ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: youth exchange
Venue: Veli Lošinj, ostrov Lošinj, hostel Zlatokrila, Croatia
Dates: 21—30 August 2023
Czech team: 5 participants + 1 group leader
Please read the info-pack.
Hosting organisation: Amazonas
At the end of August, I participated in the Youth Exchange project called Motion to Release Emotion, which was organized by the Croatian organization Udruga Amazonas. The project was located in the beautiful and peaceful environment of the island of Lošinj. The venue itself was on the outskirts of Veli Lošinj, where the sea was only a two-minute walk from the accommodation. About three dozen young people from different corners of Europe, aged between 16 and 30, took part in the project.
As the name suggests, the topic of the project was the processing of emotions through movement. With their friendly and informal approach, the organizers, with the help of all participants, created a safe environment in which we could afford to share all kinds of knowledge, observations and feelings. The project program was largely filled with activities of individual participants. Each national group prepared 1-3 movement-based workshops in advance for the other participants (we prepared a vogue, yoga and tabata workshops). The rest of the program was completed by the organizers with more theoretical sessions, where we talked about the functions and possibilities of processing emotions through movement.
Thanks to the combination of the discussion about emotions with various physical activities (from basketball, through geocaching, to dance workshops), we gradually all got into uncomfortable situations at certain moments. However, the facilitators worked well with this and together we discussed what we can learn about ourselves from the uncomfortable, or learning zone, and how to work with it. Considering that it was a youth exchange, the project was very nicely structured and managed. The program resulted in the discussion and creation of various movement rituals, which can be an oar for the processing of emotions and their eventual transformation into the emotions of others.
What did our project days look like in reality? I personally couldn’t sleep for long because of the high temperatures, so I used to wake up before seven in the morning. That’s why every day before breakfast I went for a swim in the absolutely calm and beautiful sea. After breakfast, we started the program at 9 o’clock. We always had two morning and two afternoon sessions, with a more movement-base session alternating with a more theoretical or talkative one. We usually had about 3 hours between lunch and the afternoon sessions, when we could head to the beach again. Most of the evenings were also free, apart from those when we had the so-called inter-cultural nights, when the national teams presented their country and its culture and customs to others. One day we had the whole afternoon free, so I borrowed a bike and set off to explore the island. Then I ended my little trip by refreshing in a beautiful lagoon.
Overall, I would recommend this youth exchange to anyone who likes to move, discuss emotions and loves the sea. It was not a training program, so we kept the topic rather on the surface, but at the same time we had a lot of time and opportunity to discuss things in more detail or move as we wanted outside the official program of the project – e.g. on the beach or in a local great café.