Hi, I’m Elif. I had participated in a project that broadened my horizon on ideas on human rights, which took place in Bansko, Bulgaria between 5-13th November. With the leading act of European Comission’s Erasmus+, the week I have spent with incredible participants from Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Spain has became a milestone for me. As young adolescents who experience different cultures in the daily life and live in different countries, we have understood crystal clear that the differences are not hitches that create chaos. We have came to realise that they aliment a magnificent, breathtaking tree which each and every branch has been growing and flowerin in their own way. Under this huge tree we precisely call the humanity, we have stood side by side to be solution oriented and take action against the global issues regarding hate speech, cyber bullying and human rights. Though we all know it’s nearly impossible to solve these problems in a week or a month; bringing something helpful to the table, doing our bests and realizing our roots getting stronger when we move ahead alltogether have given us unique points of view and the capacity to achieve more. I kindly thank System and Generation for their part on this project that makes me sincerely recommend everyone to take part in an Erasmus+ project.

As a first timer I didn’t know what to expect from this project since I wasn’t sure what exactly I was going for but now I can definitely say that for my second time , my expectations and standards will be so high. With the Steps 4 Human Rights project I was introduced to a whole new world ; a world of new friendships, fun and heartwarming moments , learning with unusual methods and teamwork. With what Erasmus+ provided young people like me I was able to gain awareness about a current issue that concerns all of us and search for solutions about that issue  , make deep connections with new people from different countries , communicate with them in order to achieve the same goal and get to experience their various points of view.And I got to learn more about Bulgarian culture as well as the unique and beautiful culture of every other country that also participated. I’d say that this experience added so much to me and I am extremely grateful that I took part in a project like that and I hope to join more projects.

As a short introduction, my name is İrem Külekçi and this has been my first youth exchange as well as the first Erasmus+ project I took part in.

A week of interacting with people from all around the world and discussing solutions to societal and environmental problems plaguing our world even in the 21st century sounds like a dream, even without the knowledge that this is an all-expenses-paid trip. And the week I spent in Bansko, Bulgaria as part of a project to discuss hate speech and cyberbullying in relation to human rights was exactly that. A dream come true.

As part of said project, which took place between 5-13 November 2022 under the youth exchange branch of the Erasmus+ program, I got to meet people from almost 10 different countries, including but not limited to Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain, from a plethora of different backgrounds, and learn all about their experiences and viewpoints, not only relating to the topic at hand but towards life in general, which was an experience eye-opening enough to say that I am forever changed for the better. To give an example and not leave you wondering about such a broad statement like that, to share and listen to the aspirations and dreams of a 38-year-old man and see that they were so similar and yet so different to mine, gave me the comfort that even with such different ages, genders and nationalities, I could still dream and keep holding onto those dreams without the fear of a looming time-limit. To sit with a 25-year-old woman and share poetry and literature regardless of the language, to be able to touch someone with the lines that Can Yücel wrote and see that the emotions still resonated through the barrier of my translation made me believe that in the end, we are all humans going through the same world, with the same obstacles. To see how many ways a crying strawberry can be drawn, to discuss the complexity and the beauty that change harbours and many more new experiences showed me that nothing stands in the way of connecting if we just have the courage to stand up and talk. Yet the people I met along the way were only a small part of my experience in Bansko. The organizers, being the delightful people they were, had prepared a bunch of thought-provoking and engaging activities for us to spend our days there, ranging from approaching the most commonly seen human rights violations as trees with root causes and the possible results as branches instead of just the problem itself, and a morning of forum theatre as one of my personal favourites, where someone from the audience could partake in a play about discrimination, hate-speech or cyberbullying to change the flow of the play or the ending to how they see fit. 

All in all, I got to see that yes, we are inherently different people because of the circumstances of our birth, but in the end, we are all human. We cry and we laugh and we love; and it's not acceptable for any person or institution to reduce a group of people, especially a minority group, to anything but humans deserving of the most simple rights we hold today such as accommodation and access to food and clean water. I saw that no matter our religions, nationalities and languages, there is nothing that can prevent or become an obstacle to solving the common problems we face all around the world. It goes without saying that we can't possibly end problems that have unbelievably deep roots in our societies like hate-speech and discrimination, or topics as new to the public eye as cyberbullying in a week, but I believe as young people who have strong and just opinions on the subjects, as I have witnessed first-hand this week in Bansko, we can be the start of something better and beautiful for ourselves and the future generations. And that is what keeps me pushing forward every day, the hope that there is always something better for us to reach, a brighter future where everyone is equal.  To summarise everything that has been said so far, this week has been one of the greatest weeks of my life and the memories I made, as well as the friends I have met, will stay with me for the rest of my life. My aim from today onwards will be to encourage everyone around me to join other Erasmus+ projects so they can have the same incredible experience I had with the program. I would also like to thank the System and Generation Organization for giving me the chance to take part in this project and change my life in such a magnificent way.

The subject of my first Erasmus+ project was "Human Rights", which was special for me. Because it concerns the whole world. We did our best by doing different activities on this subject there. I think we represent our country successfully. I had the opportunity to watch and evaluate the activities of those coming from other countries. We exchanged ideas. This gave me a new perspective. Therefore, taking part in this project was a different experience for me. I spent time with people from many different cultures at the same time. I had both Turkish and foreign friends. In addition to getting to know foreign cultures, we also introduced Turkish culture with my group friends. We were a nice and harmonious team. I had the chance to improve my foreign language by practicing. My motivation increased to show more inclination towards English. As someone who lives with my family, staying away for a week helped me develop my own responsibilities. I realized what I can achieve alone. Being a member of this project is very important to me. I will never forget the days I spent there. I would like to thank System and Generation, who had a great share in gaining these amazing experiences. Hope to see you in new projects.

Hi  I am Yağız but everyone on this Project knew me as Ali. It was my first time on a Erasmus+ project.I think this was an interesting experience that I could never forget.The topic of this training course was Human Rights .We were at the Bansko between 5-13 November .We stayed in a hotel that near to the mountains. At the first day when we arrive to the Hotel I felt very exhausted and tired.I put my things to my room I went down to lobby and I see 2 young people with baggages I went next to them I thought that they were participants. They were from last Project and I talked with them until their departure as they explain the project further it makes me more and more excited all the exhaustion in my body left .This was the feeling I felt all the time when I was at that project . We became more conscious by conducting studies on sub-titles such as discrimination and cyberbullying under the heading of human rights. Social activities was beyond perfect I really had a great time during this project .In my opinion informal teaching method of Erasmus+ is very necessary for the young generation to understand how can we change ourselves to change the world ?

Hello, I'm Figen.  This is my third time using the Erasmus project.  I participated in this youth exchange program in Bulgaria as a group leader.  We were in Bulgaria as a total of seven people from Turkey.  We got general information about Erasmus+ projects.  We gained different experiences and information about human rights and hate speech through non-formal education methods.  It was exciting to attend the training together with many people from Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, Spain and Romania.  In the international night, it was both informative and entertaining that each country introduced its own culture, offered dances, food and drinks from their own culture, and exhibited their cultural clothes.  In general, I think that these news texts, written in order to announce the Erasmus projects that I learned and have fun with, to more people and to ensure that more people benefit from it, will be useful.  I recommend Erasmus projects to all individuals who meet the requirements.