped me overcome my fears and language barrier. Our program was devoted to literature. We discussed the importance of books in our life, talked about favorite characters, everyone shared the most important works of their culture. Thanks to that my shortlist of books-to-read became as long as ever. The most interesting classes for me were the Story Hours. Each group had to prepare a presentation about a story from their own culture. It was incredibly interesting! Someone did theatrical performances, some presentations were made, someone danced and we even had a Turkish wedding! I also really liked the workshops! We learned to dance Ukrainian ballroom dancing, we learned Greek carnival songs, we played national games of different countries and many other things. Another experience I will never forget is how we went on a tour of the three ancient fortresses of Georgia: Vardzia, Rabati, Khertvisi. It was very interesting, but our journey ended too soon. And that means that I must return! After the trip we had a traditional Georgian dinner with toasts, wine and lots of Georgian food. This trip was an amazing experience for me; I would love to participate in Erasmus + once again and will definitely visit Georgia once more!

Emili:

From 9th to 19th of July 40 youngsters from 8 different countries came together in Bakuriani, Georgia for an amazing Youth Exchange. The topic was literature and how to use it within international dialogue. Our location for the next 8 days was Bakuriani a small town up in the mountains. The first day was delegated to getting to know each other and to break the ice. Everyone was eager to share first impressions and to get to know the people, we would spend the next 8 days with. The participating countries were Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Ukraine and Poland. From each country 5 young people took part to share their own culture and ideas. The next days we got to know us better while working in small groups or while doing team building activities. We also got introduced to the topic of literature and how to use it in intercultural dialogue. Therefore, we discussed our favourite books, important national literature, our favourite characters, controversial stories, news and its flaws and traditional stories and myths. Traditional stories from every country were presented in so called story hours, were each country presented their culture in a creative way, such as theatre plays or dancing lessons. To not just hear about Georgian culture the sixth day was delegated to explore Georgia and its beauty. The first stop on our excursion was Vardzia, a cave monastery, built in the second half of the twelfth century. It was impressive to see the place and to explore the caves along the cliff. The next stop was Khertvisi, a castle surrounded by beautiful mountains and our last stop Rabati an impressive fortress in Akhaltsikhe. The end of this perfect day was a big traditional Georgian dinner with delicious local cuisine, wine and dances. the next days we learned more about the topic and bonded more and more with the other participants. And finally, we had to say goodbye to Georgia and to newfound friends. But it was not a goodbye – but a see you soon to amazing people and a beautiful country. A big thank you to everyone who made this opportunity possible.

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“Color Blind”
Youth Exchange, July 2019, Ludbreg, Croatia
Philipp:

The youth exchange “Color Blind” took place in Ludbreg, a quaint little
town in the North of Croatia, during the beginning of July.

30 young people from Croatia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Serbia and Spain were living
and working together for the duration of one week. The main topic of the
youth exchange was to promote intercultural and ethnic diversity among
young people. The week started with different integration games in order
to form a group out of six national groups. After accomplishing that, there
were different activities in order to get an overview about the topic. For
instance every national group had to hold a workshop about a particular
topic in the field of diversity awareness. The German team prepared a
workshop about “communication when in danger”. With a roleplay the
whole group got involved and could develop understanding for the
difficulties of communication in such situations.

The week was accompanied by two highlights. The first one was the development and
preparation of board games. Our group chose a memory-like game that
we handcrafted by ourselves. The very next day after the preparation we
visited a school for pupils with different disabilities. Despite the language
barrier we could manage to present our games and the kids had a lot of
fun playing them with us. Another highlight of the week was the day trip
to Varaždin. The city is located just a 20-minute train ride from Ludbreg.
Here we started with a city game and had the rest of the day to discover
the city by ourselves. Despite a heavy rain, we enjoyed our time and
could take lots of pictures in this beautiful town. The nights were mostly
accompanied by intercultural nights and a big farewell and barbecue at
the last night. With the Youth Pass ceremony that very exciting and
challenging week had come to an end.

Ruth:

„Lumen“ is the name of the youth organisation in catholic city Ludbreg. I think this is really on point, because it gives a light for those who don’t wear a halo every day.

In this youth exchange I discovered how beautifully and peaceful a bunch of strangers can learn from each others. Not „learning“ like in university or school! Throughout the program we had difficult tasks, even a „mission impossible“; and we learned to just get it done together. With passion and joy! No matter how different we all were; with backgrounds in all shades of the rainbow, abilities and talents widespread: we were a great team! So can you tell the difference between emigration and immigration? Can you sing your own YE-anthem until you’re ears fall off? We can! As if this wasn’t enough to brag about, there was a tangible result at the end of our work: each national group created at least one boardgame, inspired by our personal favourites in this field. So we got out of our collective comfort zone, visited the „house of the sun“, a non profit, citizen-run place for everyone to have a good day in a lovely company, embracing any disabilities and handicaps. Our marketing-trial was set out on a target group of mostly children with few or non existing English skills. What? Do I speak universe? But as the magic happens; we had a great time playing, making new friends, letting go of fears and prejudice.
Of course, all this happy hippie tale of a youth exchange MUST have an edgy crunch. Therefore, we had our spunishments, the wonderful fellows grown up in Spain, who were willing to perform all our nasty ideas of punishments (for being late). So I have this dark colors covered, too. My rainbow of report for you is complete 🙂
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Generation NEET

Training Course, July 2019, Saulkrasti, Latvia

Olivia, Premtim, Thomas:

In July the German Team from the Jubuk e.V.  association had the incredible opportunity to visit Saulkrasti for the “Generation NEET” project hosted by the “Latvian Youth Development Center, NGO”

Our accommodation was near by the sea in Saulkrasti (Latvia), a beautiful place in the nature.

The Erasmus + training course was about the situation of NEET’s in Europe, we were dealing with the problems and possible solutions to empower this group. Together with teams from Latvia, Germany, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania and Spain we could share our ideas and knowledge in many interesting and well-structured workshops and presentations. For example we had a walk of thoughts, preparation of a Video CV and we learned a lot about the Business Model Canvas. Through the intercultural nights we raise awareness of cultural diversity and a better understanding of other cultures. This all, together with the Team bonding activities helped us to learn from each other in a good atmosphere.

In the end we can say that we gained a lot of skills as youth workers to develop own projects in our home countries. We had an intense week with a lot of activities and workshops. We are very grateful for the opportunity having participated in this gathering of great, open-minded people. Thank you!

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Borderless Ambassadors for Alternatives Rural Spaces

Seminar, July 2019, Llerena, Spain

Irina:

JuBuK ambassadors in the Heart of Extremadura

In July 2019 I had a super enjoyable time, participating in the seminar “Borderless Ambassadors for Alternatives Rural Spaces” in Llerena, a cozy, small town in Extremadura, the autonomy in the south-west of Spain. It has many popular neighbors, as Salamanca, well-known province Castilla La Mancha, the geographical hero of „Don Quixote“ by Cervantes, Seville, and an amazing Cordoba. Extremadura and Llerena itself is not so famous among foreign tourists, it is a sort of untouched place, and because of it saves its charm.

Llerena is a pretty small town, so, everything is within walking distance and can be explored on foot. During our tour in the town, we have visited the city hall, the library, located in amazingly beautiful building of ex-church, and the city museum, which is situated on the site of episcopal palace, where the first Inquisition court in the town took a place.

The main focus of this seminar was to make people from different countries more familiar with the best practices for rural tourism development, which are using in Extremadurian province. Due to this reason we had the sessions about innovations in rural environment, multimedia and storytelling tools, design thinking for development of non-urban areas and workshops on creating a ground for strategic planning and pitch preparation for touristic projects.

As our learning activities were based particularly on the local example, we made several studying trips in neighboring locations as well. We went to the ruins of ancient Roman city and the most preserved construction – Roman theater, Ermita Virgen del Ara, a beautiful capella and outstanding construction, the industrial and natural heritage of the region, Mina de la Jayona. It is the old mines, where locals extracted the iron, nowadays turned into the fascinating caves and tunnels, which are disposed on several levels inside the rocks, and underground. And for getting some experience in active tourism, we visited the Llerena reservoir, and its small visitor center, which is organizing different water activities, such a zip-lining above the water, canoeing and so on.

Finally we have created our own team projects, which might be implemented for tourism development in rural areas of many European countries. It was especially fruitful, as we were a group of participants from 16 countries, and the variety of presenting experiences and ideas was really big. And I have got a great inspiration, as many ideas might be modified for a while, and used in other fields, including youth work.

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WE for SHE- From Empathy to Empowerment

Youth Exchange: 23rd – 30th of June 2019 Store Klaus, Denmark

Monawer:

Equality, humanity are feelings which we are missing since long time in our life. That feeling of treating another being human in the same way, not mattering which background, religion, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation or social economic levels this person has. There are a lot of labels created in our society to divide people, based in interests of a system that is pro segregation. These workshops which toke place in a very beautiful place in the heart of nature in Store Klaus near to Copenhagen, Denmark from 23-30.06.2019 was exactly about this topic. Our project specifically had the focus in promote the social inclusion, of refugees, migrants and specially women migrants and every single person that could have a different background than ours and focus about their difficulties, challenges and solutions.

Denmark was hosting 36 Young people from different countries (Turkey, Italy, Greece, Germany, Spain, Lithuania) The fact that there are groups from different countries working together in a relevant topic for our society is a strong process of exchanging. Most of us didn’t know each other before the beginning of the activities and suddenly we are out of our comfortable zone and living a parallel experience from our real life. Our German team had backgrounds from 6 countries.

The two very professional instructors started the first day of the project with very interesting methods of learning each other and energizing’s, after a short time we were all integrated to the topic and we were a small family from now talking discussing listening each other and sharing our ideas about the process of women empowerment. This process would already happen naturally, just seeing a group of curious youth with thirst of knowledge and hunting to get know as much as it was possible in this week. In these 6 days we did have lots of different workshops, theaters, input phases and learning sessions, we were divided in small groups to make presentations and try to describe out ideas, emotions and everything we were learning.

During the project we were divided in small groups and made small theater scenes to play the challenges and difficulties of migrants and specially women migrants in our societies that was one of the best parts of the project which forced us to think and take their problems serious and talk about solutions.

A very special and interesting part of the project which made all of us somehow emotional was the human library, in which some of us was supposed to be the books and tell their stories and the rest readers. I had the honor to be a book and tell my stories, which made me very emotional and happy to have someone to share my experiences and life stories.

Every night we were coming together again to represent our countries, and the diversity of our cultures, eating, drinking, laughing, dancing, music and enjoying the cultural night was guaranteed by the national teams. In our free day we did have the chance of visiting Copenhagen city and enjoy the lovely sunny sky of Copenhagen, which was a very good strategy to bring the project members nearer to each other.

In fact, being part of this project naturally force you to be integrated, to listen, talk, understand, think and unconscious change your perspective of seeing things, even if we couldn’t notice it. This project was for us a special and unique experience. At the end each of us got some lessons and these lessons are going to be part our conscious or unconscious process of thinking.

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Removing the Linguistic and Cultural Barriers within Youth Work

Training Course, Ubeda, Spain, June 2019

Irina, Monawer:

We did have a great week in Andalusian city of Ubeda in Spain. Young people from different countries of Europe were discussing how to remove the linguistic and cultural barriers within youth work in EU countries. All of us tried to share our own experiences and ideas.

This training course was based on non-formal learning and a creation an experiential space to acquire the specific skills for youth workers and leaders, which we can use in situations of social inclusion development and fostering among young people the feeling of belonging to the community. Step by step we were identifying the elements of the thematic context and finding the solutions through our active discussions and exchange. We worked on improvement of our abilities in working with young people at risk of exclusion and how to work on cultural and social differences from the point of view of the elimination of cultural and linguistic barriers.

Through the activities we did during the training we discovered the tools to identify the new cultural trends among young people, defining idiomatic barriers as well as those related to the cultural/social/generational gap.

We also were getting more familiar with the tools for the construction of a common and equal language that enables youth workers to communicate and better understand their recipients, and the tools for the resolution of conflicts generated by the existence of cultural and linguistic barriers, and learn how to empathize with the feeling of uprooting and learn to favor integration processes with young people.

We also had the great opportunity to visit the city center of Ubeda and present our activities and share our knowledge and information about Erasmus + with other youths and local people of the city.

In our first visit of Ubeda we did have the luck of having a tour guide, who showed us first of all the city center and then the Plaza Vázquez De Molina, which is a historical place in Ubeda, and is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Jaen province. The Spanish Renaissance architectural value of the square was one of the motives for UNESCO’s decision to declare Ubeda as a World Heritage site in July 2003. And then we visited also some other historical palaces near to Plaza Vázquez De Molina, which are full of historical value.

After ending the official part of our project we did have our first evening and dinner together outside and talked a little more about ourselves and got more information about each other.

In the practical part of our project we visited the city center and also the public library of Ubeda and discussed with the students and local people about Erasmus + programme, we asked them if they have information about it and how can we remove the linguistic and cultural barriers especially between EU countries, we tried to share and provide information about Erasmus + projects for the people.

We are very grateful for the opportunity having participated in this gathering of great, open-minded people and having the new friends from different countries, and want to say a lot of thanks to Erasmus + for giving us this chance.

Best wishes to all participants of this project and the ones who helped to have such a wonderful nice experience.

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„Me, You, Us“

Youth Exchange, Bakuriani, Georgia, May, 2019

Aleks: 

What a wonderful adventure to Bakuriani, Georgia! Fairytale landscapes, snowy mountains and a magic atmosphere with amazing people from seven different countries! ❤ Workshops, Trainings, Simulations and Excursions at the Youth Exchange „Me, You, Us“ from 6th to 15th of May, 2019 #jubuk #erasmusplus #meyouus #georgia

Lisa: 

Das Projekt war darauf ausgelegt mehr über die anderen Länder und Kulturen zu erfragen, aber auch mehr über die eigene Kultur und vor allem über sich selbst zu lernen. Meiner Meinung nach ist das wirklich sehr gut gelungen, denn ich habe einen schönen Einblick in die anderen Länder bekommen und mein kulturelles Verständnis wurde weiter geschärft. Wir sind an Vorurteile und Stereotypen mit viel Spaß und Humor herangetreten, ohne dabei den Ernst aus den Augen zu verlieren. Insgesamt kann ich sagen, dass mich das Projekt weiter gebracht hat, da ich jetzt mit kritischerem Blick durch die Welt gehe und viele Sachen noch mehr hinterfrage. Außerdem habe ich viel Spaß an dem Projekt gehabt und bin begeistert davon, wie einfach es sein kann, unterschiedlichste Leute zu vereinen.

We thank MasterPeace Eastern Partnership and Central Asia Regional Hub for organizing this great opportunity for our young people.

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„EU & U“

Advanced Planning Visit, Cyprus, June 2019

Julia:

For the Erasmus+ Youth Exchange „EU & U“ coming up in July in Agros, Cyprus, an Advance Planning Visit (APV) was carried out in June with the group leaders of all participating countries.

The APV’s main purposes were to get to know each other and to commonly discuss and further build the Youth Exchange’s agenda. Most group leaders arrived in Larnaca airport on 7 June quite late in the evening, and gathered together at the airport for a midnight shuttle to Agros, a small mountain village in central Cyprus. Already on the bus, the atmosphere was very open and hilarious, and this mood fortunately lingered throughout the APV.

The next day, after breakfast, we introduced each other, explored the activity venue and covered the more formal part of the APV, especially with regards to content and organization of the Youth Exchange. For example, every country chose a topic that they would conduct a workshop about.

In the afternoon, after a fresh lunch, the group was shown around in Agros. Among the places visited was the very modern local gym (including a big indoor swimming pool that was unfortunately not in use at that time due to high energy consumption), the rose factory cum rose plantation – surprising what products can be made out of rose water, such as soap. chocolate, cosmetics, candles – as well as the sweets factory. There, we also got to taste the typical sweet of Cyprus, Sujuk, made from nuts and grape must and many more yummy things.

For the evening, the organizers had really made an effort to provide a special evening program that was very suitable in bringing the group together. In the backyard of the project venue, music and drinks were provided which made up an amazing outside dancefloor. We chatted, danced and enjoyed the party until the late night hours in the pleasant night temperatures of Cyprus. The next day, we left Agros with a great feeling of excitement looking forward to the Youth Exchange in July! The mission of the APV has been more than accomplished and I would like to thank Jubuk as well as Youth Dynamics as the host organization!

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„I NEE[T] ART“

Training Course in Larnaca, Cyprus, April, 2019

Ira, Nelli:

We would like to start our report with the description of the place where we were at the workshop “I NEE[T] ART”.  It is a special place. We were at Cyprus, Larnaca – it is Iceland and a state in the same time. It is a very beautiful country with very difficult and dramatic history.  It was also one of the reason that why we were so interested to come here. We wanted to know more how people living here, how they communicate with each other and what they think about own history and own future. The workshop wasn’t oriented on this topic, but we are very thankful to our Greek organizers what they told us the history of the country and show us the Turkish part of the Iceland. One of the most memorable experiences was a visit capital of Cyprus – Nicosia. Nicosia is the only one capital in the world where there is a neutral zone, where the streets are separated by barbed wire and self-made separation facilities: sandbags, iron barrels, or just garbage. The city where there are two civilizations and cultures are trying to exist together in the same territory.
It was a special workshop. It was a workshop about the future – the future of young people in Europe. “NEET” is “associated with its assumed potential to address a broad array of vulnerabilities among youth, touching on issues of unemployment, early school leaving and labour market discouragement”. In this training course participants had to learn to work with this group of people, to understand where theirs problems come from, which wishes they have and which methods and requirements we have to solve these problems.
We, people from different countries of Europe – Lithuania, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Poland, Latvia, Greece, Spain and Italia, came together to learn, to discuss and to share experiences from daily life and ideas how we can help young people in our countries to find themselves, to open themselves and to discover capabilities.
What should we do to be successful? How to find a good job? How can I showcase my own skills? Which skills do we have? In the beginning we started to get to know each other with some games, energizing activities and group building activities. But then we started to make more exercises oriented on our self-presentation. During the week we worked on our voice, body language, our body communication. Our best friendly and well-experienced trainers used a variety of non-formal methods – including dancing, role games, simulations, theater methods, debates and discussions to help us. Also, we learn to trust and to hear each other.
For awareness and analysis of the labor market we did one very interesting exercise. We were divided into groups and had to select cards with qualities that, in our discretion, should possess employer and employee. In the end we unanimously agreed on such qualities as respect, trust, caring for the environment, sense of humor and honesty. We hope that in the future firms will take only employees with these qualities J
We also had a lot of exercises with professional actress like speech therapy, breathing exercises, storytelling and others. After them, we were able to reveal our creativity, got rid of uncertainty and felt each other. Our final theater productions exceeded all expectations. We gained knowledge how to practice all this things in our own daily life’s and how can we share it to another people. One of the highlights of this training was the preparation of the some small theatrical improvisation.
In the end of the training the groups of each country presented the ways and solutions for the young people to take more part in the society`s life and the different possibilities to organize them and to help them to discover themselves. We saw a lot of ideas and maybe some of them will be good trainings courses in the future. We are very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this training course and to learn so much new nice and talented people of different countries.
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“Inclusive Adventure Education – From Theory to Practice”

Training Course, KA2 in Istanbul, Turkey, May 2019

Anna, Irina, Sonia:

The second in a series of three training courses entitled “Inclusive Adventure Education – From Theory to Practice was hosted in Istanbul, Turkey from 04th to 10th of May 2019. Where the first training course focused on the foundations of adventure education, this second workshop shifted focus towards principles of facilitation. The third training course in the series will be held in India in September. Between the conclusion of this second training and the third training in the fall, each national team is expected to implement two local trainings using the skills and tools that the trainings have thus far encompassed. The participants of this second training course represented Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Nepal, Thailand, and Indonesia. Unfortunately, there was a team from India who due to natural disaster could not participate as planned. Participants came from a variety of professional and educational backgrounds and reflected a wide age range as well, which set the stage for a diversity of perspectives and approaches. Further, about half of the participants had attended the first training in Varna, which meant that about half of the participants were new to the topic and the group. By the end of the training course, participants were empowered to facilitate activities and had formed robust connections with one another, reflecting a week of productive intercultural exchange.

 

The content of this second training course in Istanbul mainly built on and extended the knowledge that we already got in Varna in the first training. After getting to know each other we summarized the basics for the new participants. Then, at the first day we talked about the role and characteristics of a facilitator. We tried to imagine the perfect facilitator and what he or she should have in mind during conducting Adventure Education activities. We also spoke about the three zones comfort zone, stretch zone and panic zone. The aim of adventure education is to bring the participants into their stretch zone but still not push them too much so that they reach their panic zone.

We also gained some communication skills using the “mind field activity” Afterwards we discovered the meaning of Risk Management concerning Adventure education. The main three points are environment, equipment and participants.

After the theoretical input in the first days we had the opportunity to create and facilitate our own adventure education sessions. In groups two to four people we set up some activities and conducted them with the whole group. It was interesting to see, which ideas every group had. After this training we feel ourselves prepared to facilitate groups for adventure education activities.

Inclusive adventure education involves the active use of skills for the integration, engaging people, and team building, therefore, the ability of facilitators themselves to effectively socialize is also very important. That is why free evenings in the program of our training were alternated with organized activities designed to help us work out our skills in practice.

We had a dance competition night, where people from different national teams were randomly mixed, and during the day had to create the choreography for the song selected from the list. Of course, the main award of this competition was better getting to know each other, and a lot of fun and memorable moments during our dance night.

After that, our intercultural night was easy going, informative and pleasant, when we not only treated each other with dishes typical for our countries, but also discussed stereotypes associated with our countries, the current problems, especially affecting young people, talked about traditions, traditional costumes, must-see places and norms and rules of polite behavior that need to be followed, and it was especially important, as the participants came from Asian and European countries, so, we really had a lot of to share.

And in the few free hours we had, we were lucky to visit the historical part of Istanbul, to see important mosques and bazaars outside and inside, and admire the panoramic view of the city, sipping black tea from traditional glass tulip-shaped cups. So, the experience shows that a properly organized educational and social program, and motivated participants lead to excellent results in the uptake of the theory, and the implementation of the theory in practice.

 

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Guiding Counter-Identities in Shaping Collectivities

Training Course in Larnaca, Cyprus, April 2019

Sharon, Camille, Lea:

The training course “Guiding Counter-Identities in Shaping Collectivities” took place in Larnaca, Cyprus from 11th to 17th of April 2019. With 34 participants from 15 different countries, including Spain, Portugal, UK, Italy, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Martinique, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Greece, Estonia, Denmark and Germany and three great trainers we spent an interesting week full of discussions, emotions and fun.

The training course started with some group building activities to get to know each other. After, we got right into the topic by getting to know the cultural identity model and visualising labelling. The first of two intercultural nights, where participating countries present their common national food and drinks, took place on the first evening and helped the group to connect. The intercultural nights strengthened the awareness of cultural diversity and gave new insights into the other countries.

We learned about the coexistence of religions through creative workshops like building functional but religious cities and a role play in which a Muslim, a Christ, a Buddhist and an Atheist tried to come to a conclusion about which education their daughter/granddaughter should get. We also talked about the danger of a single story in order to demystify stereotypes and prejudices. We created an Iranian museum of civilization in order to change our perception about this in Europe still more or less unknown and stereotyped culture.

In the workshops specifying on migrants and refugees we discussed the range of theories regarding possible behaviours of communities towards migrants. In a role play we devised our own community composed of three values and three skills. We had to come up with a policy and a decision whether or not accepting another community in our own community.

We found ourselves in a difficult and confusing situation when we had to fill in forms written in Greek without any explanation. It was a simulation of an office situation, in which foreigners unfortunately can find themselves when they don’t speak the language and when they don’t get any help.

Another simulation in which we created Facebook accounts and comments helped us to discuss what can be done against social media bullying.

To sum up, we had an intense week with a lot of experiences, interesting workshops and great people. We are very happy that we were part of it.

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“Zero Waste – When zero means more than one”

Youth Exchange, Zvolen, Slovakia, April 2019

Philipp:

What is the idea behind “zero waste” ? What can the individual do in
order to reduce waste? What are the latest innovations to get a grip on
the general waste problem?
These and many more issues in this context were tackled in the one week
lasting youth exchange “Zero Waste – When zero means more than one”.
The project took place in a remote location close to the central Slovakian
city of Zvolen. 28 young people from the countries of Bulgaria, Croatia,
Germany and Slovakia gathered not only to discuss the topic but also to
have an intercultural exchange. The week started with different
integration games in order to form a group out of four national groups.
After accomplishing that, there were different activities in order to get an
overview about the idea of the zero waste concept. Therefore different
methods were used. Videos should give a first impression how serious the
issue of waste is worldwide. After participants received that information,
they were working on their own ideas how to reduce or even avoid waste
and try to come up with creative methods for that. As the highlight of the
week, results were shown to the public in the city of Zvolen. Interested
citizens could inform themselves about the ideas we came up over the
week, in the main street of the city where we presented our outcomes.
Next to the activities that refer to the actual topic, there were plenty other
things we have been doing over this week. That included cultural evenings
as well as a trip to the UNESCO world heritage city Banska Stiavnica.
Besides that, we explored the beautiful nature of Slovakia within a 3-hour
hike. All in all, it has been a week full of activities that not only have given
participants new ideas how to reduce waste in their own personal life, but
also gave them a global perspective about the impacts of that issue.
Moreover, it enabled participants to exchange cultures, reduce stereotypes
and make friendships that will continue to exist even though this amazing
project has come to an end.

Monawer:

We passed and enjoyed a great week in Zvolen, Slovakia. 28 young people from 4 different Countries of Europe were coming together to learn, to discuss, to share experiences related to the topic of zero waste. Everyone of us tried to share our own experiences and ideas how can we reduce the plastic usage in our countries and what are we doing in our daily life for zero waste and asked us a question: are we successful? We started to get to know each other with some games, energizing activities and group building activities at first day. Our best friendly, well-experienced and -organized trainers used a wide variety of non-formal methods – including role plays, simulations, drama methods, silent debates and large group discussions – to jump into the topic. The groups of each country discovered and then presented the ways and solutions for zero waste lifestyle of their countries, the different definition of zero waste in their countries, the history, and the statistics of zero waste lifestyle, statistics of plastic usage, and info’s about recycling companies in their countries, with lots of new details and new ideas and solution ways what they are doing in their countries to reduce plastic usage and shared it all with us. We started to work in different groups to share first of all our own ideas and solution ways what we are doing in our daily life and then started to find new ideas how to live without producing plastic trash and each group succeeded to find out more then 100 ideas for zero waste lifestyle, the participants shared their different experiences of volunteering and working – the diverse input was a benefit for everyone. We met some local key actors from Zvolen like: the municipal of Zvolen, the head of a recycling company in Zvolen and some social aktivists of Zvolen and shared our project experiences and listened their ideas and experiences of their projects and activities in zvolen belong to zero waste. we had also the possibility to visit the city center of Zvolen and present our activities and share our knowledge with local people and youth there, we learned also how to use plastic more useful and made some amazing handmade things and showed the people how to make it at home. During the week, we gained knowledge in a different type of game about the structure of Erasmus+, the general rules and much more, we were productive by preparing presentations and our own workshops like language course workshop, yoga, writing skills, making blogs, and drawing. We also made some planes how to practice all this things what we have learned during this one week, in our own daily life’s and how can we share it to our friends, family, classmates and another people, so almost each of us decided to make presentations for their classmates or write in their blogs or another possible ways. We did have every night wonderful culture nights and introduced our cultures special foods music and more. I am very grateful for the opportunity having participated in this gathering of great, openminded people, that was a really good opportunity for me knowing new people new friends and I’m really happy knowing so much new nice people of different countries and I really appreciate and say lots lots of thanks to Erasmus + giving us this chance. Best wishes to all participants of this project and the ones who helped to have such a wonderful nice project.

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„Animate your Prejudice“

Youth Exchange, Crnomelj, Slovenia, March 2019

Kristina, Kaatje, Gulsanam, Sarah, Yevheniy:

Die 35 Teilnehmer des Youth Exchange aus den Ländern Slowenien, Litauen, Bulgarien, Portugal, Rumänien und Deutschland haben 7 Tage in einer kleinen Stadt, die Crnomelj heißt, verbracht. Das ist eine gemütliche Stadt mit einer schönen Natur, die zirka 100 km von Ljubljana – der Hauptstadt von Slowenien – entfernt liegt. Wir haben während unseres Aufenthalts in Crnomelj in einem gemieteten Haus gewohnt. Meiner Meinung nach, war das eine sehr schöne Idee, dass die Teilnehmer des Austauschprogramms alle zusammen gewohnt haben, weil wir immer eine Möglichkeit hatten, sowohl miteinander über spannende und heikle Themen zu diskutieren, als auch zusammen unsere Freizeit zu genießen. Wir hatten auch die Gelegenheit, eine Stadtbesichtigung zu machen und den Stadtbewohnern einige Frage über ihr Verhältnis zu Flüchtlingen zu stellen. Es lohnt sich auch zu erwähnen, dass wir die ganze Zeit in Slowenien sehr beschäftigt waren. Workshops, verschiedene Seminare, Sportaktivitäten, Energie- und Entspannungsübungen, Länderabende – alles war perfekt organisiert! Und ich bin sicher, dass unser Aufenthaltsort  –  die ausgewählte kleine und gemütliche Stadt in Slowenien, gut dazu beigetragen hat, unsere Kenntnisse über die Vorurteile bezüglich der Flüchtlinge zu erweitern.

 Wie der Titel der Jugendbegegnung “Animate your prejudice” schon andeutet, war die gemeinsame Aufgabe innerhalb der interkulturellen Gruppe die Produktion eines Stop-Motion Videos zum Thema Vorurteile. Slowenien als Teil der Balkanroute wird täglich von hohen Zahlen an Geflüchteten nur wenige Kilometer entfernt von Crnomelj entlang eines löchrigen Metall-Zauns durchquert und die Polizei greift dagegen teils mit harten Mitteln durch, zu denen sie laut Gesetz gar nicht befugt ist. Unter den jungen Leuten ist deutlich die Solidarität mit den Menschen in Not zu bemerken, jedoch äußern sich meist ältere Generationen teils direkt, teils indirekt eher kritisch zu den Geflüchteten, als wir sie auf der Straße interviewen. Sowohl dieser persönliche Kontakt zu den Menschen, als auch eine ausführliche Gruppendiskussion zu dem Thema, die die Flüchtlingssituation in den unterschiedlichen Ländern mit all den damit einhergehenden Vorurteilen beleuchtet, sowie ein Vortrag von jungen Menschenrechtsaktivisten aus Ljubljana zum Thema Migration dienen als Vorbereitung zur Ideenfindung für den Film. Jelena, eine der slowenischen Teilnehmer und unsere Projektleiterin, die sich beruflich mit Stop-Motion Filmen beschäftigt und das notwendige technische Equipment bereitgestellt hat, gibt sowohl bei der Entwicklung der Story, als auch bei der Ausarbeitung in Teamarbeit hilfreiche Tipps und begleitet uns bei jedem Schritt des Entstehungsprozesses. Jeder der Teilnehmer bringt sich in der Art und Weise ein, die ihm/ihr am meisten liegt und so entsteht ein angenehm lockeres und kreatives Arbeitsklima. Viele ideenreiche Köpfe und doppelt so viele helfende Hände tragen am Ende dazu bei, dass unser kurzer Film ein Erfolg wird. Wir hoffen, er gefällt euch und regt euch zum Nachdenken an.

Neben den Workshops und Filmsessions gab es außerdem einige andere Aktivitäten, welche die Slowenen für uns organisiert haben. Am ersten Abend brachten sie uns in eine Bar, die dann von den tanzwütigen Portugiesinnen in einen Latino Club umgewandelt wurde. Wir bekamen eine kleine “Stadtführung”, denn die Kleinstadt machte eher einen Eindruck von einem Dorf. An einem anderen Tag hatten wir eine Führung im Heimatmuseum von Ĉrnomelj und erfuhren etwas über die Geschichte der Stadt und wie auch damals schon Migration stattgefunden hat. An den anderen Tagen probierten wir in unserer freien Zeit alle umliegenden Eisdielen aus und machten unserem Secret friend kleine Aufmerksamkeiten. Eine andere lustige Aktion war das Einführen einer “Gossip Box”, in die jeder Zettel mit lustigen Klatsch und Tratsch stecken konnte. So wurde jeder Morgen zu einem besonders witzigen Erlebnis.

An sechs der sieben gemeinsamen Abende gab es Länderabende, wo die Ländergruppen uns auf unterhaltsame Weise einen kulturellen Einblick gaben. Unsere deutsche Gruppe machte den Anfang und wir ließen die anderen Ländergruppen den “typischen Deutschen” malen, um anschließend einige Vorurteile über Deutschland abzubauen. Bei den rumänischen und bulgarischen Länderabenden konnten wir gemeinsam traditionelle Tänze lernen und die portugiesische Gruppe hatte ein Quiz vorbereitet. Lustig war auch das Karaoke-Singen einer litauischen Basketball-Hymne. Am vorletzten gemeinsamen Abend hatte die slowenische Gruppe dann eine Dorfhochzeit für uns vorbereitet, dazu gab es fröhliche Lieder, Trinksprüche auf das frisch vermählte Paar und leckeres hausgemachtes Essen. Generell hatten alle Teilnehmer Essen und Getränke mitgebracht, sodass wir deren Esskultur näher kennen lernen konnten.

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“Colors of diversity”

Training Course, Marrakesh, Morocco, March, 2019

Faina:

The training course “Colors of diversity” took place in Marrakesh, Marocco, from 20th to 28th of March 2019. The main aim of the training course was to focus on the topic of the inclusion of refugees with methods of non-formal education. The training course planned to strengthen the competences of youth workers and youth leaders to improve the quality of youth services which are developed for refugees and people with migration background. The activists and motivated youth workers represented different countries including France, Marocco, Italy, Romania, Russian Federation, Tunisia, Germany, United Kingtom, Moldova and Netherlands. The training course was very good structured and organized. At the beginning in order to get to know all the participants we had ice breakers and trust building games. Afterwards, we set up the group rules. We gained deep knowledge and important information about the topic of inclusion of refugees from a global perspective from different the trainer. The following days we spent with energizers and theoretical and practical sessions. In order to enrich the gained knowledge we had some tactical games and have been given opportunity afterwards for reflection. During the course, we spoke about culture sensitivity. We used tactical intensive games to see the challenges of the asylum seekers in Europe. In addition, we put ourselves in the shoes of different target groups (for example: asylum seekers, human right activists, border protection, journalists). In another simulation game, we needed to play the role of one of the minorities which we spoke about what it means to belong to a minority.  Later on, as different minority groups we tried to defend ourselves at the court for our rights. In the one of the sessions in the small groups we discussed about how to do a project in the country we are living in or to do a project together with another country in order to include the refugees. Then we presented the projects to other participants in the training course. There are also possible obstacles which we may face as a NGO working with refugees and asylum seekers. At the end of the session, we leaned strategies and skills on how to convince the donors and stakeholders to support the project.

Aside from the importance of the training course for me personally, the location of the training was also interesting environment. I enjoyed not only the great local food at our accommodation and the wonderful view of the beautiful nature, but also had the opportunity to get to know the locals personally. During the day-off we could explore the sights of Marrakesh and also as the second option we could also drive to the Atlas Mountains. I am very grateful for this great opportunity I got from JuBuk to participate in such intensive und interesting training course.

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Building bridges, breaking walls, managing refugee crisis in Europe“ Part II

Study visit Stockholm, Sweden, February 2019

Sarah:

Following up on our previous training course in Armenia “Building bridges, breaking walls, managing refugee crisis in Europe, our group met again in Stockholm February 19th through 22nd.

There, we visited different organizations, facilities and NGOs that play a key role in the immigration and integration process Sweden.

Sweden is considered to be a leading example of successfully accomplished integration. Therefore, it is interesting to take a first hand look at how things are done, and what has been achieved in Stockholm.

Our first day started out with a short warm up session. In the afternoon we visited the parliament of Sweden and took a guided tour on which we learned about the political system in Sweden, its constitution, political parties, and constituencies.

The following day, participants presented their own project that they had implemented in their home countries using tools and techniques learned in the previous workshop in Armenia. Later that day, we teamed up in groups to make a city rally to get to know the city of Stockholm better.

On the third day,  a founding member of the FARR organization joined us and hold a presentation on this unique organization. Volunteer based FARR organization is the Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups founded as early as 1988. It declares itself an umbrella organization aiming at providing advice, and exchanging experience in supporting asylum seekers. The speaker himself had a migration background and told us about his own experiences and the special need for an exchange platform since there was none before FARR had been established.

Another local organization we visited was the RFSL. The RFSL spreads awareness for the LGBTQ+ community through events, groups and counseling.  The RFSL also plays a key role in the integration of refugees that flee their home countries because they fear prosecution caused by their sexual orientation. RFSL provides legal assistance and helps refugees to apply for asylum.

On our last day, we visited Fryshuset which is a youth activity center founded in 1984. Since then it has grown into a huge center with multiple rooms, sport courts, skate areas, a lunch hall, and a café area. The director of Fryshuset took us on a tour and provided a comprehensive presentation, and  told us about the programs that Fryshuset sets up for youngsters. He pointed out that Fryshuset provides lot of affordable after school activities, so young people can explore different activities to find, develop and strengthen their talents and interests. The Fryshuset provides a safe and structured environment, so young people can take advantage of these opportunities, and adopt positive choices in life.

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„ACT- Active Citizens of Today“

Training Course in Lednice, Czech Republic, March 2019

Vincent:

A great week in Lednice, Czech Republik has passed. 26 young people from all over Europe were coming together to learn, to discuss, to share experiences related to the topic of the Training Course active citizenship and participation.
We started to get to know each other with some games and group building activities. The well-experienced and -organized trainers used a wide variety of non-formal methods – including role plays, simulations, drama methods, silent debates and large group discussions – to jump into the topic. We discovered the origin and etymology of citizenship, the different definition in the countries, the history of citizenship and the meaning on a local, national and European level. The main objective was clearly to point out the connection between citizenship and the responsibility for one’s immediate environment and society. In a so-called „living library“, the participants shared their different experiences of volunteering and working – the diverse input was a benefit for everyone.
After meeting local key actors from Breclav, mainly active in local politics and sustainable development, in the mid of the training, we had the possibility to visit the fairytale castle in Lednice. In the following days, we gained knowledge in a useful presentation about the structure of Erasmus+, we were productive by preparing a TV show and we builded groups for further cooperations. It would have been useful to work earlier on a detailed plan: to have more time for the preparation, finding partners and sharing ideas.
I am very grateful for the opportunity having participated in this gathering of great, open-minded people, while feeling again the underlying idea of the European Union.
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„Adventure Education- From Theory to Practice” 

Training Course in Varna, Bulgaria, March 2019

Anna, Homayoon and Irina

 From 5th until the 11th of March we participated in the training course “Inclusive Adventure Education – From theory to practice” in Varna, Bulgaria. The participants came from 8 European and Asian countries. We were very grateful that we were selected for an Erasmus+ project of the Key Action 2 to not only build our capacity, but also to meet a group of amazing people who came from different countries with different cultures, languages and pile of experiences. The tools which have been used in this training were very effective and applicable for the current situation of our living. During the training, we have learned very productive methods and skills how to overcome with our life’s obstacles.

At the beginning of our training course we tried to learn all the names from the participants of the group. Everybody should present themselves and we played some name games. To get to know each other better and to explore the city, we got some tasks that we solved in small groups. We had to ask locals for information about Varna and look for certain buildings. On the second day our trainer Ilona shared with us information about the Erasmus+ program, non-formal education as a whole and the methods of inclusive Adventure Education. As an example, we would like to mention here the Stretch Zone Experience which implies an advance from a comfort zone towards stretch zone, and a widening of a stretch zone at the expense of a panic zone. We learned how to facilitate this process that could help us not only in our work with young people, but also in our private lives.

Divided in our national teams, we presented to the others how the topics inclusion, integration and adventure education are situated in our countries and on local level. After the theoretical input we went to the practical part of the training course. We got to know the basic methods of adventure education that are quite simple and can be applied almost everywhere without bigger preparation.

We started with a team exercise. Our hands were tight to each other and the task was to build the highest tower out of wooden spits, plastic cups and other materials. We continued with some trust exercises like blindfolded leading or letting us fall in the arms of a partner. An exciting and challenging exercise was the spider web: The organizers spanned a rope between two columns and the whole group had to cross it without touching the ground. At the end we didn’t succeeded, but we had a lot of fun. After all the exercises we had the debriefing sessions when we had time to discuss our thoughts and feeling during the tasks and the skills that we gained. The next day we had again some group challenges. Using the app “Action bound”, we had to solve missions outside. The group members had to proof their teamwork abilities to complete the tasks. Later we again discussed how it went and the group dynamics. At the end of the training course we had time to plan out local activities in our national groups. Every country presented their ideas in front of the whole group, so we could get and give feedback from and to each other.

In general, the training included different type of new games, energizers and useful tools. The training methods seem like really understandable and productive, and might be used for our future projects.

Beside the training content, we met as a group of young people from different countries and exchanged our ideas and experiences together. We also discussed the living conditions in our countries spread across Europe and Asia. Some of the most beautiful and interesting moments happened during the intercultural nights, when different countries introduced their music, dances, food, drinks, customs and costumes, and could eat, dance and play games all together.

After 5 days of training we left Bulgaria with a pile of learning, new ideas and our own plan for a future project. The training ended with a nice closing ceremony and the distribution of the Youth passes to each participant.

At the end we would like to thank JuBuK e.V. and especially Natalia, who selected us for the training course and helped us with different kind of questions.

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‘’Social – E: Social Entrepreneurship’’

Training Course in Athens, Greece, February, 2019

Andre, Margaryta, Yasmin, Lyra, Valeriia:

Erasmus + Mobility Project ‘’Social – E: Social Entrepreneurship’’, financed by EU with the support of INEDIVIM and coordinated by NGO CIVIS PLUS. The mobility took place in a hotel near Athens from 25th of February to 5th of March, 2019. We were a group of 50 people from 10 different countries from 18 – 30 years. For eight days we participated in a series of activities related to entrepreneurship.

The exchange was attended by ten different countries mostly from Europe. These includes: Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Spain, Poland, Greece, Turkey and of course Germany. Ten countries with different histories, traditions and cultures. The cultural exchange was particularly strong at this event. During the eight days we had four evenings with the so-called “intercultural night”. Each of the night a few countries were presenting their homeland. The country group of 5 showed the rest of the group their country and people, also what is typical for their region and what they are proud of.  A really humorous moment were the explanations about the behaviour and mentality of the respective countries. Here you could see very well how different the approach to certain topics is to round off the presentations, the countries taught us traditional dances and sweetened the evening with local food and drinks.

Capitalism VS Socialism

One of the activities included an excursion to the city of Athens in groups of five. The given task was to interact with locals and tourists alike and hear their opinions on socialist as well as capitalist principles. Before talking to people we first researched on our own and discussed about our personal understanding of such principles while having typical Greek food for lunch. Afterwards we had the opportunity to explore the city while searching for people to interview. However, the actual challenge was finding the courage to come up to strangers and talk about such a complex and controversial topic. This was especially hard as we had to get permission to film the interview in order to share it with the group. Nevertheless, overcoming our comfort zones led to some interesting and partly funny conversations on capitalism along with the current state of the Greek society. Most of the people were nice and this goes to show that strangers really are just friends you haven’t met before.

Writing a Business Plan

One of the last days was dedicated to understanding and creating a business plan. The first step is to understand the complexity and importance of a business plan, as it consists of multiple parts that describe a business and is necessary to convince investors and other stakeholders such as potential partners. The second part of the activity was the development of a business plan that addresses a need in one of the ten countries that participated. At the end ten different business ideas were developed and put on paper by creating a business plan.

Activity on Pnyx Hill

On the third day of the seminar, we had a very special activity which was called “Mission Impossible: Skills Arena”. For that, we went to a beautiful hill in Athens called Pnyx which is just across Acropolis. Our task was to think about our personal weaknesses and how we could solve them while individually strolling around the hill for more than an hour. Afterwards, we came together to our meeting point and formed groups in whom we could talk about our results. When the second task was over, we were asked to come all together again so some of us could talk in front of the group about their weaknesses and solutions to them. The rest of the group was free to help and we developed interesting and deep discussions about obstacles that could hinder us to become a successful entrepreneur which the task was all about. It was my favourite activity from the whole program, as it helped all of us to go to deeper and look into our personal obstacles in career and life in general. To my opinion, it was a beautifully constructed activity that will truly stay in my mind.

 

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“Mission React”

Training Course in Velden am Wörthersee, Austria, December, 2018

Jana:

The training course “Mission React” was organized by the Austrian high-qualified organization GEMMA and took place in Velden am Wörthersee, Austria, from 10th to 17th of December in 2018.

The training course was focused on giving youth workers and trainers an understanding of the various perceptions of citizenship. The perspective on citizenship was discussed on a local, national and European level. The main aim was to improve the methods on how to motivate youngsters for participation in their community.

The open-minded and motivated youth workers represented the countries Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Slovenia.

It should be emphasized particularly that the training course contents were also conveyed in a very interesting way and with a lot of wit by the coaching team – even in more theory-driven sections. They knew exactly how to lighten the mood. The important basics were conveyed and elaborated in the form of non-formal learning in creative workshops.

The highly qualified and multicultural trainers initiated fun energizers in the open air in the Austrian winter wonderland. We received lots of information and deep insights on the topic Citizenship. I also had the opportunity of being a book in the human library for the first time. During the whole project everyone was extraordinarily friendly and helpful.

One day was completely used for creating a TV-show with the reference to the topic Citizenship in a small international group. It was exciting to see how different and creative all groups fulfilled this task. The experience was exceptionally beautiful and the results showed how much fun all groups had in the process.

The accommodation was located next to the lake and offered a picturesque view. So, you could enjoy your coffee every morning with a breathtaking view on the lake and the mountains. Despite the wonderful location next to the lake, we also had a pool available for extensive use.

During the training course one day was planned for the visit to the Villach Youth Centre in which discussions with the Villach Youth Council and representatives of the European Youth Parliament were included. Afterwards we enjoyed the Christmas market together while the old town was beautiful illuminated. In addition, the free time was used for intercultural exchange (one evening was used for the cultural evening), swimming and walks in the beautiful surroundings of the Austrian winter wonderland.

I am very grateful to have received the opportunity to represent Jubuk and to experience the great work of Gemma. During the short but intensive time we became a small family. Even though it was difficult for all of us to say goodbye, we already have precise plans to see each other again in Portugal.

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Once Upon a Time: Young People for Diversity

Youth Exchange: 14th – 20th of January 2019 Cagliari, Italy

Alexandre:

We are one

The feeling of humanity is a feeling that since long time in our history we are missing it. That feeling of treating another being human in the same way, not mattering which background this person has, religion, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation or social economic levels. There are a lot of labels created in our society to divide people, based in interests of a system that is pro segregation. One way how to face this cycle is the interculturalization. These workshops organized by non-profit organization and financed by European Union, has a important rule in process of interculturalization. The fact that there are groups from different countries working together in a relevant topic for our society is a strong process of exchanging. Most of us didn’t know each other before the beginning of the activities and suddenly we are out of our confortable zone and living intense moments that instantly we lose the sense of time and space, living a parallel experience from our real life. Considering that the European continent has a high number of foreigners, in these groups normally we will find really more than 6 nationalities. Our German team for instance had backgrounds from Brazil, Germany, Peru, Russia and Syria and Turkey. This opportunity of exchanging would be already interesting in an exchange of cultures between hosting and guesting countries, but the diversity is so much bigger.

As it happened in Cagliari, even having just 6 countries, the background of the participants were really diverse, having plus 20 different nationalities. This process of empowerment of youth in a interculturalization would already happen naturally, just seeing a group of curious youth with thirst of knowledge and hunting to get know as much as it was possible in this week each other and possible understanding more about ourselves as well. We all had different levels of interaction and assimilation. In fact being part of this project naturally force you to be integrated, to listen, talk, understand, think and unconscious change your perspective of seeing things, even if we aren’t able to notice it. Cagliari was for us a special and unique experience, as different individuals, we had our different process of interaction, listening, talking, understanding, thinking and in the ending our result process of changing. Our project specifically had the focus in promote the social inclusion of refugees, migrants and every single person that could have a different background than ours. In that case it was including most of ourselves. This was a personal lesson that each of us carried in the last day that we’ve got our airplane back and some of these lesson are going to be part our conscious or unconscious process of thinking.

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“Kickstart Your Business”

Training Course in Blansko, Czech Republic, December, 2018

Thomas:

“The BEST WAY to predict the future is to CREATE IT!” was the motto of the intense and colorful Erasmus+ Training Course “Kickstart Your Business” happened in Blansko near Brno, Czech Republic, at the beginning of December 2018. The topic of the exchange was about entrepreneurship and organized by “Proactive Mind”. An informal group of passion young people, that believe in our own potential to influence our future and they love seeing people learn and grow.

During these 8 days, 31 young prospective entrepreneurs from Armenia (Future in Our Hands), Belarus (League of Youth Voluntary Service), Italy (Greenrope), Spain (GoEurope), Germany (Jugend Bildung und Kultur), Croatia(IDA), Georgia (Diversaway), Lithuania (TBC) and Czech Republic (Proactive Mind) chose to overcome their minds and conquer their entrepreneurial spirit.

The main goals of the training were to eliminate the hesitation of youngsters to take over responsibilities and facilitate them on their future career. In addition, the development of entrepreneurial skill sets as leadership, teamwork, presentation and adaptiveness of unfamiliar circumstances. Other primary aim was to provide the participants a suitable environment ,that they can evolve their business concepts. As well, this project intended to inspire the aspiring entrepreneurs and give them the opportunity to meet successful entrepreneurs. Last, but foremost to promote friendship and build collaborations between all the participants and their countries across the world.

Day 1 – You vs You

 Nobody died this day. Cold and agony,the railway is frozen and the train can´t reach our destination. After a delay, we are finally in Blansko. The host organization team was there to pick us up and to warmly welcome us to our venue.

The accommodation was in the middle of nowhere and the only place we could reach by foot was a hotel. The particular reasons it was chosen are : To make everyone a punch and enhance the bonds between us, simple because together we are stronger.

Furthermore,that we were not going to bother other group(we were alone) or even between us. Someone could party while someone else is sleeping. We had a lot of different available rooms(Hall, Club, Chillzone, Gamezone, Sofazone, Dining). That means greater freedom range and possibilities for parallel workshops or activities.

The last participants arrived, singed up some necessary documents, received notebook/pen, put their luggage in their room and met their mixed nationalized roommates.  A delicious lunch was there to regain their strength after the long day.

Two past midnight everyone gathered in the entrance. A lot of us thought , that the host organizers are going to welcome us one more time, now that all participants are present and they were going to wish us to have a good rest time. But, that didn´t really happened, because we did not have earned the rest with our work. They told us that entrepreneurs have to face & overcome a lot of obstacles and that the path to success is going to be always under construction.

The outdoor activity was about to start. ”It’s freezing cold”, ”It’s slippery and dangerous”, “Will anyone find me if I get lost ? Darkness, all around.“ Although the numbers of contingent barriers could have gone through our minds for this activity, at the end all of us stood brave and participated. Our goal was to collect different color buttons through the tasks, videlicet quality over quantity. It could be a simulation of an entrepreneur choosing his team members. Same specialized fields won´t be helpful for the productivity and the progressive development of the company.

A map, an answer sheet, a pen and our phone torch-clock were our obvious guidance to complete the tasks in thirty minutes. Yes, quite a bit like Dora the Explorer. So we started one by one with a time gap between. My first thoughts were to find the path that I will need to cross the shortest distance and also to avoid the overwhelming routes that most of other participants were going to choose in order not to spend time on waiting. That could be risky if it was done on another time point, because all the tasks presupposed knowledge of other countries/languages and interactive activities with other participants. Thus, communication and teamwork were some of the key factors for the successful completion of this activity.

After we all finished, other with more other with fewer buttons , we had to head to the `Club´ , brainstorm and exchange our viewpoints of this particular activity. Please, before continue reading, take your shoes off! We divided into groups of 4-5 and started to express our opinion and confer about it.

I said “ I enjoy it,it was entertaining and it kept my interest in for all the duration. The biggest obstacle for me it was the fight that took place inside me. On one side was my curious pixie that like the adventures and he was excited to solve all riddles of the game. On the other side was my entrepreneur that he was aiming to find the most efficiency way to reach the end line in the minimum possible time and without using many resources.The second one took over,so instead of doing every task by myself, I did the half and the rest buttons I obtain them with trading my triple/double buttons with the other business people. The mistake I made was that I spent a lot of time to make a refrain in five different languages that will have a slightly good rhythm ”

Then we had to sum up and present our experience as a team to everyone. My team said ” We agree what the previous teams narrated and we want to add that we tried to think outside of the box and find any possible shortcut that could help us achieve our goal. We shared and received information that without them, it would be harder to complete the tasks. Also, we exchanged the buttons that were no use for us”

That’s how we closed the day…official. My team and I stayed in the room after everyone had left and we deepened a little more the conversation that we had already started. Somebody suggested grabbing a drink in the hotel, but unfortunately the cafe was closed at this time.

After 18 hours of traveling and action it was time to sleep. That would be the normal in this case, but the activities/conversations boosted my adrenalin levels. They provided me with flow of energy and food for the brain. The host organizers proactively contemplate the future and even brought us some books to read. I decided to check up all the books , chose some of them and made a reading plan for the week. Ironically,I do not read books (yet) and I do not enjoy this time (yet), but the action of the HO implanted me unconsciously the will power to use this source of knowledge and acquire the benefits of them.

While I was looking the books, someone else had the same intention with me. We end up learning each other, exchange our aspects of our past and declare our current steps for our future goals. After I reached my daily reading goal, I moved to the main entrance of the accommodation. It was around half past three and no one was still around, I used this opportunity to harmonize with the place and develop high acclimatizing levels. I change the position of where I was standing and the angles of where my eyes were focusing and tried to savvy how it effects my brain thoughts. That caused me notable and uncommon feeling of joy. That was my home that I was living already for a long time.

At the end, I ‚climbed to the highest spot of the room and envisaged what happened the last 6 hours, pinpointed what I learned and visioned the way that could be used in the future. By the way, that moment I changed my opinion about having/renting a big house with different kind of rooms or working in a special oriented workplace. Before I was saying that it would be only waste of money and time, but after that day i started to appreciate it and valued it highly, because the benefits can exceed the costs depends on the situation. One other thought of me that time was how significant would be if I could take part or even organize in the future a Project ´Encoex’ , that bring Entrepreneurs from all around the world together for a specific time in an ideal environment to coexist, brake their limits and exceed any of their expectation.

This night was more richly enlighten that my day and i was there Alive to witness it.I am chronicling you only a five percent of what happened and what i obtained from it. In spite of that, the lessons were plentiful with contemplative meanings. Don´t you think ? However, the knowledge that we acquired the first night was literally nothing in comparison with what we learned the upcoming days and nights.

Day 2 – Building Bridges and Eating Success

Day 3 – Speak with the Journey to your Soul and Culture Widening

Day 4 – Your Impact Wheel and Brno Hunters

Day 5 – The Path to Vision and Fucking Night,upps

 Day 6 – 21metres Up in the Sky and Prague Sushi Adventurous 

Day 7 – Target the Riders and Dimensions of Wellness

 Day 8 – Marathon or Sprint ? Both!

 Day 9 – Shark Raids and Eternal Hugs

  Day 10 – Back to the Future

 If you reached at this point, you are formidable!

I would like to express my gratitude to European Commission for funding Erasmus + Mobility and open for us many different doors that can provide assistance for our personal and professional growth. I am cheerful that, the budget is going to be doubled for the next years and the people with the opportunity to participate are going to be tripled.

I appreciate JuBuk and the other sending organizations, that plan the projects, preparing the participants with all the necessary roots, build collaborations, monitor the performance, evaluate the results and use them to for improvements. All that to provide high quality non formal education to everyone and change the future of our world from the inside.

In addition, i awesomely thank the host organization – Proactive Mind, that brought and developed this magnificent exchange into reality. We learned a lot from you and we enjoyed every moment. Your hark work-effort has paid off with high success and unlocked parts of our potential. Our best give back to you would be to utilize the transmitted knowledge in real situations

Thanks a bunch as well to all the participants that were active and motivated to work for all the duration. Your open mindedness, your willingness to cooperate / share with the others and your individual intercultural brush was a vital factor to achieve the expected results.

Besides, I am grateful to all the other people / companies / organizations that were a pillar of support and enhanced the project.

Plus myself.

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„Express participation“

Youth Exchange, December 2018 in Thessaloniki, Greece

Julia, Paulina, Christophe, Olena, Nicolas:

The aim of “Express Participation“ was to inform youth participants about the role of EU and enable them to implement European values in their home countries. During the first days, the group played some games for getting to know each other better and also developed a questionnaire about EU’s impact on people’s everyday life.

On the third day of the exchange, this questionnaire was handed out to citizens during a field research in the city center of Thessaloniki. The next days, we dealt with both current issues of the EU and the institutions (European parliament, Commission, Council of Europe, European Council). Facing the task of a “Cityland”-game, groups of participants imagined an own state and presented its structure to the audience – some even created the national anthem of their state! Another action was to simulate a conference of the committees of the European Parliament and to work out resolutions on current topics of the European policy such as migration. By learning about digital initiatives of the EU and the Erasmus+-program, we were provided some tools to share methods of non-formal education in the society of our home countries. As we talked to participants from other countries about their impression of the exchange, many of them assured they got to know more about the structure of the European Union than before and will try to make use of their knowledge in the future. Personally, we especially liked the simulation activities although we could have thought of a more specific outcome of the exchange in the end.

The project has been fruitful in many aspects. Not only did it foster a network of European citizens from all over the European Union plus Turkey (especially mentioning the rather peripheral EU countries with the exception of maybe Poland, Italy and Germany) that facilitates the continuous exchange between youngsters of various political and cultural backgrounds, thereby strengthening the European ideals. Furthermore, Civis Plus’ project did much at increasing each and every participants knowledge about European institutions, the importance of voting and the democracy deficit that is still inherit in the election system and passed on from the early times of the union.

Through time-intensive and open discussions in which everyone had the possibility of sharing their individual views on certain European topics (be it on ecology, free trade, mobility, finance, etc.) many information were shared about the country’s attitudes towards certain directives. This helped us understand the individual character of each participating country better, thus also ease the understanding of the people’s mindset. This mindset was further explored through intercultural evenings, in which each participating country was asked to present their homes. Many aspects of the countries’ culture were explored, always in respect to music, particularities, food and language (in the picture: Germans don’t laugh…).

Despite the fact that the project was organized and held in Greece, the main language of communication was English. Thanks to the liberal and non-formal character of the exchange, everyone had the possibility of expressing their opinions and thus fostering their language and communication skills in a foreign language. However, many participants sought to learn some about other languages as well.

There were many leisure activities available to us during our time spent in Thessaloniki. During normal session days there was enough time during coffee breaks to take a quick stroll down to the beautiful beach shore that was a 3 minute walk away. The little town that surrounded the Sun Beach hotel was nice to walk around as well. On Saturday, we were given an entire free day to spend as we please. Many of us chose to go into the city center by bus and go sight seeing. There were many nice cafes to sit down in, stores to shop and places to eat. Us participants were able to see sights such as the famous White Tower of Thessaloniki, Aristotelous Square and the city market. On top of being able to visit the city, every evening on the cultural and free nights we enjoyed learning from many cultures through fun dancing, quizzes, and karaoke style singing. The group spirit was always very warm and people were truly willing to share their beautiful cultures with others. The intercultural nights provided an opportunity to learn and have a lot fun in an informal setting with sweet, newly made friends.

We would like to express our gratitude towards Civis Plus for putting so much effort into the organization and for making this exchange very memorable. Also, we would like to thank our German sending organization Jubuk for the great chance to participate!

Paulina, Christophe, Olena, Nicolas & Julia

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“Critical Thinking and Media Literacy in Youth Work”

Training Course in Skælskør, Denmark, December, 2019

Josepha:

From the 12th – 21st of December 2018, I participated as a part of the German team in an Erasmus+ training course entitled: “Critical Thinking and Media Literacy in Youth Work”. My colleague on the German team and I were participating through the German youth organization JuBuK.

The course was conducted by the Copenhagen Youth Network in Egeruphytten, Skælskør in Denmark. Together with the German partcipants, colleagues from 13 countries were included in the nine-day activity: Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania.

To me, this kind of training course was a very new experience, because I had only taken part in a youth exchange by Erasmus+ before. Therefore I also had some expectations towards the content and professionalism of this type of project.

The aim of the course was to train youth workers and those aiming to work with young people in a critical approach to media, the topic of media bias and stereotypes and prejudice in order to make them able to apply this knowledge in their work. Thus we conducted various workshops covering the interest of youths in current political issues, biased newspaper articles and logical fallacies during the daily training sessions, using the methodology of formal and non-formal education. For example we dealt with our personal impression and meaning of memes in social media by choosing and presenting prints of the same, worked on texts and quizzes to get familiar with logical fallacies, discussed present-day, partly philosophical questions (“Does the internet help to spread more different opinions?”) in a so-called “World Café” workshop, and also prepared a role-play in small groups implementing our new knowledge about it.

After these content-related activities, another major part of the course were the cultural evenings during which every country presented their respective culture and traditional foods through interactive activities, e.g. PowerPoint presentations and quizzes.

In total, I am satisfied with the training course and I think I was able to develop in both professional and personal terms. However, in regard to personal and group development, I want to add that I think a little more concern with the group dynamics (e.g. ice breakers/ name games, especially on the first night) might have given all of the participants more chances to fully unfold in the group. Furthermore, I think that the personal motivation of some of the participants did not meet up with the expectations of the course’s programme, which at times made constructive achievements somewhat difficult.

Nevertheless I am very grateful for the opportunity to take part in this training course because I enjoyed it very much to receive all the new information and inspiration for my further professional and personal development. I am still feeding on the knowledge attained during the training sessions, and I appreciate all the new contacts and intercultural exchange I gained in Denmark very much. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude towards the organizers a last time: Mange tak for everything! 🙂

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„Stream the Peace“

Training Course in Didimi, Turkey, December, 2018

Anna: 

Am 16. Dezember 2018 wurden wir in Izmir abgeholt, wo wir am Abend zuvor ankamen, um mit dem Bus nach Didim an die Westküste der Türkei zu fahren. Der kleine Touristenort ist im Winter eher verlassen, und das Hotel hatte nur für unsere Gruppe geöffnet. Der Strand befand sich direkt dahinter, wodurch eine schöne Arbeitsatmosphäre geschaffen wurde. Gleich am ersten Abend versammelte sich fast die ganze Gruppe und es entstand eine großartige Gruppendynamik, es wurden Lieder gesungen, begleitet von der Ukulele, und sich unterhalten.

Am ersten Tag versuchten wir in Kleingruppen in mehreren Schritten die großen Themenkomplexe „Peace“ und „Conflict“ für uns selbst zu definieren. Uns wurden viele Denkanstöße geliefert, um uns vertieft mit den Themen auseinandersetzen zu können. Wir erfuhren auch Methoden, um Konflikte auseinanderzunehmen und Beispiele von guten Praktiken der Friedensbildung. Zu acht erarbeiteten wir einen Ansatz zur Peacebuilding Education mit jungen Leuten. Jede Gruppe stellte eine spannende Einheit auf die Beine, die wir dann gemeinsam ausprobierten. Zusammenfassend können wir mitnehmen, dass jeder Mensch täglich ein Peacebuilder sein kann. Es bedarf nicht viel dazu und durch den Training Course in Didim wurde es uns deutlich vor Augen geführt.

Die Abende waren stets sehr lustig, mit vielen Spielen, Tanz, Gesang und türkischer Sauna. An zwei Abenden gab es die Intercultural Night, bei der jedes Land typische Speisen und Getränke vorstellte und traditionelle Musik oder Tänze zeigte.

An einem Tag machten wir sogar einen Tagesausflug in die antike Ruinenstadt Ephesos, die zum UNESCO Weltkulturerbe zählt. Im Anschluss besuchten wir noch das Bergdorf Sirice, das für seinen Wein bekannt ist und aßen dort in einem Restaurant zu Mittag.

Insgesamt war es eine sehr schöne Woche, in der wir viel Neues dazulernen konnten, interessante neue Leute getroffen haben, sehr leckeres türkisches Essen probieren konnten und einfach unglaublich viel Spaß hatten.

 

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„Big City Life“

Seminar in Riga, Latvia in November, 2018

Jana:

The seminar “Big City Life” took place in Riga, Latvia, from 16th to 21st of November in 2018. The participants represented Latvia, Lithuania, UK, Estonia, Poland, Romania and Germany.
The project was organized by the Latvian NGO JASMA with the aim to bring youth workers together so every participant could share their experience and learn from the other participants how to overcome challenges that we have to face in our daily work with youngsters.

The seminar started by defining youth work in general and by comparing the different youth work environment in different countries. In the next phase the main activities were to discuss the difficulties of youth work and the opportunities that are offered in big cities and in different countries for young people.

Another goal was to exchange the ideas how to create contexts for personal and professional development, the cooperation between the NGOs and with local and national institutions and methods of non-formal education.

We learned how to make youngsters more interested in youth projects and how to measure results of youth work. Other topics that we discussed were the variety of fundraising methods and coordination structures.

One day was organized to meet four of the local Latvian organizations: Young Folks, Public Youth Center Kanieris, Jauniesu Studija BaMbuss organization and the TREPES Association. We had enjoyed the day very much as we got a direct insight into their daily work.

The accommodation was very close to the city center. We received the opportunity to discover Riga during lunch time and in the evenings. Luckily the 100th anniversary of Latvia and the festival of lights Staro Riga took place during the project time.

This unforgettable week was full of discussions, networking, learning and sharing useful information and ideas.  In the short time we got to know each other intensively. Since then the contact is still intense and we even have a solid plan to meet again in the beautiful Romania. “Paldies Jubuk and Jasma” –for making this experience possible!

Karolina:

What does it mean to be a youth worker? Which challenges do we have to face while working in urban areas? Do our NGO realities differ much from other European countries? Those are only a few questions we tried to answer during the seminar “Big City Life” in Riga, Latvia.

As the name of the seminar might suggest, we focused on opportunities and challenges of the youth work in urban areas. We got the chance to share our experiences with other participants from from Latvia, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Estonia, Poland and Romania. Thanks to different workshops and activities we were able to reflect on what it’s like to work as a youth worker in big cities in different parts of Europe. It wasn’t a typical training course – we were all responsible for the programme, so that we can learn as much as possible from each other and match the agenda to our needs.

Apart from many fruitfull discussions we also had an amazing opportunity to visit 3 local NGOs in Riga and be a part of they everyday working routine for one day. We got the chance to speak not only with Latvian youth workers, but also EVS volunteers and local youth. For most of the participants this part of the seminar was the most interesting and inspiring. We got to experience different NGO reality and we all came back motivated and full of new ideas for our further work.

For the last 2 days in Riga we focused on creating a handbook with all of our useful tips for other NGO workers.

Last but not least, we were also very lucky with the dates of the seminar – as it was Latvia’s “100th Birthday” (Independence Day) on the 18th of November, there were many surprises waiting for us in Riga. Staro Riga Light festival with many light installations and night fireworks show were a perfect chance to discover Latvian culture and learn more about its history, as well as to celebrate this important time with locals and other participants.Thank you JuBuK and Jasma for this opportunity and an amazing time in Latvia, I hope to see you all again very soon!

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„Agro Entrepreneurship Accelerator“

Training course in Larnaca, Cyprus in November, 2018

Ruth:

When you take part in a training about entrepreneurship, there is no way to stay passive.  Our trainer Angelos Parmatzias from the hosting organisation „Citizens In Power“ did a great job in supporting us to be confident in our actions. We managed to combine having focused work on exploring good practices as a future model with cheerful teambuilding games and enjoying to create new ideas together.
This course made it really easy to come up with initiatives. We were able to have a trip to the modern farm „Riverland“ where we could experience how one family offers educative farming and hosting an adventurous restaurant at once. It offered us a direct way of learning at the site and we were able to get a lot of questions regarding the agricultural sector answered. We got in touch with the production of fresh bread and halloumi which has been a delicious part of learning about the farm.
The last days of the training had been the most challenging for me: inventing unique and innovative ideas and put them out in the world of crowdfunding. Soon our concerns got in our way to do the final step of realising our newborn projects. So for some ideas it felt more reasonable not to put it into action right away: we felt a sense of responsibility that comes with offering an idea to an unknown crowd of potential investors. Of course nothing starts out as perfect, but we all were particularly impressed by the profound preparation and execution of the app „FarmYum“ which one of our groups presented to us. In my eyes it is an example that should encourage us all to be creative and to dare thinking as an entrepreneur. I felt very welcomed by our hosting venue which offered a great space for our activities. We could even take our workplace outside and let the sun and the cypriotic spirit empower us. The diversity within the group made it an exceptional and fruitful experience. In fact, the roots of our ancestors are spread all over the world, but new seeds will bring us together. Thank you so much!“

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“Building bridges, breaking walls, managing refugee crisis in Europe“ Part I

Training course in Yerevan, Armenia, November 2018

Sarah:

From the 20 to the 28 of November students, youth workers and activists from 15 different countries met in the Armenian capital Yerevan. The topic of the training course “Building bridges, breaking walls, managing refugee crisis in Europe” was emigration, the current situation of refugees in Europe and different methods of integration.  The training course is two stage project, with  a training course as the first part in Yerevan and the study visit in February in Stockholm.

Before the training course we prepared a research about the status quo and the bureaucratic application process of refugees and migrants in our home countries which we had to present to the other participants. Since every participating country held a presentation, we learned that the situation of each country can differ. While some countries have difficulties hosting a lot of refugees and are more popular to immigrate in others face the problematic that a part of their population emigrating to other countries to look for better living opportunities.

To get a deeper understanding we also learned about the definition and examples of the key vocabulary related to migrants and refugees such as emigration, immigration, multiculturalism, integration etc., so we were able to use it in the right way.

In addition to that we used role plays for a better understanding of the background of refugees and migrants. One of them was called “Where do migrants stand”. In this role play we were given “hidden” roles of migrants and refugees. The role play started out with all participants of the group standing next to each other in a line. Within the role play we were being asked questions which were related to our physical, mental and financial situations and could be answered with yes or no. If our given roles could answer the question with yes, we had to take a step forward. After finishing the questions we could all notice that some of us were ahead of others. This indicated that certain roles had better living circumstances, which made sense when we shared our given roles with one another. While some of us were ambassador children who lived privileged lives in foreign countries others were minors who came as refugees to a foreign country. This exercise showed that the realities of migrants and refugee can differ a lot.

One of the most interesting exercises connected to this was the drawing of our own lifeline. The assignment was to draw our own lifeline and highlight certain years or periods. Specifically, we had to point out the years in which we first notice migration. Moreover, we also had to mark the year or time period in which we ourselves thought about eventually immigrating to a foreign country and what circumstances caused this thinking. Lastly, we also had to point the year in which we first notice refugees or thought about this topic. This exercise showed us that the presence of the topics in our own life is quite relevant and can easily effect us.

An other highlight of the Training course was the public event “Living Libraries” where people act as Human Books sharing their story with others. With in this event we had the chance to hear different life stories of refugees and migrants of different age groups and backgrounds who are currently living in Armenia. In the event there were multiple desk and on each one a “Human Book” was sitting. We could choose for multiple rounds where to sit and which story to listen to. Also, this event allowed us to ask individual questions to the “Human Book”. This event gave us the chance to listen first hand to people, their backgrounds and thoughts on an individual level. We were able to see real faces and real emoticons which made their stories in comparison to read about it in the newspaper more realistic and understandable.

In addition to that we also visited the UN embassy in Yerevan and talked with the chairwomen of the UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She talked to us about the situation of refugees in Armenia and showed us which helping role the UNHCR has in this process. Afterwards we also visited Aleppo-NGO, which was established in 2013 and is a charitable and non-governmental organization which helps Syrian refugees with integrating in Armenia while assisting with bureaucratic processes, housing, schooling and employment opportunities.

All in all the Training course was really helpful to understand and learn more about the topic of migration and refugees. With our mixed backgrounds we were able to learn from one another and share experiences. Also exploring Armenia, visiting the city of Yerevan, the Blue Mosque, the historic Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery, tasting traditional dishes as well as the Armenian pomegranate wine made this week unforgettable.

Also I am very thankful to be able to take part in this training experience and would like to thank the organization , JuBuk, all participants and especially the workshop coordinators, who have made this training a big success and most memorable.

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„Inclusion of Refugees in Non-Formal Education Context in Youth Work“

Training Course in Eskisehir, November 2018

Dave:

As it was my very first Erasmus+ project, I was really excited about the project and the people I was going to meet and spent an amazing week with. We landed in Istanbul, the city that connects Europe and Asia. From there we took the train to Eskisehir. As many other participants we arrived overtired at the project venue and were welcomed with a warm dinner.

At the following day, we started with the project “Inclusion of refugees in non-formal education context in youth work”. During the first day, we used some icebreaker games to get to know our new friends. The activities and ideas of the facilitator team made it easier for us to grow together as a group. 28 participants from 10 different countries got to know each other and were highly motivated to start with the actual topic of the project. We exchanged our views and opinions on the refugee situation all around Europe. We had discussions and worked on our creativity. With the help of role games, we were able to tackle the topic of integration of refugees in our communities. It was a huge gain for me to be able to work with and learn from so many different cultures and personalities. The small group sizes made it possible to become acquainted with every participant of the project. A very interesting part of our project was the visit to the local safe space house for women and children where they can get any kind of medical and psychological support learn languages and learn a new profession. The last part of the project was to develop a new 2-day follow-up training course. Therefore, we were able to show during our 1-hour sessions the techniques and knowledge we have acquired and present our own ideas for a new training course for the topic of inclusion.

In general, this project was a huge gain for me and everyone else, as every single one of us contributed in his own way to make this project a unique experience I will never forget. I was able to make new friends from all across Europe and hope to meet them again J

Thank you for this amazing opportunity!

 

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„Rural Youth for Rural Tourism“

Youth Exchange in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia, November 2018

Anna-Lena:

In this article we are going to introduce our experiences, objectives, gained results, learning outcomes, participants and place from the Youth Exchange Project organized by Erasmus +. Students from six countries took part in the project – Armenia, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Ukraine. Our team represented Germany and consisted of five participants: Anna-Lena, Armine, Gerrit, Jana and Varduhi. Each of us comes from different parts of Germany – Armine and Varduhi are originally from Armenia, but they have been living and studying in Germany for the last five years. 

After the arrival at Zvartnots international Airport in Yerevan we were picked up and driven from the organizers to one of the most beautiful places in Armenia – Tsaghkadzor, which is a great place for winter and summer holidays not only for natives, but also for tourists from all over the world. The whole project took place here – a perfect practical example of rural tourism. 

The agenda of the project was pretty busy, but also full of interesting and energizing indoor and outdoor activities, so that there was a great balance between non-formal education and communication with the other participants. Each national team had some tasks to finish for a propriate period of time. Some interesting topics that have been prepared by our team included: Creative thinking and innovative idea development, Digital Tools Buzzsumo and Hotjar, there was also a creative project to develop a business idea with three random subjects. After each session every evening one of the teams introduced its culture – geography, history, food, music, dancing, etc.. 

We also had the chance to be in the wonderful capital city of Armenia – Yerevan, to visit the legendary Lake Sevan, to jump with zipline over the autumnal fields of Tsaghkadzor. 

Each participant of our team was amazed by the high-quality organization of this awesome exchange project – we gained not only useful information about rural tourism, how to get started and develop it as a business, but also got acquainted with Armenian and international cultures, with different people from all over the world, most of who became good friends of us and we cannot wait to welcome them in our country soon. We are very grateful to the Armenian host organization for the one of the best experiences in our student lives. Hope to continue our participance in other countries during other projects. 

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„The Art Within“

Training Course in Larnaca, Cyprus, November 2018

Farah, Elisabeth:

This training course was something completely different – compared to other experiences with Erasmus+. The project ‘The Art Within’ concentrated on the enhancement of the basic pillars of self-empowerment and self-esteem through alternative methods, primarily related to performing arts.

We started off the first day by getting to know each other and the objectives of the program, and ended the day with the famous intercultural evening where each country presented itself, a wonderful experience to get to know more about the countries and their specialties. After an evening with a lot of traditional food and drinks we started the second day with the performing part. With the guidance of Elisavet, our dance teacher, we practiced different exercises in order to explore our emotions through dance and movement therapy. We ended the day with a really interesting presentation about
“How dance can influence or even solve problems in the society”, using the conflict in Cyprus as one of the examples. The next two days in the morning (day 3 and 4) we started with contact improvisation. It was very interesting, and at the same time challenging experience to hug, lift and touch other people during different exercises based on trust, resistance and connection. The following
two afternoons we continued with theatrical improvisation. We learned how to breathe, this technique can be used for example for presentations. Another focus was the nonverbal theatrical improvisation. We needed to express situations, emotions and conversations without speaking. After some intense days with a lot of movement and theatre our reward was a trip to Limassol. We enjoyed our last day, reflecting on all the new impressions we gained during the last days and sitting in the sun with a strong coffee.

All in all, it was a unforgettable experience with a lots of new aspects, that we can implement in the youth work routine. Thank you for this great opportunity!

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“Art of Good Life“

Youth Exchange in Chania, Crete, Greece, October 2018

Anna:

From 20.10. – 28.10.2018 in Chania Crete, Greece took place an Erasmus+ youth exchange. To the topic, “Art of Good Life” attended 44 young people from Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Turkey.

We spent 10 days on the camping side in Chania just 5 minutes from the sea. The program was all about to promote and discover healthy lifestyle with non-formal educational methods. We exchanged the current situations in our home countries and how the youth and the society promote and try to live the healthy lifestyle and what they are doing for it.

Every day we had sport exercises in the morning and in the evening. In the morning, it was a mix out of workout, running and sport games and in the afternoons, we practiced yoga. Therefor we used the space around the pool, the park and  the beach. Additional every country prepared typical national sport games, which we played at the beach. The spread reached from running, ball games, to partner and group activities.  In Addition to the main sport program, a bunch of people comes together in the early mornings before the breakfast and did some workout on their own. We also used the great opportunity with the sea next to us, to practice daily swimming in the calm salty water.

The food was also adapted to the healthy topic. The typical Greek dishes contained a lot of vegetables, feta, meat and beans. The tasty and variated meals gave us the needed energy for exercises and workshops. We also learned to have coffee breaks with the frappé which is loved by Greek people.

Over the whole exchange, we prepared in groups a “Guide to Goodwill”, which is now available in PDF form. We worked out all the important contains of the seminar: Cooking – traditional Greek recipes, Mediterranean Diet, Fitness, Outdoor activities and National Sports and the Good Practice of healthy lifestyle.

Nonetheless, we had two really cold and rainy days, we spent the whole time outside – at the camping side, in the park or the beach. We just went inside for sleeping.

Beside the learning and working out, we had also different fun activities like karaoke or Dancing with the stars, a dance contest where we’ve been divided in couples and needed to prepare a dance to individual topics. The exchange was a great opportunity to meet new people, learn interesting thing about other cultures and other ways of life and to exercise.

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“Refugee++”

Trainining Course in Agrigento, Italy, October 2018

Emmanuel:

The training course “Refugee++” took place in Agrigento, Sicily – Italy from 2nd to 9th October 2018. The training course used Non-Formal Education (NFE) method to expose participants to various ways to plan, implement and evaluate communication strategies using Refugee and Migrant topic as a focus area. 26 Participant from 14 countries worked on the topic. Some of the main activities were:  in class lectures, Press conference, visit to refugee camp in Agrigento, educational activity with refugee, Game-like activities, Seminar and meeting with stakeholders of Refugee and Migrant projects in Sicily Italy.

Participants were distributed into 5 different groups referred to as districts. Each of the districts had individual daily task to create unique campaign about the activities of the day and broadcast to external audience of their choice. In order to reach a large number of audiences and create impact, most of the districts used various Social Media platforms to publish the campaign and receive feedbacks. Apart from the daily campaign, each district also had a one day special reporting and publication task of creating a holistic and comprehensive portfolio of an entire day. The daily task engaged participant and created an atmosphere of active participation. Lastly, each district had the chance to work on one major refugee/migrant issue and present the result in a press conference.

The training course uses creative approach to explore various ideas of the participants. It was one of the kinds that create cultural awareness, help Youth worker to network/collaborate, develop competencies on the refugee and migrant topic. Nonetheless, memories of the cultural events, dinners, Italian-pastas and visit to the Regional Archaeological Museum were some of the unforgettable moments that made participants wanting to remain in the Agrigento.

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„Connecting Roots“

Partnership Building Seminar, September 2018 ,Prencov, Slovakia

Hassan:

Connecting roots seminar was held in the 3rd week of September with the aim to strengthen the partnerships between different NGOs from all over Europe as well as provide an incubation platform for the development of different new projects with a strong focus on sustainability and developement of rural areas,

The seminar began with the introduction of a well known project management technique by the name of Dragon dreaming which focused on the different steps which a  team has to go through for the successful completion of a project aka ‘translating dreams into reality’. It also focused on overcoming the fears or ‘to befriend your dragon’ rather than avoid it. Later on, another technique was introduced by the name of NAOMIE which broke down the development of an idea into a workable project in well managed and do-able steps. The dragon dreaming technique was also used to explore individual fears and hopes of participants and discuss them further in a very nurturing environment.

Using these techniques and fruitful discussions, several projects were developed. Since, the representatives of NGOs were there also, each project already had many willing partners to contribute. Hence the goal of the project was achieved.

Last days also had an evaluation part where the participants were asked about the pros and cons regarding the approach about the whole idea of dragon dreaming and NAOMIE. There was a lot of positive feedback and hopes that many of the developed projects will actually take place and all of us will get to see each other again.

Philipp:

,,Connecting roots” was a Partnership Building activity that gathered thirty NGO representatives from ten different countries. The activity took place in Prencov, a remote village, close to Banska Stiavnica, a UNESCO World Heritage City in the heart of Slovakia. The main purpose for this one week lasting experience was to develop and strengthen partnerships in order to develop projects with the main focus on rural areas. In order to achieve that, the group was split in five smaller groups that developed their one project, each with a strong focus on sustainability and the development of rural areas. For developing the idea different methods were used that has been presented at the start of the project. By the end of the week, the process of developing projects has been accomplished with five ideas that have been all in the same framework but at the same time very individual in their outcome. Next to the main activity of the seminar, there have been different activities where the participants could involve in the rural life by helping in the garden or preparing the food. Ahead of that there was an introduction on how gardening and vegetation is done in the particular premises in Prencov. One of the highlights of the week has been the afternoon trip to Banska Stiavnica, a quaint little town that consists of old houses, two churches as well as two impressive castles. After a long week of discussions and debates we finished with a barbecue in the beautiful nature of Slovakia.

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„Cre-Active“

Training Course, October 2018, Velden am Wörther See, Austria

Ruth:

In the following three minutes you will read about my first training course with Erasmus+. When I have been to Riga a few month earlier, I was acting as a group leader for a youth exchange. SInce I have learned that the participants received more trainings than me, I thought it was a good idea to get some practice and theory first hand.

„Cre-Active“ has been the perfect opportunity! Our dear organisators from Austria and Estonia (and Brasil) were guiding us with great enthusiasm through the week.

We got started with getting to know each other and discovering the beautiful venue, located directly at lake Wörthersee. Due to icebreakers and team-building games we easily found a way of communicating within the group. It has been the first time for many participants to be part of a training course. Even this was soon to be irrelevant because everybody was able to commit quickly to low-threshhold tasks that made us connect. But also scientific texts and innovative techniques wouldn´t hold us back in exploring what entrepreneurial spirit means within all of Europe. By getting to know founders centre BUILD! in Klagenfurt Europahaus we had the chance to test our ideas by sharing them with experts. In the end of the week there were definite plans to realise projects together within small groups, even exceeding the time frame of the training. I am really looking forward to hear from the one or other businessplan in near future. Therefore – all the best of luck and success to you all!

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„Democracy Seeds for Youth to Raise“

Training Course, 20-28 September, 2018, Nea Makri, Athens, Greece

Indira: 

I’m going to start with a huge JUHUHUHU, a thanks for the opportunity JuBuK! With this being the second project I’m taking part in, I can only say, I’m looking forward to another one. Meeting people from 9 different countries, challenging yourself, enjoying amazing Greek food, opening new windows and creating new opportunities and friendships, as well as learning to accept different opinions and differencies in people, that’s what made the project unforgettable. It’s amazing how much a person gets to know about itself, as soon as he dares to go out of his comfort zone, and what amazing people he gets to meet, as soon as he opens his heart.

Charlotte and I came to Athens two days earlier, on the 18th September, and wanted to explore the city. It had some amazing sightseeings, as you would expect it from a country whose origin dates back in the 9th century BC, amazing food, but sadly, not so welcoming people. Thankfully, we had some amazing Greek organisors and participants, so they showed us that we got to meet the wrong people. We arrived on the 20th in Nea Makri, stayed at a scouts camp for the next few days, really close to the beach, with amazing weather the first few days. Which we of course used. The accomodation wasn’t the best, but we survived thanks to the positive energy of almost all participants, and the just amazing food of Mama Dimitra, the mother of one of our organisators.
 We were doing different workshops about tolerance, values, dialogue, democracy, in realy interesting ways, and with the help of two amazing trainers, Blandine from France, and Tobias from Denmark. We have also had some free time, that we got to spend with other participants, a day in Athens, and also a visit from scoutsmen, with whom we planted a tree, made leather bags, and necklaces as a keepsake. As most of you already heard about the fire in July, in Athens, we got to see the remains, since Nea Makri is one of the affected areas.
As the project came to an end, there were lots of tears, hugs and promises of seeing each other soon, maybe at another amazing project. With a really small group, we stayed one more day in Athens, and came back home with lots of memories that we will treasure, new friendships and contacts we will keep, richer for an experience, and stronger thanks to everything that has happend.
Charlotte:
The Training Course about democracy in Nea Makri was my first Erasmus + project. First to say it was a great experience! We stayed in a scouts camp 5 minutes from the beach. Fortunately, the weather was very good, so we could spend our freetime swimming or relaxing in the sun. The accommodation was not the very best but as we spent most of the time outside in the sun it was not a big problem. In total we were  people of 9 different nations (Greece, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Denmark, Cyprus, Poland and Hungary) spending a week all together. We had different workshops about dialogue, active participation, tolerance, values, team work and of course democracy. It was interesting to get to know the different opinions and ideas but also sharing commonalities. During the workshops but also in the freetime I learned a lot about myself and how to express myself in a foreign language. I also learned a lot about different cultures and how difficult it can be to agree on some topics. Beside the workshops we also learned from the scoutsmen of the camp how to make a small leather bag. We also had one free day that we spent as a group in Athens, the dawn of democracy. It was great to stand on the top of the hill where the acropolis stands and see how big Athens is. Another highlight was the delicious traditional Greek food, cooked by the mother of one of our trainers. I really enjoyed the 8 days and I can only recommend to everyone to participate in such a project. For myself I learned a lot and found new friends from all over Europe. The training course also gave me motivation to take part in other Erasmus projects.

 

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„Don’t Esc from Game“

Seminar, September 2018 in San Sebastian, Spain 

Casey:

„Don’t ESC from game“ – sounds terrifying, does it? That’s how I knew immediately this project was for me and I had to go there.

The venue was near the beautiful city of San Sebastian in the North of Spain, a place known as Basque Country and one of the most picturesque spots I’ve ever been to. People there speak Spanish, but their hearts speak Basque: a truly unique language that cannot be referred to any of existing linguistic families. Luckily, we got a chance to hear it and learn it, together with a fantastic tasty basque culture while making a tour around local pintxos bars.
The main purpose of the seminar was to learn how to create educational escape rooms and to come up with one. For that, we divided into 4 working groups, 8 people per each, everyone coming from different country. Our task was to compose a room where participants would not only enjoy the process of a game, but also learn about cultural heritage of Europe.
This was indeed a challenging excercise. Only 2 days for developing an idea and bringing it into reality. Can we do it? Turned out…. We actually could!
After 2 days of intense work and tough debates, we finally presented our project. My team came up with a „Night in the Museum“ theme. Participants of our Escape Room had to find an exit from a private gallery, learning various facts about european art while solving ingenious riddles. 2 teams that completed our room in just under an hour said it was a success, so, there’s no reason not to believe them.
Our project was also marked with Amour’s vibes: during one of the last days, when we had a day out in San Sebastian, one guy from Romania proposed to his girlfriend that’s been dating him for 4 years. We were all invited to their wedding and, apparently, our project reunion is going to be very soon 😉

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“Building bridges for the future’’

Training Course, August 2018 in Kolin, Czech Republic

Anna

‘’Every person is a new door to a different world.’’ – Six Degrees of Seperation

Today I am sitting here, writing the article and the first thing which comes into my head is the above written quote. Every person which I met brought a lot of joy, as well as a huge portion of different experiences and such an indescribable energy into the project. And even new opportunities like creating an own project, new and special friendships, as well as new travel destinations came up. I learned a lot about peacebuilding, conflicts and myself thanks to the whole learning environment, the group as well as the whole intercultural experience.

Kolín, Czech Republic – the place where the change started and a wonderful bond between several nations were born.

From the 28/08-04/09/2018 Viktoriia and Ondra (our wonderful organizers) invited 28 youngsters to participate in a training course regarding conflict and peacebuilding. With Marco as an additional trainer, they created an outstanding program including lots of action as well as a huge portion of tearful laughing moments.

The trip to Kolín was my first experience with Erasmus + and as I can already tell, it won’t be the last one – for sure! Before I arrived at the Hotel, I already met Homayoon. He was another member of my sending organisation and from the first second, we got along very well. When we arrived in Kolín we decided to walk to the hotel, to get the first impression of our little home during the following week. Very quick, we both agreed that the little town had something magical and peaceful. After our arrival, we met some other fellas, who were as excited as us to get to know each other. From the beginning, I felt that the group had something special and that an amazing time was waiting for us. The positive first impression continued when the group met Viktoriia, Ondra and Marco. With the first task they already won every heart from the team members  – everyone had to write down a profile with an inbox, which gave us the opportunity to write letters to everyone in the team. But for sure that wasn’t all … Every one of the team got a secret angel, who had to take care of a special person during the week. But even when everyone got a secret angel, by the end everyone took care of every individual in the group.

Marco and Viktoriia were our trainers full of experience and knowledge. Both of them knew very well how to transfer the topics via a non-formal learning environment. My favourite highlights were the teambuilding events, as well as the simulation game where we had the chance to practise our theory via a simulated local conflict. I also really appreciated the guidance from Victoriia, Ondra and Marco regarding our own project development. Thank you, guys!

The team got big tasks, which weren’t always the easiest but as we were a very energetic team, we managed every task very well and always in a peaceful and fun way. But besides of our daily workshops, we also had a very fun and productive time during our private sessions, where we danced and laughed a lot (thanks to our enthusiastic dance teacher Paulo, who literally knows all dance steps from almost every country native dance :p)!

I am very grateful that JuBuK did choose me to become a part of the training course. During the week I learned a lot about myself, I also expanded my professional knowledge and I met tons of wonderful and warm-hearting individuals!

Thank you for the exchange, it has been a stunning time!

Homayoon:

I am really grateful that I was selected as participants of this effective training. There were 28 participants from different countries of Europa that everyone brought with herself/himself a pile of experiences and ideas. We have really exchanged our thoughts, idea, culture and stories. It was really amazing that I found a big family in other countries.  The training methods and topics were really understandable und productive. All the topics were effective but I would like to mention non-formal learning/education that was incredibility useful. After 7 days of training we left this country with a pile of learning, new ideas und our project plan for the future. I am really wondering to see the result of my project in future and looking for to apply for Erasmus projects at the beginning of 2019. At the end of training we have received a Youthpass. It was my first time that I have received Youthpass from Erasmus program. Youthpass is the tool, process, and strategy for recognition of non-formal learning with the youth in Action program. It means, looking at each project as a learning opportunity and paying attention to this aspect throughout the project. It is based on reflection and dialogue about learning. At the end I would like to thanks the organizers team who provided such a wonderful training and accommodations in Kolin. I would like to thanks JubuK team in Germany as well that provide all communication very well.

 

Irina:

During the last days of August and first days of September, which combined bright sunny moments and charming rainy hours, we, three members of Jubuk team, participated in the training „Building briges for the Future“ in Czech Kolin, nice cozy town not far from Prague.
There were a lot of discussions, self-reflection, games, energizers, and learning through the art-therapy. And there were a lot of workshops and simulations, when we also went deep into the difference between formal, non-formal and informal education, the characteristics of a conflict, various types of conflict resolution and to what type of conflict solution maker we belong to. We were sharing our knowledge about peacebuilding and non-violent resistance in our countries, and we were learning how it happens in different parts of the world.
After all, we had great intercultural and social nights, explored Kolin and its neighborhood and enjoyed tasty Czech cuisine, which is rather hearty and nutritious, so, we were always full of power and energy.

 

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„Youth are the Voice“

Training Course, August 2018 in Lapua, Finland

Emili:

The day began early in the morning. First a train to Frankfurt, then a plane to Helsinki and then again a train to Seinäjoki where we got picked up to continue to a small city called Lapua – our place to be for the following seven days. The first impression of Finland was beautiful, while being in the train I saw the beauty of finish nature. We crossed beautiful forests, which edged even more beautiful lakes.

And the good first impressions just continued when we arrived at the Youth Centre of Lapua and met finally the trainers and participants. It was a colourful group from 12 countries (Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Germany, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Greece). From the beginning on I felt that the group was something special. It wasn`t my first Erasmus+ experience but never I felt so comfortable and openly welcomed then this time. And that proved itself more and more – everyone was open and willing to share experiences and opinions with everyone. What I realized further on was the advantage of the big amount of countries and therefor the small national teams. At some point it was just impossible to distinguish people because of their nationality – there were just too many countries. And that was a powerful feeling which made me belief in the idea of a united Europe once again. It doesn`t matter where you are from – it’s about YOU and your values.

Apart from that it was of course amazing to have this big variety of cultures around and therefor learn about other cultures and habits. The intercultural evening was the best example for that – we tried so much food learned about other countries and overall laughed way too much together.

And of course, we had the chance to experience right on spot finish culture. First of all, through food – and I have to say that it’s kind of special 😊 I loved their cookies because they tend to put cinnamon everywhere what reminded me of our Christmas cookies but then there is liquorice. And it´s just everywhere. I tried chewing gums – it tasted like liquorice, the chocolate was full of it and their national drink was like liquid liquorice. I don`t want to judge that at all – just be prepared when you will visit Finland. 😉

But apart from food we learned about finish personal space, their unlearnable language and of course finish sauna. I must admit I never went to a sauna before and I was a little afraid because I never was comfortable with the idea of being voluntarily in an oven. But the day came and we all went to a beautiful place, with wooden sauna and a lake to cool down afterwards.  And the idea became more and more comfortable to me. In the end I must admit I would probably have enjoyed the place itself with the open fire and beautiful view as well without sauna, but I am happy that I had the chance to try it out.

So, but before this will end in an endless letter about beautiful people and fascinating nature, I will say some words about the Training itself and our amazing trainers.

The topic was social media and we focused as well on connected topics like, critical thinking, fake news and how to recognize them,  mass communication, public speaking and prejudices and stereotypes.

Our trainers were Marco from Brazil and Lorenzo from Italy – both full of experience and knowledge. Both knew how to transfer information in terms of nonformal education and even when from time to time a PowerPoint was necessary they managed to make it interesting and easy to follow. My favourite highlights were the sessions about stereotypes and prejudices where I got a lot of knew knowledge about how to fight prejudices and how to address people facing them. And another one about ancient Greece philosophers and their philosophies of public speaking and persuasion.

Apart from gaining precious new knowledge, practicing never came too short. Every new tool was practiced afterwards, especially during media laps. Media laps were about building up social media campaigns about certain topics. The topic of my group was Segregation in the US in the late 1940s. Our task was to build up the pro and against campaign, imagining that social media existed already in that times. Therefore, we built up Facebook pages, Instagram pages, created events, wrote articles, made photo and video reportages and created promotion videos.

It was a big task and I would be lying if I would say it was always a relaxed time, but we and all the other groups managed to finish all the tasks and what is more important gained new knowledge in our digital competences and overall learned how to use our group potential.

Coming slowly to an end I can’t say much more than thank you!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible, the organizers, the trainers and everyone who worked so hard and with all their heart to open this possibility to people like me.

I am so grateful to have experienced such an opportunity and met so many amazing, strong and warm-hearted people. The goodbye was hard but as I like to believe it wasn’t a goodbye but a SEE YOU SOON!

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„Engadget“

Youth Exchange, 28.07-04.08.2018 Latvia

Emili:

Engadget – a youth exchange about media and modern technology. In the end of July, 28 people from 5 different countries (Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Germany) gathered together in a small town called Slampe, which is around 60km away from the capital Riga. While we were driving with the bus from Riga to our accommodation for the next 7 days, the Latvian weather welcomed us immediately with a heavy rain storm. The Latvians smiled and told us to better get used to it . On the first evening we started to get to know each other and the accommodation and rested from the exhausting travel. On the next morning and with new energy we started with get to know each other activities to build up a group dynamic based on trust and understanding. Even some of the participants were quite young it got fast clear that we all were eager to share and listen to experiences and opinions. Further Sania (organizer and leader) introduced us to the topic of this youth exchange: media and modern technology and related topics like web security, critical thinking, social media, social responsibility and project development. Further the group leaders introduced to us the government session, which allowed us as participants to propose our own rules and then vote for them, representing a small democratic system.
The first program day ended with the first part of our intercultural evening where we cooked in international teams different traditional dishes for each country. It took longer than expected but in the end everyone enjoyed the cultural exchange and the delicious meals. The next day was delegated to social networks and online privacy where we had a look at our personal information and how to secure them. In the afternoon we had a look at critical thinking while preparing collages and videos about the topic. In the evening we enjoyed the second part of the International evening, while every country presented information (not found on the Internet) about their home country. The next day started early and full of excitement. We went to Riga to attend workshops in the technical university of Riga (RTU). We could choose between 3D modelling for 3D printing, Laser cutting and robot building. Everyone loved the workshops and the following tour through the institute, which showed us the modern possibilities of modern technology. After that we could explore Riga and discover the beautiful old town or relax at the beach.
The next day was all about national innovations and how to make the world a better place using modern technologies. In groups we prepared theatre plays which represented our ideas for a new project/ innovation that could make the world a better place to live in.
Apart from having a lot of fun it also helped to share ideas among the group and see where similar interests occurred.
The next day’s program was a welcome change to the regular program. We left all our technical advices at home and went on an offline hike through a calm forest to the sea side. Exhausted but happy we arrived back to the accommodation to get some rest before the last day of the program started. The last day was delegated to evaluation and reflection. We reflected the past six days and defined, while preparing our youth pass, what we had learned and what to do with it in the future.
The week was an intensive experience full of knew knowledge, cultural exchange and new social contacts. It was sad to leave everything behind, but we left with new energy and inspiration. Thank you for this opportunity.

Kaatje:

„Lettisches Wetter, Facebook, Schwimmen und Kartoffeln bis zum Geht nicht mehr“; das waren die Keywords, die bei mir und bestimmt auch bei dem ein oder anderen hängen geblieben sind. Wir lernten das durchwachsene lettische Wetter kennen mit plötzlichen Regenschauern und knallender Sonne und benutzen Facebook als Abstimmungsgerät, um über neue Regeln abzustimmen. Während dieser heißen Tage hatten wir alle das Bedürfnis uns im See um die Ecke abzukühlen, konnten es aber wegen Bakterienbefalls leider nicht und an Kartoffeln fehlte es beim Essen auch nicht.

Bei diesem Youth Exchange in der Nähe des kleinen Ortes Slampe ging es darum, sich eine Woche kritisch mit dem Thema Medien auseinanderzusetzen und gleichzeitig andere Kulturen kennen zu lernen.

Mit insgesamt fünf verschiedenen Ländergruppen aus Polen, Lettland, Litauen, Estland und Deutschland lernten wir größtenteils praktisch mehr über Mediennutzung. Auch neue Möglichkeiten, sowie bereits umgesetzte Projekte aus anderen Ländern lernten wir kennen. Dabei zeigte sich mal wieder, wie fortschrittlich andere europäische Länder hinsichtlich der Mediennutzung sind.

Während des Exchanges haben wir uns insgesamt sehr viel mit dem Thema Mediennutzung beschäftigt, jedoch jeweils nur sehr oberflächlich. Die Methoden dagegen, wie Collagen, Videos, Theaterszenen und eine Oxford Debatte haben mir sehr gut gefallen. Auch der Besuch der „Design Factory“ in der technischen Uni in Riga, wo wir neue Erfahrungen im Bereich 3D, Robotik und Lasertechnik machten, war auf jeden Fall lohnenswert. Einige der Teilnehmer haben dort sogar ihren potenziellen zukünftigen Arbeitsplatz entdeckt.

Der interkulturelle Teil kam natürlich auch nicht zu kurz und wir hatten viel Spaß am Abend der Kulturen. In gemischten Gruppen kredenzten wir ein internationales Dinner, dessen Vorbereitung natürlich länger dauerte als geplant. Um 22:00 Uhr konnten wir uns dann aber endlich den Bauch mit polnischen Pierogi, deutschem Kartoffelsalat, lettischer und estnischer Suppe und litauischem Dessert vollschlagen. Zwar konnten wir den Kartoffeln, die wir sonst jeden Tag mindestens zwei Mal zu uns nahmen, mal wieder nicht entgehen, aber es war trotzdem lecker 😀 .

Das Highlight der Woche war dann aber das wohlverdiente Schwimmen im Meer nach einem „Offlinehike“ durch die schönen lettischen Wälder.

Svetlana:

The fifth project I have taken part in with JuBuK. I was looking forward to do something different, “Engadget” sounded like a great topic and I wanted to engage with social media technologies and social issues. Jasma, the organisers were well prepared, nice and send us fun tasks to do beforehand – stalking another member of the Youth Exchange (to show each other what is public and what not).

Nobody could find information about me though, which as a person working in public was concerning for me.

The project was very well planned, with equal amounts of sessions and activities inside the hostel and workspaces as well as outside in the nature. We had a day in Riga and generally, a good mix of tasks and adventures, I liked the way Jasma organised this and took care of us.

Every session, like for example the Oxford Discussion, did involve not only a group in the front but all of us. This approach was great; it gave everybody an individual task and made everybody an active participant in any session.

My favourite day was the offline hike – we were asked to not take any battery-operated devices with us and went for a hike through forests, fields and villages finishing at the beach! I loved this day, so much to see and do and I did not miss my phone at all. Actually, only one person from the group took a phone, everybody else decided not to even though it optional.

Overall, I very much enjoyed being in Latvia for the first time and learning a lot about the urban culture and nature there.

Jasma was great to work with, very helpful, professional, organised; you can clearly see they have experience and were perfect in time management. I believe we never had issues with getting bored or being overworked.

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„Facilitating intercultural learning in work with youth groups“

Training Course, Daugirdiškes Lithuania, July 2018

Yuliya

It was a first time I took part in a training course from the Erasmus plus. My expectations were simple: learn more about a topic I have chosen, build new connections and have some fun. They were fulfilled for 100% and we had a chance to face challenges, fight with unusual situations and discover Lithuania and its culture.

We started with an informal meeting at one of the Vilnius’s cafes on Sunday evening, where the organizers hospitably invited us. The night was long and after dinner, we even visited some local bars, in parallel enjoying the beauty of the city at night.

On Monday, all of us were transferred with a bus to the Daugardiskes, “Youth Epicenter” – the place, where the training course took place. It is a small neat village with friendly people, lake, pond, forest and wolves. joking, no wolves were involved in the training. We were living four people in a room, which, I think, helped to get in contact more closely to each other, learn to tolerate other’s needs and habits. Every day we had workshops, activities, tutorials, lectures about the topic of the course. I have learned a lot about reflection, motivation, intercultural learning, non-formal education and Erasmus programs.

Every activity we had was finished with a reflection session, which, for sure, helped to put together what was done and get valuable insights. What I liked the most is – that training course was built in a form of a dialogue between the trainers and trainees. The participants always had a possibility to share their experience, knowledge or opinion on a discussed topic. This successful strategy brought even more value to the course, as I could learn from the stories of the other participants.

Of course, the training course was not only about learning. We also had free time and every evening was different. Once we had an intercultural evening, where everybody was presenting their country and culture, once we went to the nearby city Trakai – to visit one of the oldest castles of Lithuania, another day we had sauna evening. There was even a trip to Vilnius in the middle of the training course, where some of us went kayaking.

In particularly I want to put an emphasis on a good structure and organizations – we were all picked up in Vilnius and put back there, so that everybody does not have problems with flying back home, there was a facebook group created, where different updates, videos, learning materials, photos were posed on time. Also there was a library available on site, where everybody can pick and read a book about non-formal education and intercultural learning.

I can for sure only recommend coming to the Daugirdiskes for training, for education there has a good balance between theory and practice. Many thanks to Jubuk for this opportunity and unforgettable experience, I will for sure go to some training course again.

Emmanuel

The training course “Facilitating intercultural learning in work with youth groups” took place at Daugirdiškes Lithuania from 22nd to 30th July 2018 . The training course was focused on the need and ways to make learning easier among youths of different cultures with emphasis on the principles of Non-Formal Education (NFE).

The facilitators used various methods to engage trainees in active participation throughout the training course. In class lectures, Game-like activities, Seminar, reflection were at the core of the training. Each day was started with reflections on the previous day activities with the aim of helping participants to build self-awareness and relate previous day challenges to personal life and experiences.  It was indeed a training with all round practical approach to youth intercultural learning and development. The facilitators puts a lot of thought into how the training was delivered. The order of events, tasks, food and group formation was just as perfect as every other component of the program.

At the end of the program, participants were grouped into smaller teams of 4-5 members. Using knowledge gained from the beginning of the training, each team had the responsibility of writing training manuals and activities for the facilitation of intercultural learning in youth groups which was then administered in form of workshop. Some of the workshop topics were Intercultural communication, Cultural Adaptation, stereotyping.

Lastly, memories of the cultural event, dinners, excursion, Sauna and Kayaking were some of the unforgettable moments that made participants wanting to remain in the training center.

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„Let’s save the Earth together“

Youth Exchange , Bakuriani, Georgia, May 2018

Simon, Angelika, Alex, Clara, Eva

First day:
Our first day started in Tbilisi where all the participants arrived. There we had a bus which took us to our project venue in Bakuriani. When we finally arrived there after some exhausting  hours we had some free time which many of us used for having interesting conversations.

Second Day:
The following day we firstly focused on some name games and ice breakers for getting to know each other better. For our first game we were divided into different groups and all the group members were tied with our hands and had some task to accomplish together and had   therefore the chance to see the beautiful and amazing nature in Bakuriani which is located next to the mountains.

Third day:
We were starting our third day with presentations about the environmental situation in our home countries or regions which were already prepared in advance. Getting to know and learn about  the different current situations has been very interesting for us. In addition to this, we had to prepare other presentations about global warming in different groups which were presented afterwards. As a result some of us were having some heated discussions about the topic and were even continued during the dinner. After that we were having another awesome evening and night which we used for dancing, drinking and discussions.

– Excursion Day
The fourth day of our exchange was excursion day. After breakfast we left in two minibuses for our first destination: the Vardzia Cave Monastery. Our exhausting ascent was rewarded by a beautiful  view of the monastery and its various small caves, some of which went deep into the mountain.  Having climbed down the steep steps on the other side of the monastery, we sat down in the shade  and had lunch together. Our next stop was Khertvisi fortress, one of the oldest fortresses in Georgia.  Afterwards we continued to Rabati Fortress, the “Southern Outpost of Georgia”, where we visited a  mosque from the 18th century and two churches surrounded by a beautiful garden and with a great  view of the city below the castle.  Our last stop of the day was a traditional Georgian restaurant not far from Rabati Fortress where our  Georgian group leaders introduced us to the customs of a traditional Georgian feast. Throughout the evening they proposed toast after toast while we ate some amazing Georgian dishes like Kchachapuri, Khinkali, Lobiani and drank Georgian Lemonade and Wine. On the way back to the hotel, some fell asleep while the rest sang along with music videos played on a screen in the front of the bus.

The next two days we were discussing some possibilities to change and especially improve the environmental situation in our home countries. Therefore we informed ourselves  these different possibilities and prepared different presentations for the whole group. Furthermore we had one special outdoor acticity which included the cleaning of the area around our hotel for example the streets, small river, pavements etc. Which showed us how important it is to have people who are taking the garbadge and also civilians who are feeling responsible for the rubbish which they’ve used. During another outdoor activity we made some pictures which should show the beauty of the local environment .

Even though the project has not been that long it was really hard to say goodbye to the other participants with whom we also spent a lot of our free time in the evening. Before we the majority of the group had their flights we had some time in Tbilisi. But so far quite a lot of the participants have already seen each other again which is not always the case concerning projects. I would absolutely recommend this project, to visit Georgia to anyone who is at least interested in having a new, amazing and outgoing experience.

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Sustainable Young Entrepreneurs

Training Course in  Eskisehir, Turkey, June 2018

Yasser:

So, you are asking how I ended up having one of the best weeks of my life? Let me tell you the whole story. I was sitting in my room, having one of the worst days that you could have, a friend sends me a screenshot about an Erasmus Plus project in Turkey because he knows I’m interested in Entrepreneurship. No links connected, no forms to fill and no emails to apply with it. Searching using the program title I have ended up on JuBuK Blog: https://jubuk.wordpress.com/, I applied the received a reply from Natalia who helped me to complete my application “Thank you Natalia” if you are reading this”. I got accepted and got ready for this adventure in one of the most beautiful hidden gems cities in Turkey which is “Eskisehir”. We arrived in the city the bus was waiting for us to take us to the place where we are going to stay for the next week. It was like a big park in the countryside, where we had bungalows to sleep in, a venue for the internal session and the whole park for the outdoor activities and decisions.

There were about 25 person from different countries and different backgrounds. Denmark, Slovenia, Romania, United Kingdom, France, Italy and more. The training was mainly focusing on the group discussion and workshops. So, every day we had a topic like how to fund your idea, plan a marketing strategy, teamwork or leadership.

After we discuss the topic we training we had in our group which is not fixed but it changed every day and every activity so that you can meet and speak with everyone. And then we start discussing our topic, come with ideas and prepare a presentation for it to present it to the other groups and exchange feedback. The whole experience was so different from any training I have attended before because the people were so nice, the place was different and isolated from the normal life that we have, as an example we almost didn’t have internet and were staying in a green area without the normal city noise, which was really helpful for us to have time to know each other and work together. In short, the whole experience was awesome for me and, I can definitely recommend to anyone to never miss such an opportunity. The personal experience, the people you will know and the change that you will feel is way more than what you can ever expect.

Mohamed:

Sustainable Young Entrepreneurs was the name a training course which took place in ( Seyitgazi ) a small town near Eskişehir ,Turkey, from 26th June to 2th July 2018. It was my first time to visit Turkey, the country which was one of my travelling goals since childhood. I was so lucky to be able to discover some interesting parts of Istanbul in two days before the Project. In this project I had the possibility to get in touch with 32 participants who mainly had a multicultural background. The participants represented Germany , Turkey , Lithuania , Romania,France, UK , Denmark and Solvinia. but actually the whole world was represented, because the participants had different origins such as Egyptian, Senegalese , Italian , Tunisian , Polish , indian, etc. All of us were interested in the project topic ,which aimed at discussing how to start a new business . During the project we learnt alot the idea of business plan, product marketing , Planning the financial budget and sharing our experience and future goals. ,we also had a lot of fun during the workshops, games, energizers and our free time. Also during the project after finishing our session and workshops we had a good time to share our experiance , culture, food and music. In the whole it was very useful exciting time. this project did not only help us to gain knowledge it also helped us to connect with others and make new friends. Finally i want to thank you for giving me this chance to participate!

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Acting together for the socio-professional inclusion of migrants and refugees

Seminar in Strasbourg, France, 13-22 July 2018

Anna and Eleonora

The seminar “Acting together for the socio-professional inclusion of migrants and refugees” was implemented by the AMSED organization within the frame of Erasmus+ Program and with the support of the city of Strasbourg. This seminar took place in Strasbourg between the 13th and 22nd of July 2018, with its 48 participants including youth workers and facilitators, project coordinators, association leaders and active volunteers from 14 different countries: France, Spain, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Italy, Germany, Austria, Tunisia and Morocco.

The objectives of the seminar are to provide participants with skills, attitudes and aptitudes needed to understand and act in favour of the socio-educational and professional inclusion of refugees and migrants, to gain an understanding of the situation and problems related to the socio-professional inclusion of young refugees, to increase the employability of migrants and refugee in the EU while fighting against discrimination in the field of work and creating better job opportunities.

The participants worked together and shared their own experiences, strategies and good practices, which led the way to the creation of a toolkit that includes specific activities related to the topic. Partners and external stakeholders will have the opportunity to discover an overview of different activities that can be implemented to improve the socio-professional inclusion of migrants and refugees by going through the toolkits.

Using non-formal education and interactive methods, the participants have transversally developed their skills and competences on the topic. The exchange was held both in English and French, which broadened the intercultural competences and foster the exchange of the participants.

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Change Places, Change Lives

Training Course in Lisbon, Portugal, 23-30 July 2018

Anna

Oh, happy days)))

Unforgettable summer moments! And they will live in my soul for ages.

In 7 days we learned a lot about Migration, Europe, Trends and Factors, Refugees and Asylum, Integration and Inclusion with participants from 12 different countries.

And no doubt, I made the right decision to be a part of this project.

We spent days in interesting discussions and nights on the beach.

We participated in the conference with Macron and Prime- Minister of Portugal (Antonio Costa).  We were observing a blood moon. And that’s just a small part of what we did.

For sure, I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing event, to meet wonderful people and work with them.

Catch the moment! Be brave!

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No for radicalism!

Training course in Rio Major, Portugal, June 2018

Irina and Marina

In the end of June 2018, our small JuBuK troop landed in Portugal to participate in the training “No for Radicalism”. The training was focused on development of understanding about aspects of human rights and educational approaches in connection with cultural diversity in local, regional and international level and improving of knowledge and skills for preparation, running and evaluation the cultural diversity workshops within non-formal education of youth with main purpose as preventing radicalisation of young people.

The training activities were designed as an open educational process based on our exchange of experience and a mutual learning through diverse methods. So, throughout the training each participant had to act as an ordinary student during the analysis of official documents of the European Union, aimed at preventing xenophobia and racism; as an actor during the drill of the method of shadow theater; as an interviewer during the survey of local residents on the theme of radicalism; as a painter when painting an automobile tire that was turned into a flower bed; and as a trainer and facilitator during the designing and implementation of our own workshops.

Despite the fact that the work was very intense, we had time to fully enjoy the country. The training was planned in such a way that we were constantly moving to different locations, changing both educational spaces and towns and villages. Library, high school, park, salt mines, volunteers‘ house of our host organization… And all this in places, which are not very well known and are rarely reached by tourists, but just in such places you can feel and taste the real Portugal. Although the offer to get a surf lesson on the beach near Lisbon, what is a common Portuguese amusement, was very popular too.

We really enjoyed the awesome days and atmosphere, created there by a symbiosis of perfect organizers, amazing participants and unique location. Obrigado!

 

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Cultural Heritage- United in Diversity

Youth Exchange through whole Slovakia, June 2018

Sveta

This project was the fourth I have taken part in and by far the most ambitious, longest considering time and travel distance and the one I learned a lot regarding social skills. The latter is inevitable, spending two weeks travelling without much space with 40 people, you have to be considerate and you will eventually learn how to handle situations that would not arise in your everyday life.

As outlined in the project concept, we travelled the whole country for two weeks, not having researched much in advance, halfway throughout the travel I realised that we are visiting each UNESCO cultural heritage sight in the country – which was so impressive (apart from a couple of wooden churches which are spread out really far from each other). I would never been able to do anything likewise in Slovakia on my own. This already made the project worth it!

One of my favourites were the wooden churches, since they remind me of my childhood in Siberia but are something I do not see any more living in central Europe. However, the best part of the whole journey was our travel to the east and the industrial heritage of Slovakia. Even though for the majority this was not as interesting, I was looking forward to this form day 1. Others did not enjoy this as much because it is something they know anyway as well as something too close to your ancestors’ life, broken and reminding one of recent history. Whereas an impressive castle has a direct, bespoke and universal romance and history to it – romanticized over time.

This is personal taste and every opinion has its place there. Nevertheless, I would have liked to spend more time there, exploring Zeleznik, walking around the old iron factory, seeing the villages and their inhabitants, hiking in the forest around shut-down iron mines.

Apart from all the travelling, moving and meeting people we did a workshop every second day. Those were similar each time and tend to give you back as much as you put into them. Thinking about how to improve the place we have seen the day before, what was good and bad and what would we like to implement in order for it to meet our expectations (if needed). The organisation gathered all those ideas to formulate a brochure, which then will be sent to all places we have visited.

Genuinely a great idea, my opinion is that our workshops were a bit too superficial. We could have gone more into the material, finance, social factors of touristic heritage sights and could have spoken to representatives and employers. Our connection to the locals and residents was not very good throughout the whole exchange, unfortunately.

Thinking that the outcome of the exchange will not have an impact on how the country appreciates and handles their cultural heritage, even we do not – it was an amazing experience and more of a culture and social clash. Even though I would have loved to engage more in workshop work, it became too interesting to find out how others in the group perceive and evaluate different types of heritage, form castles to churches, iron mines, whole cities, spas…. so much we have seen!

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Healthy Living in Healthy Inclusive Society 

Youth Exchange in Agros, Cyprus, July 2018

Simira, Dave, Daniel, Felix and Anna

Vom 13.-21.Juli 2018 reisten wir in die Berge Zyperns, in das Dorf Agros, um uns bei einem Youth Exchange mit dem Thema „Gesundes Leben“ zu beschäftigen.

Wir spielten am ersten Tag viele Namensspiele, um uns die Namen der 54 anderen Teilnehmer zu merken. Es war nicht so einfach, doch nach ca. zwei Tagen konnte man die meisten Gesichter zuordnen. Von Anfang an entwickelte sich eine sehr angenehme Gruppendynamik zwischen den Leuten, es wurde in den Kaffeepausen viel gespielt und die Ländergruppen mischten sich schnell durch.

An Tagen, an denen keine Tagesausflüge geplant waren, wurden von den einzelnen Ländergruppen Workshops vorbereitet. Themen wie gesunde Ernährung, Stressreduzierung, Bewegungsfreiheit oder soziale Medien wurden auf kreative Weise an die anderen Teilnehmer vermittelt. Die Workshops waren stets interaktiv und spielerisch aufgebaut, sodass alle viel Spaß hatten. Wir selbst gestalteten eine kleine Übung zur sozialen Ausgrenzung und erhielten spannende Einblicke in die Problematiken der Gesellschaften der teilnehmenden Länder.

Das Projekt Healthy Living in an inclusive Society auf Zypern stach besonders aufgrund seiner Vielfalt hervor. So bekamen wir die Möglichkeit, neben Agros, dem Veranstaltungsort, auch die Hauptstadt Nikosia und die Küstenstadt Limassol zu sehen. Bemerkenswert waren in erster Linie die wunderschönen Strände, die Altstädte mit ihren Straßenverkäufern und die mehr oder weniger zerfallenen Ruinen von Burgen, über Tempel, bis hin zu Amphitheatern.

Unsere Unterkunft lag im Zentrum von Agros und war ein einfaches Hotel mit Drei-Personen-Zimmern, die sich immer Teilnehmer aus unterschiedlichen Ländern teilten. Obwohl das Hotel mal eine Renovierung benötigen würde, stand alles Notwendige zur Verfügung und es gab sogar Handtücher.

Das Essen in Agros wurde immer frisch zubereitet und war sehr schmackhaft. In den Kaffeepausen wurden uns immer frische Früchte und Kuchen serviert.

Wir hatten insgesamt drei interkulturelle Abende, an denen jeweils die Teilnehmer aus den Ländergruppen den anderen Projektteilnehmern durch Videos, Quizze, Erzählungen oder das Vorführen traditioneller Lieder und Tänze einen Einblick in ihre Kultur ermöglicht haben.

Nach den etwa 15-minütigen Präsentationen aller Gruppen an einem Abend konnten wir deren landestypische Speisen und Getränke probieren, welche sie vorbereitet hatten, und uns dabei vertiefend über kulturelle Besonderheiten, aber auch Gemeinsamkeiten unterhalten und zusammen tanzen.

Insgesamt war es ein sehr schönes Erlebnis, das niemand von uns missen wollte. Wir haben in dieser Woche viel gelernt, Freunde aus ganz Europa gewonnen und Erinnerungen für das ganze Leben gesammelt. Vielen Dank an JuBuK für diese Möglichkeit!

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„Build your Dream- Social Entrepreneurship for Starters“

Youth Exchange in Kvareli, Georgia, June 2018

Dimitra, Sarah, Stephanie, Aaron and Christophe:

The youth exchange „Build Your Dream-Social Entrepreneurship for Starters“ from May 31 to June 7, 2018 in Kvareli, Georgia, was aimed to bring together people from different countries through their common interest in social entrepreneurship or working in a social enterprise.

Participants from Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Portugal, and Ukraine had the opportunity to learn from one another by sharing knowledge, exchanging, and developing ideas.The city of Kvareli was the venue of the exchange. The city is located in the wine region of Georgia, and surrounded by mountains, forests, and lakes. This setting, and the warm weather gave us as the chance to explore surrounding nature and refresh ourselves after working sessions. The first day of the exchange started with name games and a “mission impossible“, where we had to complete many difficult task within a limited time frame. This team building exercise helped to get to know each other better as well as working together as a team.

To gain a better understanding of what social entrepreneurship entails, we split into different groups  and discussed definitions and differences of the concepts of business man, entrepreneur, social entrepreneur and social activist. The definition of a social entrepreneur we finally accepted served as a guideline throughout.The purpose of a social enterprise is to generate social value. This is the prime orientation for any social business model and, consequently, for its business strategy. The success of a social enterprise is not measured by their profit rates. Rather it is measured by the positive return to society and the ability to maintain itself. A social enterprise has to take into consideration all social, cultural and environmental needs of a region and country where a project is planned, and implemented.

On a practical side, each team held a presentation on how laws and governmental programs support young entrepreneurs and start ups in their respective countries. This was illustrated by specific examples of implemented social entrepreneurship.Within the next days, we learned about different business methods and systems which are useful in the process of designing and developing a business. For example, the “Canvas Business Model”, a useful tool which helps to keep track on all aspects of the business, define goals, and identify all stakeholders. Basically, it is a chart, divided into columns such as key partners, key activities and cost structure for example. Although it is a bit complicated at first sight, it is very helpful by providing an overall interrelated view of the key drivers of a business model.

Other key factors we learned about are funding opportunities. Here, it is elementary to consider how different funding mechanism work. This information is, of course, very critical for the design of the business model.

When it comes to convincing investors, it is important to mention the societal benefits that are associated with the business, especially statistical information can highlight the relevance of the problem and explains the selected impact.

The last two days we split into new groups, and developed our own social enterprise idea, which we presented to the group. By developing an idea, we had to work in teams with members from several countries, which helped to get different points of views on solving problems efficiently.

To structure our idea we applied those tools and systems, we just had learned before.On our last day, we drove to the capital Tbilisi and visited a government financed startup hub that provides office space, legal advisory, machines and technology to young entrepreneurs and start ups. The hub management held presentation on how the hub is organized and afterward gave us a tour for a closer look inside the offices and activities of the entrepreneurs.

After this visit we had the chance to explore Tbilisi by ourselves and ended the night with a big “Georgian style” farewell dinner, which marked the perfect ending of this youth exchange.

This youth exchange provided the perfect opportunity for learning, knowledge-sharing and an inside look into the culture and society of Georgia. On top of that, workshops, invited speakers and the visit of the startup hub gave us the unique opportunity to not only learn more about the topic, but also gave an understand on how social entrepreneurship works in different countries.

Overall we enjoyed this youth exchange a lot. With lots of laughs, karaoke, a wine testing and not to forget plenty of Khachapuri, a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread, this youth exchange did not only helped us to gain knowledge it also helped us to connect with others and make new friends.

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 Hello, I’m Multikulti

Youth Exchane in Chiari, Italy, June 2018

Simira:

Today’s society is certainly multicultural. Many young people have moved with their families or alone to countries totally different from their origins. The reasons why they moved are different from case to case: who for study, who for work or who to have a better future than what their country of origin offered. In this project I had the unique possibility to get in touch with 25 participants who mainly had a multicultural background. The participants represented Italy, Spain, Norway, Poland and Germany. In reality, the whole world was represented, because the participants had different origins such as Brasilian, Senegalese, Armenian, Egyptian and many more. All of us were interested in integration topics, active citizenship, racism and discrimination. During the project, we had the possibility do discuss about diversity, intercultural issues and stereotypes. We also had a lot of fun during the workshops, games, energizers and our free time.

Moreover, we had the chance to build up an international network and make new friends, we could taste the delicious Italian food and practice our English (Spanish, Italian..) skills as well. It was an enriching and unforgettable week and every young person should be encouraged to take part in a youth exchange or a training course. Erasmus + delivers great opportunities to travel abroad, meet new people and learn more about different cultures. It was my first adventure with Erasmus + and I fell in love immediately. I can recommend it to everyone! If you have the chance to do it, don´t think twice! 😊

 

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„Engadget“

Advanced Planning Visit in Riga, Latvia, June, 2018

Ruth:

Since it has been my first time in a country where I couldn´t understand a single word, the APV has been a remarkable experience for me I was so lucky to be able to discover some interesting parts of Riga two days in beforehand and get familiar with the unknown yet fascinating language.

The actual APV startet on Friday when we´ve had our dinner while getting started with what our aim was: creating a plan in order to make the youth exchange as exciting and fruitful as possible. While eating we had the chance to get to know each other before going over to the hard bites. Our dear organizator Sania has already come up with some straight information and so we were briefly introduced into the main scheme of the exchange ahead of us.

The next day we´ve had the chance to learn about the other countries´participants. Due to the fact that some of us would be minors, the part of discussing rules and ways to respect our host-contry´s law and considering everyones needs, took quite a while. It became clear that all of us five groupleaders have brought some sense of responsibility with us. One or the other even had a lot to tell about experiences with adolescents´ debatable behavior on youth exchange trips so far. To be honest this was the point where I got a little nervous. But I´ve regained faith while learning that we as a team would be willing to solve any issues together and supporting each other in the best manner. Also – our organizators´humorous way of leading us through all important and good-to-know facts was very helpful. Everyone of the group was asked to commit to certain objects or parts of the programme of the one-week-schedule. So we all were enabled to think and design every prospect of the anticipated week in the end of July/ beginning of August.

This saturday at the head quarter of Red Cross Riga has really been packed with input. Nevertheless we didn´t spare any ressources and headed over to the place where the exchange would finally take place. An hour by car from Riga lies the estate that would give us a home during the exchange. In this beautifully green surroundings with a widespread garden, a lake to swim in, appletrees to rob, we will have one week full of fresh encounters, tricky questions, desperate discussions and hopefully – loads of fun!

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„Your Culture“

Partnership building seminar  in Recoaro Terme, Italien, May 2018

Anna:

Vom 21.05.18 bis zum 28.05.18 nahm ich an dem Partnership building seminar (PBS) „Your Culture“ in Italien teil.

Das PBS thematisierte kulturelle und religiöse Unterschiede zwischen Flüchtlingen, Migranten und Repräsentanten regionaler Organisationen und hatte zum Ziel, Mittel und Methoden zur Bekämpfung von Fremdenfeindlichkeit und Rassismus zu entwickeln und umzusetzen. An dem Projekt nahmen insgesamt 22 Teilnehmer aus neun europäischen Ländern teil, darunter Spanien, Portugal, Italien, Polen, Ungarn, Rumänien, Kroatien und Deutschland.

Das Projekt fand statt in der norditalienischen Gemeinde Recoaro Terme in der Provinz Vicenza in Venetien. Nach dem herzlichen Empfang unserer zwei Betreuerinnen Tania und Magda und der Unterbringungen in dem wunderschönen Hotel Trettenero, konnten wir die anderen Teilnehmer kennenlernen und wurden herzlich willkommen geheißen.

In den ersten Tagen ging es darum, die Situationen um das Thema Flüchtlinge und Migration in den einzelnen Ländern zu beleuchten und zu diskutieren. Dabei präsentierten die Gruppen (moistens zwei Teilnehmer pro Land) die aktuelle Lage in ihren Ländern, die historischen Hintergründe zum Thema Migrationskultur, Einstellung gegenüber Flüchtlingen und Migranten in der Gesellschaft und teilten persönliche Erfahrungen. Es wurden wichtige Einflussfaktoren auf die Einstellungsbildung, wie die Rolle der Medien und der Sprache, beleuchtet und ein Bewusstsein für die Wichtigkeit und den Umgang mit diesen, geschaffen.

Am darauf folgenden Tag, trafen wir uns mit Flüchtlingen aus Nigeria, die ihre Erfahrungen und Geschichten mit uns teilten, was uns allen vermutlich noch lange in Erinnerung bleiben wird.

Ein weiterer sehr interessanter Programmpunkt bestand darin, in einem vier- bis fünfköpfigen Team ein Programm/ Projekt, welches die aktuellen gesellschaftlichen Probleme wie zunehmende Fremdenfeindlichkeit und Diskriminierung behandelt, zu entwickeln und anschließend mit den anderen Projektteilnehmern durchzuführen.

Nach dem Tagesprogramm blieb abends noch Zeit um die anderen Teilnehmer und ihre Kultur näher kennenzulernen. So gestalteten wir einen interkulturellen Abend, zu dem alle Teams nationale Spezialitäten aus ihren Heimatländer mitbrachten und über ihr Kultur und Traditionen aufklärten.

Mein persönliches Highlight war der Ausflug zu einem wunderschönen kleinen Häuschen in den Bergen, zu dem wir wanderten. Der Ausblick von dort oben war atemberaubend!

Zum Schluss möchte ich mich bei allen, die zum Erfolg dieses Projekts beigetragen haben, herzlichst bedanken! Ein großes Dankeschön gilt an JuBuK und der Organisatorin Natalia Seriakova, sowie den Gruppenleitern Alessandra Dal Pozzolo, Andrea Rilievo, Endre Kiss und Mara Arvei und natürlich all den motivierten Teammitgliedern, die diese Woche zu etwas ganz Besonderem gemacht haben!

Durch die Arbeit in einem internationalem Team habe viel über die kulturelle Diversität in den verschieden Ländern Europas lernen können und mich mit Vertretern der verschiedenen Organisationen über aktuelle Themen austauschen und vernetzen können. Diese Erfahrung wird bei

zukünftigen Projekten nützlich sein, um die unterschiedlichen kulturellen Hintergründe besser verstehen zu können und andere Perspektiven einzunehmen.

Irina:

In May 2018 I was glad to represent JuBuK at the seminar „YOur Culture“ aimed to fight against xenophobia and racism, which was held in the Italian part of the Small Dolomites, in tiny and cozy town Recoaro Terme.

It was such a great event, where all participants were encouraged to be diligent, creative and sociable. We were challenged by our trainers in the best way possible and came out with new knowledge about migration, refugees, xenophobia and the current situation in different European countries. We were challenged by ourselves in all our out-of-studying process activities and became the first group ever to conquer by feet the nearest mountain to get to the place of our grill party. In the end of seminar, we were almost as a family of freely gathered people from the whole continent.

Actually, it was not full of fun all the time, because of serious and heavy topic and our rather rigid schedule, when we had to work from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm, with several breaks for coffee and lunch, and we had a strict timing for each training day. But during this week we have learned so many useful tools and techniques, and learned a lot of new information generally, thus, all our efforts were worth it.

So, I could say that I keep in my memory amazing impressions about this seminar, our host organization, our trainers, their assistants and all my new friends, whom I met at this event. We had to catch everything, that is why we had little time for sleeping, but refreshing mountain air and support each other helped to manage it. It was incredible experience!

 

 

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„Your right to happiness“

Youth Exchange, 21.5.18 – 29.5.18 in Komotini, Greece

Ronja:

“Your Right to Happiness” was the name of a Youth Exchange that took place in Greece, in a small town called Komotini, from the 21th until the 29th of May 2018 with 35 participants from Greece, Germany, Italy, Poland, Rumania, Latvia and Cyprus.
The project was aimed at discussing about Human Rights and how they are obeyed in different countries. Therefore, every day, the workshops were according to one Human Right, for instance, the right to play, the right to work, etc. We used very diverse methods like theater role play, interviews with the local population, creative writing (Loesje), agree/disagree discussion, creating our own perfect country,… and teambuilding activities, different icebreakers and a lot of energizers were also an integrated part of the program. The activities took place in the library, in the office of Europe direct or in the breakfast room of the hotel where we were staying. In the evening, we had two intercultural nights to get to know the food and traditions of the participating countries. By the end of the week, all the participants knew the “Fliegerlied” by heart and we even danced it all together at the bus station when one part of our group was leaving 😉 As there was a Youth Festival taking place in Komotini during the exchange, we also had the chance to go to some local events like a live concert of a student group in the park, open-air cinema, etc. It was a great opportunity to get in touch with the local Greek population. Moreover, we had the possibility to meet several EVS volunteers in Komotini and participate in their activities during our free time, so the cultural exchange was even bigger.
After the first two days, we already had a great group dynamic. Most of the participants were highly engaged in the workshop as well as very active during our free time (playing volleyball and other ball games, Wizard, doing Yoga in the park, dancing Zumba, organizing a guided visit in the old mosque, etc.). We had a lot of fun all together during the whole week.
As a participant of this Youth Exchange, I had the opportunity to get to know new cultures, learn some words in several different languages, practice my English and other language skills, make new friends all over Europe and learn about Human Rights. It was a very enriching and unforgettable week and I would like to encourage every young person to take part in a project as well and live their own Erasmus+ experience.

Eleonora:

Living and discussing Happiness in Komotini, Greece

It would be hot. We would sit outside and drink some cold water or lemonade. We would watch teens and young adults drink their drinks, playing ball games and stroke some street dogs. The dogs would come after us. We would stroke them and wonder for how long the people will stay outside… here at the big square at 1 o’clock in the morning… Every day, from dusk till dawn, the evening and night life is openly lived at big squares, in restaurants or cafes with Greek live music. It’s one way of celebrating life and feeling happy at the moment.

 The Youth Exchange “Your Right to Happiness” took place in Komotini, Greece, from 21st till 29th May, 2018. 35 participants from 7 partner organizations from Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Romania, Poland and Germany came together for a journey through human rights. “Because we deserve to be happy. Always!”

 “… without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex, religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations” should human rights be equally and universally applicable executed for all humans. Indivisibility of all human rights should also be guaranteed to realize them in their entirety. Every day a different human right was the topic: “the right to life”, “the right to privacy”, “culture and copyright”, “the right to play”, “worker’s rights” and “freedom to move”. We started our day with energizers to go on with discussions, agree-disagree-debates, planning games to our topic.

 In Europe almost all needs according the Maslow pyramid like physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization can be well lived. Even if not all human rights are well implemented in the European countries, every country has a really well executed human right like Germany the “right to education” with the “Federal Training Assistance Act” or the removal of tuition fees or in Latvia the “right to move” with getting easy a visas to other countries.

Europeans have more or less all human rights assured, but everyone has the responsibility towards oneself and other people to fit in a society while staying happy with her or his issues. This process is well presented in our Lip Dub Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTSKUmjglAU .

Christin:
Am ersten Tag fokussierten wir uns auf das Kennenlernen. Den Vormittag verbrachten wir dabei in der strahlenden griechischen Sonne, den Nachmittag lösten wir als Team eine „Mission Impossible“ erfolgreich.

Am zweiten Tag tauschten wir uns intensiv über die Situation der Menschenrechte in unserem Land aus. Außerdem diskutieren wir angeregt, wie wir unsere persönlichen Daten schützen können.

Besonders gefallen haben mir die beiden interkulturellen Abende, bei denen jeweils drei Länder etwas über ihre Kultur erzählt haben und landestypische Produkte mitgebracht haben.

Der Lieblingstag der Meisten ist Tag drei, denn an diesem fuhren wir an den Strand. Bei perfektem Wetter, blauem Meer und zwischenzeitlichem Tanzworkout hat wohl jeder den Tag genossen.

Am Freitag diskutieren wir wieder ganz ernsthaft über die Human Rights und nahmen an einem Workshop Teil zum kreativen Slogan-writing.

Einen Tag später mussten wir feststellen, wie schlecht auch noch heute die Arbeitsbedingungen zum Beispiel auf dem wöchentlichen Markt sind. Dennoch war es ein sehr schönes Erlebnis den Trubel und die Gerüche des Marktes zu erleben.

Sonntags galt es einen Lip-Dub zum Lied “ I got a feeling“ aufzunehmen. Jede Gruppe musste sich eine Choreographie ausdenken,  mit der sie ihren Teil des Liedes Lippen synchronisieren möchte. Das Ergebnis schauten wir uns am Abend bei der Kostümparty an und es war einfach fantastisch solch ein großes Gruppenprojekt erfolgreich durchgeführt zu haben.

Am letzten Tag beschäftigen wir uns mit dem Aufbau von Erasmus+ und entwarfen neue Human Rights, die unserer Meinung nach dazugehören sollen.

Nach einem für einige sehr emotionalen Abschied, wir hatten eine tolle Gruppendynamik, machten sich alle in Richtung Flughafen auf.

Die hohe Motivation und Aufgeschlossenheit der Teilnehmer hat einen gelungen Austausch ermöglicht und ich freue mich sehr Teil des Austauschs gewesen zu sein.

 

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“2 Youth and one problem”

Training course, Torremolis, Spain, 17-24.05.2018

Davit:

17-24 May, 2018 I attended the training course “2 Youth and one problem” organized by Asociación EuropeYou. This is a Spanish youth NGO which aims to promote education, training, culture and sport as a means of social inclusion and equal opportunities.

The main aim of the course was to equip youth workers working directly with disadvantaged youth such as young Europeans unemployed people and young refugees or young migrants with methods and skills to enable them to tackle the common and shared problem of unemployment among youth through quality youth work that promotes self-employment and entrepreneurial culture.

During the whole program I learned non-formal learning methodology, particularly energizers which kept me always active. In order to understand better the topic of project, organizers divided us into intercultural subgroups. Creative presentations, simulation, case study, debates and some outdoor campaigns fulfilled perfectly the trainings.

Together with other participants, we had a lot of fun during and out of the official part. Of course, it was a perfect opportunity for networking.

I should notice that the accommodation was really good because of location. Living on 10th floor every day I could enjoy unbelievable view on Torremolinos and the sea. All in all, the whole program was organized perfectly.

 

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„Youth step green for sustainable cities“

Youth Exchange ​, Izmir, 23.04.18 – 02.05.18

Alice, Carmen, Elias, Ivonne, Julia, Lloyd, Muhammad, Pascal, Svenja:

Global warming, rising sea levels and the mass extinction of a vast variety of animals are just some consequences humanity will face within the next few years if we just continue our current lifestyle and don’t take any action. And even though some people and politicians appear to not believe in climate change, the 26 participants of the youth exchange “Youth step green for sustainable cities” were well aware of the issues of our planet. They gathered in Izmir to discuss the future of our environment, especially regarding the life in cities, as well as the impact we can have on it.
Workshops, speeches and discussions gave us a profound knowledge of the topic. We also had the opportunity to share our perspectives and experiences, e.g. presenting green
companies in our country, and finally, we were given time and inspiration to come up with our own ideas on how to build a sustainable project for our city.
There was also a lot of interaction and exchange going on in the group beyond the “formal” workshop. We used our free time very wisely and got to know the people we were spending time with and the area we were staying in. We received a privately organized tour through Izmir, saw the ancient Greek city of Ephesus and went shopping on lively bazars (one of those was the organic market of Sıgacık Village which we visited together and which offered a big variety of sustainable products). International nights gave us the opportunity to get to know food, music, traditions and identity of the other participating countries, Greece and Turkey, and we gave the others some insights of our German culture during the German night as well.
Those ten days let us develop international friendships and we are all convinced that we will have a place to stay at when we will visit Greece or Turkey some day in the future.
Best wishes and thank you for giving us this chance to participate!

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„Cultural Heritage – United in Diversity“

Advanced Planning Visit in Bratislava, Slovakia, April, 2018

Shakir and Boris:

People come near to each other by peaceful engagement, seeing each other, discussing topics, having meals together and spending time with each other. there is always Taboo or are too many questions in mind about other People, Nations, Cultures, and Places.

One of the best and recent projects which will take place in Slovakia is ” Cultural Heritage-United in Diversity ” Youth Exchange project. 6 participants from Germany, Lithuania, France, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, and Slovakia will be attending the 2 weeks long project which mainly focuses on traveling from one to the other corner of Slovakia in order to visit the cultural heritage, tradition, Castles, Museums and other Landmarks. Through the project, the youths (Participants) will not only enjoy visiting the heritage sites but would also get acquainted with the new methods of on sightseeing and tourism and would employ these methods in their local communities and the youths will have an idea how to present heritage sites in an interesting and captivating way.

For the better implementation of the upcoming project the Team leaders of the participant Organizations met in Slovensky Grob – Slovakia, the small town is some 20 Kms from capital Bratislava.

The Organizer of the project and the team leaders discussed all the possible aspects of the 2 weeks and collective decisions were made to make the program more engaged, interactive, useful and fun for the participants, Agenda, Accommodation, Food, Transportation, Sightseeing, Cultural Nights and other topics were discussed in detail.

Besides our working sessions, we have been hosted very well by the receiving organization. On Saturday, we had a walk around the traditional Slovak village of Slovensky Grob and checked out some venues where activities will take place in June. We spent the next day in Bratislava and saw many interesting sights and prepared some activities for the YE in June.

Majka even invited some of us to a horse race competition! This way we had a unique insight in Slovak culture. We finished the day in a traditional Slovak restaurant and headed back home.

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„Prove Them Wrong“

Youth Exchange in Kaunas, Lithuania

Marina,Tatiana, Sarah and Dave:

The youth exchange workshop “Prove them wrong“ with participants from six countries, Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Turkey, UK and Portugal, took place from 8 – 16 April in the city of Kaunas. Our venue was a former monastery close to the Kaunas castle. It was the perfect setting for the exchange.

The workshop covered the issues of juvenile delinquency, juvenile detention centers, social rehabilitation methods for former youth offenders as well as prevention methods applied in different countries.

The first day was spent with games helping participants to get to know each other, and, with the “city-game” also getting to know the city of Kaunas better. The games included an experiment testing how passers would react to a crime committed in their presence. Surprisingly, most passers did not react at all.

The next day, we started a survey and asked people on the street what they knew about juvenile delinquency in Lithuania, and on their opinion in order to get an overview of the topic. Apparently, only few people seemed to be aware of the issue, and most did not know very much about it.

Visiting a juvenile detention center in Kaunas provided a unique opportunity for the group to gain first hand insights since detention centers are not open to the public. Our group was given a tour of the facility, which housed youths from age 16 to 24, providing a chance to take a look at the common areas, as well as the cells for inmates. The facility included a housing complex apart from the detention center. In this complex inmates with good behavior spend their time with less restrictions and more lenient rules. During the tour, we had the opportunity to ask staff personnel about their jobs and the activities in the center. The director of the facility discussed the situation very openly, issues staff and inmates were confronted with, and also his experience as a manager of this facility. He pointed out, that for the inmates, each day was structured according to a very strict schedule. The detention center also provides classes for the inmates giving them a chance to catch up on their education. At the same time, the center provides for recreational activities as an offset. All this is to prepare the youths for a structured life once they leave the detention center. The visit helped to better understand daily life in a detention center, and it also made us to question our own prejudices, and stereotypes with regards to juvenile delinquents.

Furthermore, representative of social enterprise “Mano Guru” (salad bar, which employs people, who served their time in imprisonment) and their work methods of (re-)integrating people from prison into society. Her inspiring presentation led to the participants creating videos about social initiatives, which would raise public awareness about the importance of re-/integration and breaking stereotypes about juvenile criminality.

At the end of the project, we got together in groups and discussed our own ideas. The assignment was to find ways that help to prevent youngsters from committing offenses or to reintegrate youth offenders back into society. These ideas had to be communicated via a poster and a short video. Obviously, the unique challenge for the participants was to have viewers develop and share empathy with the young offenders. Everyone deserves a second chance to improve their lives, and it is the task of society to provide these opportunities.

After the daily working sessions, there was time for relaxation. Intercultural nights certainly were highlights since the participants shared their favorite national dishes. Watching the basketball match between Kaunas and Vilnius was another big highlight. The atmosphere at the game was unique. After all, basketball is by far the most popular sport in Lithuania.

On our last night, the instructors surprised us with a “party trolley bus” which we rode through Kaunas for a convivial evening, and a pleasant goodbye from Kaunas.

The youth exchange in Lithuania has been an instructive experience for all participants, time seemed to fly by so quickly. We were provided with new insight knowledge about the topic of juvenile delinquency as well as differences country-wise.

We were able to learn from our experiences and use that gained knowledge to create our own ideas and programs relating to juvenile delinquency. Since we all got along well, it was easy to work constructively on those ideas.

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„Building peace through inclusion“

Youth Exchange in Pontevedra, Spain, March 2018

Tatiana

Im März 2018 nahm ich an einem internationalen Projekt in Pontevedra (Spanien) teil. Das Projekt „Building peace through inclusion“ hatte zum Ziel, die Fragen der Migrationspolitik, bzw. Integration der Flüchtlinge in Europa zu beleuchten, besprechen und lösen. Eine Woche lang beschäftigten sich aktive Jugendliche aus Spanien, Ungarn, Deutschland, Griechenland und der Türkei mit den aktuellen Problemen. In den ersten Tagen erzählten alle Teilnehmer über die Situation der Migranten in ihren Ländern. Es ging um viel Statistik, Fakten und vor allem um die persönlichen Erfahrungen. Besonders interessant war der vierte Tag des Projektes, an dem wir mit Flüchtlingen aus verschiedenen Ländern sprachen, die ihre Unterkunft und eine Chance für bessere Zukunft in Spanien fanden. Später an diesem Tag diskutierten wir natürlich sehr viel und hatten ein gemeinsames Mittagessen mit Migranten.

Der nächste Schritt unserer Arbeit war die Vorbereitung und Verwirklichung einer Aktion in der Stadt. In drei Gruppen stellten wir danach unsere Ideen dar. Auf dem Hauptplatz Pontevedras sprachen wir mit Leuten über die Toleranz, Weltoffenheit und Empathie. Die gleiche Aktion werden wir in diesem Monat auch in unseren Heimatländern organisieren und durchführen. Durch das Projekt „Buildung peace through inclusion“ lernten wir sehr viel und wollen unsere gemeinsame Ideen weiter realisieren und mit unseren Freunden teilen.

Die Ziele des Austausches wurden sicherlich erreicht, weil alle Teilnehmern/-innen sehr motiviert waren. Außerdem wurde die Teambildung sehr gut organisiert, so dass wir uns  schnell kennenlernten und befreundeten. Wir zeigten auch interaktive Präsentationen über unsere Länder, bereiteten nationales Essen vor und lernten sogar die nationalen Tänze und Lieder.

Im Alltag hat man nicht immer die Möglichkeit, sich mit aktuellen gesellschaftlichen Problemen zu beschäftigen. Die Arbeit in einem internationalen Team in Spanien zeigte mir, wie wichtig und einfach zugleich ist einen Beitrag zu unserer gemeinsamen Zukunft in Europa zu leisten. Wenn jeder Mensch ein bisschen Zeit, Motivation und Hilfsbereitschaft für die anderen Menschen hätte, dann wäre unsere Welt viel besser und soziale Probleme hätten sich leichter lösen lassen. Daher möchte ich danke an meine Sendungsorganisation Jubuk und die Organisatorin Natalia für diese Möglichkeit sagen. Solche Projekte sind sehr wichtig für aktive Jugend und ich möchte mich für weitere Projekte in Deutschland und in anderen europäischen Ländern engagieren.

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„ID: Human“ 

Training Course in Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece, March 2018

Ihno:

„The Human Rights are one of the most valuable goods we have in our world.“
Sentences like this are omnipresent in our daily life but in times of war and insecurities those values are even harder to protect.
Therefore I decided to take part in a workshop called „ID:Human“ encouraged by the Erasmus+program on Crete. People of nine different countries came together to learn more about the Human Rights in general and to find out how others cope with topics like the refugee crisis, racism, social disparities, etc.
Everyday was very structured by a nine day schedule. So we had roleplays, groupwork and discussions but also lots of fun and free time. During the day there was always time to talk with each other and to share thoughts or just to hang around and to enjoy the beautiful island.
In the evenings when „work“ was over we often stayed up till midnight and played, laughed and had some drinks together.
All in all I can highly recommend everyone to participate in a program like this and wish everyone a lot of fun!“
Alexandra:
Due the time of the 20.03.18 till 29.03.18 the training course „ID human“ tooked place in Agios Nikolaos, Crete.Young people from whole Europe came together to debate, discuss, face problems, find solutions and of course to have a good time playing and having fun together.I was really surprised by the lovely and kind people i met there and after a short period of time a really good group dynamic was built.

The trainers were also very kind and motivated. The trainig sessions were structured, intensiv and they give enough input for a lot of discussions. We were most of the time in the training room, because of the not so good weather situation somedays. But we also had a few days with tasks, we were supposed to go to the beautiful city centre and to talk with local people.

The only maybe not so positive thing is, that sometimes the debates were really emotional, without any verifiable arguments. But of course it is hard not to become emotional with such a difficult topic like the refugee crisis.

Anyway it was a really nice experience! The place is really beautiful with the turqouise sea and the mountains in the horizon. All people I met, the Youth Workers and the locals, were verry friendly and open-mindet. I gained new opinions, a bigger knowledge about the topic human rights and refugees, new friends and more life experience. I would defenitly joined such a training course including cultural exchange a lot of times more and I recommend those projects to everyone!

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“Worlwide Business and Enterpreneurship“

Youth Exchange in Kvareli, Georgia. February – March, 2018

Ivan:

Vom 28. Februar bis zum 6. März hat in Kvareli, Georgien das Projekt ,,Worldwide Business & Young Entrepreneurs“ stattgefunden. Das Projekt hat junge Menschen aus Deutschland, Estland, Island und Georgien zusammengeführt und deren unternehmerischen Fähigkeiten auf die Probe gestellt. Im Kern haben die Sitzungen folgende Themen behandelt: unternehmerische Eigenschaften, Unternehmenskultur in den Teilnähmerländern, Erstellung einer Website, Rechtsformen und Erfolgsmodelle von internationalen Unternehmern – verbunden mit Spaß und Kreativität. Die Stadt mit knapp 8000 Einwohnern, Kvareli, gehört zur Region Kachetien und ist Produktionsort für Wein und Weinbrand. Die Luft ist hier im Gegensatz zur Hauptstadt sehr rein und das Klima mild. Während des Projektes haben wir einen ganzen Tag in der Hauptstadt Georgiens, Tbilisi, verbracht – im Vordergrund stand der Besuch im Tech Park Georgia, eine Art georgisches “Silicon Valley”, wobei wir herumgeführt wurden und mit der georgischen Technologie & Startup Szene vertraut gemacht wurden. Ebenfalls hat das Projekt, auch abgesehen vom theoretischen Teil, sehr positive Eindrücke hinterlassen, die von der zauberhaften Landschaft, Küche und Kultur begünstigt wurden. Zusammenfassend ist Georgien ein wunderbares, gastfreundliches Land mit reicher Kultur und Landschaft, welches empfohlen wird (insbesondere im Sommer) zu besuchen.

Alina: 

I spent a week in Kvareli, Georgia for participating on the „Worldwide Business and Entrepreneurship“ meeting. I arrived on February 28th in the late evening at the airport in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. I took the bus to the city center and got into another bus who drove me to Kvareli. The drive was around two hours and I met lots of nice Georgians on my way, trying to help me to get to the right hotel where we met each other. Even if most of the people were not speaking english, they still have been very helpful and friendly.
There are participants from Georgia, Estonia, Iceland and Germany. The intercultural exchange was super interesting. Especially cause the georgian, estonian and icelandic guys were still teenagers/youth and the germans were all in the early/mid twenties. All of them were acting and like adults, very impressive. It was an interesting and fun week. It was my first Erasmus + program and I´ll definitively participate on other programs in the future.
Now I´d love to tell you something about the structure of our project. March 1st was our first working day. We did some games and energizers to get to know each other. After that Birgit introduced the Erasmus + Project. In the following days we had a workshop about entrepreneurship and the differences in countries and cultures, a cultural evening, a workshop about creating a website, a dissertation about human resources and an excursion to an organization who supports Startups.
We aslo made a trip to the capital Tbilisi. We visited the startup organization and had some free time. So we were eating in an traditional georgian restaurant and explored the city. We had some free time on our last day too. So we made a trip to a lake. It was so nice relaxing at the lake.
The project was well organized. I can highly recommend visiting Georgia and to participate in a Youth Exchange program.

 

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„#yeshumanity“

Training Course in Puerto de la Cruz, Spain, March 2018

Dave, Josie, Saria, Natalia: 

The training course „#YesHumanity“ took place in Puerto de la Cruz between 04.03 – 17.03.18 and realised by Asociación P.O.D., gave us the possibility to gain knowledge about non-formal-education-methods such as “photovoice”, “human library” and “forum theatre”. The main goal of the project was to raise awareness about human-right-violations as well as to give the participants the tools and the courage to stand up against discrimination.

Puerto de la Cruz is located in north of Tenerife, and it is one of the Canarias islands. The host association Associacion Para la Participacion, Oportunidad y Desarrollo (P.O.D.) saluted the participants from Spain, Greece, Germany, Croatia and Italy.

Forum Theatre is a method that you can use to discuss problems in a community. For that, you do re