The training brought together participants from 11 countries such as Lithuania, Romania, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Spain, Albania, Turkey, Belarus and the Netherlands. Given the topic, the diversity of participants and their views was a perfect component for learning from each other’s experiences. For many, this was just another (yet very different from previous ones) trip they have undertaken; for others it was their first journey abroad with all the perks a beginner traveller experiences. The Netherlands team itself was composed of ethnically Dutch-English, Afghan and Belarusian, thus representing their own stories of migration. The first days of training were dedicated to getting acquainted with the group, the trainers, learning the basic concept of history, causes, advantages/disadvantages of migration, in order to build a structure for further discussion. The further along we went, the more personal the stories and discussions became. We later discussed the peculiarities of migration issues in different countries and the steps that could be taken by youth volunteers in order to help healthy integration and maximize the benefits of migration while minimizing its negative aspects.
The training forced participants to look at the concept of migration from different angles in order to see the full picture, be it the perspective of the migrant or a receiving country or region. The most interesting part of the training, however, was the conversations it triggered that lasted long into the night. Due to the remote location of the training and the absence of Internet connection (a surprise first disappointing, but later much appreciated) participants were encouraged to constantly interact with each other, which created the atmosphere of trust and comfort. In such atmosphere even the hardest stories were shared with ease and received with much understanding and support. It was the personal stories that prompted the deeper discussions about controversial dimensions of migration.
The formal theoretical parts were mixed with various informal teaching methods such as role-playing, opinion generating activities, artistic sessions and teambuilding exercises according to the youth in action guidelines. Having the training as the basis, it was the discussions afterwards that were the most beneficial and informative for the participants. The warmth of the Turkish evenings and the stairs at the entrance of the building created a perfect atmosphere for such discussions late at night. Back in the windy Netherlands the warmth (both temperature and atmosphere-wise) of Diyarbakir remains one of the cherished memories.