European projects, opportunities and experiences!

Hello, hello, for another time in the same week! We are here as always to share our experiences and memories of European projects that we joined. There is a big variety of them out there that a lot of us didn’t even know about them. So it’s time to change this fact! Let’s talk more and more about European projects and opportunities for young people to move around Europe and get in touch with so many young people and new cultures!

To move on in our main topic for today, as I said in the previous blog, here will be a free space for all the young people joined European mobility projects to come and talk about their experiences. The first day the person talking it was me -a bit lame, I know- but know I brought my first guest and she will talk to us about her memories!

*ME, MYSELF AND I (or just a self presentation)*

Hey, my name is Ina. I’m coming from the North Europe, more precisely Lithuania, and I am 27 years old. Three years ago, I came to Faenza, Italy to begin my first European youth experience – ESC (you all know that I bored writing the whole name) volunteering. Near the end of this experience I wanted to try something else that could be useful for my future. So, I chose Youth Training Projects, in fact two different ones: ”Mental Health Champions” (that I’ll talk more about, later) and ”SOHO – sending organization, hosting organization”. Both of them were amazing opportunities and got me in touch with a lot of people from all around Europe that I never forget!

*WHICH PROJECT I JOINED*

Mental Health Champions training was held 2nd of August –7th of August 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. In the training there were present 7 countries: Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Scotland, Greece, Portugal and of course Ireland. The project was held in the suburbs of Dublin – a very nice green place, it allowed us to have many activities in open air enjoying Irish summer – which is like Italian autumn. When you’re joining a training project you have a project promoter association -in this case was the Dublin North/North-East Recovery College-, different trainers -our were Aaron Galbraith and Tessa McKenna both from Ireland-, the main objectives of the project and the its learning outcomes. The main goals of this project were to provide Youth Workers and Educators of Youth with the competencies to create a space where young people can openly and safely discuss the difficulties that they, as a group, identify for themselves, to share with us strategies that support young people in knowing where to find information should they need it and that this information is empirical and youth friendly and to grand us tools to inform young people of the skills to enable them to have conversations with someone they are concerned is having difficulties and what to do to support that person. The goals were specific and this made the learning process easier and funny. Our learning outcomes were gain a broadened frame of reference from which the terms ‘Mental Health’ and ‘Recovery’ can be understood, gain a greater understanding of resilience, what it means and why it’s important, identify and name emotions, understand how stereotypes and stigma occur and their impact, learn strategies to support a friend that is having difficulties with their mental health, understand the concept of ‘One Good Adult’, know how to access quality mental health information and understand self care and why it is important.

*MY EXPERIENCE IN A NUTSHELL*

My experience in this training has been outstanding. As it was my first training experience, I didn’t really have any expectations – but both the activities and the people made this project unforgettable. I was happy to meet so many different and in their own way they unique people, some of them shared similar background as I did, some of them been totally different. There I met Tiffany (from Belgium), apparently a day before a project we spent a night in the same hostel room – ironical?! I guess so! As our project place were in the suburbs we didn’t really have lots of opportunities to go out in the evening to the bars – but here we used our cultural day to see the most interesting places in Dublin, had a little tour just to get familiar with the city. We used all our evenings for informal meetings we had the opportunity to learn more about each other, our cultures and carefully plan our time after the project for a second visit Dublin (most of us had 1 day). Of course we decided that stopping by the ‘Temple’ bar (and other pubs) to listen some live music and taste a Guinness is a very important thing!

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