Wednesday, April 12, 2017


"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

I ended my last post with giving some tips where I was for a week. Well, I actually didn't have any clue that I'll be going to Austria, it just happened. My sister texted me whether I'd like to go and I had to talk to my parents and after getting them consent I was sure I would go. That's how I got the oppurtunity to participate in an Erasmus+ project. The main topic of the seminar was migration ("Change Your view on migration") and it took place from March 27th until April 2nd.

10 countries

It was my first ever plane flight but I wasn't as nervous about flying as I was about the meeting. I arrived a day early and there was a farewell party of the last seminar which I attended too but felt like a complete stranger there even though the people were really friendly and nice. The hotel I stayed at for a week was great, it wasn't expensive or luxurious but it had many facilities like a swimming pool, a football pitch, etc.

Leaving Estonia

Like I said, I arrived a day before the official program so now I'm going to talk about the actual seminar. The first official day was quiet, people arrived throughout the day at different times. I went to a town nearby which is called Velden and had breakfast there, alone. When I got back to the hotel, I met a guy next door - Adam from Slovakia. Then more people arrived and at first a typical conversation included a lot of awkward slience but that changed surprisingly fast. Afterwards, we had a getting-to-know-eachother evening and I was struggling to remember the names and countries of the people. Each of us had to make a profile on "Veldenbook" - actually we just had to write down basic information about us, have a profile picture and an inbox. Later on, I went to see the sunset with some lads and we gathered up in one hotel room and tried to socialize somehow.

The whole package 

Johanna, Andrew and Ylenia having a conversation next to our Veldenbook profiles

Sunset #1

The second day started with a study session, almost - actually we just discussed on what are our objectives and what we'd like to learn or what obstacles we're trying to overcome during the seminar. My greatest fear was that my English is not fluent enough because I haven't had a practise like this before - furtunately, I felt really comfortable talking in English and I participated in many conversations and discussions with no problem. On lunch, we went to the town with half of our group, the weather was fantastic that day, actually the whole week it was warm and clear. I just looked around, had a chat and enjoyed the weather. The craziest event we had that week was the intercultural evening - the main point of the event was to introduce your country's food, drinks, traditions, etc. It got really messed up but it was fun, especially because I was so in the mood for dancing and we had some latin songs playing and I danced with Maria who's from Poland (finally, my dancing lessons are paying off). We had a really great night with Maria and it was cool to watch all of the people befriending. Furthermore, I learned some Italian hand gestures and many cool things from different cultures. I got to know many pals at that night and damn, the Cypriots were crazy - they brought their own country's food and didn't like it even themselves.

Working together

Getting to know eachother and our objectives for the upcoming week

Diogenes, Ana and Marvinda presenting their countries

Proudly introducing my country's traditions and culture

On Wednesday, we went deeper into our migration problems and introduced our countries' migration policies. Sessions were planned exactly the way I liked - started at 9 a.m and ended at 7 p.m, between there were lots of coffee breaks and 2-hour lunch. Coffee breaks were great, for the whole week I only drank black coffee, that means that I was giving almost maximum to this project. In the evening, we went for a walk again and realized how beautiful the place was at night. Sadly, because Velden is a resort town then it seemed more like a ghost town because the summer season hasn't kicked in yet.

Adam & Dana

Marvinda explaining me the main problems for minority groups in Portugal 

Every day we had a hard time getting up with my roommate Marek. I remember that we even went for a morning run on Tuesday I guess but the following days we just slept until the last moment. On Thursday, we compared different organizatsions which deal with migration problems and later on, played a card game where we had to switch the tables after every round and we couldn't talk and it made us all frustrated because at one point we realized that every table had different rules. The game made me feel like an immigrant in a country which has a different culture from the country I emigrated. The game was brilliant. I'm not 100% sure but maybe that was the day we discovered that we have a table tennis, billiard and table football tables in the hotel. Overally, there were many activities to keep yourself occupied - football field, pool, lake and the indoor activities I mentioned before.

The card game

My group had to represent International Organization for Migration

On Friday, we took a trip to a city called Villach. We went there to see how the migration issues are faced and then dealt with in real life, in practise. It was actually quite similar to my town. We have a NGO which keeps the youth active and busy, in Villach there was a NGO with the same purpose. After some serious "active-listening", a few of us left to hotel but some of us stayed in the city. We bought some food and a few beers and went for a picnic by the river. The view was delightful, really, as I hadn't seen huge mountains before. We had a dinner at pizzeria which name I don't remember and the evening got even more interesting as it was turning into a night. We went to a local pub and turned the slow-paced atmosphere in there into a dance battleground. I wasn't in so good shape with my dancing moves as I was at the intercultural evening but my friend from Poland Kamil subtituted me for that night. Furthermore, we met some locals and we were invited into a club, it was really weird at first because the club owner really wanted us to come and he even gave us many drinks on the house but we left quite early because we had a train to catch at midnight.

Sunset #2

Nike vs Adidas = Toomas vs Maria 

@PIVA - an organization which focuses on integrating migrants within the society


Saturday was I think the worst day for me. Actually only the first half of the day was unpleasant - in the morning, my allergies kicked in and I felt really sick at first. The day seemed unbearable because firstly, I didn't really have much sleep because of the previous night, secondly, we had to independently do a board game about migration and thirdly, allergies. But the evening was nice, I started feeling better because I knew that I need to stay positive during the camp because it was about to end.

Creating our board game with Giulia, Adam and Marek

"Should I stay or should I go?" - our masterpiece

#nohomo with Giorgos

As we went to sleep quite late, it was hard for me to wake up again (surprise-surprise). We had finished our board games the previous day and were ready to test these on Sunday. The day was really chill and relaxing, we shared our impressions about the week and what we accomplished and so on. I opened my "Veldenbook" inbox and had some letters in there. And then the magnificent, fantastic, spectacular farewell party started. We had a bufee full of exotic food and lots of Austrian beer. The party was awesome and because I was going to leave at 5 a.m, I didn't go to sleep at all. Firstly, I was with Maria and told her that I had a splendid time with her. When she couldn't bare me anymore and went to sleep, I went to see the others who weren't sleeping yet and said my final goodbyes (but maybe still not final). It would've been much better if I hadn't had to leave so early. However, there's a slight chance that we're having a reunion soon.

Playing a game about stereotypes and prejudices

I really like that everyone had to take a stand and explain their choice

Farewell party

Eszter, Constantinos, Anett & I

Diogenes, Adam, Marek, Constantinos, Giorgos & I - the final farewell party

I just loved that group and I miss the whole thing so much. Marek, my roommate, his music taste is on point and he didn't bother when I was singing in the shower so loudly that he couldn't sleep. Maria, OMG, the most beautiful girl in there for sure and she knows it, we had lots of fun and I hope we'll see again some day. PS to Maria: I don't have blond hair and you can't call me Tomik... Andrew was the "professional dancer" who said "f**k" and "s**t" like really many times when he was not too sober. Anett - "Let's go to the beach, each, let's go get away, hey, hey, what you gonna say." - you know it, girl. Adam, next door neighbor who was one of the first people I met in there. The Cypriots Giorgos and Constantinos were hilarous as hell, they were like a married couple really. At least now I know what means "archidi" in Greek (don't look it up). The whole group was just amazing, the week we spent together wasn't enough. Lastly, of course I'd like to thank the people who organized the program - Marc, Eva, Marco and Helena. Karmen, Eva's daughter, was really cute when she hanged out with me and Maria a few times. The project was amusing, especially the parts when Marc laughed, his laugh was always funnier than the joke he was laughing about.

Morning energisers were, surprise-surprise, energizing

Actually, I'm not that lazy but Maria is smart for sure

Coffee break with Kamil, Johanna, Andrew and Ylenia

Wow, that's a freaking long post. I just lost myself in here but yeah. To conclude my thoughts fast, I had an amazing time, I think it was my best trip so far. I endorse the fact that I only didn't have fun but I also widened my horizons on migration and education topics.


1 comment

  1. Ma küll ei lugenud aga see tundus päris hea postitus Toomas, keep it up!