Internationale Begegnung in Kaunas, Litauen, 15.-22.06.2013
The first day together in Kaunas, was about getting to know each other more closely. So after breakfast we played several games to also get in touch with the participants from the other five countries. We also put envelopes for every single one of us onto the wall, so that you could leave little messages or gifts for your friends. After lunch the German group came together to prepare the cultural evening which we implemented together with the Estonians. Back together in the international group we shared our thoughts about what we were expecting from the week, about our fears and what we could contribute for the success of the week. Luckily almost all fears disappeared during the first couple of days. Afterwards we tried to find our own rules in groups, which were important for a good time together and shared our thoughts with the whole group, because: SHARING IS CARING! Fortunately after dinner we had a little time left to finish our preparations for the cultural evening and make it the great and very funny time, we had together!
On Monday, June 17th, our regular program started at 10 o’clock. Before, we had already met at the breakfast table. At first the program started with how to say “Good Morning” in all languages:
– Labas rytas!
– Tere hommikust!
– Dzień dobry!
– Dobro utro!
– Buon giorno!
– Guten Morgen!
Then we went outside and played an energizer where you have to stand in two rows (two teams) and give a ball as fast as possible to the guy who is standing behind you. The last one of the row has to run to the front and give the ball to the first one. This game goes on until the one who was at the front at first is there again. It was a competition and the team which was faster won!
After the energizer we were fit enough to learn different fruits in different languages (Bulgarian and Polish) – then we should find each other as a fruit salad where at least should be two different fruits and three different people. Each fruit salad should make a collage about exclusion (the topic was “Exclusion – What is my understanding?”) – so apple, orange and maybe strawberry worked together and cut out different pictures – the results were really nice collages which were also presented by their groups.
After talking a little bit about exclusion – we were divided into other groups by taking a piece of paper. There were the groups: Talk show, Comic, Theatre Representation.
All were really creative – I liked all of them, but I preferred the comic with the animals – this was really great. After that we had lunch and met again at 3pm. There we got to know the energizer “Majinka” and did the treasure island game (which actually didn’t work the way it was thought of). Then we were writing about rights – there were different posters with questions we answered. We also shortly talked about the Youth Pass. We had to present a competence which we could reach during the Youth Exchange – for my group it was difficult, because we had to think about mathematical competence in the youth exchange – another competence concerned languages. After this day with lots of work we had the Bulgarian and the Polish Evening – which was a very nice ending of the day – they offered us dances and specialties of their countries. They made some quizzes for us.
Am Anfang des Tages haben wir uns in Gruppenarbeiten über die Probleme junger Leute, die uns in unseren Heimatländern begegnen, ausgetauscht. Im zweiten Schritt haben wir nachgedacht, welche sozialen Aktivitäten man im Bezug auf diese Probleme unternehmen könnte. Am späteren Vormittag durften wir uns dann auf eine Schnitzeljagd begeben. In Gruppen eingeteilt mussten wir die Stationen suchen, die in der ganzen Altstadt von Kaunas verteilt waren. So haben wir nebenbei auch die Stadt selbst besser kennengelernt.
Am Nachmittag liefen wir durch die Altstadt zu einem Park, wo wir den restlichen Tag verbrachten. Da wir abends auf eine andere Organisation treffen sollten, die sich in Kaunas für Umwelt einsetzt, bereiteten wir ein kleines Tanz-Programm vor, an welchem sie dann teilnehmen konnten. Jedes Land zeigte den anderen einen typischen Nationaltanz, der dann in der Gruppe geübt wurde. Bevor dann schließlich gemeinsam getanzt wurde, machten wir noch einen Spaziergang anderer Art: Die Litauer Organisation stattete uns mit Handschuhen und Müllsäcken aus und während wir gemütlich spazierten, sammelten wir den Müll auf und bereinigten so den Park.
On Wednesday the 19th the program started at 10 o´clock as nearly every day. We began with an energizer because everybody seemed a little tired. Afterwards we were refreshed and ready to start with the challenge, which was to find ideas for the flash mop on Thursday (first point on the 5th day’s timetable). But at first we got a short introduction from Elena (our „leader“); A flashmob trys to send a message, so it´s sensible to think of the message at first and then to think of the way to send it. (We can also do it vice versa, but the message is important.) We got one hour for brainstorming in groups of six people. It turned out to be quite difficult to find topics that are current in all nations of our discussion-group. Finally we agreed on abuse of alcohol, some other drugs and the internet in term of youngsters. Our idea for the flash mob contained destroying vodka bottles and hitting a human tall cigarette box with a baseball bat on the street.
Afterwards (second point on the timetable) every group presented their ideas and we should agree on one or two projects all together. It was funny, but seemed impossible to discuss with 30 people at the same time. Nevertheless in the end we somehow managed to find an agreement (Distributing smilies to locals, freeze, applauding for people being helpful on the street). Next thing was the lunch break in which I, a Bulgarian and some Estonians walked a little around the town. The afternoon program started with a very motivating presentation about our opportunities like EVS or similar programms (third point). After a 15 minutes „cultural break“ we started with „10 Missions in Kaunas“ (fourth point).
We walked in small groups through the city and tryed to fix missions like taking pictures with 10 locals, interviewing locals or finding a panorama place. It was very funny although no one was able to fix all missions due to time shortage. After the demanding day we got a break until the cultural evening, which started about half an hour too late at 9:30. It was the turn of Lithuanians and Italians and it was a great fun. They presented a little dance, jokes about stereotypes between Germans and Italians and the Lithuanians tried their best by performing their national anthem. We also tried some typical dishes and drinks. After all, in the late evening, some of the group still had enough energy to go to one of the numerous bars in town.
After we had breakfast, we met at and discussed the ideas for the flashmob. We watched some videos of flash mobs in New York and were inspired to do a Freezing Flashmob in the mall, since it was the most busy place in Kaunas during the afternoon. We planned at what time we should meet and how we would go to the mall and other organizations. Then we had free time and then we met near the church to go to the mall in small groups in order to attrect as less attention as possible. In the mall everybody tried to look busy, and then suddenly we all froze at once. It was very funny to watch the reactions of the pedestrians. We stood still for 2 minutes and then continued walking as if nothing happened.
On the way back to the hotel we were sharing small pieces of papers with smileys with the people, The message was to get the people to smile, and it worked very well. Near the hotel we did the freezing again. After the flash mob we had dinner, and then the Italians and the Lithuanians presented their countries. Later we enjoyed typical italian und lithuanian dishes, that were very delicious.
Today was the last day before everyone’s departure. In order to enjoy the day and the company of the great group, the schedule was neither too fixed nor too formal. However, the first point on our agenda was pretty formal indeed. It was a lecture by Kaunas’ responsible politician for youth work in the community. She informed us about facts and figured about the situation in the city and we had the chance to give statements about our homecommunities. It was very interesting to learn about the different importance of active youth in different countries and how it is conceived by the local communities. It was a nice thing to do on the last day after a week of discussing about this very topic.
Back in the hotel, we did some evaluation about the week which was predominantly positive. After some instructions about the rest of the day and about the departures, which would start in the middle of the night, there was quite some free time to use in order to take a walk through the city or the parks, exchange addresses, shop some souvenirs or simply relax. We ended the day with a nice surprise with cake and sparkling wine, a group photo, the solution of the secret friends and finally a get-together in a bar where the whole group enjoyed the last night together.
During the night we had the possibility to leave messages for our new friends on papers with names of every participant on them. On our way back home we could think of all the great moments we spent together when reading the personal messages.