Youth Exchange LevelUp! – More impressions
If I have to put in summary my feelings towards the project – I have to say that I truly loved every single bit of it. Day by day we became closer and friendlier by doing group activities indoors and outdoors. Each day we got to know more and more about each other, we learned to trust each other and work together as a group. We started to become one. From complete strangers at day 1 to close friends at the end of this journey. And I loved to observe how each person got more confident as days went by.
I think my favorite thing was our first calling song. Some got tired of it, because it was repetitive, but at the end we were even learning the dance together. Looked like everyone enjoyed it in the end. That, in my point of view, seemed very cool to me. I also liked learning traditional dances of two countries. Not to mention that we put all that together in a flash mob. I also liked learning a thing or two about each country, and also learning a few phrases in each language. But the best memory will probably be the free morning we were given. Waking up at 5 just to go to the mountains – at least that was the plan. But in reality we just wandered around the city with no real destination. Ended up even going out of Trofaiach. But it was a good experience – we saw beautiful places, had wise and mind opening conversations, and at the end we still got back to our beautiful castle. Plus I found out that people keep swans as their pets… What’s up with that? 😀
I really cannot recall anything that I didn’t like from this project. Each activity was enjoyable, food was good, Trofaiach was and still is breathtakingly beautiful and people were super nice.
It is still taking me some time to get back to reality. It is weird to wake up but not being able to see everyone each morning. I’m super glad I had the chance to participate in this project.
Kairi (Estonia): When i heard about the project and about the topic i was already interested…“Level up“that has to do with GAMES!! what a dream for me. And i don´t regret leaving my normal life for a week! I met new people and we played a lot. Sounds silly? well its not, thro games its so easy to learn, about the other cultures and people and also about yourself. We started as strangers but the week in Austria conected us somehow and we ended up trusting each other. Like a little big family. Thank you for this opurtunity!!!!
Austria, October ’18
So we were given a castle to live in, I mean a castle!!! With 2 rooms – one for boys & one for gals. Apparently we have very different idea about castles in Estonia, probably to do with the fact that we’ve next to none of ‚em… Nevertheless we found some new participants between the walls of that “castle” – there were Salaad & Ilyas welcoming us, cool guys originally from Somalia, but held high the Austrian flag this time. Our 1st task of many ahead – check in and other necessary bureaucratic procedures that they apparently do not lack in Austria…
Before the dinner there was still time for some sort of yoga related thing carried out by Giedrius, mainly focusing on breathing. Now that was carried out while laying on the floor & eyes closed, which was a formula that made some of us fall to sleep, including me. That whole thing wouldn’t be half as remarkable, hadn’t Julius introduced me with a quote by a fictional character called Ron Swanson, who after being asked by a medical worker, “Do you have any history of mental illness in your family?” he replayed with: “I have an uncle who does yoga…”
The night ended with a story telling performance that was kinda our homework. Although none of the groups seemed to have done their homework, the results were surprisingly good, specially the one performed by Miro, where they closed the lights and aimed a torch of some sort on him as he carried on with his story which was like a roller coaster ride with elements of tragic horrific events tied into elements of “joy” per se…
Day 3 started with a horrible surprise that came in a form of physical deformation of an eye of “the one who’s name shall not be said…” This truly effected all of us in a way, that is simply indescribable, but also raised an important question – is it infectious? Well, obviously it was too early to tell… Luckily we started with our program outside by various kinda activities involving ropes and blindfolds that really eased to deal with the previous shock… About the ropes though – as you can imagine, some enjoyed messing with ‚em materials more, some less – part of human nature, I guess… In the end though we managed to create a relatively artistic looking square as a team effort. The judges were no happy, we on the other hand couldn’t care less, as we were well happy & very much seemed to enjoy the whole process of lack of communication… Also what made matters easier to bear was that we could all blame Jahor, as he was standing in the middle guiding us. The blaming part over we all climbed, one-by-one, on the rocky thingy and free falled ourselves down from it, hoping that others would catch us. To my great surprise, they did… From that point on it was all rock ’n‘ roll, as we felt invincible – we’d gain trust within the group and for one another!
Day 4 started with much needed and waited free time. Although the weather had turned to worse, as if it tried to say to us:”Keep dreaming about climbing to ‚em mountains…” Apparently some of us didn’t listen and still had a go. Turned out that although ‚em mountains were pretty much everywhere, they weren’t as easy to reach as thought previously – whatta bomber!… Still I managed to see at least the local crave yard architecture and everything – amazing that was… After the lunch break we started with the “must have!” session of introducing Erasmus+ & Youthpass. So what did we learned from that you might ask? Well, about the 3 key actions obviously, about 8 key competences and about key… actually that’s where the keys stopped… But an important question sure was raised during that session – “Youthpass, good or bad? We no know!…” Lucky for us there was a surprise ahead of us after the dinner, as we had a quiz night. judges, as Marion & “The one who’s name shall not be said” sat behind a table with many questions prepared and gals behind one long table, boys behind another one – a bit sexist if you’d ask me, but I didn’t make ‚em rules… In the end that turned out to be an awesome test of knowledge about the Erasmus+ in general and just a joy to be apart.
Day 5 started with something, I’m sure, but not sure what that was… Most probably we still worked on that awesomely carried out flashmob of ours‘ or was that the day we got “screwed” by going to the “mountains” that actually just happened to be some chairs tied up with one another… I gotta admit – that was a terrible “surprise” as we were banging on about going for a hick to the mountains from the minute we got there, and that’s how our trust was betrayed… But at least it gave an opportunity for most of us to get really creative, as there was 20+ of us and thus we needed to have 20+ different methods to get around of that “mountain” – managed we did! I suppose that’s a clear example how “life’s a box of chocolate – you never know what you gonna get outta it…” sure thing, just happens that sometimes you get shit, excuse me French…
Till that point the group dynamic worked superbly already, there seemed to be no barriers between us anymore. I could go up to Deividas for a share of some Latvian jokes, talk with Elisa about Italian music, cause I’m a shy guy for asking ‘bout Caribbean dance instructions… hear about the difference between a feminist & a spear from Giedrius and ask Kristiana to check her 6th toe & join her with Gedrius for a quick tutorial of High School Musical dance – not that I ever did that, but I could’ve… share with Andrea yet another one of our amazingly motivational bathroom talks, pose with Jelena while trying to master the slavic squat to Miro while he was documenting the whole situation, try to nutmeg Salaad & Ilyas during a session of passing a ball – where as in reality the situation was quite the opposite and thus I’m using the wort “try…” be under a constant threat from Gerarda of being physically tortured – although I gotta admit, that somehow I started it all… have a random weird, but suspiciously normal for Estonians, eye contact “competitions” with Kairi & Kaido #EstoniansWeird… To hear some unspeakable jokes from Patricija, make Paula feel super uncomfortable without me saying a word in her presence, grow a nice respectful friendship with Emilia outta a weird one… trust Jahor in guiding us to right directions & photobomb while he was quit possibly shooting his new tinder profile picture, sing me song of the project “Why so serious” with Aiste in front of everyone & most importantly in our hearts, argue with Agnese about what is & what’s not art – arguably she knows better… hear out Julius first and then express his ideas in front of an audience to create a lot of laughs, boycott the better half of an activity with Nina and the rest of our group, as we found the critiques to be unfair and not fitting for us, hear Marion to tell me “Please Priit, we are starting, so please come to the room,” and me answering due to the High School Musical song – “I do not work with horrible music…” Addressing quite numerous times the elephant in the room for “The one who’s name shall not be said” & obviously sharing some quality talks, while taking a zip or two of Austrian national drink (read: Not Red Bull, which comes from Thailand by the way!!!) with me main man and our designated photographer Miro. And finally I managed to make Paola fall hopelessly in love with me – I’m sorry love, but it just weren’t meant to be… At least we could enjoy that one last night of fictive marriage the right way – only joy instead of tears…
…and finally by quoting Green Day “I hope You had the time of Your Life!…”
It was a pleasure to get to know You all and I do wish You the very Best in Life!
Dr. Priit out!