Train to maintain, teach to reach – 21st century competencies

Our Croatian partner organisation edvu Europski dom organised the project “Train to maintain, teach to reach – 21st century competencies” in summer 2016. Young people from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine took part in the summer camp in Vukovar, on the banks of the Danube. The German group with 6 participants was sent by Campus 15. The eventful meeting in eastern Croatia near the Serbian border was funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

In addition to cultural exchange, the project was dedicated to the teaching and acquisition of individual competences that are important across the board for the personal and professional development of the participants in all countries of geographical Europe. So far, these same competences across countries have hardly been taken into account in the education systems of most countries.

By providing orientation and perspectives for life after the first general qualification, the meeting thus addressed a problem that is equally relevant for all participants, regardless of their origin: coping with widespread youth unemployment, which is also a major problem in the countries of the Western Balkans.

Despite all the concentration on working out common and individual problems in different workshops, media, creative, sporting and cultural activities such as an intercultural evening were not neglected. Excursions to Vukovar and its surroundings, as well as to Osijek, were a special and unifying experience for the participants. A scavenger hunt across the city and a day on the Danube Island contributed to an unforgettable summer camp. They not only learned with each other, but also from each other. One example is the Bosnian songs that were still sung at the airport to the delight of everyone around.

Not only did the participants from different, often formerly hostile countries and ethnic groups succeed in promoting and deepening their understanding of each other, but they also made friends for life. An international community was created that has a lasting unifying effect, will probably be remembered by all participants for a long time and will hopefully serve as an inspiration for their own contribution to a more tolerant and open Europe in the future.

Insights into the project can be found on the Facebook page and in the blog of the participants.

(Hannah Besser and Lisa Neumann 2016)