Lovely and cozy Romania teaches tolerance: four stories

During the project, I’ve learned many useful features that can help me with my other projects and everyday life. The most important I want to mention- teamwork. I learned how to work within a group with the people of many other countries and recognize that the strengths and weaknesses of individuals are only effective when combined into something greater. If you don’t play well with others, then you should probably consider starting your own one-man business – every single successful company in the world is built upon the core foundation of teamwork. I think the project developed the self-reliance of all participants including mine. The activities we have passed encourage us to reveal our strengths and weaknesses, understand that they are our natural features and learn how we can cultivate them accordingly. Emma When I decided for Romania as my Erasmus destination, I wanted to try something special and maybe not so “well- known” like places in Europe where almost everybody from my country wanted to go. Of course, I did not know what is waiting for me…But now I must say that the time I spent in Romania was the best time of my life, without a doubt. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Romania is a lovely and cozy country, with its castle rising over the city and the river running through the city center. Suceava itself is a wonderful city, with breathtaking landscapes. My time in Gura Humorului changed my view on very different aspects of life, broadening my horizon. I realized the world is much bigger than the one I used to know before I left on Erasmus. Most important of all, I discovered myself, partly thanks to the people I met, whom I’ll never forget. For this reason, I found my course very interesting because I improved my English language. This experience was one of the most significant I did. I gained some really good knowledge which I will keep in mind and I will try to use it in the future. It is important to open up the horizon and look to other countries and keep in mind that you are not alone. The way you live and the culture you come from cannot be the same as others. The world is getting more and more globalize and countries find themselves in a situation where the nationalities are from different countries. You can read everything about another country, about their political or social problems but know people from those countries and listen to their individual stories will have more reflect than just getting information. In fact, I think that experience abroad can open your mind. The staff was helpful, friendly and polite. I would like to thank the European fundings with which I could make this unforgettable experience and I hope to do another soon. Mery Education, training, youth work are key to tackle socio-economic changes, promote common European values, foster social integration, enhance intercultural understanding and a sense of belonging to a community, and to prevent violent radicalization. The training promoted the creation and development of European networks, providing opportunities for cooperation, the exchange and transfer of knowledge and know-how in different areas relating to tolerance and discrimination. During the project, I learned how to work within a group with the people of many other countries. I learned many effective methods to promote the inclusion of people. I have developed also non-formal learning skills and competences. It can help me with my other projects and everyday life. Mkhitar Last month I was granted my first Erasmus+ experience. The opportunity took me to Suceava, Romania from October 18 to 25. The theme of the project was tolerance. I discussed discrimination towards various layers of society both at the university and my workplace. I had emphasized the importance of tolerance for years, but still, the training course in Romania was an eye-opener for me. First of all, I need to inform my reader that the training course was nothing like an ordinary class with teachers giving a talk and students listening and joining the discussion from time to time. We gained knowledge using the autobiographical method. That means that the course material was related to the participants’ thoughts and experiences. At first glance, I thought that the method was not effective and I was wasting time. But now when I look back I see the paradigm shift I had after the program ended. Due to the autobiographical method I realized that “we have all been there:” discrimination has affected each of us and we all are victims of intolerance to some degree. The participants shared their stories of intolerance. They were discriminated against because of their body type, looks, skin, gender, ideas, views, lifestyle, etc. I also shared my story of intolerance where I was mocked at school because of some spots I had on my nose as a child. We learned that we could show the problem of intolerance through creativity. Every day we were assigned to do an art exercise. It would be either a performance or drawing/painting. For instance, during one of the sessions we were divided into groups to draw a happy human being who has dreams, plans and feelings like each of us. After we showed our projects, very unexpectedly, the chief trainer — Anca — damaged our work — our humans. She then requested us to recover our humans. And so we did. The exercise had a very special message. We could actually how it is to feel discriminated. We felt broken, hopeless and disappointed. We felt our wings were cut off and at some point we did not want to recover the pictures we made: that was the lack of desire of not moving forward when someone gets discriminated and broken. But when the pictures were recovered, we saw that when we move forward our brokenness becomes the source of our strength and we become stronger than before. After the project was over, I felt committed to fight against intolerance more than ever before. The illness of tolerance is like cancer. It can spread around if not cured on time and damage all healthy cells of the society. We need to remember that nobody is guaranteed against discrimination. If you stand up for others today, you stand up for your rights, dreams, plans in the future. Maggie Upon coming back to Armenia, participants decided to do a follow-up awareness campaign about tolerance in Yerevan city, using knowledge and experience gained in Romania. They talked about tolerance to strangers and gave them leaflets on topic trying to make a paradigm shift. Sweets were given as a pleasant bonus!