Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: training course
Venue: Ravnogor, Bulgaria
Dates: 4-12 July 2015
Participants: Ivan Kobelev, Aneta Zemanová, Ondřej Hajda
Host organization: Synergy Bulgaria
Participant’s fee: €60
At the beginning of July 2015, I took part in a 9-day-long training course in Bulgarian Ravnogor organised by Synergy Bulgaria and funded through the Erasmus+ programme. The project brought together people from 10 EU countries (so English was the main communication language) and was focused on personal and professional development.
We arrived in Sofia on Friday afternoon and made our way very quickly through the capital to the pre-agreed meeting point where a coach picked us up and drove (almost) all the participants and our luggage south to the beautiful Bulgarian mountains and the place of out training – Ravnogor.
Ravnogor is a small mountain village situated in the middle of nowhere but don’t take me wrong – it’s surrounded by marvellous nature and a lot of exciting hiking paths that we decided to explore during our breaks.
The training course itself was aimed at working with oneself and each participant was asked to set what they wanted to gain out of the training. A basic theory of self-development was accompanied by numerous activities to put what we have learnt in practise. However, more often than not, we found ourselves falling into the same old patterns and habits, which are easy to adopt but prevent us from achieving what we really want. The trainers were actively encouraging us to break these patterns and fully realise our behaviour in such moments.
In the mornings, we had time for ourselves – to reflect what we have experienced the previous day, finish our homework, and explore the surroundings. The afternoons, evenings, and often late nights were reserved for the training itself. Each day was focused on a different theme (such as judgement or inspiration) and the activities of the day were centred around these themes and involved a lot of individual and group work.
The second part of the training consisted of an “outdoor” experience. In teams of 4-5 people and with no money we were driven to a Bulgarian countryside with further instructions and a list of assignments to complete on the way. (Un)fortunately, we didn’t have any Bulgarian in our group so as the only Slavic-speaking member I was primarily in charge of the communication (I can tell you that Bulgarian is no where near the same as Czech). Despite not having the language knowledge, our team successfully managed not only to get free rides to the different destinations we were asked to visit, but also to get free food for both days of this adventure. And while it sounded terrifying at the beginning, the “outdoor” experience was probably the single most powerful and exciting part of the training course.
The group of people was absolutely fantastic and we talked openly about anything from our childhood traumas to gay marriage. As a bonus, I also managed to practise my long-forgotten Spanish.
All in all, I really enjoyed my experience and if you ever see a Basic Synergy training course (either in Oldevechte or other organisations in the Synergy network), I highly recommend that you apply for it.