Autor: Nina Bianca Dohr

YOUnique from another point of view

“Younique” – Diving into a new realityFrom the 05.09. – 14.09.2019, I and 23 other people from eight countries took part in an Erasmus+ trainings course called “Younique”. As the title of the training already tells, it was all about how to find your own uniqueness and how to help others finding theirs. The great thing with Erasmus+ is that everything you do is interactive – it´s based on non-formal-learning and for me it´s just so much more rewarding being part of a non-formal-learning environment than being cramped into a formal-learning system.

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Training course „YOUnique“ – Grafenbach/Austria

From the 5th until 14th of September wEUnite, together with partner organizations from Spain,
Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece and Lithuania organized a training course all around the topic of uniqueness and authenticity in Grafenbach/Austria. Through many non-formal and experiential methods in different environments, the 27 youth workers first got to know themselves better and then found ways to use the tools and methods in their youth work to help young people be more happy with their (yo)unique selves.

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Partnership Building Activity – The Butterfly Effect

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.

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„Re:Sound“ from another point of view

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

Youth Exchange „Re:Sound“ – Neumarkt/Austria

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. 
 

Artistic Night: On one of those evenings, each participant was given 3 minutes to present their authentic self to the group in whichever way he/she wished. At first, the task troubled some of us as we tried to determine how best to express something so complex in just 3 minutes and with limited preparation time. When the time came, each of us had some sort of performance prepared but at the moment of delivery, a lot of us decided to improvise a bit as well and through that, show another part of ourselves- perhaps a more guarded part of ourselves. Some participants chose to express their true selves through a song, a dance, or by reciting a poem; others gave us a glimpse of their innermost selves by telling us what the world was like through their eyes at that very moment. On the other hand, some participants chose to sit in front of the group and to not say nor do anything at all- nothing at all except feel the energy of the group and the way in which we connect with one another. A few participants chose to present to us something that I can only describe as the true definition of sublimation: converting our innermost complexities and impulses into a type of art. By the end of the evening, the bond between us grew deeper and stronger. Probably because we witnessed an unexpected degree of authenticity because we had exposed ourselves and been accepted exactly as we are. It was truly inspiring to see how each person chose their own unique way of expressing his/herself, and that despite our individuality we could still understand, relate to, and connect with what was being expressed.

I think I speak for the whole group when I say that we were fortunate to partake in a project that not

only had all the essential ingredients that make up a wonderful experience (e.g. delicious home-made food, a great venue surrounded by green lushness and snowy mountain peaks), but also passionate organizers who very tangibly put their heads & hearts into the creation and implementation of the project. We witnessed the humbling beauty of what happens when a group of people chooses openness & authenticity and embraces the entirety of an experience.

Yours,
Andrea Allmayer