Once upon a time, in a faraway place called the kingdom of Macedonia there were living 5 young very ambitious, curious, positive and know it all young fairies. So, they decided to check by the consult of the kingdom called Volunteers Centre Skopje – a place so small, yet so big by the warmth it produced, the love it gave and the opportunities it provided for many, many young fairies and trolls of the kingdom… To us, the kingdom offered an adventure in Romania…
Our journey started on December 4th 2019, when we arrived in Busteni. We were warmly welcomed by the facilitators and coldly welcomed by the weather, but we barely even noticed the temperature. There were so many other things to worry about! Whether we were going to fit in, who were we going to meet, what kind of activities we would do etc. The nervousness didn’t even last a day though. We immediately started getting to know each other. First we had a few short and funny activities, like name games, energizers, secret friend game (which lasted until the last day) and activities in order to meet everyone. One of them was extremely funny: we were given a paper with a name and our task was to find the person in one minute and draw their face. Considering the room had forty people in it, this was mildly hard, but I think that’s what made it so fun! These activities continued during our whole stay, evolving from short games to entertaining tasks and some well-known trust games.
In this project, however, the most common activities were the ones concerning recycling. When we think about the experience of the very first workshop we had in the youth exchange about trash and waste “From trash to cash” in the beautiful city of Busteni, the Macedonian team immediately fell in love with the warmth it produced and the love that was in the air. People from 8 countries gathered together in a small town, in a cozy warm pension called “Villa Cristina” whose owners were great to us with greater facilitators of the project. We have to give a thumb up to the very first workshop that brought us together and made us closer to each other. To be frank, we did not know each other. We had no idea who was who and which country was he/she representing. All we shared till then was morning coffee and a breakfast table. Maybe a “hello” or “good morning”, but you could feel the shyness around everyone. But still, all we knew was that we had a task and somehow we had to complete it. That very same day our facilitators gave us a task. A rather hard one, because firstly, no one wants to talk openly about the situation of waste in his/her country and secondly, they separated us from our comfort zone. Which turned out to be great. Why? Because we all got the chance to get out of our comfort zone and actually start talking to each other. Our task was simple: to create a collage (poster) explaining in a really short and clear way the recycling and waste situation in your country and other EU countries. So we shared some values, shared some information, shared lots and lots of fun and comfort around, some of us were online getting the right information/facts and some of us were the “moral support”, but even that counts.
Something we can not forget to mention is the touristic visit in Bran and Brasov. Ah yes, we’re sure you’ve all heard of Bran, the city which has the popular Dracula castle! As expected, we were very excited. With all those stories about Dracula and jokes about getting back safely, how wouldn’t we be excited! The journey was amazing, a lot of pictures were taken and we got back very tired, but richer with some wonderful memories.
All in all, the exchange definitely met our expectations and was as good as it could’ve been. We want to thank VCS for making this possible for us and of course, the Erasmus+ project. If you’re reading this and wondering whether to apply for the next exchange or not, we wholeheartedly advise you to do it! There are so many things we didn’t include here, such as intercultural nights, trying out new foods, the dancing, the foreign words we learned, the people we got close with etc. But at the end of the day, some things are so much more beautiful when you experience them, rather than just hear about them. This exchange was surely one of those journeys and all five of us are hoping to visit Romania again, someday in the future.