From the 1st to the 8th April 2016 I participated together with two other Spanish participants in a training course in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) offered by the youth organization “Libertas International”. There were participants from 11 different countries including Poland, Turkey, Hungary, Estonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Romania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania and Spain and we were hosted in a hotel in the outskirts of Sarajevo. The course was held in a meeting room just beside our hotel. From the beginning there was a very good atmosphere between the trainers and the participants. We started the first session with icebreaking and team building activities and afterwards the trainers introduced how the course would be organised and the topics that would be covered during the week.
Activities were also organised during the evening. For instance, there was an intercultural evening were each country presented their country traditions, dances and food and we got to know better each participant’s cultural background. One of the most inspiring workshops we did was one based on role playing, in which we all got a paper and had to represent people with different socio-economic backgrounds and we got to know the difficulties they had in order to be able to make a living, open a business,etc. In addition, we also got to know how to write educational projects such as youth exchanges and training courses to send it to the EU and for them to be approved and carry them out in our host countries. For example, in our team we came up with the idea of a youth exchange based on raising awareness about the “refugee” issue, which is currently very up to date. In addition, we also were able to develop ideas for creating a social enterprise and how to articulate it in practice through the resources and tools offered by the European institutions.
The fifth day of the course we made a visit to Mostar, a city 2 hours away from Sarajevo, and we visited a successful social enterprise. The owner of the club explained us that its main aim was to enhance understanding among young people because the atrocities commited during the war between ethnic groups in the Balkan region had left many scars. By organizing social events and bringing renowned music groups from the region he managed to come up with a successful and sustainable enterprise, whilst contributing to the well-being of the local community. We also had some time to visit the city and it’s marvellous historic district and we visited the local mosque, which was a very interesting experience for all of us.
Regarding the participants of the group, I must say that there was a large diversity of people, with different ideas and this enhanced participation and group spirit. It seemed as there was no hierarchy as in formal education and we all had a say in the activities which were programmed.
Finally, I would highly recommend this course for any person willing to improve their soft and managerial skills and to engage with people from different cultural backgrounds. It was an unforgettable experience!