The Balkan History Association had the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus+ project “United in diversity” that was held in a beautiful mansion from the 14th century in Murska Sobota, Slovenia (02-10 December 2019). The Romanian team was led by our Secretary-Treasurer, Cristina Ioniță.

Coordinator
Mladinsko drustvo Moja Sobota (Slovenia)

Partners
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SOCIAL ECONOMY GROUP (Greece)
Hidak Ifjúsági Alapítvány (Hungary)
The Oriental Studies Circle (Ukraine)
IDENTITIES (Italy)
Asociația de Istorie Balcanică (Romania)

Info
Start: 01-08-2019 – End: 29-02-2020
Project Reference: 2019-2-SI02-KA105-015146
EU Grant: 18816 EUR
Programme: Erasmus+
Key Action: Learning Mobility of Individuals
Action Type: Youth mobility

Objectives

The intention of this project is to enable interested young people with fewer opportunities the chance to participate in a European project that will raise awareness, teach and strengthen the competencies and soft skills that are not provided by their schooling and are available only through informal education aimed at diverse social and cultural societies. The goals of our projects are to promote and strengthen tolerance of diversity; to inculcate social responsibility towards cultural heritage; to raise awareness of individual beliefs about cultural goods; to improve the opportunities for teamwork; to strengten the sense of responsibility, independence, and tolerance; to learn about other cultures; and to recognize local, national and European cultural heritage.

Activities

The highlight of our project will be the youth exchange, which will take place in winter in Murska Sobota, in eastern Slovenia. Participants in the youth exchange will be between 18 and 30 years of age, with personal interests in the topic who have had fewer opportunities. The number of participants taking part in the exchange will be 36. Some of us are employed, others are students, third unemployed. We have many diverse interests, experiences and knowledge.

Impact

After completing our activities we expect an in-depth understanding of today’s world, the evaluation of the cultural heritage left by our ancestors in the form of intangible cultural goods: religion, political systems, ethnic dilemmas, habits and speech. We expect to make people acquainted with the possibilities of financing various projects through the European Union. We want the project to leave an imprint of European solidarity and integration with other European nation in the minds of the participants and to raise awareness of the invaluable value of our diversity in the imagined common home. (Source: European Commission website)

Dissemination

Have you ever heard of ERASMUS +?

Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.

Who can benefit from Erasmus + ?

The program is dedicated to students, staff, trainees, teachers, youngsters, volunteers and more, so doesn’t just have opportunities for students but also for people who had already graduated  or for people who didn’t have the chance to finish high school.

So, if you want to travel around Europe in order to study, train, meet new people, cultures, share your experiences and learn more from their perspective about life , dreams , what makes different and what makes us the same, then you should learn more about Erasmus+.

Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million and it set to last until 2020. Erasmus+ also aims to promote the sustainable development of its partners in the field of higher education, and contribute to achieving the objectives of the EU youth strategy. For more information about our program please check the following link : https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about_en

How does Erasmus + connect with youth exchange?

So Youth exchange is a part of the general concept of Erasmus and it represent a unique form of learning mobility within the Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme.

Youth exchanges allow groups of young people from different countries to meet, live together and work on shared projects for short periods and it takes place outside the school environment. On a youth exchange, you can expect to participate in activities such as workshops, exercises, debates, role-plays, outdoor activities and more.

What is the project that we have been part of about?

UNITED IN DIVERSITY was created in order to develop a common European thinking and a feeling of peace among the participants. At the same time, it enhances the unity between the continents many different cultures, traditions and languages.

It also represents an opportunity to learn about all that define us, like the differences about sexual orientation, diverse cultures and it’s a great chance to connect with others and form bonds that could last a lifetime and find ways to face the challenges in todays society.

Participants’ learning experiences were recognised through a Youth pass.

Who were the participant countries?


Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Italy, Ukraine

Each country had 6 members (5 participants + 1 group leader), age between 18-30 years old, the only participants allowed to be older were the group leaders.

Where did the project took place?

We stayed in a beautiful castle from the 14th century which had been renovated, in Rakičan, Murska Sobota, sLOVEnia.

What are your thoughts about the project?

“Tolerance for me is to accept people the way they are. I used to have problems accepting other people After this project I believe that I am going to be more open towards other people. I really strengthen my friendship with my best friend on this project.” – Ábrahám, Hungary

“The best moment of this project for me was the day when we went to Ljubljana. We separated from the group and walked on our own. We’ve met people and talked t o them. We met a   homeless woman who was walking her dogs. She told about the way she views the world. You go out; you see beautiful places, you meet different people – for me, this is the most beautiful part of the Erasmus+. You get out of your little box, and that’s the wonderful thing.” – Aggelos, Greece

“That is my first time in Slovenia, and it’s really nice. There are some charismatic persons. I’ve met the Hungarian guy, we share the same interests, we’ve discussed games. So, when im back to Italy, we’ll get in touch and play some online games together.” David, Italy

“It is my first Erasmus and my first time in Slovenia. I improved my English and met different people. That is wonderful.”- Gabriele, Italy

“The best thing at the project for me was a visit to Ljubljana. It gave me a good old feeling of having fun with my friends. In Greece, we have a tradition of having long school trips, and for me seeing the new city, learning how to navigate it, communicating with different people – this is the combination of the greatest things that can happen in my life.” – Menelaos, Greece

“In projects like Erasmus+, I really appreciate that you can learn a lot. And afterward, when you are thinking about it, you remember smiles and the moments of laughter that you’ve shared with other people, and that is precious indeed.” – Nicolae, Romania

“This experience made me appreciate my country even more. People like things about Romania that we don’t value. Sometimes we’ve got upset about how things go, and now I understand that we don’t need to complain that much. Now I know that we are important to other people, and they became important to us.” – Cristina, Romania

“For me, this was one of the best programs because people were interacting with each other. On different programs, nationalities were stuck together, but here im looking around and, wow, im sitting in a mixed group! We’ve never had to scream “tornado”. – Ntombi, Hungary

“The best part of this project was my team and the whole work we have done to make it happen! Thank you for for this opportunity and amazing time we had!” – Urh, Slovenia.

United in Diversity Exhibition (pdf download)

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