Friday, March 17, 2017

Active participation as a tool for Democracy Youth Exchange - INTERVIEW WITH STELLA, MARTIN AND SOPHIA

Name of the project: Active participation as a tool for Democracy
Date: 19.02.2017 - 28.02.2017
Country/City: Diemerigen, France

What was the main topic of the event?

Stella Raudsepp - The project comprehended a variety of topics related to democracy and human rights. The main focus was on thought provoking discussions to raise awareness about different aspects of democracy and how to improve oneself and society through active participation in one’s community.
Sophia Strömberg - Democracy and human rights
Martin Kolberg - The main topic was the emphasis placed on the importance of peoples´s right and duty to participate in their society´s functioning and the encouragement of youth´s role in the democratic decision making processes. We discussed how it is up for the people themselves to create and be responsible for the conditions they live in – as the saying goes “be the change you wish to see in the world”.

What was the biggest learning moments on the event for you?

Stella Raudsepp - Every day of the project offered an opportunity for self-growth. All of the activities required teamwork, active participation and creativity, which meant that we got to learn a lot from each other. Throughout the project we got to hear, discuss and analyze the pros and cons of democracy and the application of human rights in participating countries. I gained a lot of valuable eye-opening knowledge. As a result, I am able to understand and appreciate every nation on a deeper level than before.
For every workshop team was formed randomly, which gave an opportunity to cooperate with and learn from different people every time. No matter what the difficulty might have been, together we managed to succeed. For example, some of the participants had a hard time expressing themselves in English, or had an absolutely contradictory view on some things, but those were the precious moments that made us all evolve. So I would say that the project as a whole was a big learning experience – accepting, respecting and learning from diversity.
Sophia Strömberg - When I got to know about and compare how democracy operates in different countries, a lot of culturally-shocking moments about Turkey, when I heard what young people dislike about politics and life in their countries
Martin Kolberg - The project gave me a better understanding of the privileges and human rights that I have in my home country and which we often take for granted. I learned to appreciate the possibility of expressing my views and emotions through free speech without the fear of repercussions or censorship. The project also made me contemplate on questions such as “Would I fight for my country in a war?” and “Should borders exist?” and I took great pride in presenting my country and its innovative solutions to participants from other countries.

Do you have any plans to continue active in the field? If yes, what?

Stella Raudsepp - I would love to continue participating in different kinds of projects and also host one by myself one day!
Sophia Strömberg - I would like to engage in helping to organize some events and projects as much as I can now to be able to cooperate with the organization more in the future (in writing my own project, for example)
Martin Kolberg - I will do my best to take part in another project because the first hand learning experience in an international collective equips the participant with new insight and viewpoints which is very influential in a future perspective for a young person like me. Learning from a textbook is very different than learning from new friends throughout different techniques of non-formal education because the workshops and activities really make one go through self-reflection and improve the skills of analytical thinking.

Would you recommend it to your friends? If yes, why? If not, why not?

Stella Raudsepp - Absolutely! There’s no better way to learn a lot about yourself, other countries, cultures and interesting topics in such a short period of time! Lifelong memories, burst of motivation and new friends guaranteed!
Sophia Strömberg - I have already recommended. J Because I think participating in youth exchanges is one of the most vital things for young people, and by engaging in such big an amount of projects the organization gifts a lot of opportunities to travel and widen the knowledge in different areas, on different topics and with new people
Martin Kolberg - I have shared information about different projects to my friends already and continue to do so in the future. I think every young person should take part in similar international youth projects or volunteering to gain knowledge about different perspectives of life that come from different cultures. These projects give us a chance to take a look and introduce ourselves into other peoples´s cultures in a very good and friendly atmosphere. The experience one gets can be very influential in future decision making and the general shaping of youth´s views towards different topics.

More comments or anything else you would like to share? You can add here in your own language, if you want!

Stella Raudsepp - To have a great experience it is important to be flexible, open-minded and positive!
Sophia Strömberg - Just another expression of gratitude for choosing me as a participant and of hope for further cooperation J
Martin Kolberg - I would like to thank the organizers and facilitators for the chance to partake in this wonderful project. I found many new friends from all different walks of life, had fun and broadened my eyesight regarding human rights, citizenship and the importance of every individual´s role in building the society they live in. I would also like to mention the accommodation and facilities we used really exceeded my expectations and the whole thing was a very positive experience!

The complete group was formed by Marco Santos, Stella Raudsepp, Kristi Aksiim, Grete Post, Martin Kolberg and Sophia Strömberg.

This Project was financed by European Commission's Erasmus + Programme

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