Dates of the event: 21-29 July 2017
Place: Trenčianske Toplice, Slovakia
Croatian Association Strive! has selected four participants for the Erasmus+ project Crafty in Trenčianske Toplice in Slovakia, from July 21st to July 29th. One of them was me. Besides Croatia, the following countries participated in the project: Slovakia, Turkey, Macedonia, Lithuania, and Romania.
As it took about 4 hours to Bratislava, we could use the day before or after the project for sightseeing the city which we happily did. The project started on the 21st of July on afternoon and we started with the official introduction through several name games. I imagined it as a series of creative activities, which was, but not entirely.
As for the learning of new creative things, the project was mostly focused on knitting, something that I would probably never have learned if I wouldn’t participate in the project. Although it can really eat the hours and hours, after you overcome the initial crunch of work with small bugs and wool, sometimes even unwanted, knitting is truly a relaxing, almost meditative activity. Additionally, if you do not have the idea of what you would give to your friends and you had enough wandered around the shops looking for a perfect gift, that’s a great alternative. Who would not be delighted with a little-knitted bear? Perhaps the most interesting in learning the basics of knitting was to see the male participants of the project struggling with the different patterns.
Also, we had the opportunity to attend several workshops where we could learn how to reuse the materials we usually throw in the garbage. For example, we learned how to make a wallet from the used carton, a pendant from a part of a plastic box, a bracelet from the plastic bottle. Along with we had a workshop where we just had to design and make something out of the given stuff.
The project was also a great place to present our own creative works, we could bring them from home, and we had the time to teach the other participants something we know. So, I learned from Romanian girls how to make dolls by winging the wool, and from two Croatian team members how to make colorful wristbands with interesting patterns.
We have discussed the economic situation, focused on youth unemployment, in other countries and how to open an craftsmanship. One of the activity was the imaginary market where we evaluated the worth of our products.
The project was far more than the planned schedule. Nowhere in the timetable you will find that you will practice English, communication and presentation skills, understand you can speak with the Macedonians and Slovaks in Croatian, see a different architecture, try dishes that you have never tried, learn about some other countries, meet those few interesting people who will impact on your view of life. Sometimes, you will be in the situation where you will have to respect the other opinion, even if you don’t agree. These are just some of the reasons why all those who want to work with young people and expand their views are advised to participate in such and similar projects.
Author: Monika Mišolić