Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Training Course
Venue: Kokkola, Finland
Dates: 12 – 19 December 2016
Participants: Tomáš Průdek, Lenka Raymanová
Participating countries: Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Ireland.
Hosting organisation: Villa Elba
On the 12th of December, me and one another participant, headed to the Land of a Thousand lakes for the first part of the project Navigate your Inner Compass. Our target was about 500 km north from Helsinki – the city of Kokkola. Together with participants from 9 other countries, we were warmly welcomed and accommodated in Youth centre Villa Elba, which lies on the shore of the Baltic sea. The care provided by the staff was extraordinary – from organizing the event and being helpful when we needed, to the delicious meals prepared by the chefs. It greatly contributed to the overall positive experience from this training course.
If I had to choose one word to describe the course, it would be intensive. Every day was filled with activities from the very morning till the late evening, but of course we had some time for a coffee break. I must say that immediately after the first day of ice-breaking and team-building activities, our group became strong and everybody had a feeling of safety and comfort. Also, every day we went deeper and deeper into the topic of identity and sexuality, where we discussed topics such as social norms, comfort zone, body, empathy, vulnerability and many other topics. That’s all due to the careful organisation from the trainers Sandra and Dominique.
The question is – what are we bringing back home? I think that this question has the same number of answers as the number of participants, because everyone had experienced the course in their way. But generally speaking, the one common thing that everyone is taking back home is improvement in communication – we learned how to express ourselves and how to truly listen to other people, as well as to listen to our personal needs. I also hope that everyone has brought a huge energy that will transform into actions, because at the end, everyone had to write down some goals that we will attempt to achieve until the second part in April.
We also had some time to discover a bit of Finland. One afternoon we went to Kokkola to see the city and Christmas market, and we could also try the real Finnish sauna in Villa Elba. The chefs also prepared reindeer meat which was a thing that most of us never tried before.
In conclusion, even though it was my first experience with Erasmus+ project, I could not dream of a better first impression. So again, thanks to the organizers from EYCB and Villa Elba to make it possible for us to get this amazing experience.