Seminar on Addictions

Ah, there is nothing like the excitement prior to a new project, especially if it’s the first project of our 7-year strategy. After months of planning and organization, there were participants from Italy, Hungary, Spain, Slovakia, France, Croatia, Turkey, and Portugal. But why were they here, in our lovely little town? They participated in our Seminar on Addiction, between 28th of April and 3rd of May.

The first day of a seminar or any kind of project is very important. This is the day when we meet and get to know each other. This was no different in our case. We played some games, we solved the most impossible mission in our town, and we laughed. From the beginning we were sure, this will be an energetic, lovely, and amazing team; people that are a pleasure to work with.

When the second day came around it was time for business! After we shared our hopes, fears, and contributions, we focused more on the main topic of the seminar, addictions. We learnt what it was, and how is the definition; we had discussions with a former addict, a psychiatrist, and even a journalist, who is an expert in social media addiction. Of course, it’s not all about knowing what it is, but also how to recognize it, how to prevent it, and how to help ourselves or others. Having a chance to talk freely with someone who lived through this, is extremely powerful, and shows all sides of a real issue.

We started the next day by familiarizing ourselves with the local culinary culture, one of the best in the world (to be fair, I might be biased here). After our morning walk, we were back to learning. First, we tackled the problematic area of relationship addiction in smaller groups. Next, there was an interactive workshop related to alcohol addiction.

On the First of May, while we still learnt a lot thanks to the Turkish participants’ presentation on cigarette addiction, we also took some time to relax in nature, and try some gulyás, prepared by our colleagues. There is something calming and nice in working on smaller workshops under the trees, which they still had to do, unfortunately. There is no stopping when it comes to learning!

Monday, the beginning of a new week. On the fifth day of our Seminar on Addiction, we had five different mini-workshops to attend, prepared by our amazing participants. They touched on subjects such as exclusion, the effects of addiction, and many more. Every activity showed how much knowledge they obtained during the week, and I can confidently say, we were pleased because everyone did a great job.

On our last day, we tried our best to celebrate the whole week we spent together learning and developing. It was a bit sad; I won’t lie. Saying goodbyes are never easy. But, before it all ended, there were still things to do! We had a very productive and useful discussion on potential future projects, what the participants would be interested in, what projects we want to do etc. And of course, we had our final evaluation and closing evening. We tried to enjoy what little time we still had together because in the morning we had to say our goodbyes.

But! This is just a momentary stop, we will meet again, hopefully, soon, since we have our Youth Exchange connected to this seminar in June. The coordinator, Györgyi Réka, shared her experiences with the seminar, and her hopes and plans for the upcoming Youth Exchange:

“Usually after projects we get tired, but this time after this seminar I feel very motivated and energetic to continue to learn, to teach, to share and to experience. It was an amazing team and amazing sessions together. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have such a cool opportunity and I am very excited about the upcoming youth exchange.”