Know yourself with art

Hello! I’m Tibor from Croatia, and I will talk about my experiences in Liptód on an Erasmus+ youth exchange called “Know yourself” which was held from April 2nd to April 9th, 2024.

I saw the promotional posts for this project on Instagram back in January. This project was about art; how art is a medium for creativity and self expression. I’ve never been on an art project before, and I love art, so I was really happy to have been accepted into the team. With us Croatians there were also young people from Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, and Spain.

On the first day, I was scared. This was my first time somewhere away from home where I didn’t really know anyone. Up to this point I was always holding someone’s hand to navigate me, but this project was a great opportunity to try out things by myself. I constantly kept thinking, what is the worst that can happen? Fortunately, the worst never happened, because I met new and amazing people whom I connected with through shared interests, like books we enjoy, languages we speak, and music we listen to.

On the following days we had many workshops and activities related to art. Our two wonderful facilitators, Kata and Kriszti, worked hard to make every workshop meaningful and bloom with every artwork created. These workshops were so much fun! I enjoyed drawing, dancing, painting, making collages, posters, stickers, clay sculptures, etc. The workshops and activities were therapeutic, as I could relax and dive into the depths of my imagination. In a way, it helped me discover what I like about art, because it forced me to think about things I’ve never thought about.

A lot of the activities were held outdoors. Next to the community room (where the majority of the workshops were held) there was a football field. Many of the painting activities took place here, so as to avoid the hassle of cleaning. Originally, we were only supposed to pour liquid paint on large sheets of paper, then turn and flip the sheets and let gravity do the work, but it evolved into using our hands and flowers to smear the paint around and leave prints. We also smeared the paint all over each other (I wish good luck to everyone who’s trying to wash their clothes)!

Aside from the many, many workshops, activities, and energizers, we also had intercultural nights! Every country presented their own beautiful homes, but also showed us their national snacks. Some even showed us their tongue twisters or dances! These moments definitely contributed to our connections with culture, but it also made us talk to each other and hang out with each other!

One afternoon, we traveled to a city called Pécs. That same day, prior to our trip, everyone had to make a lot of stickers with different kinds of quotes, be it inspirational, anti-violence, or just simply jokes. This was one of my favorite activities because I could bring out my poetic side in order to write the quotes. Then, a small art exhibition was held. I saw the different kinds of quotes and what different kinds of people have in their imagination. We brought our stickers to Pécs in order to stick them all over the city. At first, I was scared to stick them because every part of Pécs looked too beautiful to place stickers on. Parks, trees, beautiful architecture (including churches) and many, many cafés. The cherry on top was the great weather, but also the active urban life. (Here, you also had the opportunity to buy something nice for your secret friend!)

Nothing on this project was limited. You could do whatever you wanted. Some of us have, for example, stayed up late to play card games, Truth or Dare, listen to music, or just chat. Some have even pulled all-nighters and watched movies!

Unfortunately, nothing can last forever. Our last days of being together slowly arrived, and the project slowly came to an end. On our last day together, everyone received their Youthpasses. We held revaluation activities to make us think about the new things we learned. We also revealed who our secret friends were. A lot of emotions were present; we laughed, we cried, we gave a lot of hugs to each other. I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting to feel so many emotions at once, however I am grateful for it. Like the title of the project says, it did make me know myself even more.

I want to give my thanks to the Croatian team, to Anja, Kata, and Dimi, but also our team leader Irena for making this project enjoyable. They have amazing team working and communication abilities which helped a lot with the workshops, and they were so much fun to hang out with. I also want to thank our facilitators Kata and Kristi, but also Miklós for working hard to make this project a great experience. They made me realize that I love going on Erasmus+ youth exchanges, which I will definitely do in the future, but I will also encourage my friends to go on adventures and learn about the world. I thank every participant for being on this amazing project and for making me feel loved and appreciated.

Tibor Kovac