Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Youth Exchange
Venue: Lida in Botkyrka, Stockholm, Sweden
Dates: 13-19 May 2018
Participants: Veronika Foltýnová, Martina Novotná, Barbora Cypriánová, Žaneta Jančaříková
Group leader: Eva Krchová
Participating countries: Sweden, Romania, Lithuania, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Czech Republic and Latvia
Hosting organisation: The Organization for Poverty Alleviation and Development (OPAD)
When I say Sweden, I think of beautiful and well preserved natural landscape occupied by environmentally conscious and hardworking people. Moreover, I am a huge outdoor enthusiast with strong values for nature and its protection with potential ambitions to have a private business with a sustainable approach. Therefore when heard about the youth exchange project titled Social Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Development, hosted by the Swedish OPAD non-profit organization and provided to us by the Czech EYCB non governmental agency, I did not hesitate any minute and applied with an excitement.
The Social Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Development project was a one week long non-formal learning activity happening in the mid of May in a small recreational area called Lida, 30 kilometres from Stockholm. Besides the Czech team containing 5 young ladies, the program was joined by other teams from Romania, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Latvia and later also joined by Sweden.
However, sad to say, my initial enthusiasm was challenged by the lack of the organization of the hosting organization OPAD. Regrettably, immediately right after the arrival, the Swedish organizing team left all the participants confused about the structure of the project lacking genuine interpersonal communication and project management. While this project did not fulfill its great potential and theme, I still left the place with a meaningful experience I shall remember. Moreover, I was pleased by the attention and kindness of our sending Czech organization EYCB to help us deal with the abrupt circumstances.
Although I am disappointed by the poorly handled project, on the other side this moment taught me how to be patient with unexpected and disorganized situations. Further, I learned to prompt myself to communicate my expectations and express personal frustrations to authority in a polite and meaningful way.
Sometimes when things are not under our control we need to take advantage of what is available. The recreational area Lida indeed offered a beautiful natural realm with countless smooth trails offering great hikes we have enjoyed exploring. What made the project significant was a sense of the community within the participants. The spontaneous talks and lectures about entrepreneurship and sustainability were insightful. Yet I learned the most just through informal talks with my foreign fellows asking about their lives, their personal background or their political situation.
In the end, I guess, this is what the youth projects are about after all. Sometimes we learn more beyond the academic walls and gain through unprecedented experiences. This way I left Sweden with a new life lecture, which will be useful in future when facing particular future adversity. Being an entrepreneur one faces a multiple obstacles she needs to deal with. Perhaps this unanticipated experience in Lida strengthened our skills to overcome potential business challenges.