“An Erasmus project is not just a week in your life but your life in a week.”
Recently, the team and I from Macedonia came back from a beautiful Erasmus experience. We were a part of the Youth Exchange “Marriage of Cultures” in Portugal, where we spent seven days full of friendship and fun but also getting to know the cultures of the participating countries. Our task was to present the wedding traditions of our country. Together with Muhamed, Andrijana, Simona, and Stojan, who were part of the team, we showed what a typical Macedonian wedding looks like with a touch of old traditional customs. We had the chance to see what it is like in the other countries that participated in the project, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Latvia, and of course, the hosts, Portugal. We were all surprised by other customs, but at the same time, we found lots of similarities.
Besides that, we contributed to the success of this project by developing our ideas on how cultural diversity can help our success and the success of our community. Through the activities that included team building, we improved our innovations and relationships, and most importantly, we got closer by sharing our own experiences, opinions, and knowledge. One of the organizers of this project, Vasko Joshevski, who helped us with preparations and arrival to Portugal and was excellent in leading the activities, told us one amazing sentence that completely describes this experience: “An Erasmus project is not just a week in your life but your life in a week.”
The team I spent that week with is a clutch of wonderful people who have become great friends and collaborators. I wanted each of them to share something about our adventure. I asked Muhamed which part of the project he enjoyed the most. Muhamed Enuz: The moment when I started meeting people from different backgrounds where everyone had something to share. Except for the many exciting wedding traditions I learned about, I enjoyed it when we worked in groups outside of our national team. The collaboration there was great. I also enjoyed the long nights we spent playing games and talking about life. We cared about each other, and I felt like we were one big family. This was Andrijana’s first experience with a Youth Exchange outside of Macedonia. What are her impressions? Andrijana Smiljkovska: Youth Exchanges are a priceless experience that widens our horizons. The chance to meet people from other countries and learn about their culture and lifestyle is of great importance. The exchange also allows us to fight against every type of prejudice and to understand that diversity is what unites us. I asked Stojan as our team leader, how the team functioned and progressed? Stojan Stojchevski: “Marriage of cultures” was a unique project with goals of outstanding importance, managed by young people from all around Europe who were unconditionally ready to make a difference.
Therefore, I am proud to say that the Macedonian team, of which I was a team leader, has shown exceptional interest in the topic and great understanding and appreciation of differences among the participants of over six nationalities and cultures. The Macedonian team has also demonstrated a significant expansion of their professional connections. It has established international links through which we can continue to work on spreading the project’s goals to the local communities. Simona shared a few words about what surprised her the most. Simona Fidanovska: The project was great. We were all included in the activities. The team dynamic is what surprised me the most because we were all working like we already knew each other and not like it was our first project together.