14 May 2018

Youth Exchange: [BG-160] InforMigration, Bansko, Bulgaria

Six enthusiastic GEYCuleți spent about a week in the one of the largest winter resorts of Bulgaria, attending a training course about topics related to migration, refugees, hate speech and human rights. They got the chance to learn the processes, reasons and effects of migration, about climate change and its social, economic, political and environmental consequences and at the end were left with one of the most exciting stories to tell.

It all started when we met before the departure from Bucharest. We couldn’t wait to meet each other and go on this new journey together.

The first day ended with the arrival. Our team got the chance to meet a few of the other participants the first day we arrived, and on the second day we finally get to know them through ice breaking games and getting to know each other activities. We started interacting with people from Spain, UK, Estonia, Greece and Bulgaria. We were instantly happy to realize we will spend a week with like-minded people driven by the same willingness to learn and even happier when we realised that most of them would soon become our friends. 

We’ll leave you with the final thoughts :

Ina Ruxandra Tanasă: „For me, this project represented the path for a new beginning, a look at new horizons, and a deeper understanding of the world we live in. I am glad that I had the opportunity to participate in my first Erasmus + project in a beautiful and friendly collective. It was a unique feeling to be surrounded by so many people from different countries, and the fact that we are still connected after the end of the project ismaking me very happy. I came home full of memories and wonderful experiences, as well as ideas for new projects. I would repeat this experience anytime and encourage all young people to get involved in such projects for my personal development.”

Romanian team

Paul Chiș: „It was an amazing experience, a memorable exchange between young people from 6 very different countries, that came together and formed long lasting bonds. From the very beginning, I felt that I was in the right place. Participants had life stories behind them, but in the same time, aspirations, goals and dreams. The activities were interactive and effective, making us more aware of the refugee crisis, hate speech and discrimination. Not only did I learn a lot about current European-wide problems and discovered fascinating cultures, I also gained a better understanding of myself. After this week long project, I became more sociable, confident, and willing to step outside my comfort zone. Overall, I am glad I had the chance to live this experience, and I am eager to take part in more such projects.”

Marius Slabu: “The participation in this project has given me a pleasant experience of traveling and getting to know new people, which makes me feel fulfilled. The people were absolutely extraordinary, and although we had different backgrounds, relatively similar and yet so different cultures, we felt for a short amount of time like in a big family. Regarding the theme of the project, the refugee situation, I had the opportunity to see things from a different perspective, a better and more realistic one than before. The topics that were addressed made me want to engage more in the community in which I live and share the lessons learned by my own example, just as I had the opportunity to learn from others.”

Romanian girls representing Romania in the intercultural night

Diana Vișan: “This was my very first project and for sure not my last one. I came there as another curious and untrained teenager and left with very high hopes not just for the future, but also regarding the potential of young Europeans. During a short period of time I learned about the amount of things that can be done and accomplished in just a few days if everyone is involved in the learning process and more minds are working for the same cause. For a long time I didn’t considered teamwork the best tool, but this week I learned how much more can be done, as a real change, with the support and help of others. And because I now believe so much in this, I think this lesson is going to remain stored in me as a thing to remember for my future working tasks. The topic of the project(migrants, refugees etc. centered around hate speech) represented a completely foreign field of interest for me, and even though I tried before, at home, to truly understand this global issue, I feel like there couldn’t have been a better context to light up my interest for social international problems. We all know that a big part of the reason why youth exchanges are so important and have so many benefits is because they take young, still undeveloped people and offer them a more clear and complex and obviously beautiful image of the world they live in, in order to become more tolerant, mature and cultivated people. Last but not least, the interaction and the development of friendships with interesting and foreign persons is maybe the best part for me, but I don’t think there is anything more to say about that, since the excitement is felt the same for everyone their first time. With that being said, what I said in the begging is also my conclusion. “

Doina Stînă: “The three main things I learned in TC, InforMigration, Bulgaria were:
1. Small changes are related to the formation of habits. Success is doing small, productive, repeated everyday things. Achievements are not only due to intelligence and / or luck, because the road and the destination are different terms. To travel from Bucharest and get to Sofia, then in Bansko we had to travel a road with many signs and ... decisions. Otherwise, I learned that the route is much more important than the destination. And when no one is on your side, you, at least, are.
2. Stereotypes, prejudices, discrimination, migrants, refugees ... the outside world is a reflection of the inner world. If there's a clutter around me, it's a matter of order in my mind. And I understand that external problems can be solved outwardly, without ignoring the person. Because no bus will repair itself.
3. After the 9 days spent in Bansko, I learned to be recognized for the last drop of water I have in the glass, and that's because I learned to see what I could do with it.
Bonus: And as I didn’t travel on this road alone, I felt comfortable in all 38 pairs of shoes I tested. Wonderful, everyone. Thank you!”

Andrei Gabriel Stupu: ”My first team leader role has taught me how different the expectations of the participants can be, coming from our previous experiences and it has also showed me how important is to succeed in offering each exactly what she or he needs to hear. I don`t know if I have accomplished this task, but these are learned lessons. We are different in the way we perform, we communicate using various methods, having totally opposed characters, unique needs and perceptions, but all these things mingled give uniqueness to a group and stimulates the innovation and creativity within. The theme on the refugees is part of the human rights activism sector for which I have already dedicated tens of hours of working and concrete acting both in Romania and abroad, apart form the Bansko project in Bulgaria, the one organised by Alternativi International, where the group leader position focused on observing in trying to catch on the participants` involvement rather than on moderating the dialogue. I am aware that this attitude might have not met my colleagues` expectations, still it has been a self-imposed exercise of more listening and less talking ( I admit I couldn`t help suggesting and delivering a media and fake news workshop, which was an obvious delight for the 36 participants from Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, Great Britain and Estonia). In a nutshell, our southern neighboughrs` project has signaled again that we are going through a constant updating and attitudinal reconfiguration process. During the final discussion, I was also delighted to receive one-to-one feedback from Diana, Doina, Ina, Pal and Marius.”