Blizina – Distance no more, Erasmus+ Youth Exchange
On June 14th, 2023, I accompanied five students to an Erasmus+ project called Blizina – Distance no more. The whole project took ten days, and it was held in Hodos, Slovenia, right on the Hungarian border. The aim of the project was to show participants how art can bring people and communities closer together, implementing togetherness, movement, empathy and artistic expression to the life of young individuals. I must say that the project was a resounding success from a leader’s point of view. It was well-organized, full of creative activities and opportunities for the participants to really get to know each other on a deeper level.
The organizers had a given plan for each day, but they were flexible when circumstances demanded flexibility. Participants had enough free time to get to know each other in an organic way, not just through the usual icebreaking activities. The accommodations were adequate, some participants had less space than others, but the organizers exploited the available space perfectly. There were no complains about the accommodation to my knowledge. They created a friendly environment in which anyone could ask for help and feel safe expressing their ideas, emotions, and stories. Each and every activity had a specific goal to achieve, and the organizers made sure everyone participated in them. The whole project went by without any serious conflict, all except for a mouse in the girls’ dorm which I had to relocate for the participants’ convenience. The end result of the workshops was a show which had a grand finale feeling to it and ended up being an outstanding performance containing art, poetry, dance & music all together. I had my doubts about creating such a performance in such a short period of time, but the participants and organizers proved me wrong.
Each of my students enjoyed the ride according to the feedback I received from them, and it seemed like it was a worthwhile experience for all parties involved. They got to visit the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana, and Murska Sobota, as well as showcasing their own country and culture to the others. Throughout the project they could improve on several competences outlined for them by the EU, such as digital competence, multilingual competence, social competence, cultural awareness and more. As a leader, I enjoyed helping participants towards developing themselves and acquiring valuable knowledge to myself as well. I quickly became an authority figure in the eyes of participants once they knew I was a teacher. Even though I didn’t have the experience and know-how of the organizers I helped everyone to the best of my capabilities and learnt a lot in the process.
Overall, the project was an exceptional possibility of growth which our students capitalized on flawlessly. The Slovenian partners were wonderful, and I genuinely hope that we will work together on a lot more projects in the foreseeable future. I wholeheartedly recommend any Youth Exchange projects organized by this team to anyone who would like to experience a potentially life changing few days with incredible people.
I have participated in an Erasmus project which took place in Slovenia, Hodos. The theme of the project was Blizina Distance no more and the main purpose was to bring closer young people from different countries. This Erasmus showed me that it doesn’t matter where you come from and even though most of the participants were above 18 we still had similar interests and I could connect to many people. The first two days was about getting to know each other and by the third day we trusted each other and there was no more stressful situations where we couldn’t work together. We had energizers before the workshops and every day we had an evolution where we could share our thoughts and feelings about the day before. We visited Murska Sobota twice during these 10 days and we also had some activities in Ljubljana the capital of Slovenia. We had a big project and we prepared a show with music, poems, dancing and paintings. We worked in smaller groups divided by our main interest and it was a lot of fun for me. The final show turned out amazing even though we only had 3 days to prepare for it. On the evenings we had national presentations and fun activities which helped me to learn about each other’s cultures. On the first night we also got to taste the national foods of the 7 countries which participated. Overall, I could overcome my fears and got out of my comfort zone. I made many friends and enjoyed working together on the paintings for the show. I liked the atmosphere of the camp where we stayed which was close to nature and helped me to focus on the activities.
I really liked the whole trip. The people were so nice and I made some new friends. The first day we stayed in the camp and waited for the other countries to arrive. It was exciting to see everyone. On the second day we went to Murska Sobota where we painted a little and did ice breaking games. The next day we went to Ljubljana where we got into groups and did some fun games. At nights the different countries presented their presentations. It was really interesting to learn about other cultures and countries. Also, what I really liked was the cuisine market, we got to taste other countries national foods. The part what I enjoyed the most was when we split into groups and did our project, I was in the painting group and I really enjoyed the whole process. I really loved my group, and we worked very well together. The other projects were interesting too, and it was good to see what other people created. At the end we went back to Murska Sobota and presented the projects to another Erasmus+ group. It was nice to get to know them as well. As I said, the whole thing was really interesting and fun.
Balogh Julianna Sára
The project I participated in was called the Blizina – Distance no more Erasmus+ project. The projects’ goal was to show us that art can bring people closer to each other. I have to say I learnt a lot about art and how different people from different countries communicate, work and how they live their lives. My favourite activity was the city hunt in Ljubljana because we had a chance to discover the city in teams. I liked this project a lot because I found a lot of new international friends. It was a great project which showed me how art can become an important part of my life.
Participating in this project was really fun, especially getting to know a lot of people from different countries.
I liked the accommodation, but having a store nearby would have been great to have. All the activities were fun and brought people closer together. Getting to know all these people was fun, and the national evenings were a great way to get to know the cultures. The show we made turned out great, and the preparations were fun. The only problem was that there weren’t enough places in the groups, so some people had to work in groups that they wouldn’t have chosen in the first place. I would have appreciated more days in Ljubljana, mostly because of the city run everyone was rushing and we didn’t really take time to appreciate the city, but that might have just been the group I was in. The second to last day felt a bit unnecessary for me, everyone was really tired after the show, and we couldn’t really do a lot of productive things because of that.
All-in-all it was a wonderful experience and I got to know a lot of amazing people in these nine days.
I was sceptical about the program until the day it started. But when we got together at Déli Pályaudvar I knew that it was going to be a fun 10 days.
We had a surprisingly good ride to Hodos. 4 hours went by like it never happened. We were among the first ones to arrive, so we had to wait quite a long time to meet other participants. As I really enjoy playing Frisbee, I was more than happy when I found out about the Frisbees on the compound. My first non-Hungarian friend happened to be a 19-year-old Slovakian guy named Edo. I saw him across the field from a birdwatch – he was reading some massive book. I really miss him; he was a cool guy. I spent the most time around the Bulgarian team, you could have a good laugh with them. One of my favourite program was the Cuisine Market, but I am really sad that they didn’t like our food. The best thing I ate there was probably the Estonian weird yoghurt thing with something in it. It was interesting to say the least. I think I could say that I had very few workshops or exercises I didn’t enjoy that much. Other than those few, it was really fun I greatly appreciated when we slowed down for a bit. I got to take day naps a bit each day, so I was really happy about that. I started in the music group but ended up being a part of the painting group, and I am glad that I switched teams. I couldn’t stand listening to the same 3 classic radio hit type of music for 2 more days. I made good friends; some I got so close to that the fact that I probably wouldn’t see them anymore made me cry a bit.
I was sad that it was over – for days. But I know that I learned and grew so much from this project, so I am happy now. I am thankful for being accepted, and I will definitely apply for more projects in the future.