The Butterfly effect was the name of a partnership building project that took I part in from the 25th of July until the 2nd of August. The project is a Training course which is organized by BetterMaking organization or BMO. 25 participants from Serbia, Greece, Germany Austria, Italy, Romania and Spain took part and all participants are involved directly or indirectly with youth work and Erasmus plus. The project took place in a small, quiet Town in lower Austria called Melk, which was great for both relaxation and productive work. The premise of the whole project is that the focus should be on building connections between the many existing NGOs rather than creating new ones.Read More
I met Nina during a training course in Czech Republic, after that I got to know her NGO, wEUnite, and seeing the great work they do with young people I decided that I really would have liked to cooperate with them, writing a youth exchange about personal expression through music and and free movement. When Nina accepted my proposal I was very happy and excited, and since then our cooperation started. I enjoyed the fact that everything went smooth thanks to Nina’s organizational skills and the great team Ari and Tommi. When finally we implemented our youth exchange in the amazing Austrian castle and we met the participants everything was different than my expectations, I felt overwhelmed by how much the group gave to the activity in terms of commitment, emotions, support and challenges. We held the space and people created the magic, I am really thankful to participants for sharing their unique creativity. Finally I am grateful to Nina, Tommi and Ari for being such a supportive team, always caring for each other and for sharing the same values that made this project so great. – Yours, Matte
I remember clearly the moment I arrived to the location of Re:Sound. A beautiful castle in the middle of the countryside. And I started imagining how it would be to deliver the project we had in our mind in that location: I pictured the group inside, the activities, the reflections. Meanwhile, my little, ordinary fears came up: will the group feel motivated and involved? Will they find the activities inspirational, as we pictured in our mind?
Well… As the group arrived, and I saw all the people together in the accommodation… these little thoughts vanished, and creation started.
Re:Sound made me understand how a project is created by participants, by the group itself. Even though I had my plans, my activity proposal in mind… It is incredible how they get shaped according to the people who are living it. I realized how the contribution of everyone leads to the creation of something unique and beautiful.
After this project, I am happy to say that Youth Exchanges are a beautiful opportunity of creation of space for exchange of ideas, thoughts, openness, personal and professional growth. I am amazed by the fact that, even though from a coordinating perspective, I lived the activities discovering new things of myself, that will guide me to create my path here back home.
Moreover, I am very thankful to the team, who taught me the importance of cooperation, mutual support and, most of all, care.
Finally, after Re:Sound I am even more in love with what I do, my job and my personal live. I am looking forward to creating new opportunities for inspiring self-expression and self-consciousness through music. – Yours, Ari
Some months ago Matteo asked if we should do a project together, a youth exchange all around music, and he didn’t need a long time to convince me. We had video conferences with Tommi, Arianna, Matteo and me discussing how to do what, when, where…
When the project was approved we got excited and started preparing everything right away. And I remember checking out the castle, our project venue. Immediately I started to imagine a group of people coming there, working together, exchanging ideas and creating something together.
Arriving in Neumarkt a day before the project started the building was already filled with laughs and ideas by an amazing team – who put a lot of thoughts, passion and positive vibes into the project. We finalized flipcharts, timetables, and had the chance to get to know each other in real life. Time went by too fast and I started to think whether everything is prepared or not. „Do we have a rough outline and plan? When do we pick up the luggage? Will everyone arrive safely? What if someone misses their train? Are there enough snacks for the arrival and welcoming of our participants? How should I ever remember so many new names? Did we plan enough activities? Will they like the project?“ – these where just some of the questions that stuck in my mind for the last hours before Re:Sound started.
Looking back I am glad how smooth everything went and I am glad that Matteo convinced me to host this amazing youth exchange. 35 people from 7 different countries created 5 songs in only 1 day. Many new ideas for future projects were shared and new cooperations were established. Throughout the few days I gained new knowledge, experienced a lovely learning atmosphere, improved some skills and made new friends. It is incredible that it is already a month ago that we met, and I am glad that so many applied for this project and decided to take part in it!
Thank you Matteo for writing and implementing the project with Arianna, thank you Tommi for catching all the moments with your camera and creating daily videos for us 🙂 Once again I realized that this kind of work is fulfilling, joyful and worth it! THANK YOU to everyone who was part of Re:Sound. – Yours, Nina
Re:Sound has been to me the first time I’ve found myself immersed in a new and yet so smooth working team. Since the first hours we spent all together preparing the material and adjusting the activities for the upcoming participants, I felt immediately surprised by how easy we understood each other and how fast we connected. I believe this is the core of the Erasmus+ experience, building immediately strong bonds with people across Europe, even though you might have nothing in common at first, you know you definitely share the same inclusive, open and curios Europian values. And that, at Re:Sound, has been to me the beautiful starting point for a new, powerful and meaningful relationship, in which I’ve found a professional coworker, and a dear dear friend. Thank you Nina. – Yours, Tommi
From the 12th until 18th of May 2019, 35 young Europeans gathered at the Castle Forchenstein
(Europaburg) in Neumarkt in Styria, Austria for Re:Sound, an ERASMUS+ project about self-expression through music, movement, and connection with ourselves, our surroundings, and one another.
During the day, we devised choreographies, we re-created sounds using recycled instruments, we produced and recorded songs that were conceived in the matter of hours; we improvised… a lot; we experimented, we pushed our boundaries, and through all this, we grew. Apart from teaching each other the folkloric dances of our respective cultures, in the evenings we would also exchange stories, share our feelings and experiences, and gradually discover how much we all have in common.
Throughout the week were challenged with different activities which helped us to expand our comfort zone and to think out the box. We started with team building activities in order to build trust and to improve our cooperation in the group. Every day we could prove ourselves in impro theatre activities which got more and more challenging. We spend the evenings discovering our cultural differences and similarities. We presented our countries in groups and we also organised the “Eurovision Night Palmse” in which we performed songs from each other’s countries.
In our free time, we discovered beautiful Palmse and especially plenty of snow which covered the Lahemaa National Park. Moreover, we had the opportunity to enjoy the typical Estonian sauna.
The whole programme was preparing us for the “TEDx Palmse” which took place at the end of the week. Each of us could deliver a short speech about a topic of our choice in front of the whole group and could receive helpful feedback. Throughout the week, our learning process was supported by daily reflection groups. We also receive input about the key competencies and the Youthpass which we could complete at the end of this week. We also learned a lot about the Erasmus plus and opportunities in Europe and even proved our knowledge in a quiz.
All told, the time passed so quickly and it was time to go home again. We left with a lot of wonderful experiences, reflections, memories, new friends and even some presents from Santa.
My expectations before the project:
Before I came to this project I had no idea what is improvisation about. We had some funny exercises, where we had to do spontaneous role plays with fictional speeches. I really enjoyed it, because I never had this kind of improvising in my life before. After the project I was more comfortable with things like improvising, getting out of my comfort zone and my public speaking skills increased!
What I have learned:
Before we started with improvisation and the main part of this project, we first focused on getting to know each other and strengthening our group with different team building exercises and games. Because there were people of different ages from five different nations I learned more about them, their dreams and important things in life, which was really inspiring and could let me see life from other perspectives. During these days I also learned more about traditions and behaviour of people from other countries, to be more open for other peoples stories and their way of thinking. Another great experience was that this project showed me again, that culture and language are no barrier to making friends and how easy and beautiful it can be to connect with people who are from different countries. Therefore a big part for me was improving my cultural awareness. To be able to spend a week with many people together in harmony, I noticed how important it is to be respectful and selfless and to go through the day with a collective consciousness and its associated actions.
The improvisation exercises gave the opportunity to leave the personal comfort zone and to notice that there is nothing wrong with what a person can contribute. Improvisation lets you be creative in a wilder form where you have the chance to impress your thoughts and feelings. Although I didn’t feel as comfortable as I wished with these exercises, in the beginning, it became easier for me over time and I felt more self-confident as well. I learned the importance of being able to think and act spontaneous – no matter if it is during these exercises or in normal life. I experienced how great it can be to not overthink something and to just go with the flow.
Furthermore, I became more relaxed when I had to present myself in front of a group of other people in what way I could improve my presentation skills as well.
The most important thing is that during this whole week I have learned more about my strengths but also weaknesses and my dreams and goals I want to achieve in life – and not to forget, that you shouldn’t take life too seriously!
My magical moment:
There were so many special moments during the whole week that it is hard to decide on one. However, I think the final TEDx-speeches we did on a second-to-last evening were definitely a magic moment for everyone. The whole week led up to that moment: day by day and step by step we increased our self-confidence so that eventually speaking in front of the whole group was not as scary anymore as it seemed to us the moment we heard about the fact that we had to do such a speech at the beginning of the week. Of course, I was still nervous but the atmosphere in the group was very welcoming and encouraging and making mistakes was okay.
I was the first one to speak (it was decided by drawing a card who would have to speak when). At first, I didn’t like the idea but eventually, it was great because then I could listen to what all the others had to say with full attention and without worrying about my own speech. It was a great experience! Everyone did it differently: Some people told very personal stories, others were very creative or showed their knowledge in certain areas. After the speeches, I was so proud of myself and all the others. The reflection we did as a group afterwards was very moving: you could see that they felt the same way. Everyone grew not only as an individual but also as a member of the group.
How I will apply the things I have learned:
As we learned a lot of things during this amazing week, I can apply various skills to my life. Because of all the activities and exercises we did, I am more comfortable with my public appearance. Now I know that I can handle unfamiliar and unplanned situations a lot better than before. I am more comfortable because of the feedback I received in Estonia. Not only this, but I am also more self-confident. I know that I can trust myself and my abilities, no matter what situation will come. I am a student at the University of Graz and I had to do a presentation the week after the Youth Exchange and I already could see that I developed new skills. I think that we cannot see the progress we made in Palmse to its full extent now, but I am pretty sure that with some time we will see that we learned even more than we had thought and that we can apply a lot of it or all of it in our daily and professional life.
I know for me personally that I can apply a lot to my life. I am going to be a teacher and I am sure that I need a lot of improvisation skills during my working life. The team who organised everything had some amazing activities I would like to implement in my teaching one day. Most of them are excellent for language teaching or team building, which is important for a classroom. But I can also apply these skills into my daily life. No matter what situation we get into, we always need improvisation. I cannot wait to see the full extent of what I learned during this week, but I already can see a lot of it.
Already excited to learn more about Erasmus+ and Improvisation?
Be prepared for our follow-up in Graz!
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!