A part of the Erasmus Plus programme is Youth Exchange, which is a great opportunity for young people from different countries to meet and work together for a short period. Every Youth Exchange usually has a different topic and the participants have the chance to choose what they want to develop about themselves.
’Gate Of Dreams’ is a youth exchange project for the people who are interested in Live Action Role Play games. During the LARP, all the people have a character and they play out a story. The story can take place at unusual times, places and even alternate realities and every character has an interesting story to develop. LARP is a friendly method to develop your skills about communication, creativity, acting abilities and soft skills in general.
The project takes place in Motycz, Poland and it is organized by the Happy Childhood Foundation. The participants are from Poland, Romania, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary and an important thing about them is that some of them have never played the LARP before and, also, there are others who don’t have experience with acting.
The LARP should be prepared by the participants and they colaborate together to do it. They work on things like face painting, sound effects and decorations. The preparations help them to know more about what it means to work together and, in the same time, those activities help them to improve their communication skills.
The participants have the chance to learn more about social media and how to promote a project. They have many activities like promoting ’Gate Of Dreams’ on social media, using hashtags on Facebook and Instagram and posting many pictures from the project.
Another important thing about a project like this is that most of the participants are not actors and they don’t know many information about it. So, for them it’s an amazing opportunity to get out from their comfort zone and to discover unknown things about themselves.
The people from the project are different and they perceive things in a different way. For example, Loredana, who is 22 years old and is from Romania, said:’Everyone listens and they don´t get offended even if my opinion doesn´t agree with somebody´s else opinion and we can all communicate and see we are all different in opinions and have the right to thing freely. That´s the thing. When I am at home and talk to just my friends and family, I meet similar opinions as I have. But here you will see and hear different opinions than yours. They are based on your education, upbringing and environment you live in and that´s really interesting’.
Tamás, who is 19 years old and is from Hungary said about getting out from your comfort zone that is the most amazing thing in a project. ’What I like the most about this exchange is that I have to step out of my comfort zone, because I am usually not so comfortable with ’acting’ in front of people. I don´t have a problem to sell myself, but to sell somebody else (I mean my character) is different. It takes time for me to get into the character and I think stepping out of your comfort zone is a really great thing and you are enlarging your perspective in the world’, said he.
Tomáš, from Czech Republic, has a message for people who are thinking to participate in Erasmus Plus projects: ’Well, say yes and do it. Absolutely do it. You probably don´t have an idea what could be on the project, but trust me meeting new people on projects and meeting the same types of people with similar opinion and way the they see the world is a great experience and it will open your eyes what does it really mean to be a European citizen’.
In conclusion, Erasmus Plus is a great opportunity for young people to develop themselves intellectually and personally. In a youth exchange, you don’t just increase your knowledge. You discover about yourself that you are very good on doing same things. You have some things which you would like to develop and, of course, you have things you are not very good at, but you can enjoy them and you can demonstrate yourself that you can really do something when you want it, even thought you are not the best on doing this. You can see it in ’Gate Of Dreams’ project. Some people from this project are extroverted and are very good at acting. Others are not the same, but they enjoy it and it could become a hobby for them. And, in the end, there are people who don’t have so much self-confidence and who don’t think that they really can do this, but they try to do their best and to see the circle of their comfort zone bigger and bigger.
Article written by Ilona Andrei, participant of Gate of Dreams