What do you think about the topic of this seminar - refugees?

Johannes: I think it’s very controversial, it’s very important for us to deal with this topic, learn something about it, hear different  opinions from people from other countries.  Currently in Europe  we  have the crisis and we are the young people who will form and shape this continent and the coming decade and that’s why we have to deal with  topics of such importance. 

Tanja: Well, I believe that talking about refugees is important because this crisis shows Europe has a serious problem planning what to do next and we, as  the youth of Europe,  should think about it. Maybe in a few years’ time we will be the ones who'll  be discussing such political and social situations, so I think  it's crucial that all of us are aware of the difficulties Europe has to deal with  now.

 

The students in the workshop groups are still busy to have everything done before the seminar ends with group presentations. For singers and musicians this work is not as tense as for other groups because as they said, they really enjoy it and do everything taking their time. The singers and musicians constitute one big group called “the Band”, but they are separated because it is easier to work independently at some stage. We have asked Elizabeth, one of the singers, and Thomas, a musician, about their work and reflections considering their workshop group.

            Elizabeth: In our workshop group, basically, we sing a lot of songs referring to the main topic – refugees. We sing a lot of Michael Jackson’s songs, also some by Coldplay and Elvis Presley. We’ve learnt these songs by heart and today we are going to have a rehearsal with the musicians which is going to be amazing. I really like our workshop group because I can do what I love. We have a lot of free time during a singers’ working day, so we can go to the other groups, help them and look what they do. But we are working a lot actually. We rehearse one song for about an hour and after that the voice needs to relax. In my workshop group I have made friends with participants from other countries and it was quite easy because music really unites us.

            Thomas: I really like the people and atmosphere in my group and, of course, music makes me happy. I play the electric guitar and other participants play different instruments. I think we are doing a good job and I have already got new friends from different countries who attend my workshop. We are having great fun together, so the work we have to do does not feel so hard. 

The intercultural seminar 2016 in St. Marienthal has been officially declared as opened.  This year students and their teachers from different European countries e.g. Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia and Sweden arrived to work on the main topic of the seminar - refugees. To get to know the students, teachers and the leaders’ first impressions of the seminar, we have talked to Ivan, Oliver Peters, who has organized this project and Kamil, who teaches students to how to play musical instruments. We have asked them about first impressions, expectations, the aim of the workshop groups and international culture experience.

 

Ivan: It is an amazing experience, everything is so great and I am thankful for this opportunity. Everything here is very well organized, there is no time for being bored or something like that. I expect to meet new friends, people, got some relations. I would like to learn something about film making and reporting. I have tried some new meals, it is very interesting to know how people live in different countries.

In our workshop group we will try to make a good quality short film. My task on this workshop is to make a good sound in the film, but it is not so easy because you have to be patient during this process. In my workshop I have talked to all the people from all 6 countries, everybody seems to be nice.

 

            

Oliver: Here there is a very good atmosphere, students are funny and open-minded, they talk to each other. From this seminar I expect students to mix up, to be as productive as they can and get experienced while working in groups. The second expectation is the main topic. We want to know what young adults think about this global and critical problem.

The main aim of my workshop group is to inspire young actors for their roles. They develop their own plot and their own characters. It is such a big work for them. And here, in these workshop groups and during the creating process, takes place that mixing up we have talked about. On these days since Sunday I have seen students from different countries talking to each other, laughing and that is the sign to me that it actually works.

 

Kamil: Everything is good as usual: the atmosphere, the place, food. What I miss are more people in here. Usually in this seminar take part about 80 participants, but this year about 50 and I can feel the difference. Usually everywhere you go there are a lot of people, always mixing up, getting in groups and talking to each other, but this year there are fewer students here. And maybe that is why they prefer to stay in their ‘comfort zone’, close to friends from the same country.

In this seminar I’m taking care of the band, but in previous years I was a participant  just like other students. My aim for the band is to make students not be afraid of playing and improvising and, of course, create a song with the singing participants. For me this will be a different experience, I will try to push students a little bit to work with each other, express their ideas instead of me saying what they should do. And that is how they get to know each other. Actually I was nervous in the first evening when I saw that in the chimney room there was no one, it was empty and that is very rare. But I understood that everyone was just tired and went to sleep early. But in the next evening we had a great time together, we sang, played cards, talked to each other, played music – then was the real intercultural atmosphere.

 

The little book about the history of the seminar. It was produced by this year's seminar reporter group. Special thanks to all the authors and photographs.

If you need a better representation, click here.

 

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