As the dust settles on our media information and literacy programme, we speak to four people who learned a lot from their time in Belgrade with us.
In this piece, four wonderful young people representing different backgrounds join their voices together to speak about the impressions, lessons learned and cultural exchange they were fortunate enough to benefit from this event.
These young people were among 50 participants, representing more than 20 nationalities, who from 27th August-2nd September 2021, gathered in the capital city of Serbia, Belgrade, for a six-day event of learning, discussing, and speaking with experts in media literacy.
Topics varied from Artificial Intelligence (AI), and its implications in media and social media, social networks and the role of journalists, communication mechanisms and rumours, to freedom of speech and its boundaries to a tour to BETA News Agency and interactive panel discussions every day.
As all the participants acknowledged, this event strengthened and inspired young people from across the globe. Not only it helped them to explore in depth the effect media has on their lives, but it also brought light and friendships during a difficult period dealing with consequences of COVID-19 pandemic.
Young People Ready to Make a Change
Thanks to this programme the 20-year-old, Jana Vítová, Marketing Manager from Czech Republic, has finally heard of Hegel.
From her previous experience in Iceland last year, she knew she would meet an incredible number of amazing people.
“That’s what happened,” she reaffirms.
“Besides that, I have learned so much I have finally heard something really powerful that, in my opinion, should have been mentioned at the very beginning of our sessions.
“It was Hegel’s philosophy. It is all about that you always have to have two opposite sides to come up with something new.”
So, if anybody would ask her how the Youth Time programme was, she would answer following Hegel’s philosophy.
“I have experienced great times when I was feeling incredibly inspired, but also times when I felt annoyed and upset. In the end, you can combine my feeling into something new I realised – I am finally feeling strong and ready to make a change,” she adds on a happy note.
Not surprisingly, Vítová does not stand alone in appreciating this much of the entire program and its takeaways.
Olivera Mitić, a 23-year-old coming from Smederevo, Serbia, also found the programme to be amazing – from the organisation to the speakers to the participants.
“Being surrounded by so many passionate people from a field that interests me so much was thrilling.
I feel like I have learned a lot in the past week and the fact that an event like this was organised in Serbia, in Belgrade – the city I have lived in for the past four years, just makes me hopeful that even more events like this will come to the Balkans.”
“I think we desperately need them,” says Mitić, journalist and literary critic.
Celebrating Each Other
This amazing event brought to Serbia for the first time the 29-year-old, Anna Demina living in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
“The most important thing is people. At such events we not only exchange experiences but also find like-minded people and friends. Thanks to the organisers, they are perfect.”
Demina believes participants created a comfortable atmosphere and great mood.
“I hope to attend other events as well, as this is an invaluable experience.”
Another participant, Christopher Sebastian, also highlights the brilliance of all the participants.
“This event was so incredibly fulfilling. All the participants were brilliant. The speakers were so knowledgeable. And the organisers were beyond supportive,” says Sebastian, who is a media theorist.
He came with no particular expectation and left with the most amazing connections and more knowledge than he could have imagined.
“I am super grateful to Youth Time International Movement,” he concludes.
After hearing and witnessing how these participants, and not only, have benefited from this program to the fullest, I cannot help but bring to mind something, Michael Berg, Relationship Manager, Youth Time International Movement (YTIM), said just a few days before the event.
“We aim to create environments that are comfortable enough to hopefully allow others to gain more understanding, accept differences, and embrace diversity,” he said.
Today, barely a week after the event, I am adding something to Berg’s statement:
YTIM’s event in Belgrade resulted in a variety of new friendships and connections on a personal and professional level, and considering the successes of past events, it seems like it was no other way.
This event was made possible in cooperation with Erasmus+ Youth Worker Exchange and we have been highlighting and livestreaming some of the best moments in social media.