Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Youth Exchange
Venue: Giovinazzo, Italy
Dates: 1-9 September 2016
Participants: Eva Valentová, Karolína Dudková, Petra Křenová, Petra Bejdová
Group leader: Petr Křístek
Participating countries: Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Armenia , Georgia and Ukraine
Hosting organisation: EuroSud
RE-CRAFT: Rural Entrepreneurship, Craft your future or 9 days of fruitful experiences and memories
33 young people, 6 countries, 10 fruitful days, kilos of eaten pasta, uncountable number of memories and knowledge, one common idea and zero cultural barriers. The way how to summarize the project #RECRAFT16 based on youth exchange and non-formal education, taking place in breath-taking Italian town Giovinazzo.
Everything started on the first of September. Last things were packed and I am taking the last train coming to Prague airport. The feeling, when I start thinking about what the upcoming days will give me, comes. For this time I know nothing about the place I am coming to. Where will I sleep? and who will be the people I will be living with? I ask myself. These little doubts are soon gone. I meet up with the first Czech participant Petra and from this moment I know that adventurous and unforgettable days are waiting for me in Italy.
Soon we could enjoy the first steps in Italy. The plane landed in the morning and our first mission was about to begin. Yeah, Italy, people really crazy, easy-going, friendly and hospitable. But with little idea how to speak in English. Taking bus to the centre of Bari became mission impossible. Or, almost like that. We made the group that is able to get through any obstacle and what is more, there were the smartest people in our Czech team so that after negotiation with the local bus driver we were discovering Bari and coming to the site.
We are accommodated in the monastery complex and before other participants come, our steps are leading to the beach. I am so impressed by the Italian country that I want to rename the project on “SWIM and Enjoy the Sun” but I know that the purpose of why 33 young people from different countries came to Giovinazzo is more interesting and in fact, I cannot wait the first workshop. The goal of youth exchanges are among other values enjoy the participation, learn diversity and break every single intercultural barrier. From the personal experience I have to confirm that European projects and people working on them do the best to make these ideas happen. I am meeting Oksana from Ukraine, Tag from Armenia, awesome Aiste, Sanja, Kristina, Hanna, Hovanec… all the participants and the communication barriers are gone. We discover the town centre, enjoy Italian ice-cream and talk about the diversity of our home countries.
The second day come, the first workshops are here. And if you imagine sitting all day and listening to the trainer, I will upset you. European projects, like our one, are encouraging participants to learn from each other, to develop soft skills and competencies essential for dealing with changes of everyday life. All the learning is happening on unconscious level. The day schedule begins with team-building games and the first together project. The word “together” connects all 9 days. On each activity and task we worked as a team. Organizers put a lot of emphasis on team-work and the participants did the same. We respected each other, cooperated on little pieces and created positive atmosphere. Somebody was slower in English but it was not any problem. We wanted everyone to express own thoughts and make them realize.
Projects on which we worked were diverse. But creative thinking, team collaboration and respect for others characterised all of them. We made hats from paper and straw and then we had a fashion show, the best one I have ever seen. The next moment Romeo and Juliet was on the stage when we are asked to play the pantomime, in a foreign language we had previously created. What I enjoyed the most was workshop on making Cavatelli, traditional Italian pasta.
The topics of the project was about crafting and entrepreneurship. Within 8 days I realized how these two subjects belong to each other. We listened to stories of successful entrepreneurs in the crafting business, for me real heroes, Laila and Chris, our participants who have successful entrepreneurship plan.
The day, when we were supposed to show our crafting skills and creativity, came. In our national groups we organised crafting workshops for other participants and presented our traditional crafting heritage. The Czech team proved we have the golden hands (not me so much J ) and showed Moravian ornaments made from dough and knitted bracelets. The nicest made bracelet now dominates my hand, the one from my super secret friend. Yeah, secret friend. Projects like that are not only about learning by doing but also about enjoying the fun and participation. Among workshops we organised global village, the event where each nation presents the country and its customs, traditions, national gastronomy and habits of people. Knowing Czech culture, you can probably imagine on which activity we rocked the house.
The second part of the project was about entrepreneurship. You can have perfect hand-made product but nobody will ever see it if you can´t sell it. That is what I learnt from the fair-trade, the event we organised for all the people living in Giovinazzo and surrounding. Our task was to invite people to our site, entertain visitors, show and sell our hand-made products we made during previous days. House full of young people equals to creative ideas so that we decorated our room perfectly and prepared a lot of interesting activities. The day finally resulted in going to streets and directly selling our hand-made goods. We were successful!!! Even Czech dough was popular and we managed to sell everything.
The amazing atmosphere was highlighted by together trip to Molfetta, historical town, where we took part handcrafting workshop and tried working with the stone, material so important for Italy. The next day organizers prepared for us trip to Bari. We looked to places which we would not have visited if we were tourists. We had a short discussion with the rector of the local university, visited co-working space and talked to the founder about his initial idea of setting up the place where everybody can come and make the ideas happen. Even workshop on production of olive oil was so fruitful. I did not know before that one oil can have so many tastes.
To sum the fruitful days, the organizers confirmed that the European projects make ideas happen and evolve young people. Thanks to the program ERASMUS+ I discovered myself. I found out my strong and weak parts, improved spoken English, team cooperation and without any lectures I gained skills that can be useful in project management. But the thing that is the most valuable are new friends. When I came to Giovinazzo, I knew nobody. When I came back, I realized how interesting people I met, how awesome team we were and how effectively we managed to work. However, these things would not happen without two organizations that do great job. Thank you, EUROSUD and EYCB.
Finally, it is worth highlighting four crazy and smart people who came to Giovinazzo, made unforgettable atmosphere, shaped every part of the project and presented the Czech country in the most interesting way. Kája, Evča, Petra, Petra. Girls of the Czech team who gave me so much memories and motivation to even organise the project like #RECRAFT16: Rural Entrepreneurship, Craft your future!