How cultures and art challenge Ukrainians in Portugal

What is culture? How to see and to feel it? Does all cultures are the same? Would we felt confortable inside of each culture? What are multicultural and intercultural communities? How many dialects are in Slovenian language? How to dance Ukrainian “Hrechanyky”? How to understand Portuguese magic or how to sing in Georgian if you do not speak Georgian?

This is only a small part of thus challanges which faced participants of international youth exchange “Art and culture feeds” from Erasmus+ which happen between 4th and 12th of September, 2019 in Evora, Portugal. Youth from Ukraine, Georgia, Slovenia and Portugal were discovering own and others cultures, discuss peacful leaving, tolerance, working migration, interactions between cultures and mixing them. They also create fiction stories with hekp of Dixit cards (you can read and watch them below), write song, create theatre perfomances and dances, organize an exhibition in city center from photos which participants bring with them. Photos are representing the most important aspects of each culture (you can watch them below too).

This week was full of events. You can try to feel atmosphere of week through impressions from our participants. Enjoy!

This video were created by participants of Erasmus+ YE in Evora ART & CULTURE FEEDS project. They were inspired by Dixit cards.

Yehor:

Fabulous. This project is like a portal from local realities to a completely different world, filled with the changing atmosphere and enchanting music of open windows. You get there, and around the same people in love with the universe like you. And together, we coexist closely for a week, so tight that the ends of our hair are woven together, and no longer what we want, it is impossible to break our bond and want and want to go back to these motivated adventurers.Such a wonderful environment is so full of stories and inspiring change.

And now I’m writing in a strange way, though I should say about cultural exchange, Georgian flavors, ocean waves, language discussions and my own performance. But please, allow me to try being romantic at least for a few minutes.

Andriy:

I wanna start with word Thank you

Thank you Erasmus+, Простір ідей – Європейський клуб, AENIE – Delegação Norte, InoChange that I touched the ocean, sang Один в каное until midnight on the square of the town, walked around criminal area in Lisbon, played table football in smoked bar, watched short movies under the Portuguese stars, walked around Paris and visited roof party in Lisbon. These emotions of joy and happiness are very valuable for me.

Thank you that I had an opportunity to write projects, to facilitate activities, to make performances, to spend time with extreamly interesting people.

Thank you that I had this stunning experience which reminded me about relevantness of some stuff.

– People have different cultures. People have different colors of the skin. People have different religions. But same things make all of us happier. That’s love and people. So, point this.

– Happiness is near by. In close people. In friends. Sometimes happiness is such close, that often exist inside of us.

– It doesn’t matter where you are. Much more matters who is close to you.

And yes, we didn’t have time for this statement. But I think Love can solve any problem. I guess I agree with this)

Yarina:

I want to say that it was the first time I visited the youth exchange and it was for me like a separate world.

You live in a certain period of time with people of different cultures and you do something together.

We worked on the creation of projects, wrote songs and made videos, performed, got to know the culture of the countries of Georgia, Portugal, Slovenia and Ukraine.

This whole process is so fascinating that you forget to write to your mother: “hello! Everything is fine with me, I’m on activity.” There was a feeling like nothing exist, except Evora and people near! 🙂

Thanks Erasmus +!

For the first time I touched the ocean, hiked up the mountain on foot and met the sunset on the edge of Europe! I also pumped up my English level, was learning to sing in Georgian and played snooker with the Portuguese.

I am very grateful to the curator of my group for helping me as a beginner to get into the process as soon as possible!

Dmytro:

What happens when Portuguese, Georgian, Slovenian and Ukrainian teams gather up in a beautiful old-themed city of Evora? They sing, dance, act on a random stage, and take photos of everything in between! Discussing how different our cultures, only to find out how similar we are — that’s the spirit of youth exchange. I’m glad for a chance to be a part of it.

And learning a skill to manage your time so you can see the city and be on time for activities is priceless 🙂

Yaroslava:

Thanks to Erasmus +, I seem to be living multiple lives at once. Each new project is unique and gives the impression of being in a parallel reality, where everything has always been so, here and now.

This time, from September 4 to September 12, I took part in a youth exchange «Art & Culture Feeds» together with seven other Ukrainians, as well as Slovenians, Georgians and Portuguese. Actually, about Portugal. The project took place in this country, in the ancient picturesque and full of tourists city of Evora, which is a museum city and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This choice, I think, was also conditioned by the theme of our exchange, which was intended to help participants to expand the framework of their own consciousness, get to know each other more closely and to touch different cultures in traditions, to get to know each other, that is, to personify and flesh out individual ideas about the world, as well as make it clear that every object and subject is a complex of visible and invisible factors that make it distinctive and unique.

Throughout these eight days, we have all been able to get to know each other and become friends,  share national traditions, tell and learn about holidays that are not celebrated anywhere in the world except in Portugal, or in Georgia, in Ukraine or Slovenia. Talk about complex and theoretical things: stereotypes, taboos and cliches in the public consciousness that interfere with intercultural dialogue; iceberg of cultures; common and distinct between multicultural and intercultural societies; topical and interesting topics for future youth projects, which we then independently developed in international teams.

In addition, we had time for creativity. So, based on Dixit cards, we wrote stories about the positive impact of multi- and interculturalism on society, and how the teams then presented them to each other in the form of a theatrical performance; developed a collection of that stories; wrote a song about the project and made a clip, performed with it in the city center; there organized an exhibition of photographs taken by the participants on the theme «My Culture»; danced and performed performances for guests and residents of the city.

We also had fun at cultural nights, explored the city, visited churches, museums, the university, an exhibition of works by a contemporary Portuguese artist, a short film festival, and almost every evening concerts on the main square of the city. We also had an excursion to Lisbon to visit the most famous sights and swim in the Atlantic Ocean, which was my first time in my life.

At the end of the project, we had a little more than 2 free days which we spent productive: visited the city of Sintra and its famous Pena Palace on a cliff and Cape Roca, which is the westernmost point of Portugal and the entire Eurasian continent; we also roamed the city of Porto all day and just a little observed Lisbon.

I will not say that I have learned a lot during this time, just some practical things, like how to brew coffee in a new for me coffee machine, or language skills: improved English, I learned to sing the Georgian part of our joint song, and also learned some short simple phrases in Slovenian and Portuguese, but this project has given a lot to my personal development, identifying weaknesses that I need to work on and improving, as well as understanding that I am now dependent on travelling and it’s cannot be treated.

P.S. I am grateful to all the forces for such incredible views from the windows. Each new one is better than the previous one.

Mykola:

A night. A city square. Dancing on the stage to music of the guitar string’s echo and look of smiling faces of people who I know for less than three days. A sticker “I’m going to visit Georgia at Summer” on my chest, a taste of Slovenian herb candies is melting during the singing of English songs, and spinning felling bouncing in a head because of counting stars in clear Portuguese sky.

Sometimes people are afraid to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Sometimes such people grow to a society, which becomes isolated and as a result it causes a fear of the world, weakness and aggression.

But on the same time there is a magnificent opportunity to open your eyes wide and grasp the whole world with its difference of cultures, generations, forms and essences. During the observing of everything around us everyone has an opportunity to influence our huge confused society changing it with unity, respect and love. By the way, the most interesting thing is that right after touching this marvelous experience, you are changing yourself. And in connection with new friends, feelings, places such opportunity is priceless.

Anna:

I was on one of the projects of Erasmus+ Youth exchange project “Art&Culture Feeds” in Evora, and I have a little experience with which would like to share.

When all my life I was in the zone of my comfort, in the circle of family, friends, doing what I want, this project showed me that not always be so. Showed me that life is a test, this is a new and new fears to contend with to get, this new the people should be acquainted, is a new country that must be investigated, alcohol and swearing, which were included in the daily rate of the organizers and participants of the project, and in the end, it’s a lot of free time, which must somehow be filled. Last one for me was the most difficult.

Above, you see the challenges I faced on this project. Can’t say that it was not useful to me. It was very, very useful.

Thanks to the organizers for moderately interesting programme and of course to all the participants of this project, which opened and showed us their culture, and no matter which side.

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