#ThoughtAboutIt je serija tekstova sudionika razmjene mladih “Let me think about it” o svom iskustvu i dojmovima s razmjene. U ovom nastavku donosimo vam tekst španjolskog sudionika, Alvara Freirea. Enjoy 🙂
I would like to start this article from the very beginning of this amazing experience. It was January when I first heard about doing some stuff related with Croatia. I didn’t know much about it, so I just let it go. Some weeks later, Romy appeared in our class (for the second time actually, but this time was for something different), and told us some more details about that “stuff”, that indeed was about to become an unforgettable experience.
I saw the opportunity to travel, meet new people and learn English, and that was great, so I applied, but still scared. What I didn’t know was that I was about to learn a lot about myself, too. Romy also told us that the project was for people between 18 and 25, which at first it made me feel even more scared, but I think it was the point that made me think about setting a challenge to myself. I became more and more found to the idea of going – Yes, I liked that idea. I will go to Croatia, be with different people which I’m not used to, learning English… What can be wrong? No one will kill me if I make mistakes, I guess (and hope); and my English is not that bad, so… let’s see what happens.
Days later, I was given the news that I’m going to that (awesome, funny, maybe boring… whatever) project. At that point I started to see things even more positive. I was going to take a plane (I had never flown by plane before); I was going to a foreign country, which for me it was exciting; I was going to meet new people and maybe learn something more than English, who knows?
After two crazy months, full of exams, homework and meetings (to buy the tickets, etc…), suddenly I was on a plane, heading to Nova Gradiška. During that flight I experienced lots of feelings. In some moments I was crazy about getting there, but in some other moments I was rethinking about turning around and going back home. However, I told to myself: “No, I don’t want to go home. I’m here because I want to be here. Let’s try this.”
So, I arrived to Nova Gradiška in Croatia. My first impression was that it would be really challenging, but not as hard as I first thought (before leaving Spain). Actually, I was already out of my comfort zone and, to be honest, it wasn’t that bad. During the first few activities, I felt shy, and to be true, I really hated that feeling. I was going to spend 9 more days there, so I just had to make a little effort. I needed like 2 or 3 more days to feel comfortable to work with the rest of the participants (also group leaders and organizers). The activities continued to be a challenge, and I still liked them. In my opinion, there’s no point if you don’t have to make an effort to do or achieve something. What can happen if you fail? Are you going to die? No. So, what’s the matter?
Each day I felt more and more self-confident, and I was discovering that I was there to learn about myself, too. Reflection groups were a big push for me, and I’m beholden for that. Romy made me see the need to set little challenges within a bigger one. You can’t walk a whole path with just one big step, you always need to take more but shorter steps forward. In my case, my smaller challenge was to participate more. I felt I had (maybe) good ideas, but still lack in self-confidence to say them out loud. So that was my challenge, and each day I pushed myself more and more, and I think that’s what I did.
I loved almost every activity, but if I had to choose, I would pick out The Wheel of Life or maybe the last activity, in which we had to pick up a card, and it should represent something about us during the project. In my case, I chose a card which had a labyrinth. My explanation was that I had chosen that card because for me, the project was a big challenge (the labyrinth), and before each activity I felt lost, as if I had no chance in carrying it out. I participated in all activities with no problem (of course with difficulties, but always achieving my goals), and that made me think about myself. It was nice for me, that I was able to make some people feel thrilled with my words. That means that my message got to them, and that’s what I wanted.
I realized of a very important result of this project, just when I arrived home. I read every letter and when I finished, I reflected about what I had just done and what I had just learnt, and I realized something: A person travels around the world looking for what (s)he needs, but goes back home to find it out.
And finally, I would like to thank Romy Alexandra for giving me (us) the opportunity of having this amazing experience and trusting us this much. I would like to thank the organizers, because they wrote and prepared such a fantastic project, and especially Luka Tunjić, as he was just like a brother for me. I would like to thank my roommates Giedrius Vyšniauskas and Barut Yüksel for making my adaptation easier. I would also like to thank those who were my friends *there* (not then, because I still consider you that way), and helped me with my way of thinking… (I think no names are needed 😉). I would like to thank my Spanish team for always being there for me. And, at last but not least, I would like to thank every participant for being such good people and making the most of my personal experience. I can just be glad.