YOU are WELLcomed
Written by Laura Glez
A couple of days after coming back from the youth exchange “You are WELLcomed”, while I was walking alone, I realized that I was smiling and feeling so much joy in my heart. This experience has been so precious so I would love to share with you what I learned.
I applied because I was interested in mindfulness and I wanted to learn a bit more, but I didn’t expect to discover and explore so many different topics that are interconnected with the idea of awareness and being present. I truly believe that this project is a seed for each of us to develop ourselves, not only to grow as a person but also as active citizens supporting the causes that we are sensitive with.
What made this youth exchange so special?
An international group with more than nine nationalities, diverse backgrounds, ages, and interests made real the creation of a safe space where expressing our opinions, discussing with respect and tolerance, and finding common points were possible. Thanks to different exercises I realized that sometimes I do not listen consciously. It is so easy to fall into evaluations rather than appreciate what the person in front of us is expressing, what it really needs from us, and what we are feeling with that story. Nowadays, in this world of haste, it is priceless to stop, listen and connect with other human beings. I will always keep in my mind the exercise about emphatic dialogue because it opened my eyes radically.
Moreover, I discovered the concept of single-story, stories that have been repeated for a long time and it became the only reality that we know, basically simplistic ideas that we have about individuals, groups or countries. Certainty this exists in every society and it is our responsibility as individuals to be aware and fight it through the most powerful tool that we have: dialogue. It may be true partially or totally the story but there are so many different realities besides this one, the negative side is that leads to the creation of stereotypes.
Each nation or community has associated diverse stereotypes but mostly is born from the lack of knowledge about their realities and, I will repeat myself: we have in our hands the tool to break up with them: dialogue.
During this project, I gave the first steps toward realizing some behaviors and beliefs that are intricately rooted in me and I feel truly relieved, when you are aware of them you are likely open to work and improve. I will be more open to being present, to listen to others more consciously, to hear opinions even in disagreement for finding common solutions, to not judging and to break stereotypes.
Not only this has been an important part of the learning process but also connecting with people that have so many illusions and goals. Inspiration is fundamental key to our lives and in this group, I found so many people that inspire me, with their words and actions, and also being an inspiration for others fulfilled my heart deeply.
This project has been a transformational experience, a new way to see the reality, to express myself, to find deep connections, to embrace the present moment and all my feelings, to be part of our small community, to laugh and cry when we felt like that and to experience every single moment without judging.
I conceive my life as a continuous change - evolution - revolution, this youth exchange was the seed that represent a change in how I was seeing my reality, the next steps will be to evolve and finally, my projects and goals will flourish like a revolution.
Objectives of the Project:-
A. inform youths on the topics of intercultural dialogue & no hate speech
B. engage in emphatic dialogue, especially with people who have different perspectives and view points
C. connect with others by first of all understanding their contexts and our privileges
D. foster tolerance, respect and open-mindedness towards diversity of thinking, cultures, & religions
E. discuss and reflect upon how intercultural dialogue can contribute to the physical and mental wellbeing of youth, and especially migrant youth
F. empower youths to get engaged in fostering intercultural dialogue and the culture of no hate speech
G. understand better the integration of migrants situation in participating countries and find out the causes of hate speech and discrimination towards migrants
H. understand our thoughts clearer, what beliefs serve and limit us
The objectives of the youth exchange harmoniously merge with the general objectives of the Erasmus + and Key Action 1 in particular, in terms of building an active and participative society, promoting a common sense of European citizenship and identity, promoting European values such as respect for human dignity, freedom, equality. The project is in line with the Europe 2030 Strategy regarding education, the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training as well as the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union.