In November I spent a week on YOUth 4 Peace program. The exchange was designed by Actions for Chance for 30 15-17 years old students from different parts of Europe – Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, Latvia and Austria, and it was founded by Erasmus+.
I couldn’t decide if I should go to the exchange – I was afraid, I was looking forward to it and I didn’t actually know what to expect. But at the end I experienced memorable week with many amazing people and I achieved valuable experience, information and I realized things that will definitely change my life.
The journey to Romania was crazy. We had to change train in Olomouc, Břeclav, Budapest, Dej and we arrived to Cluj Napoca at about 6 am (so the whole journey took about 24 hours instead of 16).
Waiting for the train in Dej, 3AM
The topic of the exchange was world peace and the main part of the program was so-called „World Peace Game“. Basically it’s unusual board game, a little world with space satellites, airspace, ocean, islands and four countries with cities, farms, power stations…
All participants get a role in this little world – there were prime ministers of the four countries, financial officers, the presidents of the World bank, members of the United Nations and others. The main goal of this game was to get higher budget for all of the countries and also to solve 23 crisis which simulated situations happening in the real world – problems with refugees, natural disasters, disagreements between racreligious, racial minorities etc.
The game had one main rule – You could do ANYTHING if you can afford it, if you’re ready to deal with the consequences and if it makes sense. Basically that’s what is life all about. We can do anything in our life if we follow these roles.
World Peace Game
World Peace Game
World Peace Game
We spent the mornings signing treaties, calculating budgets and dealing with the crisis. The in the afternoon we had several workshops and team-building activities, then all the teams presented their country during the intercultural evenings and at night we were talking, dancing and singing in one of the rooms (and sometimes sleeping).
Spanish intercultural evening
During this one week I learned many things. All of the activities including WPG were designed to teach us to cooperate, share our opinion and stand up for ourselves, communicate with strangers in English, to overcome the language barrier, explain the other person what you want from him and eventually come to the conclusion that will satisfy both sides. These skills are super important and I’m sure I’m going to use them in my future life. Besides that, I also realized many other things I have never really thought about.
- I realized I’m not a „party person“. I love talking in a small group and I love sleeping.
- When there’s a specific topic to talk about, I’m able to speak for hours. But when you ask me „how are you?“, don’t expect a super interesting conversation.
- In every group, there are two types of people. People who come into your life and when they leave, you don’t even notice. But also there are people who become more than strangers, more than roommates – who become your friends and whom you are going to miss so much after you come back home.
- I don’t feel like myself when I’m in a big group.
- I enjoy public speaking when I know what I’m talking about, when I have arguments and I can speak for myself.
- I’ve always wanted to live abroad, but I’ve never realized that people are not the same in different parts of the world. They have different culture, different personality, temperament, attitudes, lifestyle and different daily regimen.
Why am I writing this? Partly just for myself, to organize my thoughts and to realize what this experience brought to me. The second reason is to encourage you to go ahead and look for opportunities like this one. If I stayed at home, I would regret it so much. All of the experience, memories, every moment of that week (even though some of them weren’t just positive) gave me opportunity to move forward and made me think about my whole life.
If you have a chance to participate in program like this, don’t hesitate. Go for it !! ♥
Author: Adéla Skládalová
Photography: official face of the World Peace Game
Anna Müllerová, regionální redaktor, ICM Prostějov