Category Archive : youthinaction

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.

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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


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.“

Di5Connected – our follow-up :)


Two months after the amazing, technology free project Di5connected in Cortemilia, Italy, the Austrian girls organise da follow-up event in Graz. Samire came to visit Antonia, Elisa and Marion in Graz in order to prepare the event and of course to check up on how we’re doing with our contracts! We decided to invite people to an Erasmus+ game afternoon where we told them something about Erasmus+, the project we recently went to as well as the board game we created ourselves.They were intrigued, and it was fun to play the game again.

We took some pictures of our preparatory meeting and with the people, but while playing, there were of course no phones allowed! We also took a video explaining the basic rules. At the end of this blogpost you’ll find a more detailed description and instructions for our board game.



Instructions

GAME OF PHONES

Number of players

More than 6 (depends on how many characters you have), it has to be an even number

Purpose of the game:
Two teams play against each other: the connected (with a phone) against the disconnected. The goal is to “turn” all the players of the opposing team. When all players are either connected or disconnected that team wins. But: there is no limit how often players can be turned, turned back and then turned again.

How to play step by step:

1. At first draw a character card. On the card you can see the name of your character, the team (WiFi= team connected) and your special power. Find also the same playing piece. If you are in team connected you get a smartphone that you have to in the playing piece. You also get your special power card in the beginning.

2. Prepare separate decks of “!” and “?” cards.

3. Choose a starting point from which to enter the game. Make sure that players of the same team don’t sit next to each other, they can’t enter through the same door.

4. You move by rolling the dice, you can move the number of fields and the direction you want.

5. Meeting people: Players are turned during fights. Those can happen anywhere two or more players from opposing teams (means: a player with a smartphone and a player without a smartphone) meet: in the corridors, in rooms and in Cortemilia. If you meet a person from your team you don’t fight.

6. How to enter a room:
reach the door with the exact number. If you reach the door by accident, you have to enter.

7. How to go to Cortemilia: reach the field marked “?” and complete the task. You don’t have to enter Cortemilia if you accidentally reach the “?”

8. Fights: all involved players roll the dice, the higher number wins. The player with the lower number has to change the team (to take or to give away the smartphone). If there are multiple players from the same team involved, the results are added up.
When fights happen in the room, the players draw a “!” card first. If a player draws their own special power, they can use it immediately to win the fight or choose to keep it for later in order to use the special power as it is described on the character card. Special powers can only be used in Cortemilia, and a player can only carry one special power at a time. If a player has been turned and draws their special power card during a fight, they re-enter their original team.

9. Important: Even if you change you team a couple of times during the game you still aim to belong to the team from the beginning (given on your card). eg: you are the grandma from team disconnected (without smartphone). You meet a person with a smartphone lose a fight. So you get a smartphone. Next time you meet a person without a smartphone, so you have to fight again. You should lose in order to get rid of your smartphone and be disconnected again.


“?”: draw a card and complete the task. If you don’t want to do it, you have to skip one round.

-open sharing: roll the dice and see which number is which task

-reflection group: roll the dice and see which number is which task

-challenge: roll the dice and see which number is which task

-meditation: skip one round

-coffee break: the whole team skips one round




ENJOY PLAYING AND STAY DISCONNECTED!
YOUR AUSTRIAN TEAM