New Horizons reflection, Zadar, Croatia, October 2020
At the beginning of the month I participated in my first Erasmus + training course. We were 27 citizens of the European union sharing 10 days together, learning about social inclusion and “New Horizons”
The training consisted of workshops, activities, presentations and non-formal educational methods. The training revolved around social inclusion and we treated recurring topics such as: communication, effective dialogue, different religions, self-identity and media fallacies.
We learned and discussed about dialogue and communication. I believe an effective dialogue is a much harder task to build. We often, speaking for myself first, want to be right. Therefore, we do not listen to understand what the other person is trying to communicate instead we listen to quickly reply and impose our point of view over the other person´s view. This is such a common situation and something we worked on during the training.
We also talked about different religions such as: Christianism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. Furthermore, we were very lucky to have three amazing Dutch girls in our team that practised Islam and were always willing to educate us on their religion, their customs and ways of living. I was able to reflect and rebuild some stereotypes and misguided ideas engrained about this religion.
We also talked about self-identity and the factors that define each one of our concepts of identity. We found out that each one prioritised certain characteristic that define who they are. I personally choose my name, mother tongue, origin, job and personality to define who I am. However, I have started challenging these characteristics as the fundaments of my self-identity. How can something that has been given to us by birth define who we are? How about people that do not know some of these characteristics about ourselves such as: age, country of origin etc. Do they have a poorer concept of self-identity? How about other people that only chose characteristic that they have built to define their self-identity such as: values and personality.
Finally, we also talked about media fallacies and techniques used by the media to alter and manipulate the readers to orientate their beliefs in what the publishers are interested in. It is important to inform and educate our citizens about this to promote critical thinking.
It has been a privilege participating in this training, this is education and keeps on building who we are. I am looking to participate in more of these projects in the future. This is certainly a great way to educate EU citizens.