Walk in my shoes
29/11 – 5/12/2022
Between the 29th of November and the 5th of December 2022, four young people from Cyprus, decided to leave our comfort zones and travel to Zagreb, Croatia to meet with other people interested in the topic of migration. The first day of the project was mainly for getting to know each other by doing different kinds of ice breakers, sharing fun facts about ourselves and setting some ground rules for the project ahead, such as respecting each other, being on time for the activities, leaving the work room clean, etc.
Throughout the training course, we were guided by our two amazing trainers, Abraham and David who are both very experienced in the fields of youth work, mobility and non-formal education. They were very easy to approach and always eager to answer whatever questions we had. The most memorable activity of the project for us was called the journey, where we basically had to put ourselves into the shoes of immigrants – hence the project title. For a couple of hours, we walked into nature, under cold weather conditions, and were given the task of making hard, often impossible decisions, as immigrants would. For example, we had to choose if we would pay smugglers to pass us through the borders, sacrifice one of our friends in order to survive, and many other scenarios that brought emotional distress to most of us. Also, keep in mind that we were already prepared with good shoes for walking, warm clothes, and clean drinking water, and even after a couple of hours of walking we were all physically exhausted and emotionally drained. This is just a fraction of what immigrants go through to make it to a new place. In addition, we examined the push and pull factors of immigration, where the push is what makes the people leave their homes and countries, for instance, political instability and war, whereas pull factors are what gravitates them to a certain place such as good healthcare, safety, job opportunities, etc.
The project wouldn’t be complete without an intercultural night, where people from each country prepared some of their traditional and delicious foods and drinks to share with the rest participants. The trainers organised a game where we all had to guess the country of origin of each plate, which was very fun! On the last two days of the project, it was finally time to put our new knowledge about immigration into practice and develop tools that could be used by other youth workers and people engaged in the field of migration, either immigrants or locals who want to get to know more about immigration. A treasure hunt, support groups, the development of youth centres and informational websites, were some of the discussed tools.
For the final activity of the project, the trainers prepared a Kahoot game about Erasmus+ facts where we learned about the different types of mobilities, and the difference between formal and non-formal education. All in all the training course was really educational, practical, and also fun. Zagreb during Christmas time is so beautifully decorated despite the cold weather. If you have the opportunity to take part in an Eramsus+ project, I strongly suggest that you take it!