Youth Exchange „Can We Talk?“ – Grafenbach/Austria
From 22nd until 29th of August 2020 the youth exchange „Can We Talk?“ took place in Grafenbach/Carinthia. 24 young people from Austria, Hungary, Italy and Poland came together to explore the topic of communication and inclusion and learn about different cultures and much more. Covid-19 did challenge us, but we successfully implemented the project, with more regulations, but no problems after all!
Tobias, one of the Austrian participants, is sharing his experience. Enjoy reading!
Let´s be honest: If someone came to you and told you about a project where you can learn something about communication, what would you think? I would not be surprised if it was something like:“Yawn, boring!“
You got better things to do, right? What would change if you went to something like that for a week? And I’m totally serious by telling you: A LOT!
But let’s start at the very beginning. I heard about that project from my sister who passionately told me about her NGO called „wEUnite“ and the upcoming youth exchange „Can We Talk?“ Pretty cool name, huh? As it turned out the „EU“ in wEUnite really stood for the European Union – Why? Because 24 different people from four different countries in the EU had the chance to participate on that project, come together, improve their skills in English and have a great time. So I decided to write an application – that fortunately was accepted.
Few weeks later the journey began. And when the other participants arrived at the wooden youth hostel in Grafenbach I tried to talk to some of them. I mean, what else was I supposed to do on a project where everything was about communication? I really had no clue how much more Erasmus+ projects were. I was and still am a little introverted, but I tried to be as open as I could. Suprise, surprise: So were the others! And it was so, so much fun to talk to and with them. No matter if you wanted to talk about your hobbies or your favorite things, there was always someone listening to you. That’s what they came here for, in the end. And it was such a liberating feeling to talk about things you probably would never have talked about with your friends.
The project was intensified by the „Team“, the organizers, who implemented many workshops throughout the days. And I soon realised that they really tried to push you out of your comfort zone: We had to work with others as a group, trust each other blindfolded, create a presentation without notes in like 15 minutes (I screwed that one up) and much more. Of course, communicating was some sort of that, but it was way more. This project was about you: You and the others and just you at the same time.
You think you know yourself, right? So did I, but Erasmus+ helped me to make a self-discovery I wouldn’t have done without it. I got more and more creative, met a ton of inspiring people, gained a lot of self-confidence and felt just great after those 8 days. Because of that I highly recommend to give it a shot. Not just to learn something about communication, but to improve your English skills, get to know other people, do something as a team and most importantly: Get to know who you are. No, seriously: Who are you? After that experience I personally think I know the answer to that question better than I did before. And I really think you miss something if you don’t give that experience a try. So, what are you waiting for? Find out who you are!
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Many thanks to all participants, but especially to the Collegium Grafenbach and Willi Winkler, who made it possible for us to realize this youth exchange and supported us intensively during the last weeks of preparation. On behalf of the whole group, many thanks – without you we would have had to cancel the project.