Throughout the years of experiencing Erasmus+ mobility, I met so many people, learnt different cultures, and made awesome friends and partners. Every single activity was a challenge itself and yet I cannot tell which one was the best. However, this experience in Poland certainly is one of my dearest: youth exchange called BOOST YOUR FUTURE in Nasutow near Lublin.
Well it`s been a while since my last Youth exchange participation but I`m glad that I was assigned to be a part of this one. It started one month previously, with the APV meeting of the leaders and coordinators to discuss the details, methods, share the tasks and responsibilities. Meeting point was the amazingly beautiful city of Lublin in Poland, with the possibility to explore it in all its glory. I had a lot of friends, partners and collaborators from this city and my excitement was high to visit them for the first time on their ground. Three countries involved-Poland, Spain and Macedonia, and the friendly, hardworking staff of our hosts-Sempre a Frente organization. We visited the venue in Nasutow nearby and all the spot in Lublin that were eye-catchy to present the final event planned.
The dates for the activity came very soon, in communication, selection and preparation of the participant team, planning the trip itself and national activities to be implemented on the spot. The whole trip to the venue was adventure itself as we have chosen to take a mini bus and travel more than 1600 km through several countries all the way to Poland, documenting with photos all the sceneries and landscapes, the diversity of various cities and countries, the situations and our reactions. Sun, clouds and the rain have changed several times as we switched the mountains for the flatlands and witnessed amazing October sunrises and sunsets.
Late in the evening, we arrived in Lublin, the office of Sempre a Frente and all together went around the city, the national groups, all together, shaking hands, introducing to each other, exchanging impressions. Just before midnight, we are again all together in our venue Nasutow, just outside Lublin.
The very next morning the magic started, magic that only Erasmus culture and experience can deliver: energizers and introducing activities, topic related workshops, informal gathering during the free time and evening social events. As we were getting closer to the main aim of these activities, the group had the chance to improve their knowledge and enhance their skills and competences, an excellent way to BOOST their future opportunities. We made several different role-plays and theater performances that were kind of preparation and rehearsal for the main event planned: public role-play in the center of Lublin with an active involvement of the local youngsters, to disseminate our efforts and knowledge gained during the youth exchange. Every time we performed there were costumes, make up and certain character involved in the scenario. The most important is that all the participants had fun and tried to give their best in their new role.
Finally the big day has come. Final preparations in the office of Sempre a Frente in Lublin, discussing the details, roles and the scenario, everybody`s got excited and into the role they should perform. Teamwork and cooperation is a must in preparing the outfits and make up. Geared up and ready we started a walking presentation all to way to the place of the event: the Lublin castle. Divided in small groups we occupied the stairs in front of the castle, from the bottom-up to the entrance platform, with different games and tasks for the local youth to participate and solve. The groups were so enthusiastic and deep into their characters, spreading the good vibes; I was surprised of the number of youngsters that took part in our event. The most important was that both, the locals and our groups enjoyed besides the input gained: the visitors on the project objectives, multiculturalism and common values, the participants how to deliver best results by attracting the attention of the visitors in their specific role.
All these happenings during the activity week also produced a strong impact on the participants in a form of friendship, positive influence, plans to meet again and cooperate on projects, even ESC volunteering plans. Last day as usual, all the groups are departing with hugs and tears. I had again more than 24 hours of trip with my team to reflect and discuss the experience that we have been through. They were more self-confident and satisfied with themselves,by the outcome of all challenges accepted, more emphatic and overwhelmed with emotions, information and good practices of the cultural exchange.
And me? Well I was also satisfied of the outcomes. My role as a youth worker, facilitator and storyteller starts right after all, when the curtain falls down.For me the question is how to sort out and wrap up the experiences, to “steal” the best practices and take them to the next level, upgrade them by using them in practical work in the future activities. Role Play games and activities are just a perfect way to be someone else, dive into someone`s else character. The costumes and the make-up are just instruments that facilitate the process of walking in other people`s shoes, how to approach, accept and deal with different challenges, in a manner that is different of our everyday way of thinking and understanding the World. I guess that`s how we can open up new perspectives in our lives and become more emphatic and open-minded.