By Jakob Sußmann
“Strike a Pose” was an Erasmus+ funded youth exchange program from the 18. until the 24. November of 2019. This time the Organiser, South European Youth Exchange, brought different young people from around Europe together to rise awareness about
Ilewasi provided the Spanish team that got infiltrated by two Germans and consisted of:
After some long travelling we arrived on Monday night in the beautiful town of Lecce in the south of Italy. There we met the other groups, consisting out of young people from Greece, Ireland, Poland and Italy. The cultural differences between these groups began soon to abolish, as we started to exchange the different stories of the struggle to come to this place. Also, the first round of “Jungle Speed” was played, a game that can be very frustrating, especially for Polish people 😉. After all everybody made it to Lecce and was happy to go to sleep after a long day.
|A collection of the art pieces|
The first day of Activities started with activities to get to know each other. Sandro, the organiser of the local NGO “South European Youth Forum”, started a round of introduction and everybody struggled for some time with the Greek names. After that it got easier as we did rounds of “speed-dating” and a more or less successful joint effort to potrait each other. A more challenging task in form of a treasure hunt through Lecce was set for the evening. The challenge did not rise from the chase after the treasure itself, but more from the inhuman weather conditions outside. Even though the tough challengers got equipped with umbrellas, soon they were soaked from head to toe in water. Only one resilient group of young Europeans managed to finish the final task and interview an Italian Barista how to make the typical Coffee in Lecce. At night every group presented their nationality with regional food and drinks in the context of an intercultural night.
|Getting comfortable with each other|
After successfully waking up, the group was even more bounded together, as the experience of the last night (a lot of beer) forged them into one entity. But that did not mean that the teambuilding activities of this day would come too easy. Figuring out how to fit more than 20 people into a square which has the size as a shower was harder than it looked at the first glance. Nonetheless everybody tried to work together, as different groups tried to save suicidal eggs from cracking on the ground or to solve a riddle through the existing language barriers. At the end of the day, as people figured out which position they can take within the team, all of us saved the nation through carrying some “nuclear waste” to a disposal station (With the help of some people who sacrificed their arms)
The third day started with sessions about the actual topic of the programme, employment. We tried to think about the term and the different implications of unemployment and how you actually could make benefits out of such a position. Further we simulated job interviews and tried to replicate tough situations for employees, in which they have been in one or another way handicapped. This brought up the realisation that it can be very hard for certain people to get jobs, because most employers cannot be blamed for not wanting to work with “difficult” people. The evening started to get creative with tasks about video making. The outcome was a compilation of random and cringy, but undoubtedly funny and entertaining videos.
|Disappointment at a job interview|
As the next day started, we tried, while still having a buzz in our heads, to visualize our dreams. As I can imagine some of us just dreamed of their cosy bed, in which they spent way to less time the night before. Regardless we proudly showed our ambitious dreams to the world. We got to know a future renowned chef and who is going to be the president of Poland in 20 years. Later we started to work on the final project. After a brainstorm, which tried to include everybody’s thoughts and ideas, the groups started to work on a social campaign to educate the young generation about the issue of unemployment. This included videos about the perfect job interview and CV and, furthermore, the accompanying social media representation. Another group created a digital diary about our experience in Lecce.
The outcome, which was concluded in the last day, was more than presentable. Every group managed to work successfully together and was proud of the results. The last days did not seem to feel like a week has passed, but the time of goodbyes came. Young hearts got broken and promises to see each other again were passed. But everybody carried something precious to his or her home country:
Not only did we learn something through the project itself, the more profound thing everybody felt has been the genuine connections between such young but different people. After that week everybody’s view of the world consisted out of far more different perspectives. As we learned how to insult each other in nice ways through a foreign language, sought shelter from the Italian monsoon while searching a penis shaped window and almost died from a Greek homebrew liquor, we not only had an unforgettable experience, we also learned to build trust, communicate and to be united in diversity. After all everybody of us is a European.
Group hugging to say goodbye