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Roman: “After participating in my first project, it was almost like something was reignited inside me.”

Hello! My name is Roman. I come from a small village near Räpina city and currently study in Tartu College as a pastry chef and baker. Despite culinary arts and healthy eating habits being my biggest fields of interest, I wasn’t really sure how I could make this career path more meaningful for me and beneficial for others until I discovered Erasmus+.

My first ever experience with a project was in Bulgaria. I have always heard about Erasmus+ possibilities but I never really looked too deep into it because I was under the impression that it was almost impossible to apply or participate in any kind of training especially for a person coming from a remote area. One day however I decided to give it a shot and apply for a program that would eventually change my life. After participating in my first project, it was almost like something was reignited inside me. I was hooked immediately and started focusing more on self development and youth work. My main goal shifted to trying to combine my knowledge of healthy cooking and youth work together and teach younger people the importance of it. It gave me motivation and a clear idea of the career path which would be most suitable for me, which brings me to the training “List” that I will tell you about shortly.

The training course “List” was intended for youth workers and youth leaders and focused on how to support learning within short-term group activities involving young people (such as youth exchanges or volunteering teams). For context, short-term group projects, such as youth exchanges and volunteering team projects, are one of the most common activity formats within the EU youth programmes. These formats are useful in developing young people’s ownership of their own learning processes and their development, especially when their reflection on their learning and self-assessment is facilitated throughout their participation. My motivation for applying was the fact that I want to become a trainer that can create meaningful and relevant learning experiences for young people and eventually write my own program that I could facilitate. This program looked like a perfect opportunity to learn all about these things.

The Training Course took place in a Greek summer resort town called Porto Heli. There were over 20 participants from over 10 different countries. Most of the participants had a background of working with young people however there were also few people who just started working in this field recently and this was their first experience in this kind of short term program.

Program consisted of 5 days. 3 days that focused on diving deep into the topic + arrival and departure days. First half of the day we spent playing different interactive name and ice breaker games to create a more fun learning environment and better teamwork. We also worked on different topics such as “Challenges in supporting learning of young people”, “Discover yourself and your learning plan” and “Creating learning pathways and outcomes”. Topics were presented either through presentations, videos or games. All of us had a chance to speak in public and share our knowledge with others.

In just 3 days I managed to learn so much about these given topics. I learned about my learning and teaching methods and how they can be improved. I also got a better view of “behind the scenes” or more specifically how such programs are planned, written and facilitated and how networking between ngo-s work.

In conclusion I can confidently say that all of my expectations were met and I took a lot of valuable lessons with me. I would definitely recommend everyone to attend these training courses no matter if you are experienced youth worker or just starting out on your learning journey. These trainings give people opportunities to develop different competences, acquire new knowledge and practical skills that can be applied to future work, expand the international network and meet many like minded people and also explore the lesser known places (hidden gems) of different countries.