It is already two weeks, when we returned back to Slovakia from sunny (spring) Cyprus. In small city Paralimni, at the east of Mediterranean island Cyprus, we took part in the youth exchange with the name Sport your mind. The title already indicated, that we will talk a lot about sport. But our trip didn´t start in the best way…
By reason of heavy snow storm we got stuck at Istanbul airport for whole night and therefore we arrived to the venue on the second day. But all of participants welcomed us with smiley and we started to put ours mind to our first activity, discovering of the city. After that we met with all participants in “activity room”, where took place all common workshops, games, lectures and seminars. We started to get to know our colleagues from Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Poland and Spain, but also organizers from Cyprus. Everyone was incredibly kind and very soon we made a lot of friends. When I think of them, I have a desire to return back.
Every day started at 8.00 with breakfast, which was accompanied of smileys at faces of our facilitators. After toasts, jam, milk, and eggs we always met in activity room at 9.30. That time belonged to team-building activities. For example the game of lava, when all of us (40 people) needed to get to fenced playground only with the help of small paper on the bottom. We also played soccer (I felt the hardness of soccer ball on my face, but everything went well), basketball and we spent one day on the beach with playing of Quidditch. But without brooms. My favourite team-building activity became the task, when we had to get to the second side of imaginary wall by ourselves. We used our power, brain, but especially cooperation.
The time for lunch was set at 13.00. The whole staying in Cyprus was in sign of potatoes, rice and salad, which was incredibly tasty and we could have them every day for lunch and dinner as well. They cooked perfectly, meat, vegetable, healthy Mediterranean cuisine, everything was very tasty. Vegetarians had also their own food options. After lunch we had a small break and then we met again at 15.00. Every common meeting started with so called energizer, when we checked ourselves, how good we remembered the names of other people, we brushed up our art skills during creation of statues from our friends, we played run and catch in order not fall asleep after lunch and we also played several attention games. But everything had it’s main reason, to cooperate and have fun with other countries and cultures.
After short energizer we had everyday a time for activity “media time”, during which we created magazines in groups and videos from project. When I am talking about group, I really liked the way, how we had a chance to discuss and cooperate with other people. We sit, made circle and we counted down the numbers. According to the numbers we created the groups and all the time something new was waiting for us. All activities started in this way, so I had the opportunity to speak with every participant.
After media time, from 17.30 to 19.00 we always did the most interesting activities. During that time we worked on communication and foreign language. We played amazing simulation of castaways on island, who needed to create new community and society and we tried to convince other people, that the construction of nuclear power plant is in our favour or is not.
Every evening had one or two countries the role of introducing themselves. We ate national dishes and degusted national drinks. We annoyed our foreign friends with Slovak tongue twisters. After cultural nights, we made “karaoke fights”, we danced and we got to know each other better and better. Till the night J
One afternoon and one whole day was reserved for special trips. Unfortunately, we missed the first one thanks to language misunderstanding and we walked through the city, where we lived. But the second was amazing. The organizers took us to the city Limassol, which is situated on the south of Cyprus. We got the city map and according to it, we look for interesting places in the city. When we arrived to beautiful promenade, it took our’s breath away. The city was so beautiful, that we have to return there at least once again.
One of the most powerful experience, especially for Slovaks, was Dejan’s birthday. We discussed with other countries, that we will make at midnight a small surprise for him. We saw the cooperation, when all of us wished him all the best and in the air we could feel the newly-formed Cyprus friendships.
But everything has to end up. In the last evening we got our last task on Cyprus, to create a text for song about the project and learn by practice complete 2 minutes performance. During the night we joined the party, unfortunately, we needed to leave as first, because of our morning flight.
Nobody was leaving easily, few tears dropped out. But as said our Belgian friend: it´s not goodbye, it´s see you later.
The exchange gave us a lot. Lifelong skills, experiences, which we will never forget, we saw beautiful Cyprus and we mad new friends.
Eli, Dejan, Evka