ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: youth exchange
Venue: Uzana (Gabrovo), Bulgaria
Dates: 24 September—2 October 2023
Czech team: 4 participants + 1 group leader
Hosting organisation: Europe in Your Hand
Hello, I ́m glad we could participate as a group of project NaturEcology in Gabrovo (Uzana). The project was situated in a big hut nearby Gabrovo city. Accomodation was fine with very nice view to the mountains. First day was very special. Not only because we all met by first time but mostly for the warm welcome. Hosting organisation was Bulgarian organisation “Europe in your hand”. I ́m grateful of their work, because it makes sense and show results. Czech team participants were Adéla, Pavel, Veronika, Natálie and Klára. Some of us knew each other before the project but we ́ve met for the first time right before the departure of plain from Bratislava to Sofia.
We ́ve met other people from E+ in Sofia and we spent couple of hours together with local people exploring the city. As mentioned, warm welcome was caused by having the first (special) dinner together. The food and drink was served by Jafer – the leading facilitator. We enjoyed the moment because we were tired, especially the part of Czech team which came to project from Ireland.
The region of Uzana provides a lot of opportunities for cultural tourism. The nearest big city is Gabrovo, around 22 km away. Internationally known as the center of humor and satire of Bulgaria, Gabrovo offers many interesting places of historical importance for its visitors. Interesting fact was that our place was located few kilometres away from the geological center of Bulgaria and of course, we visited this place.
For the activities, every day was different. In first days, it was more about getting know each other and other days we tried to go more deeper in the main topic. Very interesting was workshop about hate speech and equality. We were divided into 3 teams. Purpose of the game was to „end“ to game unfinished somewhere in the middle. The point was, that activities and mini competitions in this game were ment not to be fair. 3 of us were members of the jury. The jury had special instrictions to give as much points as possible to one specific team and handicap other 2 teams. It was really emotional game which was ended in middle, really weird way. But facilitators explained to us, it was purpose. It was ment to be unfair and make us emotional. We could experience it very personally. It led us to think deeply about the topic (hate speech, equality). Very interesting and expiriencing activity!
Other aktivity which was benefitial was about greenwashing. A lot of us heard about this word for the first time. Greenwashing is when companies try to act „eco“ but after deeper research there are many resources revealing the truth. And of course, a lot of companies were part of big cases speaking about greenwashing. It led us to think about resources and ecology deeply.
It was also interesting to visit geological centre of bulgaria, Buzludga monument and the Gabroo city for the trip day. It happened in the middle of project timing so we could Relax a bit and keep focused for another days.
I always enjoy culture nights, not only the our national one but others. The interesting part of Greek culture night was when they tried to teach u show to spell every greek letter. Well, some of the we remember from school. But trying to read whole sentences was relly difficult.
All of other participating countries were very kind and friendly and together, we created something special together. It was such a great experience. Highly recommended!