Hello and welcome to my Blog. For all of you that don´t know about me: My name is Manuel Huisbauer and on the 9th of July I´m going to start a trip around the world. At the end of May I was finishing my Bachelor Degree when a good friend of mine asked me if I wanted to join him at an Erasmus+ Project in Izmir Turkey. At first I was a bit sceptical but then I decided to give it a shot. I thought it might be good trial for my upcoming journey around the world and that´s exactly what it was. The aim of this project was: “Intercultural competence through experiential and reflective learning in refugee and immigrant youth integration”. An interesting topic for me because in Austria you can read everyday about the “refugee problem” in the newspapers. There where 4 participants out of seven countries all over Europe. The countries where: Turkey, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Austria. The trainers where from Lithuania. The organization I was going with is called “the BetterMaking organization”. Check them out on Facebook here.
I met up with the other participants from Austria one week before the trip to Izmir started. We bonded very fast and I was sure that we would have a good time in Izmir. One thing that I was a bit worried first was, that I was going to arrive one day earlier than the other members from Team Austria so I had one day alone in Izmir but I saw it as a test for later.
I arrived in Izmir on the afternoon of Saturday June 16th. At first I had some problems to find the AirBnb we booked for the first night (the others arrived in the middle of the night and we booked it together) because I could not find anyone that speaks English. In the end Wifi was my savior. I put my bags there and then I walked around Izmir and discovered the area. I was tired because my plane from Vienna left so early, that I went to bed also very early. The next day Team Austria was complete and we (Hoa, Nersad, Ahmed and me) had a nice day together in Izmir.
In the evening we met at the meeting point with the other participants from the other countries and then a bus took us all the way up in the mountains to our camp for the week. It took us about 40 minutes to drive up there and it was already dark so we couldn´t see a lot. We were split up in rooms of two. I was with Andrew from Latvia. We got along well from the beginning, as well as with the other participants. (room number 11 always on time :P)
On Monday morning the first workshop started. We where devided into groups of 5 or 6 and had to get creative about our names and their meaning and their origin. Beforehand I have to say that I would not describe myself as a very creative person when it comes to painting and to do handicraft but most of the workshops based on some kind of arts. I tried my best and I was not disappointed with my art works. In fact I had a lot of fun doing it because there was no right or wrong and also no competition and comparing between the works. Except the task with the toiletpaper tower. (where I was pretty bad though)
The workshop showed that no matter where we come from, we have a lot in common. In the end of the workshops we evaluated how this could be used in the work with refugees or immigrants.
In the evening we had our cultural evening, where all of the participants brought some food or drinks that are typical for their countries. From Austria we brought Mannerschnitten, Bergwurst, Knabanossi, Grüner Veltliner and some kind of Mannerschnitten Likör. Especially the Mannerschnitten liquor was gone faster than I could look. I think they liked it. Also the stuff from the other countries was very tasty but the thing I liked most was the song that the people from Spain prepared. We had a lot of fun and the evening ended with some games.
Tuesday and Wednesday we had Workshops all day long. On Tuesday evening we drove to the city to go out together. We had a lot of fun. On Wednesday evening we had free time and we spent the whole evening playing Mafia. Mafia is similar to the game Werewolf which is more popular in Austria. Once we played with 23 people. It was so thrilling. #7am #Nacho<3
On Thursday we had the whole day in the city. Before lunch we walked around at the market and bought some souvenirs and tried some Turkish delights. We where glad that we had some people from Izmir in our group that showed us the best Baklava in town. In the afternoon we visited a mosque and in the evening we where free to do whatever we want. You can already guess it. Yes! Mafia!
On Friday morning we had the last Workshop. We made dolls out of aluminum foil.
Then we gave them names and made presents for some dolls from the others. It was very emotional and some tears where shed. In the afternoon we drove to the city once again because we had a meeting with the major of Izmir. It was an interesting experience and he told us a lot about Izmir and the amazing monument. In the evening we got our Youthpasses and then we had a Barbecue because it was the last evening.
My flight was at 8 am so the taxi to the airport picked us (Hoa, Roxanna, Nersad and me) up at 4 am. Of course there was no time to sleep that night so we stayed up all night and had a great last evening. We jumped into the pool one more time and then played some more games till 4.
When looking back, I did not regret it for one second that I did it. I had an amazing week, I learned a lot about myself, I liked being creative and I liked being in. #sodeep
And what is more, I met awesome awesome awesome people! I want to thank Nersad first, for asking me to join him to this project. Then I want to thank the Better Making Organisation for making this possible. And last but not least I want to thank all of the other participants and trainers for this awesome week. I´m going to remember that for a long time. I hope I can meet some of you on my journey and if you ever come to Austria, just send me a text 😉
#karsiyaka #izmir #erasmus+ #intercultural #crazy #bein #135ismyspecialnumber #baklava #newfriends #spain #italy #austria #romania #latvia #poland in #turkey
Here are some more pictures of this amazing week: