Youth(work) – and the Erasmus Experience – without Borders

Circulize, people! Circulize!

Having participated in over 3 Erasmus+ projects (4!), I can honestly say that, evrytime I decide to enter a new one, I always start with the same mindset: “I’m only going because I want out… This time, I’ll try to open myself less to people, I have enough friends abroad already… This is my last one! I won’t have more time for this in the future…”

And then, I find myself in Croatia… And, AGAIN, I was proved wrong.

Between 10 and 18th of September, I was part of the Portuguese team, representing Akto: Direitos Humanos e Democracia and The Human Right Defense Section of the Academic Association of Coimbra, on the Training CourseYouth(work) without Borders” in Nova Gradiska. Incluind participants of various ages, from various European countries, like Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Romania, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania e Slovenia (and one Brazilian…), this TC focused on techniques of non-formal education and how to apply them, including Human Rights teaching tools.

Any expectation we had entering that room, was quickly replaced by enthusiasm. Any doubt, by a sentiment of belonging, knowing you are where you’re supposed to be, that every moment, conversation or exercise is fundamental to be brought back home, roll-up your sleeves and do more. Even more than what you were expecting to get from this TC.

A week after finishing this Training Course, is impossible to write and talk about it, without a smile, or remembering our evil laughs (thank you, Evelina…), or Andra’s “jealousy” (Ducu!!… don’t get pregnant…), or the meows, or starting humming “Train Me! Train me, my friend!”, or… See? It’s impossible to stop reminiscing…

More than a YouthPass. More than all the competences, knowledge and skills that Nina, Desiree and Paolo so inspiringly gave us (again… THANK YOU SO MUCH!), and that all of us, participants, will apply on the field, growing our multi-disciplinary baggage to help our communities. More than all the networking done over the week (or should I say, all 84 years?), that create more than work acquaintances, but friends and companions. More than a week of fun and companionship. A eye-opener, a guarantee, that made us feel fulfilled and hopeful, that the future, as strange and scary as it may look, can, and must, be yours.

And see you all next April!

P.S.: I still nominate Despina as the killer!

 

Gil Cancela


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