Why Erasmus? Build your own future

Why you should choose an Erasmus project?
If you are not looking for answers you are never going to learn anything, and the solution is so simple that it would be a pity not to do so: start asking questions.
You finish high school and then what? You have to choose your next move, to follow the most suitable path in your life and study further to prepare for the real life. That sounds very simple, but is it really?
Where are you planning to go for university? Are you staying in your hometown or are you going to explore the whole word while studying? What are you going to learn at university? What do you want to be further in life? What job opportunities do you have?
In my opinion, none of these questions have a simple answer and for an 18 year old that just graduated high school it might be too difficult to choose right. Do you really know all of these at 18 years old? Because neither do I.
Education and knowledge are truly important but I believe that the most important thing of all is to choose what you love and find happiness in your journey. This is exactly the topic o my last Erasmus project from Tallinn, Estonia, that took place in September 2017.
In this Erasmus youth exchange 37 people from 5 different countries gathered together to talk about the studies opportunities all around Europe. But in a Youth Exchange you don’t only get to talk about the main topic of the project, you have the chance to talk about life, about experiences, about mistakes and great realisations. You can talk about your goals, you can ask for advice, you get to know how’s life in other parts of Europe and you can make a lot of friends. You get to understand the world better as you develop your skills and competences while having a little bit of fun.

And talking about competences, there are 8 Key-competences that you have the opportunity to focus on:

Communication in mother tongue
the ability to express in an appropriate manner, verbally or in the writing way your thoughts, feelings and facts
Communication in a foreign language
the ability to express yourself in a foreign languages and understand others; to understand the cultural differences and diversity; to have an interest in languages and intercultural communication
Mathematical, scientific and technological competence
ability to use logical thinking in solving everyday problems; ability to make evidence-based conclusions; ability to distribute your own time and follow the plan; ability to deal with different calculations(convert money, plan pocket money)
Digital competence
ability to use information and technology tools independently and competently, ability to use basic computer and internet skills, ability to deal with different electronic devices(phones, projector, photo camera)
Learning to learn
ability to organize own trainings; ability to find your own way of learning; ability to take responsibility; ability to analyse and evaluate personal and gained experience
Social and civic competences
ability to communicate with friends, family and colleagues; to be open-minded and tolerant to people with very different backgrounds; ability to resolve conflicts in a constructive way; to have an overview of what is happening in your community, city, country, Europe and the world; to have knowledge about democracy, civil society and h8uman rights; participation in the life of society, active citizenship, volunteering
Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship
ability to act in the personal interests, to implement and realise ideas, to have personal initiative; to be creative and innovative; to prognosis risks for their prevention; to have project management skills
Cultural awareness and expression
illumination, communication with media, music, art, literature, visual arts etc.; to be ready to discover different cultures through art; to be aware about your personal culture, how often you visit theatre, cinema or read books.
It’s amazing how many life changing lessons you can learn in a week just by meeting the right people.
I can not deny that one of the best parts of this project was that I had the chance to meet truly amazing humans, with mesmerising stories and a lot of experience. It’s impossible not to get inspired, even a bit, by every single person that you talk with. Even if you don’t realise this, every story you hear has a huge impact on your beliefs and opinions and I believe that this is the most fascinating way to discover the world around you.
To be fair, we had a lot of things to do and it was a little bit exhausting, but everyone worked with a lot of interest and passion. I enjoyed every session and activity that we had as I was able to relate with each situation. We talked about non-formal learning with a teacher from Romania that wants to make a difference, about purposes and desires with an Estonian psychologist that tried to make us discover what we truly want, about the importance of developing our key competences for lifelong learning, about how to overcome laziness and we also had a lot of activities in which we had the chance to know each other better and feel more like a community.
We had a really interesting session about the differences between formal, non-formal and informal learning and afterwards we discussed divergent statements about learning to better understand the variety of methods of studying. We talked about how to present yourself on the interviews and we worked on creating an impressive CV based on some examples, and to be honest I didn’t even think that mine was so unattractive before the discussion.
Our final result was a zine, a short magazine that we could share with our friends and everyone that is interested. We tried to gather all the information that we learned during this project into this final product.
I can not stop writing about all the perks of going in a Youth Exchange and I genuinely wish you to try it yourself. There is no better way to open your barriers to the world than within an Erasmus adventure.
One of the questions that I couldn’t forget was if at the end of the day do we really need to write down our thoughts to assimilate better the information? My answer was and still is: yes. All the emotions that began to flow while writing this article proved me the meaning of this statement. I already feel so much power just by sorting my thoughts together and I feel so genuinely grateful for this opportunity.
Thank you all for making this possible, the organisers, Youth Club Active, and the speakers, the participants and the Erasmus+ family.
In this project, a part of the Romanian team was selected in behalf of the Asociația Tineri pentru Dezvoltare Durabilă în Europa and I was very happy to find such involved people, that showed passion, solemnity, responsibility and a great interest for the causes. If you want to be a part of Erasmus+ family and have a new experience you can join us on office@atdde.ro and become a volunteer.