“Outline” was a 10-day long youth exchange to create the outline of our own personal and cultural borders, including all the places that made us who we are now. 40 young people participated from 8 countries Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and Greece. The youth exchange happened 22 January – 2 February (including travel days) at Saint Andrew Scout Center, Nea Makri, Greece.
Keep reading to find out what the participants have to say about their experience.
Understanding inner peace and emotional intelligence. The memories I have from Outline I will keep for a long time. I could really feel and find myself within the activities, the entire framework of the project. It’s the first time that I feel missing on a project, it’s funny. I went with clear intentions and authenticity and so much beauty was born out of that. Every day was a small challenge of its own, but also a great joy. We did outline countries and borders, but in the process, we outlined ourselves. – Alex
“Outline” has been an experience in many senses for me. To start, it was my first time having the chance to visit Greece, a country which I always felt related to as a Spaniard. Note that the word ‘visit’ in this statement is not linked to tourism or sightseeing (it was held in a quite sparsely populated area). Like many other countries, Spain is facing disagreements and tensions regarding nationalism and I often found myself wondering what a nation is and if I had ever been part of one. “Outline” was a platform for me to discover that I was not the only one having trouble when facing the so-called simple question ‘Where are you from?’. Besides, by listening to my colleagues’ experiences, I had the chance to listen to different perspectives and find connections even with countries that would look completely different to me in the past. By getting rid of stereotypes I even found myself involved in great friendships with those new people. I feel thankful to the organisers, my colleagues and myself for being part of this adventure! – Ivan
Nea Makri, Greece is a place that will always stay with me in my heart. The main goal of the project was to understand where home is for ourselves. I am a person who is constantly moving between seas and oceans. This project has helped me understand better the worth and relevance of the places I visited as well as lived in. But it has also taught me so much more. The activities were organized in a non-formal way, which allowed the participants to get to know each other easily. The activities were also of various types: games, debates, discussions, simulations. I tried participating as much as I could, and the more I did the better I enjoyed the experience. Take advantage of the opportunities given to you. Nevertheless, it wasn’t only the activities but the participants, who are now my dearest friends- help me live in the moment. All problems, worries were put aside and it was time to focus and enjoy everything. Of course, I got to discover different cultures and grown more as a person, though I am most thankful for the people I met, who made this experience possible and one of a kind. – Maja
It was my first youth exchange experience ever and it was amazing. I met 40 super cool people from 8 countries. From the morning till the evening we had a lot of different activities every day. During all the activities I learned a lot about equality, democracy, liberty, refugees, immigrants and many more things. I understood my origins and belonging even better. It became even harder to answer the question “Where are you from?” because I understood that just a country name does not say almost anything. Also, I learned a lot about other countries and cultures. Every person that I met in the project taught me something: from simple jokes to serious political topics. One of the most important things that I improved is teamwork. Sometimes it was really challenging, but it gave me great lessons. I feel that I improved myself a lot! I brought home memories that I will never forget! Amazing time, amazing people! Thank you for everything. – Edvardas
There has come the moment to reflect on 10 intense days of work in a Nea Makri, Greece. The first days with funny games, teamwork, icebreakers … we spoke and got to know each other. Without too much effort, thanks to a really well-designed and structured schedule day by day, I could see how fast 40 different people became to work as a group, better said as a fantastic group! During the project, we created together a perfect atmosphere of trust and confidence for share, through activities based on non-formal education, our personal stories and backgrounds… And while the days were passing… We began to build relationships between us and started to learn from others more and more. Personally, after Outline I know that experiences don’t know about borders, there are more things than countries connecting people, and of course, I raised my awareness about the importance of inclusion and solidarity among others European values. Thanks to Outline project I had the chance to go deeper in myself and got some personal development and even it made me find better my own self. One more time and Erasmus+ experience plenty of, feelings, emotions, useful activities. people, knowledge, connections… And memories that made me who I am. THANKS TO SOLIDARITY MISSION TO MADE IT POSSIBLE, THANKS T2E TO GAVE ME THE CHANCE TO LEAD A GREAT SPANISH TEAM IN A WONDERFUL YOUTH EXCHANGE AND THANKS TO MY UNFORGETTABLE OUTLINE FAMILY. – Sara
“Outline” has been an intense and awesome experience for me. To start, I can definitely say that it was my best project ever: the topics were very specific and all the activities were highly organised. Moreover, the location was a bit isolated, but this fact made us connect even more with each other and with the nature we had around. As many other countries nowadays, Italy is facing disagreements and tensions regarding nationalisms and I often ask myself what a nation was and who could be part of it. This project was the perfect chance for me to discover that I wasn’t the only one not able to answer the so-called “simple” question ‘Where are you from?’. Besides, by listening to the other participants’ experiences, I had the opportunity to listen to different perspectives, stories and points of view and find connections even with countries that would look completely different from mine. By getting rid of stereotypes I even found myself involved in great friendships with those new people. I feel thankful for the organizers and my new friends for being part of this adventure! – Andrea
Spending a few days in Nea Makri was a great decision. I met fantastic people, stepped out of my comfort zone and learnt a lot. It meant so much more than a few weeks in school. If I think of the program, I immediately get a bit sad. It is finished, we won’t ever meet again like that, but because of the consequences, it worths it. Nowadays I feel like I see things in a more positive way. Now it seems easier to get to know new people. I feel more open-minded and my opportunities have broadened. For this, I had to question how I prioritize things and I still don’t know the best order, but the most important is that I stepped on a slightly different path and I have to say, I like it a lot. For the last thing, I have to talk about others again. Those fascinating individuals inspired me, I found new friends and I had never thought, that I could meet such an amazing team. – Linda
I’ve chosen the ‘Outline’ project because the subject seemed to be very interesting, especially since I work and study in an international environment where different nationalities and cultures meet. I didn’t know what to expect exactly, however, today I know this exchange it was the best that could happen to me! Above all – people. People and their amazing stories have captivated me the most. It turned out that despite the names of the countries and citizenship to which we are assigned, we are all brothers and sisters, sharing the origins, family connections, languages in which we speak, common passions and interests. Classes in diverse groups were a great experience because it made us aware that what kind of passport do we have doesn’t matter at all – we became a family. I understood how important conversation is, understanding our mutual needs and goals. I also learned a lot of things about other countries in Europe from people of a similar age – views on the political situation or curiosities about culture. It’s a knowledge that nobody will share with you, for example in the news on TV. Thanks to the exchange classes, I left behind me all the stereotypes that were somewhere in my head and I’m going to install this attitude among my friends in Poland. I became more open-minded, tolerant, I stopped judging people through the prism of appearance or origin. I also got to know myself better. Quiet and peaceful Nea Makri made me really rested, focused on people around me and left all my current affairs in the country. Working together and having fun together brought us even closer! I gained great friends that I will surely meet in the future. During countless conversations with people from all over Europe, I also understood that despite various citizenship and histories, we all want the same – acceptance, love and self-fulfilment. I recommend everyone to take part in Erasmus programs! – Paula
The truth is that I had high expectations for this exchange only by reading the info pack and I have to say that in one way or another they were more than fulfilled. I realized what it means to be local and I can now define better my thoughts and my feelings regarding what home is for me. Also, I understood better the situation concerning the borders in other countries and how difficult it is for some people to go to another country. Moreover, this exchange made me take initiatives and responsibilities and help my team to achieve its goals during various activities. So, I can say that I practised my leadership skills. Of course, I understood, even more, the importance of teamwork, dedication to what you do and discipline. I have to say it was not an ordinary youth exchange. Some times I questioned my own beliefs and thoughts and I really like that, it is very a very interesting process even though it is uncomfortable at first. It made a really big impact on me because until now it has bot passed not even one day without thinking about Nea Makri and I keep mentioning this project to my friends and people I meet. The truth is that I would like to realize some of the activities in future projects to see the reaction of the people. I feel more open-minded after this exchange and more open to listen and discuss opinions contradictory to mine. And of course, this exchange brought me new friends as well as unforgettable experiences. – Alexandra
Outline brought to me new amazing people, and space and time that let get to know each other. I didn’t expect so much love, peace and fun that I had during the programme. I am not a talkative person and sometimes it is hard to express myself, but still, I had so good conversations and social interactions. I heard a lot of inspiring stories, too. These are now motivating me in my personal life and encouraging to do my best. I learnt about where I am local because before that I always said that I am from two countries, which was a bit confusing, even for me. The idea of being a local was a new aspect, but I really needed this view of life. It will help me to find my place in our world. I also learnt a lot of other things about myself and useful concepts and activities. I really appreciate that I could be part of this project, and I also grateful for all the people who contributed to this. So, thank you Outline, thank you Solidarity Mission! – Oszi
A month ago I was in a project called “OUTLINE” in Greece. A project thanks to which I have been able to meet people from Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Greece and Italy. But all this, a project where I could discover that our origin does not define us. Thanks to this and all the projects I have done, I have been able to meet wonderful people who are so different to me as they are equals. In “Outline” we have created our own continent, we have analyzed the stereotypes and rethought our personal map that is now totally different thanks to Erasmus +. Each time I have been dissociating a little more from my location and I feel more connected to my house, the planet earth. All this makes me feel a little closer to reality. – Ester
This has been a different trip for me, a trip in which I have met new and incredible people and in which I have known myself a little more… It has been more than 10 days in a camp where I was the child and that’s how I felt. I’ve played, I’ve made friends and I’ve met very special people… But I’ve also learned and dreamed about them every day. We have laughed and cried together in what has been our home by the sea in Nea Makri. Thank you all for welcoming me as one more. This is just the beginning of what will be something bigger… “is more complicated than a couple of words” “the language barrier will not be a problem” see you soon. – Carlos
The most important thing Outline brought me is the people I met. I like to believe that in each country from this project I’ll go I will have at least one person to meet with. I learned how to travel alone and how to manage everything I needed for the trip, I learned about European borders and citizenships and the most important for me I learned how to understand each person from each country. I want to thank everybody for being part of my wonderful experience in Nea Makri. – Brianna
During my OUTLINE Youth exchange, I experienced many things, meet some incredible people and pushed myself to grow in ways that I didn’t think possible. My exchange forced me to become a more outgoing and confident person, these things helped me to meet new friends, not just during my exchange but after it as well. This newfound confidence gave me the drive to follow my dreams, even if sometimes they are a little scary. I feel like my exchange really allowed me to trust myself and the decisions I make in life. – Mari
I found a lot of new friends from different countries. My English is better than before this camp. I started to find myself and knowing who I am and where I am from. It was not my first youth exchange, but outside my country it was. I was so happy and I learned a lot about cultures and borders and it was interesting to me. I learned a lot of new activities what I can use in my school or in another exchange. And I can understand a lot of things what I didn’t understand before. I am very happy that I had opportunities to take part in this project and I’m so thankful for everything. – Molli
First of all PEOPLE! I had a chance to meet amazing people from around Europe! What did the project bring to me? “Outline” made me more conscious of cultural differences as well as universal human needs and rights. I feel more aware of European values and I developed a better understanding of what is European identity. During the project, I had also a chance to meet people with different experiences in Erasmus+ and it provided me with some particular knowledge and information about new opportunities abroad in the future. Moreover, I learnt more about the team building and team synergy, how to manage and how to work with a group of young people in general. The project gave me also the opportunity to experience new methods and tools for working with youth I hadn’t known before. I feel I am also more conscious of my personal advantages and disadvantages & which personal skills I should develop in the future. – Anna
During the project, we had plenty of dissemination activities, which helped me a lot to understand what I was learning. Aside from the theoretical knowledge about human rights, immigration and national identities I feel that I developed stronger critical thinking on the subject, I became less tolerant with intolerance. The power factor was however what I have discovered about myself and about myself in relation to others.
Outline brought to me important lessons, some new, some forgotten along the way, but lessons which are valuable and worth spreading:
– It’s easy to lose from your eyesight the big goal when you are busy creating problems.
– Judging and pointing fingers has an immediate impact, making it almost impossible for the victims to convince people of their good intentions and who they really are
– Some things are worth giving up your most precious things for
– Stay honest to yourself and people will be honest to you. The key is dialogue.
– And the most important – You are the creator of your own experiences. The project aimed to unite people, to create connections beyond differences and borders. I remember when Marietta, the trainer of the project told us on the first day that this project wasn’t going to be like anything that we expected it to be. I was intrigued at first, but here we are now; not one month passed and every few days I receive another notification from our common facebook group, with a picture of people from different cities or countries which met in the project and decided to meet again. I would have never expected that in the first day. And it fills up my heart with joy. I am one of them. And I am deeply thankful. – Andrada
I came to this project at a very difficult time of my life. After travelling all around Europe for the past 6 months I was lost, wondering where do I belong. Greece was my last planned trip and I knew that after this ends I have nothing to do, nowhere to be. It was hard for me to concentrate on the activities since I couldn’t leave the thought that I don’t know where is my home. I didn’t really have a place to live, all of my belongings were still packed in boxes since last summer and everywhere I go I feel like a guest. But through these 10 days I realised that home is not a place you live, but the experiences you had connected with certain places which formed you as a person. That means, even though I stopped living somewhere, even if I can never return there, that place is still a part of who I am and no one can take that feeling of belonging there away. – Anonymous
First of all, I must say that this was my first Erasmus project. When i arrived in Nea Makri I had no expectations and felt totally unprepared for this experience. And I was wrong… For 10 days with all of the participants, we were able to build strong relationships. We went there, shared and heard each one’s stories – we understood the big differences between us but rather building walls we build bridges. For the first time, I saw the real value of social and cultural rights and felt like real European. It was mind-blowing to have conversations on youth topics, the problems of the volunteers, NGO’S, etc. Now, I have hope because I know where is the place of the youths in the modern world. It was a life-changing experience which I highly recommend to all who have any doubts. Do not have fear about going somewhere where you haven’t been and without knowing anyone – you will always meet someone special. – Emil
A better understanding of the surrounding people, better knowledge of how to listen and hear more about the people around me no matter stereotypes. – Yana
“Outline” was a special project with a unique topic. First of all, it brought me many new friendships and through activities created beautiful bonds amongst us participants that we all appreciate a lot. Secondly, as it was the purpose of the project it changed my perception of borders and how travels can influence us. I saw that although I’ve travelled quite a bit not all the places I’ve visited have formed the person I am today and from other people on the project, I saw how you don’t only belong to the place you were born. Furthermore, these projects contribute a lot to breaking stereotypes about other cultures even when you think you don’t have any. I feel a lot more open-minded and that came by little things of the project such as seeing how languages may share some words or how my country had some common traditional foods with other countries as well. Those details made me think how similar we are even though in our everyday lives we may be convinced that we bear more differences rather than similarities. And even if we bear many differences it is not our responsibility to make the similarities matter most? Coming in contact with so many people through the project made me more willing to find the similarities and try to connect with people I consider different than me. Lastly, I would say that it made me think about myself in various ways and helped me grow into a more mature and accepting person. All things considered, this exchange was a beautiful journey that gave me some laughs and fun memories(and of course teary goodbyes) along with a lot of learning about myself and others-all things that I will carry in my heart forever. – Andreas
As a first timer both in any kind of Erasmus+ project and as a group leader, I was quite taken aback by what Outline managed to show me. About the group as a whole, I was amazed by seeing how well everybody managed to integrate and to feel in each other’s presence. Everybody seemed very open, sincere and even the shiest of us were adopted by the group in the end, which shows how much magic this kind of projects can bring. I felt at home and quite blissful when doing grout activities with everybody else. Personally, this project managed to remind me, this time in the strongest manner possible, about how I interact in large groups of people. I found out how low my energy levels can be, and how difficult it is to socialize in this context, without added substances like alcohol. I found out that I have a tendency of wanting to be everywhere and do everything at the same time, especially when surrounded by cool people while having formal responsibilities at the same time. I found out that I need to make a personal plan to relax and choose wisely exactly where I want to be and with whom at all times, and let other things go and not bother me anymore. I also need to start some kind of therapy in order to be able to detach myself emotionally from the people I turn out to like a lot, which adds to the stress that takes out the worst of me. All in all, this experience is a big part of the road that I started a while ago, to discover myself and expand my social abilities in order to be a better person for the others who might need my help. – Remus
It was a great experience to be part of this project. Now I understand myself much better and I know that differences among us are not so huge as we imagine. From now on I imagine all people of the world should be much more connected and have one purpose which is to be the best version of him-her-self. Maintain our genuine differences are also important to sustain originality. Empathy is key. – Dovydas
If I have to sum up the ten days spent in Nea Makri, full of nice emotions, laughter and unforgettable experiences in a few words, I would say- one life-changing memorable journey. By meeting those forty unique and more than incredible people, who I love unbelievably much, I learnt how to cross my own borders, how to be more open-minded, more aware of my personal belonging. We all built strong connections between ourselves and successfully laid the foundations of lots of amazing friendships. The interesting and useful information on different topics as population, migration, groups of languages, stereotypes and cultural differences was offered by methods as simulation games, discussions, posters, presentations and energizing games and that is what made the learning itself easy and funny. The project was not only useful but also challenging, which is the best way to develop, discover or rediscover yourself. – Elena
Going into this, I wasn’t sure what to expect, being my first youth exchange. I used to think that we would be taught practical skills or be lectured and that this was the point of programs such as this one. However, when I actually got there, I quickly realised that, as the name suggests, it is about an exchange. An exchange of culture, languages and customs amongst individuals with different backgrounds, opinions and goals for the future. Despite not knowing how to react initially, I can safely say that I was guided by my fellow participants and got to be an active member of this small community, just one of the values I inherited from this experience and plan to keep expanding as I go. It truly was an amazing experience, which I feel has helped me grow both as a person and as a member of society. It may have been the first but it certainly won’t be the last! – Christina
This kind of opportunities for youth is perfect to gain new knowledge and meet interesting people. During the Outline YE, I learned more about myself, my roots and what means home to me. I took part in many interesting activities, group works and tasks. Now I know what means to be local and how important is cooperation in our life. After this exchange, I can describe “my place”. We talked a lot about values and European identity. I had the chance to learn more about human rights and different contexts. We also discussed stereotypes and cultures. It was a great possibility to develop communication skills. I can recommend Erasmus + projects to people who want to gain experience in an international environment, gain useful knowledge and meet amazing people. – Kasia
The Outline project was my first one. I went to Nea Makri with curiosity and thirst for new people, knowledge and experience. I can say that everything I felt, learned, tasted didn’t only meet my expectations, but actually exceeded them. It was the joy we shared during each activity that filled me with a lot of energy. As to the activities, in particular, I think the simulation activity was a brilliant idea that put in motion everybody and brought to light deep feelings and beliefs we had that we weren’t even aware of. The exploration of the surroundings and life story collecting from the locals was quite challenging at first but turned out to be so pleasant and educative in the end. It really helped a lot to better understand the local community we lived nearby for 10 days. Moreover, Greece that’s already a wonderful destination for vacation and studying, proved to be just the perfect location for a youth exchange program. What I liked the most was the way we were mixed up at each and every activity. Changing the working teams and groups helped me a lot at getting to know everybody at least a little bit. The diversity of origins, life experiences and skills was the core identity feature of the group up to a point when it was almost overshadowed by our strong connection and intense common experience that we enjoyed. After the project I came back home with even greater curiosity, I gained back the trust in myself that I misplaced and lost at some point in the past and I started packing for the next one. – Alexandru
In a nutshell: I ate too much sugar – in every possible way:
Physically – the cookies in the breaks were amazing! I just couldn’t…help…myself
Emotionally – all the positive and warm feelings I had, the enthusiasm, the curiosity, the joy!
Intellectually – I’ve really learnt new and interesting stuff, something that I wasn’t even thinking about before. Outline brought me new insight into how we communicate with each other despite our differences and language barrier. It also made me realize how important is to be present and to try to make the best out of your current life situation because you have everything you need-it’s all about you and how you use the resources around you. All the activities that we did, the debates, the moments- everything needed all of your focus. Why? Because if you are thinking about „green horses on the walls” (one of Romanians’ favourite slang, meaning to be lost in thought) you are going to waste the opportunity to create the best learning experience for you. And this applies in our everyday life too. If you are going to think about that last moment, about your home back in your country or your job, about your cat or about that cute guy that you probably won’t meet again anytime soon, you won’t have the right attitude to open yourself up the the stimuli that create your current life situation, hence you’ll miss the chance to enrich yourself with new feelings, new information, new insights. To sum it up, this project proved itself to be an amazing opportunity for me to meet amazing snowflakes, to hunt down new information and to evade from my routine. Thank you all, and thank you, Marietta, for being the most efficient big boss for our group to work together! – Ruxandra
When we go out from our comfort zone, we start changing our perspective about people, destroying our prejudices and becoming more empathetic people. A youth atmosphere was the perfect place to develop ourselves in many personal ways, always learning by non-formal education methods. One of the most important activities we did, was developing and presenting our personal outline-map, in relation also with what is home for us. If you search for “home” in a dictionary, the first definition will be: “a house or apartment that is the usual place where one lives”, but actually home is something else, a bigger concept, including the place where we grow, the place where your feelings belong or also the place where the people you love are. In this activity, we researched about ourselves, our past and present frontiers, where we come from, where we lived and live, what is the meaning of home. Learning also about others was for us a perfect way to connect between us, sharing many different experiences. This encouraged me to take part in more projects, in general, it was an incredible experience that everybody should have the opportunity to live. – Pablo
We are thankful to all of our participants who dedicated their time to Outline and to each other, creating our beautiful Outline family. We are also grateful to all our partners who made this project possible to happen:
Smokinya Foundation (BG), Egyesek Youth Association (HU), Vagamondo (IT), Synergy LT (LT), Logos Polska (PL), Zig Zag prin Romania (RO), Ticket2Europe (ES) and Solidarity Mission (GR).
- Posted by Yuli Zhelyazkov
- On 26 Ιουνίου, 2019