A training journey

Once opon a time, which, for sure, was not one month ago, in a magical peace of earth, in a parallel universe not so far far away from ours, lies a mystical, veiled land. I presume that now you’re wondering: “Is this some anciant kingdom?” and so the answer that i can give
you is: “Nope!”. And, i guess, you also want to know what’s so supernatural about this place and you, absolutely, have the right to ask. So the answer is that, it is so mystical, that even the people living somewhere around it, doesn’t realy know where it is, for it’s so misterius, that you can never find it, if you’re one of those, whom’s intentions are not clean and hearts not pure. Noone can never find it, unless it does not decide to reveal itself to somebody. “The city of wanders” will remain hidden from those, who does’nt know precisely where to look and how to. No maps or compasses can ever show you the right way. No trains or horses are gonna take you there, unless they feel that your soul is in the right place. No bird or beast, my friend, will never lead or tell you the secret location, neighter to the way for the old, croation city of…
Orahovica. Or, as i like to call it – “The -if you know, you now- town”.

This was the goal, the point, the final destination of my training journey. No, the
journey, itself, was not a training for some bigger road trip or wild adventure. At least, in the beginnig, when i went on it, i did’nt knew it was. From the town named Zabok, i got on an iron horse to get me, directly, to the “if you know-you know town”, but, as i told you, no machine or living thing will take you there, uless your heart is purer the hightes mountain lake, and so i traveled. I traveled hard and long ultill i got to elder capital, called Zagreb, where i had to leave the train and swap it for another one, who was supposed to know better where to take me. But, apparenlty, i was too late. It have left the station two minets before my arrival there and so ducked was I by these circumstances and had to wait for two more hours for the next one to get seasoned and ready. Two hours have passed, three coffees have been drunk and i was ready to go back to my adventure. Hurrying i was, to get to the train, so i don’t miss it and then, fortunately, i did not. I was in the train, expecting it to be the one it should have been, but my hopes and expectations was destroyed when a man, at the rank of a conductor, came and saw my ticket.
Surprised, he asked me where am i going and so i told him where, back then, i did’nt now that the place i was going to is not an ordinary place for mortals to go to. If Orahovica does’nt want you to go there, fella, then, you just ain’t going! But i did not gave up so easy. Yes, i have been in train, taking me in the opposite direction, but was this enough to bring me down ? Absolutely not! So i abandoned this device at the very next station it stoped at. A village by the name of Dugo Selo. A very peaceful and quite empty place. At least, i tough so. But then, this guardian appeared. Probably, i’ll never know if he was a conductor, machinist or some angel, dressed like human, but i know he did his best to help me. I told him all about my plan and what i’ve been trough, since i got on the first train, untill now. His reaction confirmed me that, the place i was heading to, is not known by those who does’nt know it. But he still tryied to
help me solve my situation. He went inside an old, short building, which had a long, blue sign on it, where was wroten: “Dugo Selo”, with white letters. I was waiting for him outside, infront the door. I could hear him speaking with someone in there, of course, i could’nt understaned what they were saying to each other, because it was in their secret, almost dworven, language, but, after not too long, he came back, bringing just a tiny peace of paper in his right hand. On the paper he have wroten an elder magic, instructing me how to get to where i wished to. I could’nt read it, yes, for i was not inscribed in their croatish magic words, so he explained me. The magic said that i must wait there, for three whole hours, for another train, which shall take me to city Virovitica and there to wait for one more hour, for another train, which was supposed to take me to Osijek. But i should’nt get of there! I should get of at the stop before, at station by the name of Zdenci-Orahovica. And so, my waiting begane. When the first hour passed, i started to feel a little cold. Apparently, this place was runned by some evil forces, i could feel it! After the second hour passed, the daylight died and the night got birth to darkness. My stomach was protesting and rejecting to remain empty, but there was not a lot that could be done to fix this drama. Nor trademan, neigher animal was felt by me back then, but the fight was growing bigger, so something had to be done. That’s why, i finished the little burning elexir i had left, to cure my inner wounds and it helped a little bit against the hunger and the cold, but it did’nt gave me the ability of night vision. Nothing could! I struggled long and painfuly, the evil force’s spells were, slowly, tooking my all faith away. My will to fight was fading more and more with every minute. I could not keep resisting anymore. It was over! I was done! The evilness was winning. I was just about to give up, but then….It happend! I saw the light lighting stronger and stronger, cutting trough the darkness. I heard the great, loud sound of the lord’s horn, calling in the night, screaming my name, encouraging my victory and then. And then it came! It was astounding and powerful!
Gingantic! It’s scrapping, metal sound was blowing up, causing the darkness to squeak in suffering…. The train of the trains have came to save me from my doom and i, gladly, accepted it metalic hand.
From the moment i got in, everything changed. It was cold no more. I, still was feeling hungry, but not weak, infact, much stronger then before. But i was tired. Devastated. I managed to send a mailing dove to my best advisor – Matija, a might wizard, based in the national agency’s hightower, to inform her what i have been trough, where i am going and that i survived in good health of the body and the spirit. She knew about my journey and it’s destination. She was begging me not to go, but she knew i had to. Shortly after the dove flew away, my tiredness succeeded and took control over me. I tryied to fight, but it was pointless. Sleepness was my mind’s master now!
I have no clue how much time i have been dreaming, for it was so dark outside and i could’nt see my destiny, but my dreams got scattered by the comeback of the dove. I had an answer from Matija. Apparently, she had connections with the jedi-masters in Orahovica i
was going to, so she have informed them about my struggles trough the way there and, luckly, one of them- Master Bojan, have agreed to meet me at the stop in Virovitica, to pick me up and show me the secret way.
After not long riding on the secret path, me and Bojan arrived in the red cross temple, where the Orahovica’s jedi conceal is. I was starving, but my luck showed up once again, for we arrived right on time for dinner. The food was freshly catched and very tasty. I felt refreshed. Revived! My strength came back to me. Right there, at the dinner table, i met compatriots. Other fellows whit missions similar to mine. As it came out, they also were upholders of the burning elexirs, so, after dinner, we went together to the sacred trader and supplied ourselves with enough elexir for
the night.
While the elexir was burning our troubles, we spoke about each others missions here, in the jedi orden, our journies and tribulations trough the road. Time had passed and the wanders of the sleep submited all of us.
The morning after was the first official day of our training. It became immediatly. There was’nt any time to lose. We was sharp and quick as brazzers! Every night, since then, the food was like a blessing and the elexirs were growing stronger. There we learned how to fight against the forces of desaster, fear and loneliness.
There we became a real fellowship. Of caurse, as every fellowship, we’ve passed trough
difficulties and conflicts, but we never falled apart or under the power of hatred or despare. We stood strong, grouped, a real team, during all the obstacles, trough the whole time! We lived together, laughed and cried together and improved ourselves together. At the end, we had became one whole.
The training was completed in five days and everyone of us had to go back to their realms to protect it from harm and loath, untill the end of his service, so we splited our paths. But our connection as a group still remains strong and rooted as a mountain and, from now on, it can never be broken!
©Author: Yordan Andonov
©Photo: Yordan Andonov


Učenje je aktivnost koja zahtijeva punu pažnju, odmornost, koncentraciju i naravno, dobru pripremu. Većina hrvatskih učenika ima krivi pristup istom. Zanimaju ih ocjene i rezultati, a manje sam proces koji ih do toga dovodi. Važno im je zadovoljiti standarde, upisati željenu srednju školu ili studij, usrećiti roditelje… Manjka ima volje za napretkom i znanjem. Stoga je često učenje, odnosno neučenje, izvor nezadovoljstva i frustracija. Mnogi kažu kako im nedostaje motivacije, no ona nije i neće uvijek biti prisutna, zato je važno biti discipliniran.

Škole bi trebale biti zaslužne da prije svega, usmjere učenike na ono krucijalno. Mislim da je uz to i veliki problem nesamostalnost djece i mladih. No, ništa nije nerješivo, učenje se da naučiti!

Evo nekoliko savjeta:


Najbolje se uči na svojim greškama. Ukoliko ne nauče na prošli ispit i ocjena ih ne zadovoljava, djeca/mladi potrudit će se za idući put.


Važno je postaviti željene i realne ciljeve, a prije toga ;analizirati sebe, otkriti način na koji funkcioniramo da se možemo prilagoditi ciljevima i poboljšati u poljima koja su nam slabija, a ostati ustrajan.

  1. ORGANIZACIJA – Priprema je pola posla!

Za učenje je važno biti naspavan i koncentriran. Moramo početi na vrijeme i podijeliti gradivo u više dijelova da sve upijemo i naučimo, pa i ponovimo naknadno nekoliko uta.

  1. PAUZE

Za svakih od 20 do 30 min učenja preporučljivo je napraviti pauzu od 5 do 10 min.


Ako nam je udobno (stolica, temperatura sobe, tišina, rasvjeta, unutarnje zadovoljstvo …) onda neće biti distrakcija. Potrebno je imati dobru rutinu spavanja, vježbanja te pravilne i hranjive obroke!


Važno je učiti svakodnevno, na različite načine. Učenje ne mora biti zamorno, neprestano čitanje iz knjige ili skripte. Možemo pogledati edukativni film, pohađati radionice, slušati podcaste … Prema istraživanju koje je objavljeno u časopisu European Journal of Social Psychology, potrebno je između 18 i 254 dana da se formira određena navika. Dakle, do novog polugodišta ili semestra stignemo usvojiti rutinu učenja!

Autor: Petra Sente


Ovisnost o alkoholu

“Recite NE alkoholu i spriječite loše navike i posljedice.”


Alkohol stvara veliku ovisnost u svim dobnim skupinama. Ljudi često posežu za alkoholom zbog raznih situacija s kojima se susreću u današnjici. Na primjer: poslovni problemi, ljubavni problemi, problemi u obitelji itd. Ako postoji ovisnost, potrebno je potražiti stručnu

medicinsku pomoć psihijatra. Osoba koja je ovisna, sama mora pristati na pomoć koja joj je potrebna uz pomoć i potporu svojih bližnjih. Ne podržavam alkohol jer smatram da je alkoholizam bolest. Stvara osobu nasilnom , a to može dovesti do narušavanja mira u obitelji, ali i u okolini.

Kako alkohol nije dobar za okolinu, tako nije dobar ni za samog čovjeka jer stvara niz bolesti. Ljudi često misle da će utjehu naći u alkoholu, ali to nije tako jer na kraju se uvijek suoče sa stvarnošću. Neki posežu za alkoholom zbog društva, ali ako vam je netko pravi prijatelj neće vas tjerati na nešto što ne želite.Isto je i sa drugim situacijama u životu. Nemojte biti povodljivi, radite samo što vi želite i što mislite da je najbolje za vas. Recite NE alkoholu i spriječite loše navike i posljedice


Autor: Jasmina Marušić Piškor


Me, myself and Ajš

Merhaba! My name is Aysenur, but you can call me Ajš. You had chance to get to know me in December issue of magazine. You need to get used to me writing articles for now on, because I will be here in Mreža udruga Zagor for a full year. This article is for introducing myself. I came from Izmir, a gorgeous city in Turkey. As for my background, I have studied International Relations at Ege University, which

equipped me with negotiation skills and different disciplines. It is essential for me because International Relations are multidisciplinary and it means we can cooperate with different things. It has also made me knowledgeable about how Non-governmental organizations work on an international level which is

always useful for my perspective. Therefore, I realized I could get through with every part of life.

As I am a multitasking person, I have also worked during my time as a student. I worked at Greenpeace Mediterranean Turkey, which is a Non-governmental organization that works on climate change issue. I became highly competent in teamwork. All these years in this NGO helped me conflict resolution strategies. I have also organized many events and workshops to develop and present these organizations campaigns to people as a local volunteer. It taught me how powerful volunteering is and that we can change almost everything if we believe in ourselves.

In that time, I have participated in many trainings like Greenpeace International Leadership, Greenspeakers, and I became an instructor in some of them. I am still volunteering as a local group facilitator remotely in this NGO.

All these things are about my idealist part. One part of me is realistic and the other part is dreamy. I can explain myself like a harmony of opposite. I feel deeply about both of them. To talk about my dreamer side, I always laugh, dance, act like a movie character. I like taking photos, especially with my film cameras (analog photography). While taking photos, I prefer to change some things, add

shadow or light motive. By this, I try to show that another possibility is possible.

I take photos for a long time, somewhere around ten years. Taking photos is the best way to express myself and show my point of view. This shows why I’ve been taking pictures for so many years. I prefer to use analog cameras because it is a good way to understand the process. I’ll write about this more detail in future articles of this magazine (stay tuned).

The thing that has made me feel the best in past few years has been the lindy hop dance. I am interested in old times, vintage things, and jazz music so lindy hop is the best combination of all of them.

Dance nights are like a time machine because all of us are wearing vintage clothes, and sometimes jazz bands are playing. You can forget everything about that day, and enjoy. As a result, this dance has an important place in my life.

My self-healing method is also painting. I paint items such as refrigerators and tables. When I focus on the painting, I feel calm. All my thoughts are getting clear in my head. My other option for feeling better is socializing. I like sharing emotions and memories. I think getting together is our best power and we must realize it.

I guess I explained myself in few words for now; there must be something to write about in future issues. I hope you will stay tuned and find out more about analog photography, painting, lindy hop and me.

Author: Aysenur Kursun

Photo: Aysenur Kursun

The EYE from the eye of Jura

The event in Varaždin really felt like the pupil of my volunteering eye so far. Luckily, my blinking xmas hat was with me. I bet it wouldn’t be the same without her. She was blinking vibes everywhere, the whole time, for two days straight. I knew it was about to flow well since the very beginning. I could feel it! The mood was all around even before we go there. The road itself was moody! In the good way, mean. I was even lucky enough to grab the Black Friday offer of a lifetime. Not my lifetime, though, but still, I bombed Marija’s head about it. Indeed, “The Eye” was exactly that good as I expected. Neither more, neither less. Right in the bullsEYE.

The event was based in a nice communistic looking-like, from outside, building, but; actually, quite wide and opened once you go in. The locals call it, “The arena”, I suppose. Although, the impressive, was the view in front of it. Lovely river crossing peaceful, green area, full of trees and, right next to the river, two, three little, wooden houses. The day was sunny, almost warm and very calm, so the panorama fitted well as duck.

We entered in “The Arena” to leave our jackets and grab a cup of coffee. From the first step I made inside, the youth spirit punched me right in the face so hard, that a smile popped on it from ear to ear. It was full of people bouncing around, laughing, drinking coffee or some other stuff and communicating in person with each other. I felt like a student in his first day at university.

We took our cups and went outside to drink the coffees out of them. Sat on the sofas in front. No wind. Just sun, blue sky and good vibes. Marija was checking the daily program; I was watching the people and just chilling. It was so good to be around so much teen spirit again. I know even a full month haven’t past since I came, but the loneliness in Zabok was, already, pulling me down, so this whole thing felt like resurrection.

Half an hour later the cups was empty and the time for our first EYEctivity had come. The theme was “Effective Housing Policies for Young People – Wishful Thinking?”. If you ask me why all of the words are starting with big letter, I don’t know. If you ask me what does “Wishful Thinking” means, you’re gonna get the same answer. But, besides all the questions without answers, the panel was, indeed, a good opening, I would say. I’m skipping the specifics of what the guys with the microphones on the stage were talking about, ‘cause it was, mostly, all the same. A lot of complaining from three dudes from different countries with, pretty much, identical problems and reasons why, at the age of thirty something, they are still living in their parents homes and some promises, from a local politician, that the things will, eventually, be fixed. Don’t think that I am mocking only at another countries. One of the three dudes complaining was a Bulgarian law student.

The panel was around two hours long, so, after it, we still had time for a fast coffee before lunch. We ate lunch in the inside sport playground so the feeling was like something between school and prison lunchtime. I loved it!

There was a lot of free time left until the next activity, but, gladly, there were also a lot of things to do in it. There was this table with some plastic cups and ping-pong balls, right next to the reception, like for a beer-pong, but, instead of beer, inside the cups were pasted some little peaces of paper. The game was, in fact, a EU-pong, if I can call it this way. The same as beer-pong, but when you put the ball in the cup, your opponent does not drink beer, but reading out loud the question, about the EU, written on the paper in the cup. A question that you have to answer to. Odd game, by my opinion, but I learned some things about the EU, realized how less I know about it and how good I am in throwing balls in cups. Time past and we went for the last activity for the day. It was not important, neighter interesting, for me, so i won’t tell you about it, but i will tell you about the performance that i watched after that.. Both, a good and the worst thing in the “art culture” these days is that literally everything is considered either “art” or “performance”, doesn’t matter if it’s meaningless or stupid, or whatever it actually is. Even a dead fly on a car’s front window is called “art” nowdays. The same case here with that. It was some sort of mix between contemporary dancing, mimic and unbelievably bad used elements of stand-up, all together mashed up, like potatoes, by one bold guy, not one by one, but all together, at the same time. But, I must be honest, it was quite entertaining. There, at this performance, after all activities, I met my first Croatian friends, except Marija, of course. Two girls, Bruna and Anita, students in Varaždin and their friends, who, after that became my friends as well, Sara and Stiven. Very cool people, they made me really good impression and, even, almost petted me, by buying me a drink. We played billiard and drank some more. In that one night, I became native. On the next day, everybody there knew who I am, even the bartender lady, who’s the most important person, you know. I think it was because of my hat.

 The Eye part two

The whole event was in two days, so it shall be “The Eyes”, I guess. Anyway. The second day started more comfortable and less enthusiastic, because the slight form of a …headache I had. We went directly at the first activity this time. Something like “TikTok as Your Future CV.”, led by some blond Croatian dude, a “tiktoker”, apparently. Yes, I was surprised too, that this is considered a job. But, as it seems, it is… And a not bad payed one, by his words. I’ll save my real opinion about it, probably, you already presume what it is anyway.

I was more excited about the dance workshop after it. A bit wierd, like a living cartoon, contemporary dancer lady, from Poland, was leading it. Surprisingly, I wasn’t the only guy there, like at the bold’s dude performance, twenty something girls and me. At this workshop, there were between ten and fifteen girls, me and two, three more dudes. So I didn’t felt so special anymore. This was the first contemporary style workshop that I’ve been at. Before it started, I didn’t knew it’s going to be contemporary dancing. But it was, actually, kind of fun. I even met one girl there.

After the workshop and the break we had this activity about “Active Youths” or something like that. The group was filled with, maybe, thirteen, fifteen people. Three, four Croatian guys, a boy from Serbia, Romanian girl, two Spanish dudes, for which I wasn’t sure if they knew exactly where they are, Marija and me. And the moderator and the event volunteers, of course. The point of this gathering, apparently, was to complain about our countries, while looking at meaningless, but colorful diagram on the screen. I was pretty close to leave, but instead, I decided to say something about the whole thing. For my grand surprise, they actually heard me. For some reason, everybody seemed to be quite interested in what I’m saying or the way I’m saying it, so I kept talking. I don’t remember, precisely, what I’ve said, but I remember that I talked a lot and, I don’t know why, they listened through my whole speech. Some of them even asked me questions and came to interact with me after gathering ended. One of them was the Romanian girl. She appeared to be working for the Romanian national agency. Said that she’ve enjoyed my loudly, mocking talking and wanna do some cooperation things in future, so I gave here my facebook and she added me.

After everything ended, there was a big party. Burak was playing. It was a hard, fat boom-boom, indeed! I can say only good this about it, but it’s a story for another time.

The point of this tale, kids, is:

Never miss a chance to go to such an events and NEVER be afraid to raise your voice, when you disagree with something, because, if you don’t, you won’t have connections in the Romanian national agency, but most importantly, for real, absolutely, for sure, get yourself a blinking xmas hat!

Autor: Yordan Andonov
Fotografije: Marija Gebert;@ep_interpreters


1. Molim te da nam se predstaviš.
Pozdrav, moje ime je Leon Voloder, imam 25 godina, dolazim iz Stubičkih Toplica, trenutno sam zaposlen u Mreži udruga Zagor kao Suradnik na projektima, polaznik sam HNS-ove akademije za trenera i igram za Nogometni klub Tondach Bedekovčina.
2. Koliko dugo igraš nogomet i koja si pozicija?
Nogomet igram od svoje 6. godine i igram na poziciji golmana.
3. Odakle želja baš za tim sportom? Tko te motivirao? Koji su ti uzori i najdraži klub?
Od malena sam uvijek htio biti s loptom, nabijati loptu i igrati se s loptom. Iskreno, sam sebi sam bio najveća motivacija, moji roditelji nisu bili previše sportski tipovi, odnosno, nisu se bavili sportom, ali sam uvijek uživao njihovu veliku podršku u tome što igram nogomet, a i još uvijek imam njihovu veliku podršku. Prva nogometna utakmica koje se sjećam da sam gledao, je bila utakmica kluba kojeg sam navijač i dan danas, Arsenal Football Club iz Engleske. Nogometnih uzora i omiljenih igrača imam više, kako su prolazile godine i kako je nogomet evoluirao, tako su se i moji uzori i omiljeni igrači evoluirali i mijenjali. Pa su tako neki od njih, Thierry Henry, Francesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba, Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, Ricardo Kaka, Luka Modrić, Eduardo da Silva…
4. Koji je tvoj najveći uspjeh do sada?
Najveći i najdraži uspjeh je osvajanje lige NSZŽ 2008/2009 s NK Zaprešić, gdje smo u zadnjem kolu pobjedom na domaćem terenu osvojili naslov prvaka. Bili smo nova ekipa, sastavljena na ljeto, ali odličnim vođenjem i treniranjem od gospodina trenera
Ninoslava Kordića, smo ostvarili najveći uspjeh kluba do tada. Uspjeh je još draži i veći, što sam tada, u tom klubu, stekao prijatelje za cijeli život i kada god se vidimo i pričamo o toj sezoni i tome razdoblju, osmijesima nema kraja.
5. Po tvojem mišljenju, bave li se mladi dovoljno sportom?
Mladi se dovoljno bave sportom, ali, isto tako, jako lako odustanu od sporta.
6. Što bi preporučao mladima koji se žele okušati u nogometu, treba li im za to puno pripreme? Koje?
Naravno da treba puno pripreme, bilo da igraju amaterski nogomet ili profesionalni nogomet. Nogomet se razvija takvom brzinom, da praktički svaki dan izađe nešto novo, nova taktika, novi smjerovi, te se dnevno treba educirati i biti spreman na promjene.
I za kraj…

Autor: Marija Gebert/ Leon Voloder
Fotografija: NK Tondach Bedekovčina /Leon Voloder

“JURA”- New volunteer in Mreža udruga Zagor

Hello there, good people of Croatia!

I’ve been asked to write something like an introduction text about myself, you know, some sort of explanation of who I am and why the hell I’m here, so, here it is. My name (originally) is “Йордан” or, as the western dudes likes to say it: “Jordan”. 

In my hometown and around my family and friends I’m more known as “Yori”. Now, here, almost religiously, I’ve been renamed to “Jura” in the second after my arrival. By the way, you are all welcome to the ceremony, if there is such. (Some religious jokes… no offence, you know. ;D)

I am coming from an ancient, as they say, mystical country called- Bulgaria! You are now, probably, wondering: “What’s so mystical about this place?” And, yes! Exactly! It’s so mysterious that nobody has ever even heard of it, except the people living there. 

So I packed my cases, grabbed my stick and left my almost imaginable piece of land, I dropped my quite unprofessional kind of a job as a writer (not really ;), I’ve quit my drama acting education and my hobby as a hip-hop dancer to come here, in this beautiful country, for a whole damn year, to do my shit.

But, first of all, you have the right to know why the heck did I come here.

Here I am as a “volunteer”, a young European citizen, who’s getting paid monthly, arranged with a hell of an apartment and I didn’t even pay for the tickets to come here, doing… I don’t know what, actually… 

I mean, I’m here to promote some European values or something… apparently… I don’t know, I came for the free experience, to be honest. But, if I have to promote something anyway, then I would prefer to promote exactly this. The opportunity for this free experience, that has been given to me and is, also, given to you, just like that. I never knew this before, you know. That, there is some way to live for free… nobody is telling you about this in Bulgaria. I was just lucky to be at the right place, at the right time, knowing the right people. 

Sounds like a dream, right? That, you can just go, wherever the heck you want. Absolutely free, even better, getting paid to do your stuff, practise your hobbies, fill up your CV, experience an adventure or just… to try a new life.

So, that’s the reason why I’m here. I came to live a little. And for all of you, for all like me, that isn’t having a clue where the heck your life is going, the best advice that I can give you is just… GO!

You aren’t losing anything. (The European Union is paying! ;))


This sounds like some motivational speech. You can just print it and post it in your office’s toilets.



The 2nd and last Transnational Project Meeting of the project “Fostering a Culture of Participation: Mainstreaming Local Youth Councils in Europe” took place from 18th – 19th October 2022 in Namur, Belgium.

The meeting was hosted by CRECCIDE and gave the opportunity to explore the publication produced during the project, evaluate the different phases and activities, and explore upcoming cooperation opportunities.

The publication “Local Youth Councils – mapping practices”, a collection of different approaches, allowed the 5 country partners to reflect on their national, regional and local approaches and establish bridges with other relevant structures and actors. The practices presented are meant to showcase various possibilities, providing practical examples of the applicability, transferability, and implementation of different solutions and dimensions, such as the number of people involved, the age average, the link between local governance, its objectives, and resources available. Although the inside perspectives collected are not an exhaustive transcription of the interviews, they are very insightful in comprehending different perceptions and feelings regarding the same participatory structure.

In the framework of the project, one of the activities was the “Quality Assurance in Local Youth Councils” training course, which took place from 2nd – 8th May 2022 in Portimão, Portugal. The training course was an opportunity to engage 23 participants from the four partners’ countries and created a worthy space in which more than 50 people, young people, youth workers, and decision-makers, shared their expertise and insights.

On the last day, the consortium still had the possibility to get to know in more detail the support provided by CRECCIDE to Belgium municipalities and its tools, approaches, and mechanisms of child and youth participation.

The project was implemented by DYPALL Network in cooperation with CRECCIDE (Belgium), Città di Collegno (Italy), Krapinsko-zagorska županija (Croatia) and Mladinski svet Ajdovščina (Slovenia). It is funded under the Erasmus+ KA2 Exchange of Good practices programme by the BIJ – Bureau International Jaunesse National Agency.

The presenters of Krapinsko-zagorska županija were members of regional youth council Hrvoje Novak (president od RYC) and Marija Gebert (member).


Written by: DYPALL Network


Once you’ve been abroad, it’s hard to stay and live in your own country. You always want to see new places, see new lives.


This month I want to explain my first solo trip to other countries! I went on my first solo trip on 23 September. Deciding where I should go was difficult for me. Because I was trying to go to many countries but also I had to think about my free days and budget. I made many routes and changed my plans. But I realized that when I made a long route, I was getting more anxious. So I decided to make an easy route plan.


First Route: Zagreb -> Sarajevo -> Mostar -> Kotor -> Dubrovnik -> Zagreb


First I went to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. I stayed at a hostel near Baščaršija. When I arrived at the hostel, I started to meet people. Almost everybody in the hostel was a solo traveller. Somebody was travelling for months, somebody was doing a short trip but a common feature was being solo. We shared our memories, gave advice about travelling, and talked about our experiences and countries. I stayed two nights in Sarajevo but after two days, I didn’t want to leave Sarajevo. 


After Sarajevo, I went to Mostar. Mostar was amazing. Vibes, the old bridge and the lake look great. Also when you learn more about Sarajevo and Mostar’s history, you feel closer to the country. My Mostar trip was short. I stayed the night there. I think, one day is enough to visit Mostar but if you stay longer you won’t get bored because Mostar’s atmosphere is pleasant. I recommend that you join Sheva’s Free Walking Tour. He is local and he knows almost everything about Mostar and Bosnia Herzegovina. It takes around 3 hours but I think you won’t get bored, especially if you are curious about Mostar’s history and traditions.


My next station was Kotor, Montenegro. First of all, Kotor is an amazing city. When I arrived at Kotor, I loved the mountain. Mountains are so close to you. You can hike around the mountains. Then a great view awaits you.


I stayed at a party hostel in Kotor. Every evening, guests were meeting and playing beer pong. So it was great for meeting new people. If I talk about my travelling route in Kotor, first I visit the old town. The old town is so small. Then I hiked to the mountain for around an hour and arrived at the Castle of San Giovanni. If you go to the fortress from the old town, you should pay 8 Euro and for sure it is easier but if you use a hike way, you can go to the fortress for free.


I sit a bit in the fortress and just watch the view. Most of the people were sitting and enjoying the landscapes. After going back to the old town, my legs were shaking a bit because of walking but it was worth it. I had just two nights in Kotor so I didn’t rest after hiking. Directly I passed to Perast. 


Perast is a small town near Kotor. If you are bored in Kotor because it is crowded, you can go to Perast and sit in calm. Because there aren’t many people and you can go by bus in 20 minutes. If you want to get information about anything in Kotor, there is a Tourist Information Desk in front of the old town gate. You can ask if you need help and get a Kotor map. In my opinion, Perast was not special but for sitting and drinking coffee, it can be a nice place. 


In the evening, I went back to the hostel and played beer pong with others. I remembered that I slept just 3 hours in 34 hours because I wanted to travel around Montenegro but also spend time with people. So I chose to stay awake and continue to have fun! But I felt younger when I did this. I can sleep later but I can’t come to Kotor every day and meet these people.


And in addition, a hostel is a good option for solo travellers because every day new people can come and you can meet new people. Some travellers choose to stay at least 4-5 nights in a place. Sometimes for a few months. They say owing to this situation, they don’t have to rush and they can travel more calmly. I liked this situation. When I stay one or two nights, I have to do everything in a day and I have to say goodbye to people that I met soon. I would prefer to stay more but it can be difficult if you don’t have time and enough budget. 


Anyway, in the morning I left for Kotor and passed to Dubrovnik. The bus takes five hours from Kotor to Dubrovnik. When you arrive in Dubrovnik, you should walk half an hour (3 KM) to the old town from the bus station. I can say that Dubrovnik is a nice city, especially its vibes, but I had a bit of a high expectation because of people’s compliments. For me, Dubrovnik looks like Split, but more expensive. When I visit somewhere, I want to see many places: churches, fortresses, mosques, monasteries etc. But in Dubrovnik, if you want to go to the Wall of Dubrovnik, you should pay 250 Kuna. I cannot say whether it is worth it or not, probably if I could see it, I would like it. But if you have a limited budget, paying these prices is hard. So Dubrovnik is a nice place but I didn’t stay in Dubrovnik. I had a night bus at 21:00 and went back to Zagreb. It takes about 12 hours by bus.


Second Route: Zagreb -> Sofia -> Skopje -> Zagreb


I won’t say that Sofia is my favourite city. Yes, there were great churches and places. But it is a big city and the city’s vibe was not exciting for me. But I was lucky because I met great people in the hostel. We spent time together all the time. I loved Saint Alexander Nevsky Church. Also if you are curious about arkeology, you can go to Saint Sofia Church and Underground Museum.


I was planning to stay two nights in Sofia but I didn’t want to leave those people so I stayed one more night. I had a bit of a funny memory there. In the hostel, there was a room where 18 people were staying. First, when I heard it I was shocked. Because I didn’t see this option on I learned that you can see it just on the hostelworld website. When I see the room, it looks a bit weird because it is downstairs and looks like a prison. But I decided to stay in this room on my third day in Sofia because I thought it would be more fun and it was cheaper than my room. First, I paid 36 euros for two nights and stayed with 8 people but I learned that another room is 8 euros! If you are doing a budget trip, it can make a huge difference. By the way, there was one more room upstairs like downstairs. But I think downstairs is better. Scarier but there is more space. 


Anyway, My Sofia journey finished and I went to Skopje on 11 October. The bus takes about 4,5 hours from Sofia to Skopje. When I arrived at the bus station, I couldn’t find wi-fi. So I tried to find the hostel with the address and offline map. It was a bit hard and I decided to ask people. People were kind and helped me. Also, I saw three women on the road and when I asked them the hostel’s address, I learned that they also stayed at that hostel! I like this kind of convenience. I realized that there are a lot of Turkish people in Skopje. Also, there is a Turkish Bazaar (Old Bazaar) in Skopje. So language was not a boundary for me in Skopje. For example, one day I wanted to buy a burek (pastry), I spoke in English but the owner of the bakery answered in Turkish.


Another day, I went to Millenium Cross. There are two important places outside of Skopje. Millenium Cross and Matka Canyon. You can go to Millenium Cross by bus but I prefered hiking and walking until the cable car (Vodno). I walked for almost two hours. If you like hiking, I recommend it because the forest is nice. But you should know that you will be tired at the end of the road. If you have hiking shoes, wear them and don’t forget water. When I arrived at the cable car, I used it but also you can continue hiking. But I was tired and I didn’t have time for more hiking. And the view from the cable car is amazing! You can watch Skopje and the forest from above. And the tickets are so cheap! A two-way cable car ticket is 100 Macedonian Denar (1,5 Euro). I would recommend looking at the cable car time. 


The view from Millenium Cross was great. You can see Skopje. But Millenium Cross is in Vodno Mountain and the mountain was in the fog. I couldn’t see the view a lot but still, I liked the landscape and spent an hour there. I think, whether you like a place or not depends on your point of view. 


I went back to the center and walked around the centar. If you go to Skopje, you will realize that you will see a lot of statues. I like some of them. I felt like I was seeing a historical scene. But some of them are a bit unnecessary for me. If the statue is meaningful, it can be great but for example, the statue of a woman jumping into the sea means nothing to me.


Another day, I joined a free walking tour. I highly recommend this tour. Zoran is local and he explained his city in a funny way. I like his energy. It was almost three hours but I didn’t get bored. 


After Skopje, I spent time in the center and went to the bus station for Zagreb. The bus from Skopje to Zagreb takes 12 hours. I guess I got used to staying on the bus. It was not hard for me at that time.   


I can say that solo travelling was great. When I did it for the first time, I had some concerns. I was thinking, I will get bored, want to go home again, and cannot manage the trip. But when I started, I wanted to stay longer. I was upset when I went back home. Because when I see new places and meet people, I want to see more countries and cities. But I know that it is not ending. Once you’ve been abroad, it’s hard to stay and live in your own country. You always want to see new places, see new lives.




  • You can stay in a hostel. Hostels are generally cheaper than hotels. And you can meet new people. Hostels have 8-bed mixed, 6-bed mixed etc. Depends on the hostels. You can check or hostelworld. People write reviews about hostels. You can check the reviews and choose your hostel. I recommend that you choose a hostel near the center of the city. It will be easier to travel around the city.


  • Couchsurfing: If you want to stay in a place for free, you can use Couchsurfing. Some people may want to host you. If you wish to meet local people, you can also use Couchsurfing.


  • If you buy a night bus when you go somewhere, your accommodation will be free. Sleeping on a bus can be hard but a good way for a budget trip. 


  • You can join a free walking tour. There are free walking tours in most countries. Tour guides explain the history of the city, culture, people, tradition and more in these tours! They work tip-based. If you like touring, you can give a tip to a tour guide. 


  • If it is your first solo trip, I recommend that you check all of the tourist places beforehand and make a plan. For example, “First day I will visit these places, second place these places etc.” If you know what you can do in the city, you will not be bored because your days will be full. When you get used to being a solo traveller, you can be more spontaneous, if you want. I always check before where I can visit.


  • If you cannot manage your first solo trip or you didn’t like it, I recommend that you should give it a second chance. Sometimes, journeys can be great but also can be hard and boring. All of these things are experiences. 


Writer: Evin Arslan

Photos: Evin Arslan


There are a lot of old and new European Solidarity Corps volunteers around the world and they have great memories. Let’s check out volunteers’ unforgettable memories! 


Marija Ratković, From Serbia to Italy


Laboratorio 53 focuses on giving different kinds of support to immigrants. Legal and psychological. But except for that, they also make a gathering every Thursday and people cook together there. Immigrants cook something from their country or some typical Italian dishes. They play different games and socialize. And we often went to lunch with them. The first time I went there, a group of people really moved me. I remembered that I had my eyes full of tears because while seeing them smile, happiness just because people are coming there. Because it was like escaping all the horrible things that they lived for them. They usually live in group homes. It is not like normal living even if they are in Rome. So coming there was really nice for them. That was one of the best moments that influenced me. 


María Isabel Ruiz Bonaque, From Spain to Poland


I think I will never forget the first time I hitchhiked. Sępólno Krajeńskie is a small village in Poland. So, we didn’t always have a good combination for taking the bus or train. I remembered one weekend I really wanted to visit a castle and I talked with my friend. We couldn’t find a bus or any transportation. And we said let’s hitchhike. My first experience with that was amazing. We took several cars, and we met a lot of kind, funny people. And we finally visited the castle. 


Weronika Tessar, From Poland to Croatia


My special moment during the project is connected to my work. We had a youth exchange and I was responsible for leading the activity. There are small groups of around three people in this activity. One person in a group is a listener. The task of the listener is to sit and don’t talk, don’t say any word. And her/his group are saying good things about him/her. The group has four minutes to talk only about the good and positive things about this listener. At the end of the time, the listener only says thank you. I was leading this workshop and of course, everyone has a chance to be a listener. I remember how amazing looking those people were who opened their hearts and said all good things about others. People were hugging, and crying, and they were so happy that they had a chance to focus only on positive things because on a daily basis maybe we don’t think that we are good enough or we just noticed bad things about ourselves. If you see yourself from a different perspective it can be really surprising that you have so many good qualities, you are so talented. I love this workshop. This is my favourite memory from my volunteer work.


Amena Reda, From Egypt to Croatia


I had Arabic literacy classes with one of the women. Because they are facing problems learning the Croatian language. After only two sessions, she decided to join the Croatian class. So I was really happy. It is a mental game at the end. Learning a language is not really hard but she just needed a kind of push, a very small push for confidence. I think the unforgettable moment in the whole project is that you can see an instant impact on people.


Asmin Ayçe İdil Kaya, From Turkey to Bulgaria


There are a lot of nice moments that I had. But if I choose one of them, I want to choose something more valuable for me. I was staying in Sofia for a few weeks to visit my friend there and I was staying at my friend’s house. His name is Angel. We were going out, partying, and meeting with friends. We were coming back home and we were very hungry when we arrived home and we were sitting in front of the fridge and talking about life, people that we met. We didn’t have a lot of worries and it was nice to come home. We were comfortable. It sounds so basic but when I remember those days it was a very nice memory from those days.


Dino Švraka, From Bosnia Herzegovina to Croatia


One of my unforgettable moments was when we had a green conference. We were part of the green conference and I was standing there on our stand and speaking with people. The majority of them were students. One guy came to me and asked me about our project and I started to present the project. After listening he liked it and asked me for my contact number. I gave it but I didn’t know who that guy was. After two or three days, he got back to us with our email and I learned that he was one of the owners of the biggest automobile company in the world. So basically he is the best for electric cars and he decided that maybe help us. 


Arianna de Julio, From Italy to England


I remember that we had some evenings with my flatmates and other volunteers. They were pretty funny. We used to organize parties in our houses. It was summer and nice. The important moment was when we were trying to go back to normal life. So having parties, having fun, and being together was new. It used to be normal in the past before covid and it was not normal anymore. So it was strange but at the same time, I was really happy because I was living in a place that was my dream. Also, another unforgettable moment is probably my long walks close to the seaside because Bournemouth is close to the sea. The weather and sunset were great. 


*The stories are taken from the “Stories of the ESC Volunteers” podcast channel made by Evin Arslan and Mreža udruga Zagor.


*Photos are taken by volunteers.