From the 5th to the 14th of September, our group from Armenia went on an unforgettable journey to the heart of Norway's Volda, nestled within the breathtaking embrace of the Sunnmøre Alps. The project was being held at "Rysta Gård," a charming farm surrounded by the beauty of the mountain range. In this enchanting setting our group experienced a cultural exchange that merged the beauty of the landscape with the richness of newfound friendships and international learning.
The topic of the program:
The topic of project was “Mindful over Mind full”. Which aims to teach accessible methods to improve psychological well-being, breaking down social distance and create activities for personal growth, where everyone can share their thoughts and feelings. To overcome stresses and be mentally calm by being close to the nature. The Youth Exchange brought together 25 young people from Norway, Georgia, Armenia, Italy and Ukraine.
The objectives of Youth Exchange were:
• To help young people find a cathartic way to discharge negative emotions in a healthy way;
• To increase awareness of emotions on an introspective level, in its processes of capture, processing, and externalization;
• To raise awareness of the close mind-body relationship, learning the basics of psychosomatics;
• To create an environment free of judgment and cultural barriers where confrontation is necessary for personal growth;
• To get young people to rediscover the advantages and benefits of nature and to learn how to care for it properly;
• To try to distance youth from technology, directing them to live their own present;
• To promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle;
• To increase participants ' self-esteem by helping them discover their talents and create finished products.
Participants spent the majority of their time outdoors, waking up each morning to magnificent views from their tents. The project offered a diverse range of activities, including multi-day hikes, water and field adventures, and hands-on experiences in woodworking. Participants crafted various useful items for the farm from wood. Additionally, they acquired practical skills like packing a backpack and using maps and compasses. This outdoor education experience equipped them with the knowledge that they put into practice, such as setting up their own tents during multiple-day hikes.
Feedback from participants
Erasmus in Norway was one of the best experiences in my life. The beauty of Norway can’t be described with words. The nature, the sea, the fjords, everything with unpredictable weather was amazing. I had the opportunity to learn more about Norway, to see very beautiful and interesting places there, to meet great people and know more about their countries and culture. We got so close with each other, because everyone was so open-minded, I had great time there and I miss all of them. I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for the coordinators of the program. Arnout, Mariam, and Chiara played a crucial role, going above and beyond to make this project a success. They consistently offered their support and assistance. I could talk endlessly about the impact of this project, but one thing is certain – I left a piece of my heart at Rysta Gård farm.
I am filled with gratitude for the incredible experience I had during the Mindful over Mind Full project. This journey was truly transformative, and I feel blessed to have been a part of it. Through this project, I learned valuable methods to improve my mental and emotional well-being, while also breaking down social barriers and fostering personal growth in a safe and supportive environment. The focus on nature was particularly impactful, as being in nature can significantly decrease stress levels. The program was practical and hands-on, allowing us to learn through experience and connecting us with the natural world. It was inspiring to see how our actions can have a direct impact on the environment, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about and embrace sustainable practices. I am thankful for the new friendships that were formed and for the sense of community that we built together. Thank you Armavir Development Center, for trusting me and allowing me to lead the team. It was truly an honor to represent your organization in Norway. Thank you to the organizers of the Mindful over Mind Full project for creating such a meaningful program and for giving us the opportunity to participate. I look forward to carrying the lessons and memories with me for years to come.
It was a great experience in order to learn more about outdoor education, this exchange exceeded my expectations. The project was well-organized and our staff were great, our coordinators were excellent in their way of explaining things, answering all the questions they got and they always were available for us. We did many activities such as meditation, and yoga, they made my thoughts very clear and I felt calm and relaxed after. The atmosphere was awesome, people were great. It was a great experience for me, living in tents with amazing views, meeting new people, getting to know each other, meeting their culture. We were full of emotions there, happiness, joy, calmness and also we felt sadness when we had to leave.
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