KeepCalm! – this was it

KeepCalm! – this was it

Keep Calm, an Erasmus+ Training Course which took place in Villach. This course was aimed at people, who wished to improve their knowledge on the topic – Conflict Resolution. This topic is an important one when it comes to Youth Work as well as any type of social work. The group began the meeting by getting to know each other. This was crucial, as they all needed to learn about one another so that they could improve their trust and teamwork. The participants spent time on cultural differences, which they all had but few of them were aware of it. Then the focus moved to understanding what exactly conflict is. Finding the

definition and causes of it, from that the group moved to learning and practicing methods of solving conflicts, focusing mostly on the skill of mediation. This skill was practiced with a number of activities, mainly role playing. During the entire meeting, the participants had free time to get to know each other as well as cultural evenings, during which they shared their own cultures. This had an amazing effect of letting people learn about foreign countries and the ways how they work as well as think. The meeting ended with group work part on preparing future plans part on attempting the Mission Impossible. The participants brainstormed ideas for what they could do together in the future. They came up with several ideas that were worth a try. The whole meeting ended with the Youthpass ceremony and a farewell party. The participants exchanged contact information and last warm words before leaving for home. This Training course was a great experience, which allowed all the participants and trainers to learn something new as well as to meet great people. 
(Krzysztof Bruzgul, Poland)

KeepCalm was the second project as a trainer and the fourth as organizer for me. Having experienced another week with new, amazing people definitely improved my social skills but also the way I work with groups. It showed me, once again, that we do learn lifelong and especially learn a lot from each other. This opportunity and the experience will stay in my memory for a long, long time and I hope to meet those great people again some day at different projects, at different places.
(Nina-Bianca Anranter, Austria)

I loved learning more about other countries, their culture, food, drink and even dances and games. It was also nice to get to tell others about my own country. My favorite has to be tasting all the food from all the cultural nights 🙂 And I am really glad that I experienced snow for the very first time!
(Ruth Grech, Malta)

During my semester break in February there has been my second one-week

project organized by wEUnite and it was great again. This time I expected it to be, because I saved some good vibes from last summer.  Again I got a lot of new friends and made some good experiences giving me energy for the next semester. Still there is always something different. I want to tell you about it: This time I knew mostly all nations better, because beside Malta the nations participating have been the same but not so the people. And this hit me the most. It wasn’t a bad hit, more an eye-opening one. I had to experience that people from the same nations can behave differently. Please don’t hang me up on this one but this seriously got me. I wanted to believe that people from the same region with the same history behind their nation behave similar but I got proven wrong. Last time I got the feeling that Polish people are very proud of their country and also their personal achievements but none of the polish participants substantiated my expectations. Also I thought that all

Estonians are more heavy drinkers than people from Austria but that didn’t seem to be right this time either. I could go one with this but I think everyone has to experience that wisdom on their own. Instead I want to tell you what I have mostly learned this time about culture: Sometimes you can apply certain stereotypes on people and groups of people. That certainly is ok as long as you are willing to give up on them, the first chance you get. To think in clichés can sometimes help you to cope with a situation even faster. Important is, that you recognize that you do and also that you are willing to change them if needed. If you do, you are allowing yourself to make the most out of you and all the awesome people around this planet. With this being said, I am already excited for the next project and for new awesome people that break my explorative stereotypes.          

                                         (Manuel Esberger, Austria)