Category Archive : self-development

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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Wider Horizons – Youth Exchange & Synergy Basic Program

Wider Horizons brought together 39 young people from Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Greece and Poland for the period of 10 days for the First Basic Synergy Training in Austria.

The first stage of the project took place in Villach Landskron, where the participants were familiarized with methods and techniques that lead to self-improvement and self-development. Each day was held under a different topic, which were “judgement”, “patterns”, “self-loyalty”, “spontaneity” and “opportunities”.

With this a deeper understanding of oneself as well as on the world around us, was created. While working on judgement, the participants learned that each person choses to perceive or ignore the things that happen around them. Perception is a strong and individual process that is influenced by the patterns a person follows. Following patterns is something that happens unconsciously, and to break them can have a more than positive result. For this, it is important to understand where the followed patterns come from. Through experiential learning and self-reflection the participants were able to learn to enjoy every process. By changing or controlling the focus, language and physiology, one can influence the state of oneself. The understanding that nobody makes us do things, but that only oneself is responsible for the actions taken, created many AHA-moments. 

The participants were familiarized with techniques and methods that can be of use in everyday life

situations. The purpose of Wider Horizons was “to create more successes in life while enjoying”. The second stage of Wider Horizons focused on applying the learned theory in real life. The participants got the chance to actively use the learned methods while experiencing Austrian culture. In this process, we experienced that in life, one should not ask “what are my limits” but rather “what can I create”! By taking actions and responsibility, every process can be enjoyable if you make it so.

Some testimonies of the participants that describe how they widened their horizons: 

„Not only, did i find out who I am and who I want to be, but further got a deeper understanding of the

patterns I follow in my everyday life.  I got in touch with my emotions and feelings and found new ways to deal with situations that put me out of my comfort zone. Leaving my “safe” environment and having to cope with scenarios that are particular and unknown to me, taught me that spontaneity can create an incredibly positive outcome, if I am committed. I realized that with a positive attitude and creativity I can achieve everything that I set my mind on and nothing can stop me to reach my goals.

„The aspects of self-reflection helped me to understand why I am who I am and what I need to do to live a happier and healthier life. By additionally interacting with other participants, I learned to change my point of view to widen my horizon. Through switching my perspective, I was able to work on issues that held me back, and take steps towards the right direction. I have become more active and got the new understanding, that I am responsible and capable of being the change I want to see in the world.“

„I feel like this project gave me a big opportunity to learn about myself. It was hard for me at
first but at one point I understood that it does not matter what our trainers were talking about,
it only matters what I want to get and take from it and this was a great feeling. We can learn
in every single situation no matter the surroundings.“

„All in all I really loved the experience,

I loved the people there, I loved the 
save, distanced

environment, is was an really awesome experience, that I would recommend to everyone.“

„This project made me to confront myself – my beliefs about myself and the others, my insecurities,
self-image, relationships with others. It made me get out of my comfort zone most of the times and
meet myself better. I became aware about parts of me I didn't even know were there. For the first time I think, I really had a courage to step out of my comfort zone, to take that next step I was often too afraid to take.“

„This program was exactly what I needed. I wanted to try something close to my interests and “Personal Development” was the best for the beginning in this kind of programs. I feel absolutely satisfied with my choice of participating in this project. I met some nice people from other cultures. I have improved my communication skills in an international level. I realized how important is to be fluent in English. I learned to share my thoughts and problems with people that I didn’t know before. Now, I can say that I know more about myself and my way of thinking and acting.“

„Did it affect me a lot? In a certain way. The outdoor part was definitely the most impressive one it

helped me to stand out of my comfort zone and learn how strong I am. I guess that was the point.
I also enjoyed the time we could spend during our body practical trainings. It made me feel that I
can stand alone having a lot of people beside me and enjoy the nature, myself, my thoughts and
be concentrated on my feelings at the very moment.“

„During both parts of Wider Horizons I felt a lot of mixed emotions and sensations and I’ve lived them fully even thanks to the people who were with me and shared their own feelings. I found myself questioning things or processes that usually are automatic in my routine and I understood where I feel more unsatisfied about my life and how I can change this if I really want to. The natural spots around the accomodations also gave me the chance to have few peaceful moments by myself during which I was able to have a “zoom out” and focus better on the whole process that sometime really overwhelmed me in terms of thoughts. I’m still convinced that I have to improve the way I react to situations and face problems but now I know I have more tools that I can use in order to achieve more
successes.“

„Although I had been skeptical and I kept questioning the methods used throughout this

project,now I keep saying that I would do it again for sure and also propose to others to go there.
So, I guess this is the most important thing for me.“

„I’m glad I was thrown into a strange place and I enjoyed everything very much. I know how

important it is to be sure, believe in myself and be strong, but it is even more important to give others the chance to surprise me and prove themselves. I realized this in so many moments during the whole project, but, in particular, my teammates on the outdoor part opened my eyes in so many ways. I abandoned my worried mother-role.. I was trying to be chill and think and worry less. I trusted my team mates and, thanks to this, my outdoor experience was wonderful!“

„In 10 days I met a lot of great people, both trainers and participants, and I had loads of conversations that opened my mind on a variety of topics. Thanks to this experience I learned to trust others, to believe in myself and to be more aware of my decision-making abilities. Furthermore, I learned to handle in a better way difficult and stressful situation. I highly recommend this project to all the people that are looking for a way to create a positive change in their life.“

„There were parts in the project, which was highly emotional, with a load of ups and downs, where I was not so sure what I was doing here, but having completed the project I can see that some of the things that irked me, had a reason for being that way and I was able to learn a lot and grow as a person and in my identity and in the way I interact with other people and the way I perceive new things and barriers. I have become more self-confident, able to stand up even more for my believes and interact with unknown people, which always was difficult for me.“

„For sure it was outside of my zone of comfort but it was not uncomfortable as there was always
something new to learn or do what I wouldn’t expect from myself. I feel that after the training
I can handle unpredictable, unpleasant or just unexpected events much easier and that gives
me a lot of self confidence. This was all happening in very stimulating group of young people
who shared similar goal of learning, exploring which made it possible to connect and create
friendships and to support and learn from each other. „
„Self development attracted me because I wanted to sort out my life. I had very mixed

feelings during the exchange, but that was mainly because it was so intensive, every moment of the
exchange being with your thoughts, I was not used to that in my regular surrounding. The project
gave me some insights in how I can change my life, how I can try to be a better human being. I
improved my teamwork, I realized I can do a lot more than I was thinking until that moment. I also
realized that I must be persistent in solving my problems, the theoretical part of the project really
helped me with that. I learned a lot of useful and practical stuff, like coming up with plans for future,
taking the matter in my own hands. And now I am putting all that into practice. I can’t really say that
after the project my life is now 100% in order but I am definitely trying to achieve more, working
hard, and trying to be inspired every day.“
„At the end of my basic I believe I was more self- confident, determined to reach my personal goals and more comfortable in many situations I have to face in my life. I lived strong emotions attending this project but I received also useful inputs to reflect about my actions and my attitude.“
„I learned that there are a lot of nice people out there and that all one needs to do is ask. There were parts in the project where I was emotionally overwhelmed, because I was in touch with parts of me that I had forgotten about. I had great moments with my friends that brought us really close to each other. I loved the comradery between the participants, I loved the laughs, the cries and all the hugs. My attitude towards the world in general is broadened, especially after the outdoor experience. The

world does not seem so big anymore.“

Manuel’s CHOICE

I did a special training recently and I want to share my experiences with you 🙂

From 4th to 8th September 2017 I did the Choice training at Olde Vechte in Ommen, Netherlands. You can find information about it at the following website: http://oldevechte.com/open-call-trainings/choice/

First of all: to do this training, you have to do the Event Wise training or Basic Synergy program first. I did the Basic Synergy program in Cortemilia, Italy some weeks before. You can read about it in our blog post (http://www.weuniteaustria.eu/2017/07/united-we-win-youth-exchange-synergy.html). If you want to have information about this or anything else, just write to me and I am happy to talk to you. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/mangei

Now, lets dive into my experiences!

I had my expectations about this training… and I was completely wrong. There is a lot of information on the website about the Choice training, about the objectives and so on and I really wanted to tackle these points, since I love to work on and improve myself, but I never would have guessed where this training would actually lead me and I am really happy about this surprise. Why? Today, speaking of myself too, if we hear or read about things, we always seem to already know everything, but things are never the way we think they will be and because of this wrong believe, we miss a lot of opportunities. We make assumptions and don’t even give things and people a chance to explain themselves, so that we may learn and grow. Some trainings, like this one, are different and they build on this surprise moment or the unknown and I love it. It stops me from thinking that I already know what will happen… because in fact I don’t know what will happen. This is also called life. Every moment in life is different. And every moment, is a moment, we can learn from and grow with.

About this training in general: I won’t share any specific details or activities we did in this training, so you can experience it on your own. In fact, it really doesn’t matter and the journey is different for everyone (see previous paragraph about, why my experiences are unique and not comparable to what you might experience). Nevertheless, the outcome might be somehow similar, when I compare myself to other participants. Just check the website for possible outcomes like „Lasting self-confidence„, „Renewed quality relationships„, and „Connect to live and opportunities„.

So, I was at this training, went through the whole process and I have to say: It was the best thing I did in my life so far. I can not describe this feeling. It’s unbelievable. I feel kind of reborn and full of joy and excitement. To be fair, I have to say, that it was also the biggest mind-fuck I’ve ever had so far in my life and I had many ups and downs during these days, but it was just the right thing! All the objectives which were promised on the website were fulfilled. I found the solution to so many things somewhere I had never guessed to find it, even if it is so obvious. I really loved the closing words by the founder of Olde Vechte, Marko Vlaming, who said: „I would not call it a training, I would say it’s a Wake-up Call of things we already know but forgot„. I just can sign his words without adding anything.

I encourage everyone to go through the same process and to find what you really need in life, to live your life to the fullest, to be happy, to be motivated and also to be wild.

Not only the trainers, Yassar Markos and Veronika Pavlová, and the co-trainers, the program but also the participants on the training were just amazing. I am so thankful for all the things I’ve learned and got from all of you. You made this amazing training possible and helped me to grow! Big thanks to all of you! Furthermore, I want to give a very special thanks from the deepest point of my heart to Krissy, since she was my base at this training and helped me to overcome my biggest resistances, took away so many fears, taught me how to be in the presence and she made every day shining for me! I love you! 🙂

Since I am now back from this trip, many good things happened meanwhile already and I cannot believe that it really happened. It just feels so good. Compared to other trainings, the outcome feels totally different and I know that these outcomes are long-lasting, since fundamental changes happened inside me which were definitely life-changing.

Me flying home from the training, being tired but full of happiness. 🙂

I am really, really glad and happy that I did this training and I guess, when you see me, you can see my new self by just looking into my bright blue eyes. And if there are times, I may forgot this new feeling, please just remind me about this time. 🙂

Yours,
Manuel

United We Win – our follow-up :)

Hi, I am Matthias and I will tell you about our follow-up:

This week we completed the final part of the „United We Win“ Synergy Basic youth exchange and training (link). We organized our follow-up activity in Vienna in order to apply and share some of the countless things we learned in Cortemilia. 

The event was based on was a board-game night. We hosted the evening at Catalysts in Vienna (link), the company I (Matthias) and Manuel work at. Manuel, Pato and me were joined by many colleagues from Catalyst and young people from all over Vienna. We also give a big thanks to Catalysts for providing some snacks and drinks!

Personally, I find games to be a powerful tool for learning, teaching and integration. The rules of games determine the interactions between participants. During the game, they supersede our general societal rules of interaction – which are often divergent – and make us all speak a common language. Games are an important part of the Basic Synergy training we were part of in Cortemilia. I am happy with how we replicated our learning. 

 

The first game we played was Magic Maze. True to the spirit of „United We Win“ all players have to cooperate and coordinate as a team to beat the game itself. All while not communicating with each other. The game requires trust in others while demanding responsibility from every team member. I was often reminded of experiences from the youth exchange. 

 

We concluded the evening playing „2 rooms 1 boom“, a social deception game. Again trust, communication and seizing opportunities were the center of the game. We interrupted the game for a bit to tell our guests about Erasmus+ projects and shared some of our experiences. Some people stayed even longer and continued the evening by playing some rounds „Werewolf“.

 

To summarise, we had a great evening, applied and shared some of our experience and learnings with others and spread the word about Erasmus+ and wEUnite.

Yours, Magda, Manuel G., Matthias, Nina, Pato

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