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Friday, December 21, 2012

Grundtvig, Lifelong Learning Programme - Change Yourself, Change The Experience

This year's Grundtvig workshop hosted 23 participants in November from all over Europe with diverse backgrounds.  7 days of training, workshops, discussion and study visits fostered dialogue between different cultures, provided necessary skills to tackle problems associated with minority communities in Europe and flourished new friendships. This time again, as GHRD we would like to give voice to those who were with us during the Grundtvig week because as every individual participated in the project, they made this experience very special for all of us.

Melissa Chen was one of the many interesting participants GHRD had during the Grundtvig week. Melissa is  originally from Costa Rica, she is currently living in Germany. She studied Economy and International Business Management in Costa Rica and Germany. She worked during almost 5 years for the pharmaceutical companies Schering and Bayer in both countries. Her interest for minority rights comes from her passion to travel and explore different cultures. She is also interested in social entrepreneurship. She likes dancing and learning languages.

It is the 4th day of our workshop at GHRD in The Hague.  INBOX Training and FORUM Theatre are in the agenda.  Every day has been so full of interesting presentations, lectures, workshops and visits to organizations.  But today was without doubt the most active and dynamic day of all. 

 Together with the Dutch organization Critical Mass, we started our program with an activity to deepen into stereotypes.  People are constantly labelled and labelling others in the society and the aim of this workshop was to reflect on this.  Through this activity we experienced the feeling of being categorized and labelled with different attributes as everyone received his and her own “new attribute”.  The interesting part was that we did not know what our own new label was.  Thus all of us had to deal with the reactions of other people with their own views and prejudices towards the “new us”.  By putting yourself into the shoes of others it is easier not only to identify but also reflect on the effects of prejudice and the importance to avoid it.

The afternoon program was at least as interesting as we participated together in forum theatre activities conducted by a Colombian performing artist.  I enjoyed the games and the short improvised plays especially because they were fun and we had the opportunity to interact with each other.  We had both one on one and group exchanges where we were able to share personal experiences and get to know each other better in a very interactive way.  By the end of the activities we were tired but very happy.  I am glad and thankful for this opportunity to learn and share with this amazing group of people with the most diverse backgrounds.

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