Skilling You(th) Softly
Imagine that you are going on a project which you are not only interested in because of its amazing topic, but also because it will take place in a beautiful location. This wonderful vision came true for a group of five Slovaks who took part in the youth exchange Skilling You(th) Softly nearby a small Greek town, Litochoro.
In a group of 30 young people, we participated in the youth exchange focused on the development of soft skills, which are important and useful to have in our daily lives. Every day we were motivated by sunny weather in a place next to sea and mountains, thus, we were charged with positive energy when participating in the activities of the project.
On the first day, we spent time on getting to know each other, which itself was a practice of using and developing soft skills. Thanks to ice-breaking activities, we created a friendly environment right at the start, which enabled us to work together as a group until the end. In the following days we focused on development of these soft skills: communication, public speaking, teamwork, conflict management, problem-solving, time management, responsibility, pro-activity, and empathy. However, firstly, through non-formal learning methods we defined what soft skills are, and then we worked with what we learnt.
After first introductory sessions, the Greek project organizers prepared interactive workshops for us, in which each of us could try to use soft skills or accept personal challenges related to the development of soft skills. For example, one interesting activity was a debate simulation with board and audience; and it connected many of the skills at the same time. In one other session, whoever wanted, could participate in Open Space Technology – an opportunity to present to other participants activities or topics about which someone is passionate in their free time. In this way, we spent time developing soft skills of presenting, listening, or communication.
Apart from the main learning program, we had one free day. Our amazing Greek facilitators took us to Mount Olympus, where we could swim in a waterfall or go on a short hike, depending on personal preferences. It was a chance to get to know the surrounding area and all the lovely people that live there. Moreover, every day we had an intercultural night in which participants presented their countries. We learnt more about Spain, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and others could learn something about Slovakia and our traditions. However, cultural enrichment did not happen only during these nights. We were together almost non-stop, so we had plenty of time to get to know each other's cultures throughout the entire project. And so, working in a group with young people from different parts of Europe also motivated us to improve our soft skills.
Lastly, we would like to say thank you to Youthfully Yours Slovakia for giving us the opportunity to take part in the project. Also, organizers from Youthfully Yours Greece deserve a big thank you for their professional preparation and friendly approach with which they led the whole project excellently. We believe that we have learnt a lot and the soft skills and experiences that we enriched our lives with will be useful to us in the future.
In this way, we would also like to motivate other young people to take part in Erasmus+ projects. Wonderful people, interesting topic and beautiful environment of the project all contributed to the experiences and memories that we will be remembering with smiles on our faces (and maybe even with some tears in our eyes).
Thank you. 😊