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LIFE+ | Becoming Communication Masters

It all started from one common goal. Everyone of us had a dream, we wished to experience something new, wanted to travel and make friendships. After we'd seen a post on Facebook about Erasmus+ and Communication masters, we did our the best to get to the project. To be more specific, we filled in an application form about ourselves and our motivations. After that we just waited, filled with expectations. Finally, the project manager Bogdan informed us about our participation and added us to facebook group of the project to connect with each other. Full of excitement, we bought our tickets and communicated through the Facebook group. Our friendship started from here and we've been helping each other with the information about tickets.

In order to visit the project site, each participant had to use different means of transport like train, bus or plane. The majority of participants took a plane to Paris, after which they took a train to Brive la Gaillarde. Upon arrival, a bus provided the transfer from Brive la Gaillarde to Lissac-sur-Couze. After getting there, with great joy we discovered our cottages and also their 5 roomates for the duration of the project. The venue, Les Hameaux du Perrier, possesses a lot of sports facilities, like a basketball field and mini-golf. The youth workers were impatient to enjoy the numerous activities proposed at this wonderful place. Already settled and rested they decided to share meals cooked by the head chef, who came from Romania just for us and to prepare delicious dishes.

The first couple days were focused on team building and getting to know each other. Our group consisted of 26 youngsters from 6 different countries, who were going to spend the next week eating, sleeping and working together. Thus, knowing everyone's names and building trust was crucial for the success of the project. We experienced a lot of fun during this time, because we were all curious about new people, cultural differences and new languages. Learning each other's names wasn't difficult for us. After a couple of name games and ice breakers we all knew people's names, even though some of them were hard to pronounce for some of us. The trust games are another story. It's not easy to trust a bunch of strangers out of nowhere, but in the end we can all say that we trust each other more than we did on the 1st day. Nevertheless, words like connection, family and thank you have always been present during this week.

One of the most interesting part of this kind of projects is the challenge of working as a group as fast as possible, so the program included several team building moments. Even though most of the participants started the training without knowing anyone else (not even other team members from their own country), since the beginning the goal has been to create a strong and mutual connection in the group. Integrating everyone, making them active and letting them take initiative, because the best way to learn is by doing and enjoying of course. The feeling of being out of your confort zone might've created some struggles during the process, but the benefits were evident and just in few days a big step forward was more than possible for majority of participants.

Although we didn't start the Communication topic right from the start, our communication skills have been tested from day 1. From having to introduce ourselves, until giving constant feedback and sharing our opinion, there was no room for shyness near the beautiful lake of Lissac-sur-Couze. Basically, the theorical part of the project was thaught by the trainers, and then we had to represent what we learned to others in a creative way. However, it was essential to make sure people understood what we were representing and to apply what we learned before to make the presentations interesting. Our journey took us through the different kinds of communication, our attitude during conflicts, the attention that we pay to the details, until the pitch about ourselves. Following this, we shared several hints to make the perfect pitch to use in future presentations. Finally, we adapted what we learned to a job situation. From this project we will take with us the people we knew, the fun we had and new amazing techniques that will allow us to express ourselves in the best way possible. We were always incredible, but now we will make sure the world won't misunderstand it!

Between the topic activities we refreshed ourselves with other activities, such as energizers or night activities. In the evenings we presented our countries through intercultural nights, where we talked about our traditions and provided our local food and drinks. Part of the project was a studyvisit to a nearby city - Brive la Gaillarde, where we explored the area and its main institutions. To inform people we approached the local youngsters and interviewed them about communication and Erasmus+ program.

To sum up, this project has been a great and a unique experience for everyone. The participants took knowledge about communication and conflict situations by working in teams. What's more, by practicing public speaking we gained a lot of confidence and made many intercultural friends.

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