Dates of the event: 20-30 October 2017
Place: Vadul lui Voda, Moldova
As the most of the young people, we like to think with our own heads. But when it comes to critical thinking, there are still some skills that we need to learn. With that in our minds, the five participants from Croatia headed to project about critical thinking called “What do YOU THink?” organized by Moldovan association ADVIT, and CODEC Europe from Belgium. The youth exchange started in the morning 20th of October in the beautiful Moldovan place called Vadul lui Voda not far from Chisinau. 37 youngsters from 8 different countries gathered to discuss, develop and promote critical thinking skills with the use of non-formal tools of education. Danka Brumen, Mateja Gabor from Čakovec, Ana Svalina (Osijek) and Ante Piplović, Anita Gotovac from Split were the selected Strive! crew in Moldova.
During 10 days we shared, cooperated, contributed, learned and most importantly stayed active. Each day was packed with energizing activities, followed by workshops and discussions on various actual topics. Each country group had prepared to bring forward a problem for everyone to analyze from various points of view and bring into light related issues in their own countries for general discussion. The main point of the discussions was that we engaged the qualities of a critical thinker and stayed open minded. These discussions brought awareness to our surroundings and helped us analyze cultural norms, standards, and issues. After the busy and engaging days, we moved on to the evenings, during which each country organized a cultural event to share scenery of their beautiful countries captured through photos and videos. We all shared food, drinks, dances and engaged in fun and curious quizzes to broaden our knowledge about the people that take part in the project and their backgrounds.
It was a project of collaboration and perpetual discussion. Everyone had something to bring to the table and everyone stayed equally involved, for which we are thankful to each other. It helped us make connections, satisfied our thirst for traveling, discovering and broadened our horizons. What we have learned and experienced, is best described by our participants:
“It was very interesting, fun, instructive and useful. I have learned to respect the opinions of other people, to express my own opinion clearly … Nothing is black and white and all arguments and opinions are equally valuable. ”
Ana Svalina (22), Osijek
“Every youth exchange project I see as an opportunity to develop personal training skills, learn new non-formal educational methods, and make connections with organizations from different countries to develop further mobility projects. Inspired by the problem of the justice and law system in Croatia, our workshop was “Courtroom” where we have simulated the court which involved 37 participants, each having the specific role. A workshop was tested for the first time, and it could be success or disaster. All 5 participants from the Strive! team were preparing the roles, case, and evidence together and participated as moderators during the simulation. In the end, the workshop was a success, and that was for me one of the favorite moments of the exchange because all participants had learned about the justice system in other countries, discussed, think critically and laugh a lot.”
Mateja Gabor (27), Čakovec
Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to each other on 30th of October. Some of the participants continue to travel after the project: Mateja, Danka, and Ante used the opportunity to visit the most interesting places in Ukraine, and Anita just continue her crazy adventure to Israel and Jordan. Things that we have learned, memories of fun moments that we had and new friendships we have made, will always stay in our hearts.
Author: Danka Brumen