In September 2021, we have sent an amazing group of participants from Poland for an Erasmus+ Training Course “Radio FreeMotion”. They’ve spent more than a week in a sunny Croatia where they have been working on designing web radios. Check out a testimony of Vijayant Mehla, who was one of YoWo Poland’s participats during this project:
At the very beginning of September, I got the lucky news that I had been selected to participate in a multi-national project and that I would be going to a residence amidst a forest, high up in the mountains and spending 10 days with participants from 8 different countries trying to build a web radio.
Being a student of engineering, and an avid lover of mountains I immediately applied for a leave, booked my tickets and with a heart full of anticipation landed up in Zagreb on the 10th of September, 2021.
The city felt like a place stuck in time, like a time-capsule it reminded of the years passed by. Cobbled streets, church bells tolling away, couples walking around..holding hands, a blue sunny sky and just so much positivity in this place. I, along with my female company kept on walking by, amazed by the timeless architecture and relaxed conduct of people all around.
We tried some amazing ice creams, some unique flavors that I seem to have forgotten the names of by now.
After cherishing them sweet delicacies it was time to make a move. The hotel was a solid 40 minute drive from the nearest city and we took a bus ride and reached the grand Tomislavov Dom Hotel, our residence for the next 10 days, an amazing stone walled architecture right in the middle of lush forests, on the top of Sljeme mountain, somewhere in the Medvednica nature park.
Away from the city settlements, these 32 participants from a variety of countries and cultures were going to be my family for the upcoming week. I felt a string of emotions, all variations of a happy gooey feeling when I first met them all.
Right from the first day itself, we started learning the basics of radio communication~ the hardware, the software, how to assemble and make the required components function to the best of their ability. By the third day we already had gotten the chance to do a hands-on session with live equipment and so it was now time for some relaxation and amazing inter-cultural nights.
The Serbian and the Romanian hospitality bowled us over. Extremely warm people, very eager to share their potent and deadly alcohol and equally potent and groovy traditional dances with us and their lip smacking food led to an unforgettable evening where we all probably slept with the widest smiles possible.
Next morning was ofcourse a difficult one to get up, but we all did. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast, like all days, sitting on benches made up of fallen birch trees, fed some friendly cats and went back to work. The 4th and the 5th day were serious days with our trainers teaching us complex ideas of marketing and content creation in very simple and digestible ways, along with gradually increasing our time spent being live on the radio. From a rather small time limit of 10 minutes to a longer 50 minutes by the end of our project, we had learnt not only how to create our own web radios and broadcast it, but also how to market it and create content that sticks with a particular audience.
The cultural nights that followed included the ones by Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Estonia, Croatia (the host country), and my beloved Poland, the country I was proudly representing.
I realise now that the project’s aim and the trainers’ agenda was not only to teach us how to create our own web radio but also to bring these 32 people from different backgrounds together and form a brilliant, multilingual team of friends. I feel quite amazed that in just about a week’s time, we all strangers became such close buddies, successfully delivering our outcomes as a team and creating just so many amazing memories.
It is my belief that in our daily lives, we are always in a rush, in a constant battle against the time to be better, and to be better soon. We often don’t give enough time to people, to know them, to learn about them, to cherish them, hence along this way of fighting to gain more, we lose a lot more than we already had.
It was a very lovely break from the routine, and I thank the organizers – YoWo Poland and our trainers- Vincenzo Ginannone and Patrycja Pieniazek for specifically three things – firstly, bringing us to this amazing location (Thumbs up^squared), secondly, to let the youngsters find their own voice through their own chaos and giving them the platform to do so, thirdly, for creating such a gradually incrementing and well-thought out process to build teams and make best friends out of strangers.
It was hard for me to think that one day a group of engineers, doctors, artists and students from 8 different countries will come together, form friendships in a place away from most of humanity and build friendships, some of which might last a lifetime 🙂
The night before we had to leave was a full moon night. After successfully building and broadcasting through our web-radios, achieving what we were there to do..we all looked at the night sky, and in that moment..we all were, together, a thousand metres closer to the moon.
As I turn back to my life, away from this dream I take back with me sweet memories of the people I met – Eliseu, and his humbling knowledge of languages and the biggest heart; Hanna, with her strong yet calming singing talent; Levente, with his mature presence; Matteo, with his young soul; Bori, the sweet girl with her keen eye who could make a bouquet of amazing flowers from the flora of the mountains; Maria, the talented budding entrepreneur with bright hopeful eyes; Alebazy Isa, with her warmest smile and warmest hugs; Valentina, our saviour in the wilderness of the mountains; Gaia, the creative budding actress; Florina, with the deepest eyes and an even deeper soul, Nikola, the most considerate friend; Violeta, a person I am truly lucky to find, a doctor by profession but, a saint by soul; Barbara, who was Moana, a disney princess in real life, Zsofi, with her love for the cats and everything pure; Barnabas, the man with the guitar; Antonio from Croatia,- a spiritually bright lad, a brilliant friend and an even better musician; Katrin, the girl who could see through your soul; Samuel, the ambitious Pilot and best company one could ask for over a couple of drinks; Manuel, the life of every party, a true mood; Darko, and his infectious laughter; Megii, a beautiful and graceful teacher I wish I had when I was a kid; Laura, the one who inspired us all to get up and burn some calories; Luka, my best brother whom I wish everything good in life for, smart, aware and grounded; Maja, my radio partner, an assertive, creative and a dedicated mate; Stevan, the man who was just perfect at everything he did – music, art, anything; Ewelina, a strong Polish lady with even a stronger will to make you laugh; Antonio from Portugal, the man looked like he was on vacation in Goa all the time, super chill mate; Enio, my brother who slept always the last and woke up always the first, albeit with a psychotic smile and energy on his face; Mattia, in whom I gained a brother for life and last but not the least, my roomie; Rado, an ex-military man who smiled more than I have in my entire life, a carefree face, an humbling persona, someone who despite not speaking English touched all our lives the most.
Article by Vijayant Mehla participant of a Training Course “Radio FreeMotion”