The most beautiful description of London that I have ever heard belongs to Joseph Brodsky:
«The city of London is beautiful, where there are watches everywhere.
The heart can only be behind the Big Ben»
Thanks to the European Commission Programme Erasmus+, I realized that my heart beats not only with a rhythm of London but also in a rhythm of “From an idea to action”.
From 20 to 25 February 2016, London became a real home to the participants of Contact Making Seminar (later – CMS) from Azerbaijan, Hungary, Greece, Georgia, Jordan, Cyprus, Kosovo, Poland, Turkey, Estonia, Great Britain and of course Ukraine. Our country was successfully represented by 2 participants on behalf of Kharkiv association for active youth "Stella".
We young, active and eager to make quality changes in our countries people, were connected by global and so simple topics such as: issues in youth work, education, unemployment, interreligious dialogue etc. We knew that it would not be easy, but we also could not help trying to make the first steps towards the solution of these problems. First of all, the specific topics for the team work were determined: “Education”, “Gender equality”, “Employability opportunities” and “Rights of refugees”. Thanks to good and quality team work of the participants we were able to take more objective look from different angles at some problematic issues in youth work. Day by day we were exchanging our experience and skills but there was a surprizing paradox - the more knowledge and skills you were giving, the more energy you were getting back. We motivated each other to be more open, to go out of the comfort zone and our abilities.
Every new day was more active than the previous one. We were not only working effectively but also improving ourselves. The agenda of CMS was built so well (many thanks to the NGO "One Terrene International") that easily by merely playing, we were able to develop our memory, change our way of thinking, improve our English, practice brainstorming and team work, break stereotypes, learn tolerance, overcome the fear of public speaking and exchange cultural peculiarities of our countries. We were improving ourselves! Even now, after CMS I realize that the gained experience did not disappear, that I succesfully use those skills and experience gained in London while working in my own country day by day. There is even no need to mention that with most of the guys we are still in touch and we are planning future projects' realization.
It is not everything that the Erasmus+ Programme has given to us. It also gave us a beautiful present – an opportunity to discover authentic London in its beauty. London from Dickens’ and Conan Doyle’s books, London from English lessons books with Queen’s guard on the cover, London with red double-decker busses and black cabs, London which for many years seemed to be so difficult to reach and London that became so close to me just in few days.
Participation in this CMS was useful not only because of the establishment of intercultural communication. It revealed some activities which can bring additional useful effect for our countries and can make them a little bit better and more perfect through own efforts already now! And this is priceless.
I would like to add that during CMS we were taught how to fight stereotypes however, the goal was not fully reached. Now I have a strong belief that amazing, friendly, active and very positive people with whom we can really make the world better live in Azerbaijan, Hungary, Greece, Georgia, Jordan, Cyprus, Kosovo, Poland, Turkey, Estonia and Great Britain.