Testimonial – Matúš Rybnikár (Slovakia)

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Testimonial – Matúš Rybnikár (Slovakia)

Category:Europe Says No to Hate Speech

Full of excitement – that’s how I felt while traveling to Budapest, wandering around Budapest and waiting for the rest of the Slovak group at our meeting point. They arrived and we all thought we were going to get on the minivan to take us to Bodo, but as we’d later found out there were 2 more hours of waiting ahead of us, because of a misunderstanding that occured. We used that time to get to know each other. The minivan to take us to Bodo finally arrived and we left Budapest. I reamained excited up until we finally reached our destination. We stepped outside the minivan and saw for the first time what would become our home for the next couple of days. I didn’t know what to think first and I didn’t want to put too much emphasis on my first impressions either, so I went to meet the people that had arrived earlier.

A few moments later, I was involved in a conversation and had already casually gotten to know some folks. Our activities during the next 2 days were mainly focused on ice-breaking, getting everybody involved and getting to know everyone. These introductory activities alongside a great amount of free time we had during the first days helped us to create strong bonds within the group. The workshops we attended during the following days aimed to introduce the topic of hate speech to us and to make us aware of the connection between hate speech, freedom of speech and human rights, looking at how hate speech and discrimination violate one’s human rights. Some workshops used role play to make us commiserate the sorrows of the affected. We also examined several examples of hate speech, tried proposing different solutions to the issue and we also cosidered the question of whether punishment could be a solution to this issue. We always kept discussing our ideas, because we acknowledged how important it is, especially considering the delicacy of this topic. Besides these workshops we also spent some fun time around each other and attended national evenings organised by members of national teams. I really enjoyed the Latvian, Lithuanian and Greek national evening. Throughout the exchange, we went on 2 trips. We went to the beautiful city of Timisoara and I will tell you, this city’s just got its unique vibe. During the second trip, we visited a farm store, an interesting mixed-gothich style castle, a fortress and the town of Deva.

A great testimony of the overall standard of this exchange was perhaps the last day, during which we all had troubles saying goodbye.

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