My story with Erasmus+
All began suddenly when I finished my BA studies in Psychology and started looking fro an interesting and different experience in my life. Having in mind that I am becoming an ‘adult’ very soon, I wanted to add to my life an experience that would include the education on a topic that is interested for me, the experience of travelling in another country, the possibility to meet in person people from all over the places and last but not lease fun, a lot of funny and unforgettable memories that will charge my batteries for long time afterwards. So, keeping that in mind, I started searching online voluntary programs and travelling opportunities abroad that are out there. I have tried to contact loads of people who were advertising those opportunities and after contacting them, I have started having the feeling that this procedure needs a lot of time and also money. I was discouraged.
Meanwhile, I was discussing my willingness to live the abroad experience with my friends and some of them told me that they were thinking the same. After a certain period I stopped searching and contacting people. Suddenly, one day, one of my friends send me an email with a training course, fully funded from the European Union which was about ‘Social Inclusion and Performing Arts’ taking place in a village, Telesse Terme, in South Italy. I was impressed and very excited about this opportunity, however I was a bit unsure about the procedure.
I completed the Participation Form and after I have been selected, I send a massive email to the coordinator asking a million of questions. I have asked about the procedure of how we are booking our tickets and when, how we are getting the travel cost reimbursement, how we are reaching the venue, who else is going to be in the Greek team and so on. Hopefully, the coordinator was really helpful and answer to all of my questions. Moreover, he suggested me to create a Facebook group a couple of days before travelling to Italy. And so did I.
Everything started at that moment, when we we starting the first conversations, getting to know each other and planning trips after the training course! I was so happy for the upcoming experience that I could not even sleep the previous night before the travel day. After a long trip, I managed to find the venue, easier than I first though, and after getting a warm welcoming from the two trainers, Emanuele and Ricardo, I started to meeting the people in person. We had a lovely dinner accompanied with wine and treats and then whoever had any spare energy, made their way to the local pub. The next day we had a lovely Italian pouffe with Italian coffee for breakfast at the hotels dining area and then we made our towards the venue, which was 10 minutes away from the hotel, whereas all the activities of the training course took place. We began with Energizers, Name-Games, Team-Building activities and then we continue with the activities relative with the actual content of the course.
The next six days were passing smoothly and happily, with some challenging moments as well. For sure they were very rich days for me as I was constantly learning new things not only form the trainers but from my colleagues, from the locals and from myself as well. Apart from the knowledge I gain, the life- changing experience I had the opportunity to have, the new international friends I made, a future collaboration that I built, the confidence that I gain for myself in many levels, I was lucky enough to discover what I wanted to do in my life after the course! This was something unexpected for me however an eye – opening experience that widen my horizons a little a bit more.
The last day was very difficult for all of us. The next day, after arriving home was even more difficult. We kept in contact with all of the people and we started immediately planning to meet each other soon and we begin to talk about the next Erasmus experience! The whole experience from the very beginning until the end, totally worth my time and energy. It gave even more than I could think of. Since that time I have joined more than 12 Erasmus projects (Erasmus plus training courses, Youth Exchanges, Seminars, Conferences, Placements and so on). Now I reached to the point that the trainer from my first Erasmus experience and me, we are planing, coordinating and facilitating one Training Course and I cannot express with words my feeling about that. Also, I am a volunteer in the London based NGO Abroadship.org and I would love to be the mediator for other people to live the same or even better experiences, combining Non- Formal Learning and Living the Whole Experience Abroad.
For any question, no matter how silly someone might think it is, please do not hesitate to ask me and any member from the lovely Abroadship.org team!
Hope to everyone a good time with lots of fun and laughs,
By Anastasia Moraiti – Abroadship.org Volunteer