We met with very interesting people — the representatives of different institutions, who presented us with
what their work looks like daily…
Iceland was my travel dream, and it didn’t disappoint me — I gained much more than I expected from participating in the project. We met with very interesting people — the representatives of different institutions, who presented us with what their work looks like daily. We learned good practices regarding the work with the youth from the library, non-governmental organisations and youth centre perspective.
In terms of tourism, we were definitely captivated by nature — there were many waterfalls and mountains, the ubiquitous Icelandic ponies and sheep, and the black beaches and seals — everything took our breath away.
The amount of Polish people was surely a surprise — we could buy a ticket from a bus driver, order food in a restaurant or shop almost everywhere using the Polish language.
The second thing that I paid attention to was the colorful stripes on the streets or walls — cheering up the landscape that is grey the majority of the year.
Despite the uneven and rather harsh weather, we spent most of our time outside, whether moving to the meetings or using most of the time we were given there.
The unforgettable memories that cannot be told with words are associated with this project — you need to experience that!
Marika, 26 years old, study visit “,,SHARING KNOWLEDGE, GAINING EXPERIENCE” in Reyklavik
I wouldn’t have thought that rather insular and private Icelanders
would be so progressive on the issues of homosexual people,
support for immigrants or people with disabilities…
Iceland is the story of the BEST things! The best views I have ever seen, the most
spectacular show of the power of the elements, the most laughter, the best karaoke in my life, the most twisted team, the most interesting networking meetings, the most powerful intention, the most powerful meditation in my life. I will certainly come back there!
And now, let’s start from the beginning! 🙂 The decision to go to Iceland is the most randomly taken non-random decision. The Universe transparently wanted me to go there. I had the pleasure of meeting remarkable and inspiring people from various organisations. Every meeting was different, but each of them brought a lot to my life. As it turns out now, not only those meetings brought a lot to my life, but also to the organisation. This trip brought many changes to the functioning of LEVEL UP, opened our eyes to otherness, and showed us how to work with teams.
Because I’m much more task-oriented than empathic, I focused on developing my team in terms of soft skills development while introducing new evaluation forms of my work. The more empathic section of the team created a new team in our organisation – Inclusion Masters that will focus on anti-discrimination and support actions for people in need.
Was the trip surprising? Absolutely! I wouldn’t have thought that rather insular and private Icelanders would be so progressive on the issues of homosexual people, support for immigrants or people with disabilities. Nothing to do, but learn from them! Of course, life on the island is far away from utopia, so we as a nation can offer a lot (a comment from the author here – the Polish people probably came up with the idea because there are enough of them living there that it is possible to talk in Polish everywhere). 😉
I can say that I developed a lot professionally and emotionally during this visit for sure. Touristically? Hm… I feel a sense of insufficiency that makes me return there for sure! I have never been so fascinated by any country before. I have the whole list of places and attractions I want to see and experience there, but I can already recommend anyone to visit this remarkable country.
I saved the best for last (I think everyone will agree that there is nothing better than expressions of gratitude to sum up the text)! So… I’m thankful to Justyna for offering me this trip (thank you!).
I’m thankful to myself that I went there despite the lack of paid leave. I’m thankful to each person from every organisation for having the pleasure of talking to them and being inspired by their stories.
I’m thankful for having the pleasure of getting to know this wild and wonderful country. I’m grateful to Janek for his time and attention he devoted to us. I’m grateful to Monia for being there! I’m thankful for the opportunity to expand my horizons and experience this adventure. <3
Kamila, 27 years old, study visit ,,SHARING KNOWLEDGE, GAINING EXPERIENCE” in Reykjavik
I paid attention mainly to
the support of the excluded people – queer people, disabled people,
immigrants, but also people living in Icelandic provinces…
That was my first ever study visit and my first trip in general with LEVEL UP I decided to go because I had always dreamt of exploring Iceland. My motivation was exactly sightseeing, and I wanted to do the tasks connected with LEVEL UP “by the way.” Although the beauty of Iceland’s nature overcame my expectations, this trip will stay unforgettable for me due to completely different aspects.
The meetings with the representatives of the organisations who told us what the situation with the Icelandic youth looks like and how they support them were a great surprise for me. I paid attention mainly to the support of the excluded people – queer people, disabled people, immigrants, but also people living in Icelandic provinces. The activities leading to the inclusion of such people are carried out in cooperation with big institutions – the university and the main library. I was struck by how people who conduct the programs for the youth talk about their success – not in the context of big numbers, percentages and summaries, but by mentioning specific cases, pointing to people who have been helped in practical ways.
I found these stories very poignant and motivating to work, but they also gave me a new perspective on the problem of exclusion. As a result, there was an initiative to establish an Inclusion Master Team at LEVEL UP, in which we will work on the inclusion of disabled people and those with other barriers. We want to make our organisation more friendly, and we also want to mobilise people with fewer opportunities.
It was also hugely motivating for me to meet in person with the leaders of LEVEL UP, with whom (except Monika) I have only had remote contact so far. We had very inspiring conversations that will stay with me for a long time. I thought a few personal matters over, which resulted in changes in my personal life and some adjustments to my plans for the future. Moreover, the girls turned out to be wonderful companions
for sightseeing, and I’m happy that it was with them that I could admire Iceland’s natural wonders.
Special thanks to Justyna, who not only invited me to this project but also took care of us during the project with a tremendous amount of effort. Thanks to this I was able to loosen up for the first time in a long time in terms of keeping an eye on the budget, planning my commute, keeping track of time, and in general feeling at times like on vacation. 😊 THANK YOU JUSTA! <3
Olga, 38 years old, study visit ,,SHARING KNOWLEDGE, GAINING EXPERIENCE” in Reyklavik
I’m very happy about this trip because we managed to visit 4
various institutions which work in different fields, learn about interesting educational programs,
and talk about including people with fewer opportunities…
The trip to Iceland had been planned for 3 years. It’s extremely hard to establish a cooperation with a country where so few people live. Unfortunately, neither the third sector nor public institutions working with or for the youth are always willing to cooperate, and various factors cause this.
I’m very happy about this trip because we managed to visit 4 various institutions which work in different spheres, learn about interesting educational programs, and talk about including people with fewer opportunities. I believe that nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting with a partner because then we can also see under what conditions a program/project/organization operates and what barriers it faces.
Although Iceland is the 5th most expensive country in the world, it also faces some inequalities, e.g. institutions in Reykjavik are more subsidized than in the outskirts.
Projects that help immigrants or refugees in assimilation are a major challenge. I was greatly surprised by the fact that the youth dropped out from the school and went to work. In terms of tourism, Iceland impresses with its natural beauty and peace. I believe that this place, like Scandinavian countries such as Finland, Sweden and Iceland, brings reflection on living in harmony with nature and a willingness to take
care of one’s well-being. Iceland was a wonderful educational adventure for the leadership staff of our Association.
We came back with our heads full of ideas that we will implement soon. We want to look at the transparency of the third sector, the inclusion of people with fewer opportunities, and be more active in the field of well-being and nature-based activities. Surely, this is not the end of the cooperation between us and our partners from Iceland.
Justyna,29 years old, study visit ,,SHARING KNOWLEDGE, GAINING EXPERIENCE” w Reyklavik