Interview with: Aart, 24 years old, from the Netherlands, student social work at Saxion Enschede 

During the Stay Human programme about Migrant Rights I was a leader for the first time. It was very tough, because some participants struggled speaking English, so we needed to take flexible roles by translating and trying to keep the group connected. I talked a lot about this with Anne, to see how we could deal with this and finally everything worked out.

What I really liked was a simulation game that Bea made. It seemed to be the biggest eye opener for the participants. She briefly made up a story connected to a refugee and then they went to a dark room with a blanket on their body. In this way, she tried to simulate the trip over the sea. This simulation was connected to a real story that recently had happened in Italy that. Migrants got killed because of no reason at all. This experience had quite an impact on the participants.

The most significant change that this exchange brought into my life is that it made me choose my current trainee position: I have been working with refugees for almost a year. I became interested in the topic, but I had the feeling: “OK, we talk about it on a European scale, but now I really want to talk to refugees and work with them”. All the experiences that I had changed my opinion on a lot of subjects. What I can say for sure is that in conversations I try to take different stands, and to look more from another perspective.

“The most significant change that this exchange brought into my life is that it made me choose my current trainee position: I have been working with refugees for almost a year.”

Non-formal learning is powerful in the sense that it is very strong in challenging yourself in different situations and it stimulates a lot of personal learning about how you act, how you are in different situations (non-formal education is much more focused on this than formal education). Formal education is more concentrated on “let’s talk about this… this works like this, etc”. In non-formal education you have more time to reflect on how you feel about things, what does that actually mean, how to deal with it as a youth worker, as a group, or as a person. You learn about challenging yourself, that is the condition. If you don’t challenge yourself, it won’t work.

I made the following programmes possible;

Stay Human 1 – Migrants’ Rights – Italy – 2016

Stay Human 2 – No Hate Speech- Lithuania – 2017