EFIL is conducting the Erasmus+ job shadowing project called ‘Common European Citizenship-Different Local approaches’. This project is a learning opportunity for staff members from EFIL, AFS Sweden, AFS Belgium Flanders, AFS Russia, AFS Germany and AFS Hungary on how European Citizenship content can be integrated differently in orientations, in particular in those for the participants to the European Citizenship Trimester Programme (ECTP).


Trying to find your own compass…

By Hanne Dierynck – from AFS Belgium Flanders to AFS Hungary


Budapest, mid-February. Cold, sunny and a new learning opportunity! Learning and sharing about the ECTP programme and especially ECTP in the reorientation process.   My plan and goal was to get inspired and if possible to be inspiring.

Over the past 2 years I was in charge of organising the reorientation weekend in Belgium (Flanders). We call it our “compass weekend”.  The participants have returned from their ECTP adventure.  They are back home… but is doesn’t always feel like home. They have to get to know their friends again, sometimes even their family. They are back home but hey need a compass to BE and FEEL back home. As you can imagine our reorientation weekend can sometimes be emotional but also liberating, because the participants have an opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings and doubts. During the weekend we also reflect on their exchange. We try to incorporate European/active citizenship in the programme, the E and the C in ECTP. That’s not always easy but it creates an added value and it ultimately stimulates the participants to become more active citizens.

With this in mind I arrived in beautiful Budapest.  The first few days I worked in the AFS office, got to know my Hungarian colleagues, learned some new Hungarian words and enjoyed some very nice meals.  A good start! I also got together with some of the volunteers who were going to organise the weekend and who were responsible for giving the workshops.  The inspiring part could start…  Immediately I felt and saw some differences in the way of organising the reorientation weekend. A smaller group of participants, the combination of year programme students and trimester students, a different kind of venue…   I like differences, they give me energy! But I also  needed to  change or adapt my inner compass.  Every AFS partner has its own realities, something you have to take in account when organising activities or giving workshops.  Sometimes they are political, sometimes cultural and sometimes just practical.  During the sharing moments I felt that not only my own compass was changing. I got news insights and ideas.  Also the Hungarian staff members and volunteers were trying to find ‘other ways’. And in this process  a compass is very useful.

I learned that not only participants need a compass to re-integrate, also AFS partners need to change, adapt and innovate. Every AFS partner has and needs its own compass that shows the way. I experienced that experimenting and reflecting at the same time really works. It creates a stronger compass!

Thanks to all the staff members and volunteers of AFS Hungary!

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