MaLaJo (Many Languages of Journalism) was a project organised by ECIM association that took place in Zakopane, Poland from July 22nd to July 31st 2016. The main purpose of the project was enabling its participants to learn foreign languages, gain personal development and increase creativity while breaking cultural barriers and promoting European integration. The participants were young people from Croatia, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic and Spain, all in the groups of six including the group leaders.
Croatian team got to spend the first day in Krakow freely, which was well needed and deserved after 18 hours spent on the bus. After taking a short nap we were ready for some sightseeing: we walked to the main square, did some shopping in the Cloth Hall, visited the Wawel Castle and in the evening we went for a drink at the Beer House Pub with the organisers, Ola and Marcin.
The next morning we headed to Zakopane, where the project was to be held, and we were pleasantly surprised by the accommodation in one of the typical houses with kind hosts who made sure we were never hungry. After settling in, the project could begin. The organisers made sure we learn each other’s names by preparing appropriate games and all of the participants got to know each other fairly quickly. We worked really well as a team, which is visible in the results of the project. For the most of the workshops and games we were divided into random international teams, so we all had to learn how to work effectively in new surroundings.
The workshops were mainly related to journalism and translating – we were learning how to write articles, reportages and columns and then how to translate them to our own languages from English. We also practiced preparing for interviews and we got to show what we learned in a city game in the center of Zakopane where we were interviewing random passengers. In between learning about languages and journalism, we also had a lot of fun playing games and expressing our creativity, which also taught us a lot – we were able to offer ideas and learn to accept others’ with no judgement.
It was all about accepting differences between cultures, which was made possible with a little help of cultural nights. Every team prepared a presentation on their country, as well as some traditional food and drinks. We all had freedom to organise the cultural night however we wanted, so each one was different and truly reflected the culture of the teams: some of them played music, some showed us traditional dances, some prepared games and plays, but all of the cultural nights were equally fun and interesting in their own way.
We surely learned a lot and had a lot of fun, which had a lot to do with the fact that all of the participants got on very well and were willing to work as a team. The main goal of Erasmus+ projects is breaking down cultural barriers, which is something we definitely managed to do. It was a valuable learning experience, not just on an educational level, but on a personal level as well.