Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Day 9 - Taking action and wrapping up

It's the last night of the project.

Today was a day for brainstorming and making plans for the future based on everything we have learned in the past nine days. The morning session started with each of the national teams coming together and preparing an action for a workshop in their home countries. And of course, then each team presented what they had come up with. And... did a catwalk.

In the afternoon we continued with the plans, but now on the international level. Each participant could choose a topic about which they would like to develop a project, and then the brainstorming started again.

Having taken a look towards the bright and hopeful future, it was then time to look back at the whole project and evaluate what we have learned and gained from the project. So before dinner we had some discussion questions and after that gave feedback to the organizers as well.

It's the last night of the project. People are getting ready to say farewell. Some are tired, some are excited for the last and huge party. Hopefully everyone will part on good terms and has gained a good experience.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Day 8 - workshops @ schools

Today, we woke up early because we needed to go to two different schools in Rakvere to perform our workshops to the students. We were divided into 9 groups and each groups had 3-4 facilitators. In these workshops that took 90 minutes we have incorporated the non-formal methods and used information that we have learned during the course. First group of facilitators started at 10 o’clock and the other one at 11.20. All the workshops were different and we focused on different topics and did different activities. All the groups started with energizers which sometimes were successful and sometimes not. Then we provided the students with some information about Erasmus+ and its advantages. After that we carried out our prepared activities. After lunch we enjoyed our free time in different ways. Some people were really tired so they went to sleep and some other people went to spa.
In the evening we gathered in the main room and we were evaluating our workshops. Each grup talked about their experience, student’s attitude and obstacles they had to face and overcome. Some groups were really satisfied with their workshops while others realize it could be better and we talked about possible improvement. Kubra, Cristina and Lukas

Day 7 - Sharing (of knowledge) is caring!

   The 8th day of the project unfolded really good and it was the first day that we had to work for the school workshops so it was more demanding than the previous ones and definitely more intense. 
During the first part of the day we had the opportunity to learn something new from other group members and they had the chance to share with us some skills and useful knowledge they have. So, the previous day each one of us had to write down one skill they thought they could share with the rest and after a group voting in our Facebook group we decided which activities we were the most willing to attend. The activities that were chosen were six and we had the chance to attend four of them. In short, the activities were as following: Cristina had a meditation session, Heleri talked about Erasmus+ and EVS in Nepal, Onur shared with us his knowledge on Erasmus+ and fundraising, Kerem discussed about Islamophobia and prejudices about Islam religion, Francesco shared his knowledge on body work and trust exercises using theatre methods and Vitor talked about European project opportunities.

We had to opportunity to attend Onur’s workshop where we gained some useful insight on Erasmus+ opportunities and how to organise a fundraising activity. Francesco’s session was really engaging and it introduced some useful exercises on how to trust and respect our partners and ourselves, how to communicate using our body as a vessel and how to use our senses to the fullest and be concentrated on what we do at a specific moment. Cristina’s session was the most relaxed one, we learnt how to control our breath and how to deeply chill. Vitor offered useful information on how to find the project that best fits our needs and expectations. Kerem talked about the basic beliefs of islam and how people can distort them for they personal advantage and actually we realised that the real Islam belief is really different from the one that is presented in the news and media. Finally, Heleri talked about EVS all over the world and her personal experience in Nepal and Erasmus+ opportunities in general.
The second part of our daily program was devoted to our planning for our workshops at schools. Each team sat down and came up with ideas and activities they could use in their workshops with the students.
After that, each team presented its idea in the final session and after a long and tiring day we finally went to bed, getting ready for the next day.

Michal, Sofia and Veli.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Day 6 - What a great day!

Once more we started the day with our reflection buddies and went over the previous day elaborating on things we learned, what made us think, laugh and even cry.

After having dealt with the topic "refugees" and how we can manage to build a bridge between people already living in one country and people who just arrived, it was really inspiring to listen to Ingi Mihkelsoo, from Eest Pagulasabi, which is the Estonian Refugee Council. 
We were informed that the organization supports refugees with advocacy issues, support them in getting a job and accommodation and also help them to learn the Estonian language and become a part of the Estonian society. Another rather surprising fact that we learned was that most of the refugees Estonia provides protection to are from Ukraine, Russia, Sudan and Afghanistan. It was enlightening to hear her talking about her daily work, the obstacles she has to overcome and how the Estonian society deals with the situation. In case you want to get more information, here are her contact-details:

Ingi Mihkelsoo 

After lunch we went to the amazing national park called Lahemaa and to the beach. Lahemaa is the oldest national park in Estonia and covers an area of 72,500 ha. It represents the nature and cultural heritage typical of North Estonia.It was so nice to see the grand environment Estonia is blessed with and to walk through the swamps and connect not only with the nature but also with ourselves.

In the evening a group of participants prepared a magical "game" for every one. We had the pleasure to go on a journey where we were confronted with our deepest fears, believes and dreams. We learned how important it is to trust each other and ourselves and believe in our dreams, no matter how "crazy" they might seem.

When you want to see how amazing our day was, check out this video!

Thank you for reading our blog. 

Ramon, Valeria & Stephanie

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Day 5 – Can I come in?

This beautiful day started with a buddy learning activity focused on some specific topics. Some of us took advantage of the sun :)

Then we started a game where we had to take a position (for, against or in the middle) about some big questions regarding refugees. A lot of different ideas and points of view came out and it was really interesting because everyone had their own perspectives and opinions (neither right nor wrong!) so it was a thought provoking debate!

Then we watched a film called ‘The Good Lie’. It told the stories of some Sudanese boys who arrived in the US following years and years of living in a refugee camp in Kenya following the Sudanese conflict. It was a very moving film showing the horrors of war, the difficulties of getting to a place of safety, and the issues people encounter arriving in a new country for refuge.

Finally we started a role play where the refugees had to cross the borders to escape from the war and to reach a better place to stay and live. Some of us played refugees, others were the border control, and some were observers. After this activity we talked a lot about what we felt about being our characters and discussed the complex issues that came up through this exercise.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Day 3 - Erasmus+ & world cafe

Our day started with the outdoor warm up activities. Thanks to that we got more energized and also had a lot of fun. Then we were asked to line in one long row from the least experienced (the first time being in a project) to the expert ones (with countless times). Counting from 1 to 5, we were divided into 5 groups with 5 experts to discuss and get to know more about Erasmus+. Then came the quiz where these 5 groups competed with each other. The questions were about the Erasmus+ programs, some of them were quite difficult even for the experts. Thanks to that quiz game, our knowledge about Erasmus+ and what we are doing was strongly broadened. In the end we found one winner whose prize was to line first in the lunch queue.

We continued our program with a 8 key competences game needed in Erasmus+. We are again divided by random counting into 8 groups with 8 compatible spot with the so-called name "Islands" in order to solve the problem sets designated by the amazing "sharks". There was a certain amount of time during which we had to finish the tasks on the spot before the sharks came to attack/bite/poke/hit/kick or whatever they do to us. One of the tasks was to come up with a poem about Erasmus+, here is the poem provided by one group full of young artistic talents:

We learn and laugh
Sometimes we cough
Without the sleep it can be tough
But after all it's all a win
When we can ask "Can I Come In?"

After that we had a chance to watch a cartoon-like video about how Erasmus+ can contribute to our life journey, which not only made a huge impact on each of us personally but also on the community surrounding us. Learn at school is not enough, outside classrooms with 4 walls we still have a great lot of experience to learn.

After the yummy, extremely delicious lunch (as always:D), we had a opportunity to experience the world café program in probably the best coffee shop in Estonia. It was far beyond our expectations. The staff (Ufuk, Heleri, Liis, Rauno, Kristi) was super cool, really nice, extremely fast and incredibly funny. Not only did we have a deep and thorough discussion in 4 different groups regarding refugees' issues with 4 captains (Merika, Onur, Leo and Laura), but we also had a chance to listen to the first refugee-relating stories voiced by many participants. The discussion was about the challenges and obstacles both the refugees and the host country have to face so as to find out the possible solutions to the current issues. After that followed the discussion and presentation regarding the 4 topics.

The second intercultural night was room for 3 groups to present the best of their country to all the participants. They were Portugal, Greece and the Czech Republic. It was really interesting and we had a great time together enjoying to national specialties, including food and drinks :)

The social committee then organized some fun and social games for everybody to end the long but meaningful day.