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12 hours journey, lifelong 7 days experience!

Another cold autumn day, clouds surround my city and first rain drops dance on my window,the phone makes a sound. E-mail from Volunteers Center Skopje: “Do you want to take part in the on-location training about learning design in the frame of the project “LeaD in Practice” in Athens, Greece?” Three phase project, online, on-location and follow up online activates. Yes!  Let’s start new adventure!

Early in the morning the moon is following the bus till its final destination: Thessaloniki. No, we are not at the “hot chair” yet. The airplane takes us to Athens. The roof of the hostel Cecil with sa view on Acropolis is the first witness of 20 members group’s team building activates. Using different methods and activities to engage all the participants, to build trust between each other with both individual and collective tasks made us understand common goal. Group consisting from 20 different professional backgrounds with one common goal sharing experiences, discussing “hot potatoes” and hopefully drafting one questionnaire. Sincere enthusiasm, energy, effort, commitment, sometimes confusion were spread all over Athens. Through art galleries, team and individual work, videos, interviews, theatre, presentations, interactive work we were exploring some crucial issues from the training field with the focus on intercultural learning and dialogue; topics which are not discussed but are challenging every trainer.  Of course there is still a lot of job that should be done.

This one week training was put on the shoulder of every participant; empathy, gratitude, respect, flexibility, taking care and encouraging  each other. One thing is for sure, there were three excellent professionals who in great way were sharing their knowledge, experience, concerns, and fresh ideas. Carmen, Paul and Ben; three passionate trainers, from different fields with outstanding leadership skills and confidence were tuning and leading this group of 20 people. It was partcipant-to-particpant training, quoting one participant’s sentence: “it is a coffee time for me and if you have a question go to Ben and Paul”.  Mixed environment of young students, experienced university professors, creative director, freelancer, trainers, facilitators were finding solutions of difficult situations during the trainings, language challenges, learning about time management, the Heroes Journey theory, literal thinking and structuring our presentations. We didn’t lack outdoor activities . Athens is so nice when it’s sunny but it is also wonderful when it is raining. During these five days a new family was established with both happy and difficult moments. It was enough time to pass our childhood and adolescence. Each of us came as innocent child and left as grown-up who has passed two turbulent and exciting puberties. Surprises from our secret buddy were coming almost every day in different way. Oh, what kind of relationship was created!? By destiny, occasionally or by simple human plan one of the participants of our organization Volunteers Center Skopje, is going on other training with one of the participants from UK. After the rain rainbow comes! We said goodbye to each other with deep desire to meet once again in some other spot of this amazing planet. Yes, an amazing network of people from United Kingdom, Slovenia, Spain, Latvia and Greece was created.

P.S. All the time I say goodbye forever, wishing the first impression to last forever!


Vafire Muharemi