29 outubro 2017

Intercâmbio TH!NK: youth & the post-truth era

Aqui temos mais testemunhos dos participantes do curso do intercâmbio TH!NK, que decorreu de 9 a 17 de Outubro de 2017 em Lisboa.

Jakub Kitel, Poland
Post Post-truth
The most important part of youth exchange for me was talking to people. Despite cultural differences, we all share common fears and anxieties. In these times people either don't have a vision for themselves, or they don't really believe the narrative they are telling themselves. No one feels appreciated, no one feels in the right spot. Pop-culture based in democracy fed us with lies about being able to change the world, given that we work hard and really believe, but the world was never changed by the will of common men. Joining any kind of political or sociological movement will change every day to a game in which we think in terms wins or loses about cases that don't affect us. And being a part of this system based on the mirage of importance always means losing. These are not times of great ideologies or plans, rather a small prejudices and silent convictions that can pose as universal truths about the world. Trying to find a solution or those “universal truths” will only lead us towards more lies and cruelty. Because the only truth lays in people – our common need to feel safe – we can achieve it by choosing narration, joining the conversation within the system and losing, or ignoring conversation and focusing on people that are close to you, and trying to be the best version of yourself for everyone else. I want to believe, that post-truth society is heading towards the world in which we don’t lie to ourselves about the importance of our beliefs, but rather focus on the only truth that always mattered – other people.

Marta Kuncer, Poland 
Sunny Lisbon, or Spin Association to be precise, hosted youth exchange „TH!NK: youth and post-truth era”. Since I’m interested in critical thinking and role of media in a modern world I decided to take part in it. Group of 30 people from different corners from Europe met together in a street-art-dominated Barrio Padre Cruz. We spent a week exploring the topic in a non-formal education way and simply sharing a time together. Workshops were dedicated to critical thinking, freedom of speech, manipulative fake news, comparison of various national perspectives, guidance to facts checking and other. Participants had an opportunity to explore the topic fully but it, of course, depended on everyone’s own engagement. Surrounded 24/7 by Portugueses, Italians, Macedonians, Scots, Poles, Estonians for a week we had plenty opportunities for a cultural exchange. Some were limited to small talks, while others – fortunately - went deeper into political/social issues. It’s clear that there are some still rather big differences when it comes to gender equality, education, corruption, basic human rights, freedom of press, homosexuality and others in each European country. What I find pretty common after this youth exchange is universal lack of respect for each other. Even though we bonded and liked each other it didn’t stop some people from not listening to each other, being late, or simply assuming that they will get things done for them by somebody else – to name a few examples. It was a valid reminder that whether it comes to a short youth exchange, longer social project or a society itself – the participants who play a part in it are the ones who are shaping it after all. I had some interesting interactions and conversations. Upside was to see people who left their own country for the first time, being a bit insecure, and how much they opened during the whole week. I believe that’s where youth exchanges are truly fulfilling their role. They are safe, organized platform for the youth who never before had a chance to go abroad and have more engaging interactions with people of different culture.

Caroline Männik, Estonia 
Even though I have been in quite several youth projects, I still felt extremely excited when i got to know that i can go to the youth exchange in Lisbon. This experience was something completely different for me as I have never been in Southern country, neither been in a group leader`s position. But first of all, try to imagine arriving to Lisbon as an Estonian. You are used with cloudy and rainy weather and with wearing jackets and scarfs all the time. But then you take a flight and suddenly you have sun and can wear shorts even in October. I`m pretty sure that I got overdose of D-vitamin here. We came to Lisbon a day before the official beginning of the youth exchange and used the free day for exploring the city and it`s fascinating mosaic walls. I`m so satisfied that we came earlier because it helped to create strong group feeling inside our Estonian team. Next day we arrived to Spin and got positively surprised how cool Bairro Padre Cruz is, especially it`s street art. After introducing ourselves through couple of games, we understood that with these participants we will have really memorable project... and we were right. Throughout next few days we got more familiar with the topic of the youth exchange, we discussed what is the definition for the post-truth and shared examples from our countries. I enjoyed watching documentary called “HyperNormalisation” and I`m sure that I will watch it again once i arrive back at home. After having intensive workshops in Spin we also went discover Lisbon with the whole group, visited museum, Media lab and stunning castle. What made this youth exchange very different from my previous projects is that every nationality were responsible for preparing the whole dinner for the participants. It was obviously very stressful, but at the same time it improved our teamwork and cooking skills. Everybody seemed to love trying out different cuisines, starting from Italian pasta, ending with Polish pierogi. Overall, this youth exchange was magnificent and I`m going back home only with positive memories. 
Stay positive, 

Esmeralda Ferati, Italy
Hi everyone! I'm going to write shortly for my youth exchange in Portugal. I didn't know about the existence of this project until me and my friend talked about it. I came from Italy where these programs are very popular but I never thought that I'm gonna be part of the similar one. Now I'm here, taking the best of it! At the beginning, I wasn't convinced about the success of the project. We were people from different countries like Italy, Estonia, Scotland, Portugal, Macedonia, Poland and I thought it would be difficult to interact with each other. But my suspicion wasn't real. Different activities made us know each other and now we behave like a family. Looks like we are part a TV Show and every day we have some tasks to complete to achieve our goals. Fortunately, we achieved all the goals together with no differences. When I write about tasks it comes up in my mind the firsts ones, when we had to remember all the names of 30 people. The very first one was that we had to choose by causality one secret friend and we had to do something special for them to make their day beautiful and interesting. I did it for my secret friend but unfortunately, I didn't receive anything from my own secret one. But anyway my days were beautiful and more beautifully. It wasn't just for the activities that made us know each other there were also activities that made us know more about the world around us, some things that weren't said before to us. We discussed too many topics that show the main our days problems such as was the Post-Truth, about media, politics and society.

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