Every project of the Erasmus+ program that I have realized for my Volunteers Centre Skopje had a certain challenge for me, to push the boundaries even more. And every participant I met had influenced my life so far, not only professionally, to learn about different culture but to discover something new about myself. That`s why I`m always enthusiastic when there`s opportunity to learn new skills and develope competences.
December 2016. Preparing myself for departure toBusteni, Romania on a project with intriguing title: What if? That would be a training course about risks management related to the projects. I needed to broaden my knowledge in this field and a reason more to visit again my favorite little place in the Carpathian Mountains, equally beautiful in all seasons of the year, and my friend Tolea who always delivers top quality projects in the Erasmus+ program.The enthusiasm is rising also because my dear friend and great collaborator Maja is on board with me. Actually we knew each other only for a month but we realized a great training course together in Croatia and since then our cooperation and support to each other is enormous.
Last coordination with our organization, the Volunteers Centre Skopje and we are on the road again, talking about strategies and sharing experiences with Maja, enjoying the scenery and the sights the trip has provided for us. And late in the evening we are there, in the Carpathian Mountains, experiencing the charm of the snow for the first time this year. I lead the way that I already knew to our venue. The teams are almost completed. Short evening intro and tomorrow we start.
The first day everyone is enthusiastic and motivated to meet new friends, collaborators, future partners: 16 countries per 2 participants plus 5 experts, experienced participants, more or less and everybody`s trying to give contribution to the group work. The group dynamic is high all the time during this week. We are working hard within our tight schedule but not forgetting to smile, have fun and ask questions through all the methods of non-formal education: presentation, debates, team building, role play theatre, indoors as well as outdoors activities, intercultural group work. We got deeply into the topic: risks assessment and management. We learned and discovered so many new tips and skills to implement to make our future projects more successful and easy to handle. Working in mixed groups from the morning till the evening sessions we brainstormed and created outcomes to help us in our work as well as toolkit for others youth worker, coordinators and managers. The intercultural evenings with traditional food, beverages and dances just strengthen our awareness for the differences and similarities. And of course, the cultural visit of the castles in Sinaia, Bran and the city of Brasov also distinguish our strong team spirit we created and cherished during this training. I`ve neither forgotten the old friendships: my dearest friend Giulia from a previous project visited me there just to remind me of the old times and how Erasmus+ can connect people through this kind of projects.
We are getting close to the end so it`s time for the evaluations, sharing memories and impressions and ideas to make another projects so we can work again together. As the Christmas time was just a week away, our facilitator Tolea prepared a pre-Christmas party for the group with Santa delivering presents for the participants. It was a great success and another opportunity to strengthen the team spirit. We were just amazed how the things were going on and on.
And again: time to go home, the departure day. Hugs, tears, emotions, exchange of presents and contacts, inviting friends to visit your country and promises to see each other again. As I took the hot seat back for home I tried to figure out what happened back there in Romania. I have learnt a lot on the topic as well the others, met amazing people and great friend just by hard and fun work we had, lead by the team spirit we created. I felt very strong emotions and connection with this people that even exceeded my regular expectations. My friend Tolea did it again: made an excellent project that connected participants` hearts on his own, unique way, as well as their competences and preferences to collaborate again. Like a new Shakespeare he put ahead of us an epic question: What if? A question that was powerful enough to motivate the participants to deliver such a results. And I think everybody was aware that has been a part of something big, something that has changed our perception and attitude. That`s how some people change the world: simply by changing themselves and spreading the word.
What if I didn`t accept the challenge? What if I didn`t come? Would I have been aware of such a beauty? Would I been so fulfilled and self-confident to go further?
What if? That`s a question that I should ask more often. That`s a question that pulls out of you the best answers…