02 August 2017

Youth Exchange - "Europe without borders", Agros, Cyprus

Youth Exchange - "Europe without borders" was held in one of the most scenic areas in Cyprus - Agros. Romanian participants shared their experience towards this project through few lines and pictures. Let's see what happened with them during the project.

"I open my eyes and I find myself standing in this strange room that I don't recognize. I try to get myself back to reality and see where I am. Looking from the balcony, I have one of the best views that I have ever seen: the mountains of Cyprus. Suddenly I remember that I am in Agros, a magical place in the middle of Cyprus, where we gathered together from different corners of Europe for a youth exchange project with the Erasmus+ program. 

We are here to discuss ideas and to exchange different opinions about the topic of the project: Europe without borders. Our national leaders are guiding us in this adventure and lead the workshops. 

We use non-formal education to learn more about the topic; debating, theater and other innovative techniques. By the end of the project we would have developed skills like learning how to learn, improve on our English, and have a stronger sense of initiative and entrepreneurship. At the end of this beautiful week we will have to be back to our countries, but we will not be the same. Something will be change forever: our attitude about Europe, our opinions about different cultures from the participant countries and we will feel more united in diversity." – Aurelian Grigore

It took me some time to realize how lucky I am to participate in this project, with these wonderful people. We gathered in a remote town, Agros, to discuss about a "Europe without borders". I understood that the nationality doesn't matter; what matters is to have an open mind and be tolerant 

enough to discover the personalities of other people. We’ve learned about the other participants by drawing, singing, or from different presentations, such as the ones that took place during the intercultural nights. It was a pleasure to hear so many opinions and meeting so many people, who were willing to share things about their culture. 

This was my first contact with Erasmus+ and it was delightful. I recommend these kind of activities, because I consider it is the perfect way to develop yourself as a person, as well as developing other useful skills.” - Daria Pop

Agros was the place where I realized once again how important it is to tolerate the other’s opinion, no matter how crazy or senseless it seems to you. Europe without borders helped me understand better different mindsets and characters of people from other parts of Europe. In Agros we had a lot of fun and interesting games.

Moreover, I’ve met amazing people with whom I still keep in touch, and that’s why I warmly recommend this kind of projects to everybody who wants to widen his/her horizons” – Serafim Armanca

Cyprus - a place where you have to go back because you forgot your heart there.

This was my first project with so many nationalities involved. To be precise, ten participant countries. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about how we are going to get to know to each other in such a short period of time. At the end of the project we found ourselves wondering about when those 10 days had passed; we all know that when you're in the right place with amazing people, time simply flies. 

For me, it was a unique experience and I know it won't happen again even though I would really like to. The theme of the project, Europe without borders, was a perfect fit for us given the number of nationalities, each of them with their differences and traditions. I think what is the most important is that we learnt that it doesn't matter where you’re from, what language you’re speaking and what your traditions are; in the end we are all living under the same sky and exactly those things that make us different are actually bringing us closer to each other. 

To sum up, it was really worth it living this experience, and that’s why I am so grateful that Erasmus+ program exist” - Bianca 

The project is just a part of the overall experience. I chose to share a moment that I have experienced while in Nicosia, during our free time. What follows is an excerpt from a memory that I’ve recently wrote. 

… I continue walking without having a precise destination when I see these two men, inside an old building, talking. The room they were in was behind another room that was under restoration. I walk towards them, relaxed, but also slightly anxious when pondering possible reactions. This anxiousness disappears completely at the first contact with them. Following my lead, they get involved in the conversation that I initiated as if it was a conversation continued with a friend that left two minutes ago to grab a drink. They were still practicing English, but we had no difficulties communicating, as they are part of those people for which words are not an imperative. 

They invite me to take a sit and offer me a drink; an ice frappe for themselves, and a glass of water for myself. Looking around me, I notice all sort of musical instruments in various stages of work. The master and the disciple, that is their relationship. The master is a tall man, having around 1.95m, and his look is almost severe; I think he is around 45-50 years old. As for the disciple, he seems to be 22-25 years old; he is one of those men who show the kindness of their heart through a smile that has been constantly sculptured by positive emotions as years went by. 

I ask for permission to look at some musical instruments. After some time, I grab a lyra which was almost finished, and I start analyzing it. In the meantime, the disciple seizes a mandolin, and the master a Cretan lyra, and they start playing them and singing. I feel the music coming from their passion deeply reverberating through my body. After a few songs, curious, I ask them about the theme of a certain song. They’re having a hard time explaining, due to the language barrier, but I finally find out that the song is about a young man, who is in love and suffers a lot; to end his suffering, he calls for the waves of the sea to put out the fire of his heart. 

They start singing again, and I feel the music so profoundly that I slowly start swinging. If during the first part the songs had the nature of practicing, when the master was interrupting and giving some advices, now the songs are more of a final product. They feel how the music reaches me, and from that moment we have a stronger connection; more and more ardour comes from their side. 

When I am about to leave, the master, as an answer to my reverence, touches his chest with his right hand, slowly hitting it above the heart, somehow suggesting that it came from the soul and I don’t need to thank them. I do it anyway, we hug, and I continue my walk. A part of me is still there, and that moment was vividly present during all my stay in Cyprus.

” – Claudiu Fulger