12-14.06.2018 The Estonian group as a whole had a presentation about the Erasmus + PECT in the ELIL summer camp. Each participant has prepared an feedback essay, published on the ELIL website.
Photoalbum, Wisla: Erasmus+ PECT
What I learned from PECT youth exchange in Poland
Youth exchange in Poland was quite interesting. Not only the people I met, but the program as well. Since utopia and dystopia are something outside my every day work field, there was a lot to discover. Of course I have heard about these words and their meaning before, but I haven`t gone into deeper discussion about these topics.
Visit to school was also quite interesting, I have given multiple lessons to children and adults before, but not outside my speciality and not from another nationality. It was very interesting to see how the pupils will react to given topics (utopia-dystopia and knowledge about other countries) and what are their thought on that. It was also nice to discover sights in Wisla, as its nature and topography is quite different compared to where I live. Seeing beautiful mountain views and a lot of green was quite refreshing.
There was a lot of group work during the duration of program, so there was ample amount of time to get to know people participating in the program and also improve on teamwork and communication skills. One might say that his or her teamwork and negotiation and communication skills are already good, but there is always room for (self)improvement in that department. Added bonus was that groups consisted of people from three different nationalities, so some extra brainwork was required how to have thoughts and work in sync.
In regard to dystopia and utopia, I learned not only about deeper meaning and insights about concepts of them, but also a wide variety of ways how they are expressed in modern culture. One such example was a TV show “Black mirror” of which we viewed one episode of. Viewed episode described a dystopian life, as did a Polish movie we saw, unfortunately it is hard to remember what that movie was called. But it certainly was interesting to watch, as it exhibited “out-of-the-box” thinking. Viewed material in general lead to a conclusion that it is more easy to describe dystopia than utopia. Especially by people from Eastern Europe a they have lived in a dystopia, in a sense, best described by Orwells masterpiece “1984”.
And speaking of life experiences, it was quite interesting during multicultural evenings where each participating nation offered a small piece of their culture starting with a small introduction to their country and then carrying on with things as food (delicious), different dances and some words in their language to learn. Latter was quite fun, unfortunately I can´t remember almost any of the words that I heard and learnt. Still, multicultural evenings are a good way of studying quickly some important thing about other countries and nationalities. Also fun, if played out correctly.
As we had some free time during the days, there were some other things that I learned as well. For example, I am not very good at table football, rather I confirmed that knowledge as I don`t play that game very often. At least I wasn’t very good compared to other people in the group. On the other hand, it seems that there are some art skills in me, as I managed to draw things with limited resources in a limited amount of time that impressed people quite a lot. I think it is in the style, and dark humor, and I am glad over that.
Erasmus + project Philosophy Enhancing Critical Thinking was my first time to participate in such a project. The project took place at Wisla in Poland from 21st to 29th April 2018.
We discussed various topic like dystopia, utopia, advancement of technology and its benefits etc. In addition to discussions we watched movies, performed energizers and had the possibility to give a lesson at local school. I myself had to give a Powerpoint lecture, for our project group, about 2 Military camps for disabled young people, that I have organized. Many approaches used in this project can prove useful in my own future activities. I also liked the fact that we got to work in groups, as it simulated intercultural communication and integration.
In terms of communication everyone was friendly and helpful. If I asked for help, as a person with mobility disability, I received it. This project was also a very good opportunity to learn more about Poland and Albania in general, as I knew very little about both countries before the youth exchange. It was also a good opportunity to get to know other members of Estonian group, who I previously had not communicated as much with. better Even eating throughout the week was a cultural experience as we ate Polish foods and followed same meal time structure as is typical to Polish culture.
Overall I really liked participating in this project. Topic we discussed were interesting and ways we approached them even more so. I really liked both movies that we watched and talked about later. It was also a good chance to meet new people and learn about cultures of Poland and Albania. I made many new friends from all participating groups. If there is ever a possibility to participate in a similar project again, I will definitely do it.
Erasmus+ youth exchange project
Philosophy Enhancing and Critical thinking
The Erasmus+ program was my very first project I have participated in abroad. I have been part of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) program earlier, containing similar workshops, teamworks and movie nights which all have been held in my homeland – Estonia.
As I had no idea, what to expect out of that whole project in Poland, Wisla, therefore I was lacking any fears or doubts related what so ever. My biggest expectation of this trip was to meet a lot of incredible people from all over (which I did, of course) and to practice my English, which has become a very rusty one over time, due the lack of opportunities to speak it. That goal came to success also. I also learned a lot about myself and my behavior among other people, who are not the same language space that I am from. It was also really interesting to observe, how did the other participants act during the different energizers, little games and teamwork we all went through. Also I of course very much enjoyed traveling through amazing Poland with even more amazing nature and landscapes!
We all got to know each other throughout this project really closely, because striving for the name of a common goal really can connect people the easiest way possible. No borders, no language barriers or any kind of „pseudoproblsems“. The most interesting for me was to hear about the experience of the others and the opportunity to work with people who are maybe use to doing things a little differently than I/we usually do. For example – due to cultural differences – some of us do not eat pork/meat etc.. The others, on the other hand – are not use to communicate in a very active and temperamental way or vice versa. That all together was a very enriching in summary.
I most definitely would like to repeat participating in that kind of projects/programs, if any way possible. It was and still is a once in a lifetime chance to experience something so different and so special. I would also like to thank all the participants, organizers, local people in the guest house and most of all – Polish people for being so friendly and extremely kind to their guests they were hosting for such a long period of time☺. (Also thanking all the cool people from Albania and last, but not least – my own almost personal, I would say, at times!) „home-team – Lili, Kevin, Tom, Uku, Karmen, Taavi, Sven, Liina, Üllar and Maikel – You all are the best crew to travel with! Thank You for making one little dream a big adventure in real!
ABSTRACTIION OF YOUTH EXCHANGE PROGRAM
„Philosophy enhacing critical thinking”
Youth exchange program Philosophy enhancing critical thinking (PECT) was held in Poland Wisla April 23.04.2018-29.04.2018. From Estonia there were nine participants. Three of them were with movement disability, one had psyhical problems. Everybody had their personal assistants and then we had group leader and driver-photographer. As we agreed we travel by car and trip from Tallinn to Wisla lasted 21-hours, we Estonians had lot of time to get to know each other during the trip, because all of us didn’t know each other. I think the duration of trip was good, because we all had pushed to the limits in the small bus.
I didn’t see or feel that we who had disabilities had any problem blending in with other participants from Poland and Albania. As two of us needed assistant to move on the stairs, everyone had chance to help and they were eager to do that. So interaction between different cultures was easy, but there were lot of differencies and it was exciting to discover them. Ofcourse there were some kind of misunderstandings, like cleaning issues, but the whole group overally learned really quickly and later cleaning wasn’t issue anymore.
Most of us didn’t know much about philosophy and it was really interesting, also little bit difficult to read texts about utopia and dystopia and later analyse these texts in groups, make summaries and so on, but it was challenge and everyone in group had to overcome their shyness of speaking. It was great to see that we developed our speaking skills so fast. Sometimes me and my personal assistant Uku, we spoke in english together in our room also. Everyone had chance to get to know each other, because groups were really mixed. Sometimes it was hard to focus on topic and somebody in groups had to be leader and direct attention to the topic.
In these kind of camps everyone have had to make a presentation about different topics. So we have had a sense of initiative. Especially when we went in school and we were divided into three groups and every group had to give lessons to the class. Everyone had chance to develop their group leading skills and I learned lot about energisers and time planning. We had to times 45 minutes in the school, but time went very quickly and we had to mke changes on the run. But it was good lesson about time planning.
Youth exchange PECT was overally mind abroading and we got lot of boost to make our own youth exchange camp in Estonia and some of our group went already in two day session, where we had to plan our camp. I think we were successful and we had learned a lot from camp in Wisla.
„Philosophy enhacing critical thinking”
On the first day, during the enegrizer, we had a game to get to know people, that I really liked. On a piece of paper we had a list of things, for example: find a person who is a teacher, someone who likes to be tickled. It was a good way to get to know each other and get more comfortable around the whole group.
I developed my english. In the beginning it was a little difficult to have conversations with others, I just couldn’t find the right words. Fortunately all the other estonians helped me when ever I needed it. As time went on, I could talk more freely with Lizabeta from Albania and with the Polish people as well. I read the english articles we used for the group activities. I mostly understood the texts, but Lili or Karmen would explain the parts that were unclear, there were some words i hadn’t heard before.
When we had Polish or Albanian people in our table during breakfast, lunch or dinner, we could exchange impressions about how these foods are called. I really enjoyed polish food.
The utopia sections of our programme were educational. I found both the book and the general topic on utopias interesting.
Bridgebuilding game was really memorable. We were assembled as two groups: builders and villagers. I was in the builders group. We had to go visit the village, meet the villagers and ask them for supplies to build a bridge. We received a warm welcome from the villagers, started talking with them. And eventually we finished the bridge too.
The international group activites were useful, because we all have our different opinions, experiences and cultural differences, so it was really interesting to hear everyones opinions on different subjects.
The brainstorrming for ideas for school was interesting. We were in3 groups, where we had to set up a plan to introduce our countries to other groups and set up activities. My task was to teach everyone estonian words. There was also a part where we had to write down different stereotypes about countries and a small quiz.
I liked the energizer games, they really woke you up! Plus they were entertaining. We can use them in our own group gatherings in Estonia as well.
We taught Estonian to others and also expanded my own vocabulary in Polish and Albanian.
On the last few days one of our team’s task was to make a video. The whole process of making it and being a part of it was a really good experience and we really liked the result.
Really memorable and educational was hearing Lizabeta talking about her experiences as a volunteer. It was very heartfelt. After the videos, we had a game, where everyone had a note with an occupation on their forehead and everyone else had to act accordingly when talking to them. We didn’t know who we were, but everyone were clearly in awe. Later it turned out, I was a president. This will be a game that I will definitely use in future gatherings.
Philosophy Enhancing Critical Thinking
Erasmus+ project in Poland 22nd – 28th of April 2018
This programme in Poland was the first time for me to take part in an Erasmus+ programme, therefore, I did not know what to expect but I gained more from the experience than I could have imagined.
Firstly, the topic of the project was of my interest. I had finished an online course about critical thinking in February and the project gave me the chance to look at the topic from a different point of view. Critical thinking is a very important aspect of learning and since I am a teacher, I feel obligated to teach my students how to think critically about the information they receive and texts they read. During the PECT project, I got some good ideas for learning activities for my lessons.
Through different group works during the youth exchange, I gained a lot of new knowledge about utopia, dystopia, globalisation, communal living, etc. The problem-solving assignments were also very educating and interesting. For me the intercultural communication and co-operation with other participants were even more valuable than the gained theoretical knowledge because one cannot get the experience of communication and co-operation from books.
One of the most important aspects for me was the language experience. My oral English improved and during the project and I got to know a little bit about Polish and Albanian languages. I also learned about the cultural similarities and differences of Poland, Albania and Estonia from the intercultural evenings and from our daily conversations. I think we could have had more free time to get to know the other participants and the surroundings better. The most memorable experiences for me though, were the reflection activities and the hike to the mountains.
Although the experience was very educative on utopia, dystopia and other topics, I feel that the intercultural communication and new contacts from Estonia, Poland and Albania are more useful in my work and life. Since the project, I have been more motivated at my everyday work and more opened to new activities and approaches in my lessons.
Erasmus+ projekt – “Philosophy enhancing critical thinking”
Pärast pikka ja väsitavat sõitu ja lühikest ööd, algas meie esimene päev Poola, Eesti ja Albaania osalusel toimunud Erasmus+ projektis. Esimene päev möödus suuresti tuttavaks saamise – ja nimede meelde jätmise tähe all. Toimusid erinevad aktiviteedid alustades ice-breaker’st, üleüldisest projekti tutvustusest ja lõpetades igapäevaste probleemide leidmise ühistegevusega, mille käigus oli meil võimalik aru saada erinevatest kultuuridest inimeste probleeme ning vaateid. Päeva mõnusam osa oli muidugi õhtune vaba aeg, kui kõik said üksteisega suhelda vabalt, ilma igasuguste raamide olemasoluta.
Teine päev. Iga hommik algas pigem rikkaliku hommikulauaga, millelt mina leidsin kõik mida soovisin. Hommikulauas oli tore näha et mida päev edasi, seda rohkem laudkonnad varieerusid ja järjest vähem moodustati laudkondi ainult ühe riigi esindajatega. Teisel päeval alustasime ka sisulisema tööga, sain teada utoopia erinevatest tähendustest ning sellega seotud ajaloost. Hästi jäi meelde ka albaanlase, Ersoni, korraldatud simulatsioon-mäng kus kaks gruppi pidid kehastuma totaalselt erinevate kultuuriruumi esindajateks ning selle käigus ühise ülesande lahendama – antud simulatsioon andis hea ettekujutuse võimalikest kultuuride erinevusest ning nendega harjumisest. Päev lõppes uute informatsioonikildudega ühtse eesmärgiga kommuunide elust ning erinevate taoliste kommuunide tutvustusest. Antud info põhjal sai selgeks, et ei tähenda kus kohast sa pärit oled – ühtse maailmavaatega inimesed suudavad koos väga edukalt elada. Päev lõppes Albaania osalejate kultuuri esitlusega, mis nagu oodata oli, muutus päris hoogsaks.
Kolmas päev. Kolmandal päeval süvenesime veel sügavamalt mõistesse utoopia ning selle toomist meie igapäevaellu. Tegu on väärt mõttelaadiga, sest meie kiire igapäevaelu juures kipume unustama vaatamast suurt maailmapilti ja kuhu me selles mahume ning mis me ise saame teha et seda parandada. Päeva teises pooles arutasime soolise ebavõrdsuse probleeme ja püüdsime leida ühiseid mõtteid nende lahendamiseks. Mitmel õhtul käisime kohalikes poodides endale head ja paremat soetamas ja ma usun, et räägin kõigi eest kui ütlen et kohalike poodide müügilett on meie enda omast ikka väga erinev, eriti hindade poolest. Õhtul oli eestlastel au teistele rahvastele Eestit tutvustada – selleks olid välja valitud väga humoorikad videod, pluss Eesti rahvustoit ja jook kiluvõileiva ja kama näol. Kiluvõileib osutas täpselt nii populaarseks nagu oodata oli, kamaga läks paremini 😀
Neljas päev. Tõotas tulla väga põnev päev, kuna päevakavas oli ka kaua-oodatud matk mägedesse. Siiski, enne seda jõudsime rääkida tehnoloogia plussidest ja miinustest maailma arengule. Plusse ja miinuseid jagus mõlemasse lahtrisse, kuid kindlaks jäi see, et tehnoloogia areng on paratamatu ning me peame seda lihtsalt nii reguleerima, et see meile tulevikust kuidagi kahjulikuks ei saa. Aga matk – ilm oli suurepärane, osalised olid rõõmsad ja loodus kutsus. Usun, et kõigil asjaosalistel oli mingi ettekujutus matkast, aga mitte keegi ei oodanud seda vaadet mis ülevalt meile paistis. Rännak mäe otsa oli väsitav, mõnele rohkem, teistele vähem aga tasu oli selle-eest vägev. Järgi oli jäänud veel Poolat tutvustav esitlus kohalike osalejate poolt. Ja see osutus suurejooneliseks ja informatsioonirohkeks, millest sai tõesti palju uut oma teadmiste-pagasisse panna.
Viies ja kuues päev. Viies päev möödus meil kolmes grupis järgmisel päeval toimuvaks kohaliku kooli külastust ette valmistades. Püüdsime leida erinevaid huvitavaid tegevusi, mis täidaks ära kaks kooli tundi ning haaraks kohalikke noori. Selle retseptis oli kirjas “energizer”, meie kultuuride tutvustamine ning noorte oskuste testimine ja arendamine. Kuuendal päeval kooli jõudes oli tunda, et paljud projektis osalejad olid kergelt pinges ja eelseisvast kahest tunnist hirmul. Siinkohal teha suur kummardus oma grupile, kes tehniliste ja kultuuriliste probleemide kiuste tegi soliidse esituse. Mina usun et noored, keda koolis juhendasime, said uusi teadmisi ja suurem osa neist jäi meie pakutud programmiga rahule. Õhtul näitas kohalik poiss Adam meile vana Poola filmi, mis näitas ühe võimalikku versiooni utoopiast – oli äärmiselt naljakas vaatamine.
Seitsmes ja viimane päev. Võtsime kokku kogu nädala jooksul ammutatud info ning saime sertifikaadid mis tõestavad meie projekti edukast läbimisest. Viimased päevad ja lahkumised on alati rasked – olime Tomiga ühel meelel et üks nädal oleks veel paras selle projekti kestvuseks, aga olime väga rõõmsad, et sellise võimaluse üldse saime.
Kui terve nädal kokku võtta siis ma avardasin oma mõttemaailma suure-pildi vaatamises ehk vaatama asju kõrgemalt ja ülevaatliku pilgu läbi. Sain targemaks Poola ja Albaania kultuuride kohta. Minu jaoks siiski kõige tähtsam oli see, et see mugavustsoonist välja tulek premeeris mind suurepäraste inimestega tutvumise võimalusega. Sain kinnitust, et reisimine ja erinevate inimestega suhtlemine avardab meie maailma kõige rohkem.
Philosophy Enhancing Critical Thinking
I’d like to start this summary off by saying how much I value the experience and knowledge I got from partaking in this youth exchange program. I got to meet many interesting people with different backgrounds and learned a lot about Polish and Albanian cultures. With that came the first thing I learned, which was how to properly express myself in English. Back home I have rarely gotten the chance to use English verbally, but during the project we had almost no chance to speak in our mother tongue. It was because we had this rule, which was introduced on the first day. The rule was called „Bora Bora“and it meant, that if someone was speaking in their mother tongue, you could yell out „Bora Bora“ and they had to switch to speaking in English. The rule gave us a chance to maximize improving our practical English skills.
Secondly, I can proudly mention, that I got over my anxiety of doing group work with and being around complete strangers. Before the project, I had trouble doing presentations in front of strangers, but during the program I was left with no choice but to participate to the fullest and thus I realized working together with and in front of strangers wasn’t that scary.
Thirdly I had the chance to learn a lot about philosophy concerning utopias and dystopias. I adored our workshops in which we worked as a group to analyze utopian literature. I liked every workshop we did concerning philosophical or informative texts. Analyzing them in groups gave me a lot of knowledge about those works and helped me to see them from different perspectives since everyone had their own opinions and viewpoints of aforementioned texts.
I learned a lot about debates as well. Even though we had only one debate which I didn’t fully participate in, but in which I was given the opportunity to judge the debate. Seeing the debate from a side and with a judges mindset helped me realize what mistakes were made and what mistakes I would have probably made if I was sitting in the chair of the debater. Judging it gave me a good overview of debate fundamentals.
I have to mention the energizers as well. I enjoyed most of them. The energizers gave us a good opportunity to socialize and made me feel more comfortable in a group.
In conclusion I got really positive experience from the project. I also got a lot of useful knowledge about utopias and dystopias and I was able to improve my critical thinking. I got over my fears and managed to socialize without any problems. There really wasn’t anything that I disliked completely during the program. For me the biggest flaw was food on two different days, but I still ate it so it wasn’t that big of a flaw at all. I loved the people and the activities during the project and I feel blessed being able to take part in such a wonderful program.
We thank Polish and Albanian participants for expanding our knowleges and discovering our horizons!
Special thanks to the management team- Weronika and Michal!
CEO of Estonian Union of People with Mobility Impairment