Impressions from TC “T.O.Y.S. and Healthy Relationships”

On behalf of CEUD 4 persons took part in the TC “”T.O.Y.S. and Healthy Relationships” (Project number 2016-2-EL02-KA105-002345), which was hosted by the informal group “CHANCE” from 23 November till 3 December, 2016, in Thessaloniki, Greece. Here are the impressions of our participants.

Miljan, law-student, participated for the first time in an Erasmus+ funded mobility activity: As I already expected, the whole program was very interesting, but our big group of nice people from different countries and cultures, together with our two trainers Natassa and Nataliya, sexologist Georgia and our peers Greek hosts led by Nikos, made it really unforgettable for me. In a friendly atmosphere, we were discussing different topics and pretty much expanded our knowledge about sexual health and ways of promoting it in our more or less different communities. Playing educational games, representing our countries at intercultural nights, visiting NGO “Women’s Shelter” and fulfilling group tasks related to the topics while sightseeing the city are only a few examples of the great time we had there. Also, I have to notice the beauty of Thessaloniki, the city with the rich history visible in every street of it, which are enriched with famous Greek hospitality that we experienced during our stay. I acquired new knowledge and stroke new friendships and hope that in the future the positive energy stored in all of us will meet again in a similar setting.

Bojan, volunteer in a youth association, board-games lover: During the training course, we talked in general about sex and sexual health. Through workshops on various topics, and with the guidance by excellent trainers we dealt in detail with topics of sexual myths and prejudices, sexual function and dysfunction, sexual behavior, sexual education and all of its aspects, relationships, expectations, empathy, verbal and nonverbal communication between partners. We also visited the women’s shelter and got to know the work of an organization that takes care of people who have HIV, which has enabled a better understanding of the whole topic and all actors in the sex life of a person as well as partnership relations. All of this, for me as a participant who comes from a country where sex is a taboo but on the other side who also comes from the family where we talk openly about everything, was helpful for expanding the current knowledge, breaking certain biases and opening up to the possibility that through projects with similar programs I can raise community awareness about this very important and omnipresent part of our lives. The most important thing is that the workshops were designed so that they allowed open discussion and exchange of opinions of all participants with good coordination and advice from the trainers. Most of the work was carried out in various groups, which I really liked because it allowed all of us to express openly ourselves, get to know each other better and exchange our experiences. Through group work we were also able to express our creativity and improve communication skills which meant a lot for me and helped me very much. Aside from this we had lectures about the types of education and writing KA2 Erasmus+ projects, with which we have covered the formal and organizational aspects of training that will later help us in designing and creating our own projects. Through intercultural evenings, informal gatherings or workshop, where we interviewed local couples on the streets of the host city we were able to learn more about different cultures with the aim of better understanding the differences and similarities among the participants and their lifestyles. Because of all this I have to praise outstanding lecturers and home team who were always available for us with their knowledge, patience, openness, suggestions, great spirit, good mood and cheerful humor. This contributed to making this event one extraordinary experience. All in all, this was a very good, high quality and useful training that gave me new knowledge, broadened my horizons,  new skills and enabled me to meet wonderful and intelligent young people whom now I consider my friends and future partners in some new projects. With these people and their work world has a bright future.

Kristina, psychologist, participated for the first time in an Erasmus+ funded mobility activity: In November 2016 I was involved in a training course about youth sexuality and healthy relationships in Thessaloniki, Greece. It was a great experience with a positive influence on my personal and professional life. Workshops within the training course were based on non formal learning, very interactive with lots of discussions. There were many people from different countries, so I had a chance to get to know more about their cultures and customs. Intercultural nights were held, which help a lot in getting to know more about each others cultures. I learnt things about Egypt, Jordan, Moldavia, Latvia, Greece, Portugal, FYR of Macedonia and Croatia. I tasted specialties from these countries and learnt their traditional dances. My friend from Jordan gave me her Hijab to try, and it was very interesting to be in her shoes for a moment. On the workshops there were a lot of discussions about relationships, which I personally find interesting, and all of us shared our opinions and experiences. I learnt new things related to sexuality – we talked about myths that surround this subject. I improved my teamwork skills and public speaking skills. I also learnt new Greek words and improved my knowledge of English and Russian. Through the activities that we had outside the conference room I got a chance to see Thessaloniki and its sights. People I met through this course were nice and friendly and we had a great time together. In our free time we hang out together and played different games that helped us to get to know each other even better. This training course was an educational and overall very positive experience, so I’m looking forward to share my experience with people in my country. I would gladly partake in more activities of this kind.

 Tatjana, youth worker: The topic of the training course was a challenge in its self for me. First of all, I had never dealt with this topic. After the distance of several days after it finished, I’m pleased that I took the challenge and participated. I returned personally and professionally more competent.  On the personal level, I increased my knowledge about sexual health and overcome personal reservations when talking about the topics related to sex, which is a taboo topic in Serbian society. Through the well-guided workshops, step by step I felt encouraged to speak up and surpassed the ‘shame’ of talking about sex. Even though I’m a reserved person, I felt several times very easy stepping out of my comfort zone and expressing opinions even if they contradict that of the majority. I am satisfied with my level of participation and especially with the fact that it was noticed and appreciated by the fellow-participants. This acknowledgement brings to raising my own self-confidence.  I specially found interesting getting to know more about Moldova and Egypt. On the professional level, this training course was refreshing for me because it allowed me to learn some new techniques (e.g. Papiertheater) that I can re-use for the activities that I do when working with young people. I got to know about new methods for recognition of knowledge gained through non-formal educational activities. The venue of the TC – Thessaloniki – was historically and culturally important for the identity of the Serbian nation. I’m also pleased that I could reconnect with the ancestors who fought against fascism at the moment when the world is faced with many crises.