From 14th until 22nd of March two members of the CGE team, Moritz Borchardt and Elina Miagkovaitė, participated in the Training Course „I. LAB – Intercultural Learning and Beyond“ in Tortona, Italy. Young activists from 16 countries came together to explore the different dimensions of intercultural learning (ICL) in order to develop a new innovative approach and to equip youth trainers, youth workers, organizers and volunteers with the necessary competences, knowledge and practical tools to foster a human and truly intercultural side in all the projects they deliver.

The I.LAB training course was organised by YEU, Youth for Exchange and Understanding, an international NGO from Brussels, Belgium, in cooperation with La Fenice, a youth organization in Tortona, Italy. In order to create innovative methodologies and tools for intercultural dialogue and learning, the training course took a rather unusual way of delivering the message. The first few days in Tortona were dedicated to getting to know each other through a variety of activities, which made the participants question the boundaries of their worldview. Using maps to do so is a good example, making the participants question standardized vantage points and realize the impact of Eurocentrism on map making. The activities also gave a better understanding of the issues which come along the path to intercultural learning. The second part of the week started with brainstorming about methods of ICL that later on were developed by smaller groups of the participants and implemented with local participants, refugees and school children in Tortona. After every completed test, the groups had an opportunity to revise and improve their activities and test them one more time. Some of the working groups had a chance to test their activity three times, which made the whole work even more valuable and applicable in other situations. What makes this project so unique is the outcome: Not only were the participants of the projects taking part in the activities, but also did they have a chance to develop something completely new and test it. All the good practises will find a place in the publication that the facilitators and some of the participants are working on, in order to share the fruits of the training course with a wider audience. Elina Miagkovaitė was quite excited about the new experience.

Elina Miagkovaite

CGE member
“I have never participated in this kind of project before, so I was not really sure what to expect. But the training course turned out to be an amazing experience, which widened my horizon more than I anticipated. I explored a completely new world of non-formal education and it inspired me to be more involved in that field. My week in Tortona was gone before I managed to notice it: so many kind people to get to know, so much valuable input and overwhelming knowledge and emotions to take back with me. Having had an extraordinary opportunity not only to take part in different activities, but at the same time to create an activity from scratch together with other people and test it in real life, was more that I could have asked for.”

 
Similarly, Moritz Borchardt was impressed by the experience.

Moritz Borchardt

CGE member
“I.LAB was an intense and intensely useful experience. Not just did we learn new methods and develop our own ones, but the organizers’ practice-focussed approach and the trainers’ diverse set of skills and personalities worked wonders to make sure that everyone of the 30 participants took away valuable and wonderful experiences and new skills. Having been part of and organized trainings myself, I am still speechless – and look forward to employing these new skills from here on out and to working with the many great connections I made in Tortona. Thanks I.LAB, thanks team, thanks lovely co-participants!”

 

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