Social Networking - a new paradigm for social inclusion and intercultural learning
More than 30 participants from different YEU (Youth for Exchange and Understanding) and EEE-YFU (European Educational Exchanges - Youth for Understanding) international member organisations met in the European Youth Centre in Budapest between the 23rd and 30th of October 2011. The project was a double study session, funded by the Council of Europe, which aimed to develop a deeper understanding of Social Networking and its impact on youth and youth work. Participants were active youth workers aged between 18 and 30 and experienced in the topic of Social Media and Social Networking. The participants worked on separate and common sessions. EEE-YFU focused more on Social Networking and Intercultural Learning, while YEU focused more on Social Networking and Social Inclusion. In both cases participants explored new approaches to youth work using social networking, shared different views and approaches to intercultural learning and social inclusion, and explored how social networking can contribute to the development of an organization.
It seems that the project had a great impact on YEU participants. Rebeca Tortosa from “Esser Huma” (Spain) mentioned: “In my opinion, it was very difficult to work like a team because we were a huge group, with different backgrounds and expectations. At the same time, this diversity contributed to having more variety in our ideas and achievements, which was very positive!”
Ludo Keizer (lecturer) also gave us an injection of energy and inspiration, by showing us very positive approaches on how to use different resources in very original and useful ways: “After this experience as a group we thought about specific tools for social inclusion and intercultural learning using social networks. That was very successful, but the effects of these activities in our society will not be immediate. We still have to work on it and try to make a change. In this way, different organizations from YEU can help us by sharing events, conclusions, ideas and advice using the tools that we made in this event”.
At the same time, Jehona Pajaziti from CID (The Center for Intercultural Dialogue) in Skopje identifies this experience as an event that changed her life! “When I first stepped at the EYCB, I was full of expectations and fears, full of energy and enthusiasm, but I still didn’t know how I could contribute to this study session. When I met my group and the trainers for the first time, I simply knew that this was going to be the time of my life.”
For me personally, the topic of the study session was exactly what I was looking for to understand how to use different tools during my organization’s projects when I get back home. I learnt a lot about social networks, their use, the benefits, the advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, social inclusion and intercultural learning were the notions that I got more familiar with and made me see things from different perspectives. But, I learned from experience. All the coffee breaks, the group work, the simulations, the parties, offered a lot more than social inclusion and intercultural learning; we were a big happy family. I must not also forget the projects we realized together on social inclusion and intercultural learning, which I am sure will be so much supported by different social networks. We have already started the work, created many social groups related to the topic, and also many blogs and uploaded many videos, which should be maintained furthermore.
Now I know that learning through experience, in such a multicultural environment makes you think from different aspects, makes you grow up as a person, makes you realize that we are all human, no matter what religion we have, what the color of our skin is, no matter what social status we possess or which nationality we are…LET’S BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE!
You can find out the results of the study session online on twitter #STSSN on YouTube under the STSSN title, on facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/268595036509724/ and https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=175238079230655 and on the webpage http://stssn.tumblr.com/
Study Session Facilitator