During this youth exchange, we spent ten days in beautiful Roccamonfina, a small village close to Naples. The topic of the project was rural areas and self development. At the beginning, maybe the connection between them was not very clear. At the end of this enriching experience, we learnt that these two terms are strongly connected.
During these ten days, we had the chance to learn more about rural culture, different traditions, pros and cons of life in nature and how can we find solutions to problems that occur there. The activities, made us realize how important it is to love our place of origin and to remember our roots. As young people, we all wanted at some point of our lives, to leave the places where we grew up and move to a bigger city. After this fruitful experience, we realized that life in rural areas has many advantages that we hadn’t discovered before.
Besides all the indoor activities that focused in team bonding at first, and raising awareness about the topic later, we also had some outdoor activities. We visited the countryside, we went for mountain hiking, but keep in mind that during these excursions we did some activities and followed some methods, in order to feel the connection with our surroundings. By connecting with nature, connecting with each other and with our inner self, we managed to activate all of our senses and feel the moment.
At the beginning of the project we were around 30 strangers, who met in small village in Italy. We had many expectations but we had some fears, too. Through all the team building activities, we realized that although each participant has a different background, different opinions and perception of life, we can all cooperate to achieve a goal and enjoy it at the same time. We overcame our insecurities, language barriers and the fear of the unfamiliar environment. We felt love, friendship, empathy and affection among us. Despite any inconveniences that maybe occurred, all together as a team, we made out expectations come true.
Thanks to the organizers and to the rest of the participants, we can now say that we made a step closer to discover some hidden aspects of ourselves. The title of the project «Totem R. I. S. E. (Rural Introspection and Spiritual Evolution) summarizes our experience, which is connected with self development by confronting challenges out of our comfort zone. We are saying for sure that our participation in this project is something that is going to continue through our life.