From 16th to 25th of August we participated in a youth exchange in Marja Talu, Tõrva. The topic of the youth exchange was human rights and hate speech. The participants were from six different countries - Poland, Italy, Romania, Spain, Estonia and Portugal. The project was centered around avoiding discrimination and building tolerance and fairness. It was reached by using different workshops and group events that aimed to build the trust between participants acceptance of all backgrounds, subtly trough elimination of any discriminatory and biased mindset.
Each country had their own sessions and workshops that they needed to prepare and conduct. This gave us to see different points of views and learn a lot of new energizers and workshop ideas. Different participating countries had to present their culture during cultural nights. People learnt new information about cultural aspects in different countries. Most of the learning we did in this project was non/formal. It was really great that we could learn from other young people. Besides the sessions and workshops we also had some fun activities. We went canoeing and had a public action day trip to Tartu.
Here are some memories and ideas of the Estonian team participants:
In this project I really enjoyed the topic of the project. I learned more about hate speech and human rights. Furthermore the project made me think more about current problems in society. My favourite part was the communication during workshops and getting to know people during energizers and different activities. The cultural evenings were also really fun. We learned new cultural dances, listened to national songs and got to try some national treats and dishes.
Every day was very eventful and exciting. We did fun and different activities. For example, we discussed different topics and got new knowledge through non-formal learning. We played games and shared our emotions and opinions. During the nights we had cultural nights. These were very fun and interesting and I learned a lot. They also helped us to understand and connect with the participants better. The atmosphere during the project was comfortable and accepting. Everyone was very helpful and supportive - we were like a big family. This project gave me wonderful experiences, a lot of new connections and emotions. Thanks to this project and the participants I changed some of my points of view and I feel better about myself. I am very glad that I could participate in this project.
This project was a really nice way to ease into learning and end the summer. I met a lot of new people from around Europe. During the workshops we had a lot of laughs and light moments but also discussed harder topics and shared some tears. I loved how you could see the connections between people after the discussions about hard topics - people were talking in small groups, sharing hugs and encouraging words. We learned a lot about different cultures and could tell the other participants about Estonian culture on our Independence restoration day. I will cherish these memories and connections we made during this project and I hope to see all the participants again.
The project had its impact on different aspects. The daily exposure of an individual to different social and mental events has contributed to the personal development on different levels. For example, daily workshops have taught the importance of the utilisation of one’s cognitive capabilities and knowledge while maintaining team-work and objective mentality. The chance to be creative and contribute to the team during workshops’ challenging and previously untouched topics has given the feeling of complacency and connection among participants and inspired us to initiate workshops, partake in controversial events, and built the confidence of speaking our minds.
Moreover, the daily organisation of collaborative and bonding activities, like energizers and free get-together periods, has broken the fear of different behaviours and speeches among participants, leading to a healthy and relieving chances of self-expression, an important ability to learn and acquire for a better psychological and social development.
Speaking of get-together moments, sauna day gave the warmth of the oneness of the humanitarian mentality, one that always strives to establish and maintain peace, love, and satisfaction among people worldwide. It was nice that this international community really enjoyed the presence in a project of such a topic, and all felt like one family at the end with no barriers.
During those days we got very close to each other, found new friends and got a lot of good emotions and memories. Thanks for Erasmus+ which gave us this cool opportunities. Youth exchange “NOH?! Let’s Do It!” was funded by the European Union in the framework of Erasmus+.
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