Category Archive : youth

Training Course „First Steps“ – Hollókő/Hungary

„First Steps“ brought together 28 people from Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Poland, Austria and Italy in a small place called Hollókő in Hungary (which is also a UNESCO world heritage site) in December 2019. Thanks to our friends from „MOVE to Be You„, who were the partner organization from Austria, we were part of it.

Read More

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


 

Youth Exchange LevelUp! – Trofaiach/Austria

From the 21st till the 28th of October, wEUnite organised a YouthExchange with partners from Estonia, Lithuania, Italy and Poland. The topic of the week was learning by playing – and that’s exactly what we did! 25 young people from these five countries, and actually many more, explored themselves and non-formal, playful education in a castle in Trofaiach, Austria.
The days were filled with different approaches and games about personal development, inclusion, and learning. First it was all about getting to know each other and building trust in order to work together as a group. This was achieved through games and playful activities outside, because we were very lucky with the weather in the beginning.
But also inside there was a lot of fun and learning through playing, for example with quizzes and roleplays. Throughout the rest of the week, we worked together in smaller and bigger
groups and created many beautiful things: games of our own, our own workshop session, a flashmob to promote Erasmus+.
Also in the evenings we spent our time together playing and inventing games. It seemed like we enjoyed being like children again, and at the same time learning from each other.
And because personal impressions tell more than anything else, here some testimonies by participants:
Maryia (Poland):Usually It takes me around two days to come out of the project I’ve been to and come back to the reality. I don’t know whether this week will that easy get out of my head with all the smiles, laughs, quotes, games and especially people. No matter the eyes, troubles or whatever. We worked, we laughed, we communicated we cooperated. That project was useful for me as it proved one more time that there are people who create the projects not the programs!
Andrea (Italy): “LevelUp” was my fifteenth project. I have started almost ten years ago and travel along Europe with many different associations. Before starting the project I was thinking, I am old, I already know almost everything about YE and related activities. Moreover, last projects were not the best, I was not feeling the enthusiasm of the organizer, and I felt as not having an important role. But, but, luckily I have taken part of this project before starting my PhD.
I had the opportunity to organize my trip, having suggestions from them and feedback on any itinerary. I have obtained all the information needed much before the departure, except for the timetable, that was greatly custom made according to our need and “evolution”. I felt by my own but accompanied by them. in addition, they push us to know each other before the start: I mean, we have a Facebook group as in many other projects, but they ask us to present ourself. I was asked to do as one of the first, and I felt annoyed by that at the begin, who was going to do that? Nevertheless, Nina started, I followed, and in short time, I had a face and a description of many members, I get to know them before the actual meeting, amazing idea. I should be short, I cannot say every single thing that I appreciate, but I will focus on the most important. I was the Italian group leader, and for the first time, I was considered for making activities, reflection group etc, I had a responsibility more than collect the ticket. I had to give feedback every time that we had a meeting, it would be listened and they would have tried to fix it. I was finally, again, part of a big family. The organizer was between us for the bigger part of the project, without let us feel the distance, and, talking like a “facilitator”, I felt important but at the same level. Nobody had fear to tell what he had thought, that was great! I wanted to focus on that because it may be the best way to explain integration and respect in EU project: it “easy” to talk and play about that, but difficult to apply them for real and for the entire project! Thank you for giving me back the enthusiasm, I hope to participate again, maybe with you.Best from a Italy!
Emilia (Poland): My experience at LevelUp Erasmus+ Project: There is not a single bad word I can say about this projects, everything went beyond all expectations. The organizers were extremely friendly and approachable and made sure we were happy at all times: always listened to us and responded to our needs. They managed to put an amazing group of people together and gave us room to have fun and learn a great deal of new things for six days straight! Definitely a memorable experience that showed me how Erasmus should be done!
Patricjia (Lithuania): ERASMUS+ programs, which I experienced 3 times, is something magical. The beginnings of each exchange are knocking louder and louder as the day of going to the project place comes. In front of you you see people of another nation, all with different destinies, left the routine in their native country, gathered for weekly adventures: some are more active, others need time to discover their courage, but at this junction they are the same newcomers as You! In the Youth Exchanges project, everyone will find a way to develop, to know others and to discover themselves through them. During teamwork, working skills are developed in every step that allows you to grow the desire to communicate, negotiate, lead, feel part of a group, something big and alive. Here, the organizers are also interested in you as an individual, what allows you to look at the project from the other way and lets you to understand yourself in it. After a long day of various activities, open, smiling and welcoming people are waiting to get to know you, and those with who you communicated during the day can show up as an unexpected companion in the evening. If I would brag about my experience – the youth exchange never leaves without increasing the number of friends. I am always looking forward to the trip days that sometimes are going hiking in the mountains, going to the sea or in the great cities of the country – it just shows the great Erasmus + desire to provide participants with the knowledge, social skills and expand their horizons and world outlook. Finally, ALL is funded by the European Union in the interest of education and the education of young people, which means that traveling, developing, learning and finding friends is completely free! It is important to keep in mind that the stones of your path depend on the way and how you put them. While raising your head, try to find yourself in the world and never forget that there are a lot of people around who are willing and able to help or encourage finding an association with themselves and the public, which is openly offered by all the ERASMUS + programs.
A big thank you to everyone who was part of LevelUp!
Yours, Marion


I will break free – Estonia

The topic of the youth exchange that we took part in, in Estonia from the 1st to 10th of March was ‘Cyberbullying’. The four participating countries were Austria, Estonia, Italy and Portugal. The main aim of the project was not only to educate ourselves on and spread awareness about cyberbullying, but also to make new friends, collect new experiences and – of course – to get away from our daily lives and learn in a different surrounding while enjoying the time abroad.

At the beginning of the project we got 
to know each others names and played some team building games to work together even better. Then after that, we started to get familiar with the topic through workshops, presentations and games. We learned a lot about cyberbullying and the activities showed us how serious and emotional the topic can be.  Creativity also played a big part during the workshops! We made a lot of posters, postcards, some videos, and we even wrote our own song! 

But workshops and games were not all that we did, of course. On the fourth day we started to prepare ourselves for a visit to a local school where we went the next day. We talked and discussed with the students about cyberbullying, their thoughts on it and how present it is in their lives. What we also did was to share our cultures and most importantly: we got them involved in little activities which we had prepared before!

The next thing that we had planned was a flashmob. We had many ideas on what we could do and how to make people aware of the issue of cyberbullying. And I am more than happy to say that it has been a total success! It really surprised all of us how well it worked out in the end. But see for yourself 🙂  Flashmob in Estonia (click to watch)


Just as said before, the project was also about enjoying ourselves and learning in a different environment! After visiting the school we went to Narva, a city close to the Russian border, where we had some hours to explore the city and spend some free time together. During our breaks at the project venue we had the opportunity to get active and go cross-country skiing, or to enjoy the beautiful landscapes by having a walk. In the evenings we even got to jump into Estonian culture and go to the sauna 🙂
Yours, Chiara

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