Category Archive : lithuania

Youth exchange „If not you, then who?“ – Lithuania

From 18th until 25th of May we had the opportunity, thanks to our friends from the BetterMaking organization, to take part in the youth exchange entitled „If not you, then who?“ in Lithuania. Together with youngsters from Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary we worked on solidarity within Europe and how we can strengthen it.


Arriving at the venue we were warmly welcomed by the organizers, who immediately introduced us to Lithuania’s national sport (some even say it is their religion) Basketball. In a cozy atmosphere we gathered in the conference room for the first time to watch the game together and started to get to know each other a bit. After long journeys we got time to rest or have a walk in the area before the real start in the next morning.


The youth exchange took place in Riterio Krantas, there is no better way to describe this magic venue, organizers, programme and people than with the song from one of our first teambuilding activities, which says 

„Somewhere between the Europe, (the Europe) 

and the the Baltic Sea (the Baltic Sea)

There is a land of very (very, very, very)

Very beautiful beauty.“ 

In the first days we got to know each other, learnt to work together, trust each other and began to create friendships. From building spaghetti bridges, to pulling out the beetroot to being blind-folded and creating a perfect square we bonded and became a real team.
Another key element of the first day was the youthpass and Erasmus+. In groups of ‚oldies‘ and ’newbies‘ we explored why we are actually here and how we can proof what we have been doing once we come back home.

Throughout the week we worked on European solidarity and how we can become active ourselves to create a sense of community. Discussing relevant issues in national and international teams opened our eyes and increased intercultural knowledge and understanding. Already on the first day we knew that our big aim of the week will be to implement activities in a local highschool and to inform the students about Erasmus+, which is why we worked a lot on our speaking skills.


In the next days we gave speeches in different ways on European topics, discussed education in Oxford debates and created our own countries for a simulation game. In all those sessions we were supposed to work in small groups, but overall we had one big goal in common that we had to keep in mind. The simulation game clearly showed how Europe functions and how easy it is to drift off and forget about a common agreement and goal. Thanks to the game and the discussion afterwards we realized how relevant solidarity amongst our countries is and that we should always keep the bigger picture in mind. 


And because personal experience says more than any blogpost, there are also impressions of participants:

The project in Riterio Krantas was unbelievable. I think the most fascinating thing for me was the people that I have met and connected with there and who I can call friends now. Also the place was amazing the view and the nature you have there was incredible. (Ahmed)

This youth exchange was by far one of my best Erasmus+ project. Once again I learnt why I am staying in this Erasmus+ world. It was amazing to see all the effort, preparation and happiness from everyone throughout the week. There was a lot to learn from each session and I am more than grateful that I was part of this experience! (Nina) 

After many working days and party nights it was time for feedback, last letters and evaluation before we had to say good-bye again – or rather see you soon 🙂 

The project was intense, fun and created beautiful memories, learnings and future project-partnerships! Thank you Innoved Lietuva for organizing this amazing youth exchange!
Yours,

Nina



I like to move it, move it! Youth Exchange

This time wEUnite itself organized a project which took place in Vienna from the 15th until the 22nd of February 2018.

The main topic due to the title „I like to move it, move it“, was the impact of sports in personal daily life. A perfect fitting number of 25 participants from five countries (group of five per country) attended in the project. Besides of Austria with some German influence, also Poland, Italy, Lithuania and Estonia were on board.

Already before we met each other in person, a Facebook group was created along with assignments to get to know the other participants and an idea about the project as well as receiving information about the schedule and other essential stuff.




Move it, move.
I am going to start with our daily sport activities which began every mornging at 10:00 am after breakfast. Each day had another topic and they were built on each other. (01) The first day we did sports without movement and by ourselves. Jumping, stretching and sweating, all together but still alone. (02) The following day was about others and we had to choose a partner with whom we performed the given tasks. It was a lot of fun and together the exercises didn’t feel that hard. (03) The third day was about music. Up to now our sports activities were just accompanied by cheering and moaning, but that day our DJ (Antonio) provided good sounds. (04) On this day we were separated into five groups and had to fulfil several competitions – let the games begin. (05) Despite the forecast (snow and freezingly cold) we had a great walk to the city centre, like schoolkids divided into teams of two. Then we got an intense topic, like talking about love or what makes one happy/sad and after five minutes we had to switch partners. Thereby we again got to know other people better and we had great and meaningful conversations. (06) Again divided into groups we did a circle training with 6 stations. I cannot tell you how long three minutes can feel and how exhausting they can be. Just give it a try 😉 (07) The last day of the project was quite intense. Already before breakfast there were rumours about a hard workout. One and a half our later everyone broke down on the floor. Satisfied and filled with pure happiness. We all did a good job.

    

Hey buddy, hey what’s up.
On the very first day we had to choose a buddy who was from now on always by our side to support and help one another. During the program every participant set a personal goal and without my buddy I am not sure if I would have succeeded, but like that I did! I appreciated this concept very much and within days we became closer and closer. Additionally, there were five reflexion groups, each led by a team member, to talk about the daily experiences, problems and requests.

Yes, we can, yes I can!
I do not have enough time, I cannot do this, I am not good enough, et cetera…. There are so many excuses why we are hiding our light under a bushel. Throughout several aspects we learned to identify our excuses which stop us from doing what we want, reaching our goals and how to deal with them or even end them. Analysing your habits and excuses was quite intense and I will keep up doing it regularly and throwing them away. We are better than this. We can do anything we want. Just believe in you and put effort into reaching your dreams. 
Let’s just kill someone and grab a beer!
During our free-time we gathered together and played the well-known mafia game in the children area of the hostel lobby, went to grab some beers in a cozy bar around the corner, had funny as well as deep conversations, awesome live-music in the staircase and so much more. All in all, these intense days together brought a strong bondage in our group and to say goodbye at day 8 ways really hard. I cannot mention everything we did or describe the feeling you are going to have in such a project, or the impact it will have on you. Just one thing: DO IT, you will love it!

Yours, Anna

United We Win – Youth Exchange & Synergy Basic Program

United We Win – Time to play

wEUnite had the great pleasure to join the Synergy Basic training for the first time. The project called “United We Win – Time to play” gathered 30 participants from 5 different countries: Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy and Austria. From the 17th to the 27th of June, we learned about ourselves, group dynamics and the so called “WE”. Even though the project duration was just 11 days, wEUnite managed to create close friendships with people from around Europe.

See below personal statements by our participants about this project. 🙂

During the first part of the project we learned a lot about ourselves. Not only did we get input to different kind of methods on how to treat yourself well in everyday life, but also getting to know the rest of the participants was part within the first days.

Challenge after challenge our group started to become a unity. Different activities, so called processes, taught us how to work together. Building trust and train our communication skills and our perceptions was part of many activities on slacklines and in solving tricky challenges being blindfolded. Also dancing to the limit and watching our own movements and other movements excited every single participant.

Besides these activities, the project also focused a lot on self-development, on how to become an even better version of yourself and how to overcome the limits you set on for yourself. To do that we used techniques like visualization to face our fears, did performances on stage and did a lot of other tasks to get out of our comfort zone. We also used different kind of meditation methods to focus our mind, get clear visions and to get calm. Many processes were supported by music and motion.

Thank you L’Arca del blues and the Synergy network to let something so unique, beautiful and unbelievable happen! In the end, even with many doubts in between, we all had an amazing learning experience!

Finally, these are personal statements by our participants about the project and their experiences and learnings:

Magda:

Well, I’m honest: this project was quiet a challenge for me. I struggled with the trainers, the project and myself. The hardest part: having to trust in people I’ve never seen before. However this also became my biggest learning: sometimes you just have to let go & don’t think for a moment. I’m still not completely able to do that, but I’m a step further.   Apart from that: this was an amazing Adventure, with ups & downs, with tears & laughters, with foreigners becoming friends ❤

Manuel:

Coming back feels unreal. The world is still the same, but I am not. In terms of self-development, the activities during these 10 days brought a lot to me. I experienced a new level of trust and care, faced many fears and took inside-out approaches to connect to people in a quick and honest way. I have a new perspective on people now in general and my communication, understanding, listening and speaking abilities are renewed and improved. With that, I am able to better connect with (new) people and my beloved ones. I see people now as opportunities. I also learned to be more honest to myself and to others and to see my needs and wants in life. With a clear vision in mind I am going to make my own way. I see fears as friends of mine, I accept them to be with me and still take the next step to go where I wanna be. Big thanks to Fabiano, the co-trainers and all participants for making this project so successful for me and for teaching me things I can not learn in school or university! This project brought more joy to my life! I will share the light of joyfulness with the world!

Matthias:

This training taught me many things about myself and let me see my own priorities in life more clearly. I learned how to deal with the unknown, be it people or situations, and I believe I am more able to recognize opportunities because of it. It was important for me that I didn’t only learn these things intellectually but to have actually gained experiences that helped to internalize these learnings. 

Nina:

United We Win – what a beautiful title for an Erasmus+ project. When I first read it, it didn’t sound any different than my previous projects, but it turned out to be a completely new, unexpected and incredible experience. Having been in Italy for 10 days I had the chance to explore and be part of a Synergy basic training. Every now and then I had my doubts about the program and whether I can take something out for my own learning. Being back home for some days already I can honestly say that this project was one of the best ones I participated in. It changed my perception and empowered my self-confidence. United We Win also taught me that alone you will dream, but together, being united, you can make your dreams become reality. If any of you, my beloved readers of this blog, ever have the opportunity to take part in a Synergy basic training – please, please take the chance and go for it 🙂 I promise, you won’t regret it! 

Pato:

This project was unique in every kind of way. Normally I’d say that friendship and intercultural exchange is the the best part about Erasmus+ Projects. But this time was different. I learned so much about me through others. Sometimes there was no dialogue needed. Sometimes you had to look at things from a completely other point of view in order to deal with it properly. So friendship was still made, but in a completely new and different way. I learned to accept every single participant as he/she is and I would definitely host them in Vienna any time they can come for a visit. They changed me. Thank you synchro for this incredible and undescribable experience.

– Pato, Manuel, Nina, Matthias, Magda

Music makes feelings – Rijeka

From 3rduntil 9th of March wEUnite had the pleasure to take part in the second part of the Youth Exchange “I feel good” which was called “Music Makes Feelings” organized by Syncro Synergy Croatia. As the title already says, the participants explored their experiences and feelings about all that has to do with music while being in the beautiful city of Rijeka. Pato, Tini, two Manuels, Marion and Nina started their journey to Croatia with lots of motivation and enthusiasm. And they came back happy and with many new songs stuck in their head! 

The first day started with great teambuilding activities in the sun. After finding all the seven dragon balls the participants could make a wish. They chose Karaoke, and magically, their wish was granted later that week!
Apart from nightly jam sessions and cool activities in the hostel, the participants got the chance go to the city as a group. Half of them visited RiRock, an organisation that helps to connect youngsters with music through music lessons and providing them with places where they can practise, and the other half Radio Rijeka. Both trips were really interesting and everyone was happy sharing their impressions later in the big group.
Another great experience was the flashmob that took place in the centre of Rijeka. It started with everyone standing frozen on a spot and then being “defrosted” by the tunes of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” played on the clarinet. The joyful atmosphere was enhanced by the sunny weather, and later everyone gathered for a picture.
During “I feel good” the participants did not only learn about music and feelings, but also about different countries and cultures, numerous languages, their personal strengths and weaknesses (enhanced by acting out all Youthpass key competences during the city rally in Rijeka), the idea behind those Erasmus+ projects, and most importantly: they made friends. Spending a whole week with 30 people from officially 5 (but really more) different nations makes you see the world from different angles and understand opinions that differ from yours. You learn so much about others but also about yourself and your country as you talk about all the similarities and differences in your free time. (Which was always a lot of fun, as you can see on the pictures below).

Now each member of the Austrian team will share their thoughts on the Youth Exchange:

Nina:

Music makes feelings – what a beautiful title for an amazing youth exchange. Being in Rijeka again with many people I had the pleasure to meet before and also lots of new faces was simply great! Never have I seen a group of strangers grew together to such a strong team this fast. Having been part of it makes me feel proud. This experience and all the memories will stay with me for a very long time 🙂

Tini:

It’s hard to describe this week in just a few sentences. I learned a lot about myself and experienced what it is like to be dragged out of my comfort zone right into the stress zone. But life starts where the comfort zone ends. I’m very thankful that I got the opportunity to improve myself and got inspired to try new things that used to scare me. This week in Croatia made me a better person 🙂

Marion:

This was only my second Youth Exchange, but I could feel from the beginning that we all would have a great time together. Our group dynamic was just so purely friendly and full of positive energy. When thinking about it now, I feel really grateful to have been part of it and to have shared happy and sad feelings with such wonderful people.

Pato:

This YE was something very special. I think it was one of the greatest experiences that I could have ever had. Creating music out of nothing with people who are unique in every different way you can imagine. Starting from the first day on we all shared a deep connection together. It was being open-hearted and open-minded. In fact, it didn’t take us a day to learn all those names by heart just because we were so different. Some played an instrument, some didn’t. Some had their funny dance workshops some had their own private time with a companion at the seaside. And everybody was still part of this amazing group. We were one big amount of kindness and amazingness.

Manuel E.:

Never have I ever … felt so emotional on a project. This Youth Exchange was not only interesting or just a good idea. It was timeless and sometimes breathtaking. Now I know that music truly makes feelings. 

Manuel G.:

After this project I really believe that “Music Makes Feelings”. Within this awesome week with so many great and lovely people, I learned and experienced a lot that helped me to grow once more. I feel so much better, so much more motivated and so much more positive than ever before. I am still overwhelmed by all these wonderful memories in my head. A big thanks and a lot of hugs to every single one of you! You made this project very special to me!

Punch the routine – I feel good!

From 3rduntil 11th of November wEUnite had the pleasure to take part in the Youth Exchange “I feel good” which was organized by Syncro Synergy Croatia. As the title already says, the participants punched their daily routines while being in the beautiful city of Rijeka. Alex, Bartek, Konrad, Manuel, Marion and Nina started their journey to Croatia with lots of motivation to do sports and experience a different, healthy lifestyle – as those were the main themes of the exchange. And they came back with an even higher level of motivation!

Directly after arriving, the team decided to explore the hostel’s
surroundings – as you can see it was breathtakingly beautiful and the weather made the view even more perfect!



With such an amazing view and the welcoming atmosphere, it wasn’t even that hard to get up for Yoga, which started at 7am, the next morning. After having tried out a new sport early

in the morning, there was breakfast and free time until 10am every day. And because all participants were very active and keen on sports (that’s why they chose to take part in this project) there was another sport session from 10-11am each day. Right after the workout all participants had time to write down their feelings and thoughts about the sport activity in their personal sports diaries. Using this tool was new to nearly everyone and seemed strange in the beginning but gave positive energy at the end of the exchange while reading how one’s fitness level and attitude towards sport can change within only a few days.

During “I feel good” the participants did not only learn about healthy lifestyle and sports, but also about different countries and cultures, numerous languages, their personal strengths and weaknesses (enhanced by ‘finding’ all Youthpass key competences during the city rally in Rijeka), the idea behind those Erasmus+ projects, and most importantly: they made friends. Spending a whole week with 30 people from officially 5 (but really 7) different nations

makes you see the world from different angles and understand opinions that differ from yours. You learn so much about others but also about yourself and your country as you talk about all the similarities and differences in your free time. (Which was always a lot of fun, as you can see on the pictures below).





For most Austrian participants this Youth Exchange was the very first Erasmus+ project but definitely not the last 🙂 They all agree that this week was fabulous due to the big variety in the program, the mixture of nationalities, the unexpectedly minute-to-minute changing weather and mostly because they learned in a way that was unusual to what they were used to from university. Non-formal and informal learning was the biggest punch in the Austrians’ daily routine and they will miss it. By the vast amount of hands-on activities and creative tasks throughout the week they learned without having to sit down and study. Having had extremely well-prepared organizers and facilitators all the team realized how easy it can be to feel better and feel good with just little changes in their daily lives.



And what they said right after coming back home from Rijeka:

“Really nice, new experience and a lot of fun!” (Konrad)


“This week in Rijeka was an unforgettable, pleasant experience for my body and my soul that I would not want to miss. :)” (Manuel)

“I really enjoyed the week and I am happy that I learned so many new things.” (Alex)

“Definitely one of the best projects I’ve been to, where I’ve learnt numerous useful things for my future!” (Nina)

“It was great to do so many different activities and having a good time together.” (Marion)

“I really liked the sport activities and that I could push my limits a bit further.” (Bartek)


Big thanks once again from wEUnite, Alex, Bartek, Konrad, Manuel, Marion and Nina to Syncro Synergy Croatia for this great Youth Exchange! See you soon 🙂