Re-Imagining Migration

Dear existance,

I hope you are doing well, it’s been a while since we last talked. Well, what a life! Crazy, unexpected, sometimes funny, others serious, always with its ups and downs but definitely a beautiful one. It’s only been a few days since I came back home from Žirovnice, Czech Republic where I attended another Erasmus+ youth mobility project, which was the most fascinating one for me so far. Flooded by a hundred thoughts and a million feelings, I decided to share my experience with you.

To begin with, what is a mobility project?

“Traveling to places you’ve never heard before, meeting young people from all around the world, living unforgettable experiences with all the expenses covered by the EU? Well, sounds like something where they’ll steal your organs!” as a friend said to me. However, I do not think it is just him, a lot of people are not informed about this kind of programmes, even you, and consider youth mobility as a fiasco. It is 100% real though! And do not worry, your organs will stay in the safest of places, I promise.

The European Union’s Erasmus+ programme is a funding scheme to support activities in the fields of Education, Training, Youth and Sport. The Erasmus+ programme includes various actions which mainly refer to young people, but not only. For more information take a look here: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu.

Erasmus+ youth contains many different aspects which aim in helping young people enhance soft skills such as communication, teamwork, critical thinking, confidence, time and conflict management. The improvement of key competences is also a primitive goal. These competences could be communication in a foreign language, mathematical competences and basic competences in science and technology, social and civic competences, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, cultural awareness and expression mostly through means of non formal education. Intercultural and integration elements are always present in Erasmus+ projects, as people from different social and cultural backgrounds interract and come down to work together on a certain topic.

The project I attended was a Training Course called “Re-Imagining Migration”. I spent 7 days au trou du cul du monde -excuse my French- with 21 fellows from 7 different countries (Italy, France, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Czech Republic, Greece) working together and learning about the multiple dimansions of immigration. If anything, I have to admit that the overall experience was very intriguing to me. I gained a lot of new knowledge on the immigration phenomenon, I learnt more about the prevailing situations in other countries from people living in different European countries and are either locals or immigrants themselves, I made the most meaningful of conversations, I listened to different points of view from completely different people, I got inspired, I changed my mindset and way of thinking. Can you believe that I, who wouldn’t give up on Netflix even if there was an earthquake going on, am now so motivated, want to become a more active citizen and help my community improve and make changes? I want to help people around me. This project really gave me the push I’ve been looking for for so long to make a change in my life and do more, be more. In addition, I improved my Czech (which was more or less close to zero), but at least now I know some basics! Děkuji, dobré ráno, na zdraví, papuče!

But of course the project was not only about learning and self-improvement. It was also about making new friends. Oh, the people that I met! So genuine, so interesting, so unique! We made the most amazing memories together (both sober and drunk) and they will always have a special place in my heart. We lived together an experience of a lifetime- even though I know how terribly cliché that sounds. They made me feel more myself than I ever was before, they gave me so much inspiration, wisdom, positive energy and love, they understood me even when words were not enough and in the end we connected in the weirdest, most beautiful ways. I wish you could meet them, I think you would really like them.

I would like to thank each and every one of those beautiful persons I met seperately for all the things they shared with me during this journey, that almost felt like a lifetime. Angelica for her knowledge, Davide for his spirit, Francesca for her peacefulness, Martin for his friendliness, Ola for her loneliness, Dominica for her shyness, Miguel for his (apple catching- biting- throwing) flamengo, Hubert for his presidential skills, Louisa for her sensitivity, Darya for her inspiration, Taisa for her (baby cat) craziness, Efi for her (goat) enthusiasm, Abbas for his kindness, Valeria for her wisdom, Elena for her brightness, Clara for her cheerfulness, Petra for her generosity, Patricie for her sweetness, Fanny for his food (and smile) and last but not least Carla for her friendship and Sokha for his love. They all are very special people and I am so lucky to have met them, they are my Erasmus family.

I really hope my words make you realize that there is not a single thing you have ever imagined about and you cannot do, my dear. There is a world out there, the chances are so many, so stop being scared. It’s up to you to make a change, get out of your comfort zone and make the best out of this series of both fortunate and unfortunate events we are starring at- life!

I hope to hear from you soon. I am also sending you some pictures of me and my friends living la vida.

All the love,

Anna Karastergiou

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