“It’s not survival and it’s not a school picnic”, said Katka, one of the organizers, to us at the beginning of the Outdoor part of the programme. But other parts of these very busy days were not different – the prepared schedule from the morning to the late evening was full of exercises (called “processes”), self-improving tips and questions to think about. However, I have also enjoyed many breaks, which I have spent together with more than twenty other participants of this international course, which, at the end of it, I would not be afraid to call one big family.
I have learned about the course thanks to my friend’s recommendation and I have read the basic information from the official infopack. A combination of north-Italian small town Varezze, a week spent in an international group and a real chance for self-improvement were a clear choice for me, so I have sent the application the following day.
I have got to know most of the participants from all of the participating countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria) in a bus from Milano, which was taken care of by the organizers. That was an excellent idea to do because the course did not take place in Varezze itself, but rather on a hill a few kilometres from and a few hundred meters above this seaside town. As I live in a city, I was a little bit afraid of the lack of shops and the city centre outside the walkable distance, but in the end, the choice of the place was not far from ideal.
Absolute peace, silence and no external disturbance, possibility to go to the near forest and sea view provided the best conditions for deep discussions with the others, thinking and in general meeting the goals of the whole course.
There was definitely no lack of food – large breakfasts, delicious lunches and dinners were close to those I know from better hotels. Our two Italian cooks even got standing ovations at the end for all the feasts they had prepared for us. Also, a possibility to grab a piece of fruit or to have a cup of coffee during the breaks supported me with the energy needed for all the restless days.
All the organizers were very professional – their determination, patience, individual approach, willingness to help and all the additional questions and tasks were helping us to get closer to the individual goals we have chosen for that week. Common sharing of everyone’s opinions and experience after the end of each process have shown me new points of view, that I could not think of before.
We have been solving some of the tasks together, some of them independently and the rest in teams of various sizes. The teams were assembled differently almost every time so I had a chance to cooperate with each one of the participants and work in various international teams on beating new challenges. Following discussions were full of both positive and negative feedback, which revealed me my strong and weak sides and especially tips for self-improvement.
The whole course culminated by two and a half-day outdoor part, which was the greatest challenge. I have used there all of my gained knowledge, wit, team spirit and bravery to be outside of my comfort zone. I think I have never overcome so many obstacles, experienced so many amazing stories and coincidences, intensive feelings and excitement in such a short time. My team and I could not believe everything was squeezed into only two days, because it felt like we had left for this adventure trip like a week ago.
Permanent overcoming of myself, enhancing my abilities, self-awareness, teamwork and importance of communication are definitely cliche. However here these words got very real significance and meaning. I can say for myself, that I was able to achieve things at the end of the course I thought had not been possible in its beginning. Self-improvement is always difficult never-ending path towards greater happiness and I am very glad, that I was able to move a lightyear forward during this week thanks to the help of all the organizers of All You Need course.
Petr Kaštánek (kastanek.org)
The project was realized and funded through Erasmus+ programme.