The project ‘Europe says no to hate speech’ was one of the best exchanges I have ever participated in. We began the exchange by spending the first day just getting to know each other which was effective as it almost immediately turned a group of strangers into a team. That was the most important and unique thing about this project, how all the external influences: location, accommodation, activities and the support of the organisation team made everyone in the group feel included and gave us the feeling of belonging. During activities, we discussed topics that made me realise how oblivious I was to some problematic behaviour that I have witnessed online and I was taught some methods of how to deal with these to help to control the attention given to them. One very special thing that I appreciated about the project was the opportunity to lead a workshop that we were given. It made me appreciate the job of the trainers and facilitators more and gave me a chance to develop my creativity, public speaking and leadership skills.
Projects are not only about learning about the topic but the most valuable things you can take away from these experiences are learnt in informal settings. We were taken on a cultural visit to Hunedoara castle, Deva fortress and Timisoara which helped us to appreciate and understand the Romanian culture more, and once again made me fall in love with the amazing country. During culture nights we learnt more about the culture of other participating countries, which made it feel like we visited all of them. The organisational side of the exchange was perfect too, food was amazing, accommodation very comfortable and it was very clear to all of us how much the organisation team cared about everyone’s wellbeing.
Overall, it was an unforgettable experience and once again I’d like to thank the hosting organization for everything they did to make it happen.