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„Up we go“

At the beginning of October, I had a chance to participate in the Training course „Up we go” in the beautiful nature of Latvia where you can experience all 4 seasons in 1 day, sunbathing just in the T-shirt during lunch break and heavy rain and cold feet in the afternoon.

It all started when we met for a traditional dinner in Riga, the vibrant capital city of Latvia. It felt like a family celebration since we were only 13 participants from Latvia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. We had so much food that we enjoyed it also for breakfast the next day. Right after breakfast we got into a microbus and started the journey to our new home. After around 3 hours of driving, we arrived at the beautiful countryside Training center where we spent 1 amazing week full of adventures, new experiences, and learning.

We stayed in the old cozy wooden house renovated to fit the purpose of team training. Since day one we took care of our home, dividing roles for preparing food and taking care of the house such as bringing wood, making a fire in the stoves, taking out the trash, cleaning the kitchen, and making sure the coffee machine is fully functional. All of these together with our skilled and always helpful and smiling trainers created a very warm, open, and trustful atmosphere. The only problem connected with the common living was loud snoring in the night. Some of us solved that by sleeping in the “silent” room which was always accessible for anyone who needed just simple silence during the day or night.

We started the training by getting to know each other and the flow of the project. But it wasn’t just a simple or boring circle of names and countries, we introduced our “buddy” through drawings of his/her successes or dream superpowers. Many times, it might have seemed like a bunch of excited adults just playing games, having fun, and wanting to do their best as a group and/or as an individual, but afterward, thanks to great evaluation and reflection we realized how much more it was. In every activity we could observe our behavior in the group and the behavior of others.

We got to understand different behavior styles based on DISC, we trained our ability to observe the behavior of ourselves and our colleagues. And we used these observations to gain more effective communication and teamwork, to raise our self-awareness, and then to develop our talents and skills.

With every additional activity, we understood step by step more about our colleagues and how to communicate with each of them. That helped us in the rope park since there was no other chance to finish tasks than using effective communication to create great cooperation. First day in rope park we learned the need for effective communication the hard way, failing our very first assignment. Thankfully, the next day we got a second chance, and with the learnings from the day before, our will and resolution to finish it this time, we managed perfectly.

During the next days we were developing skills of creating and fulfilling strategies for better solutions. On low ropes we learned to understand personal and group responsibility for reaching a common goal and improved the ability to take initiative. After building trust on personal and group levels we were ready for high ropes. At least we thought so until seeing the ground from 8 meters high just trying to stand on the slippery beam. There we faced our fears and really tested communication in a stressful environment.

To really get to know our strengths and weaknesses it’s very valuable to get constructive feedback from our colleagues and reflect on our experience as we did on our last days. The extensive DISC personal report including suggestions for improving our effectiveness in teamwork, initiative, or problem solving was also very helpful for each of us.

Most meaningful outcome of this training for me was to understand different behaviours of people, to be able to reveal the behavioural styles and to communicate in more effective way. I believe I could apply those learnings also out of this training in working with any team. I would for sure recommend this training to anyone working in teams or managing people. In general, I believe Erasmus+ projects are amazing opportunities to gain new skills, develop yourself, get to know different cultures and interesting people and last but not least have fun and enjoy great time 🙂

Radka