Study visit “Better Together” took place in Barcelona, 11-15 March 2018. One of the members of our team, Viktoria Panfilovich, went there as the coordinator of the German group representing NaturKultur e.V, Here you can read a bit about her experience:
19 young people – social workers, volunteers, youth workers, NGO employees – from Spain, Ukraine and Germany met to learn more about the social realities in Barcelona and especially about the challenges and developments of youth work, to exchange their experiences and to network. One thing that struck me from the first moment was an incredibly friendly, easy going and loving connection between the participants themselves and between the participants and the organizers. Maybe because we just had three days, there was no time for taking one’s time to observe and to slowly get warm with each other, so we just dived right in and became like a small family for those three days.
We were placed in two beautiful apartments in the very city centre of Barcelona, where every morning we were having a laid-back breakfast. Lunch was served in traditional Catalonian restaurants and in the evening we enjoyed delicious, home-made dinner again in our apartments. A very few vegetarians and vegans were always taken into consideration for what I am very thankful to the organizers.
During our study visit, we learned a lot about the social situation in Barcelona and in Spain in general, about its challenges of unemployment, high rents, child poverty, low pensions etc. Mainly, we were visiting various youth centers and learned about the way they function and about the work they do. There were a lot of discussions going on so that we also got a glimpse into the work of youth centers in Germany and Ukraine. At one school, we participated in a workshop on cyber bulling and were able to talk to teenagers directly, which was an exciting experience both for us and for the pupils. Out of this, there was born a valuable cooperation between this school and a Ukrainian one. Later, we were introduced to a community garden – a project seeking to bring different people from the neighborhood together and to make them more conscious about food, environment and the usage of common space. As for a more artistic part, we were lucky to observe a breathtaking acrobatic performance of four people flying in the air on trapezes or areal ropes. We also had quite a unique opportunity to try out a circus tool diabolo and to spray graffiti being led by young people who had lots of experience in this area.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience that combined knowledge gain, experiential learning, networking, enjoying nice weather and discovering a vibrant city of Barcelona.
NaturKultur e.V. is planning a similar study visit in December 2018 that will take place in Bremen and cover the topic of inclusion in a broader sense, also including the challenges of refugee management. We will keep you updated.