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Here's how the training course "Together on Refugees Highway" was

Here's how the training course "Together on Refugees Highway" was

Our trotamndus Alvaro has just returned from Thessaloniki with many things to tell. He was there from 18th to 25th November in an Erasmus+ training course called "Together on Refugees Highway", for youth workers to learn inclusion tools to work with young migrants. The team seems to be very satisfied. Have a look on their testimony!


The experience in Thessaloniki participating in the training course "Together on Refugees highway" has been spectacular. I had only experienced a Training Course and it was during my EVS (European Voluntary Service) in Turkey, but I had heard about Training Courses and Youth Exchange before as a way to travel and learn for free. More learning than travelling, I would say. That's why I want to emphasize for future participants that if the only thing that motivates you is travelling for free and meeting people this is not for you. To this type of projects it is necessary to come with a high level of battery, with motivation and a little fluency in English, which is the language in which the course is given. The sessions are usually from 9 in the morning unitl 6 in the afternoon.

I realy liked going with MUNDUS, since for a long time we had everything prepared and arranged (more than three months in advance, which is not usual), so the participants from Spain can be confident when arriving to Greece. Once there, we were received by the PRAXIS association of Serres, athough the project was in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in the country.

I would like to differentiate two parts of my experience: the professional and the personal.

As for the professional, from the very first moment we had a very well organized program in which non-formal education was the basis of each session. The first day was based on group dynamics to get to know all the participants (we were about 30 from countries like Romania, Turkey, Italy, Somalia, Bulgaria, Poland, etc.). We learned to work in groups, to establish expectations and stereotypes and very good methodologies that I will not hesitate to use again if I have the opportunity. Then each country presented its sending organization (in our case, MUNDUS) and we listened to the experiences related to migration that the participants and their organizations could contribute upon. Once we all met, the session consisted in deepening on migration, immigration, asylum, refugees and inclusion.

Roughly ever we used to divide in small groups to work and, for example, in one of the sessions we had to research and each group had to make a poster about different European or world organizations that were related to immigration matters. We discovered that almost all these institutions or partnerships (Geneva Convention, Shengen, International Organization for Migration, UNHCR, etc.) were created many years ago and they need a new approach and update to the new needs that have arisen in our society.

Antoher day, we visited the Erasmus National Greek Agency located in the Port of Thessaloniki. It was very interesting to discover how they work. We also visited local NGO's working with refugees, we created games and made gymkhanas, always aiming at inclusion, interculturality and respect between communities. So it was quite complete, I do not want to reveal much more about the project because I'm sure there will be more editions of it and you can discover it if you want.

Finally, as for the personal part, I take a lot. I am very grateful to have been able to participate in this project and to have met such admirable and inspiring people. Before going, I could barely put countries like Macedonia, Somala, Cyprus or Estonia on the map. Now, I know what your typical frinks and foods are, their identities, their customs and even their conflicts, sometimes unknow, as they are difficult to understand. For example, something that moved me a lot was to see the Greeks and the Macedonians joke about their borders and the Cypriots and the Turks hugging, laughing together and taking selfies. If you don't know why I was surprised, you can investigate the tensions that these countries have had not long ago.

We even learned to dance Sirtaki, the typical Greek dance. In the end we all called each other malaka and the whole group had a lot of connection from the first day, so in the last session almost everyone missed a bit of legrimillia when we had to make a final reflection explaining what this training meant for us.

In short, it was very exciting snd I hope to meet again with everyone once. After all, this world is not as big as we think.

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