Participants will analyse their own identities to understanding society as a whole, their role within it, and find ways to make positive changes in their communities.

The Short Course will consist of workshops, discussions and interactive activities. It is divided into three sections that build on each other:

ME: Discovering borders

This first section of the short course will be dedicated to the concept of identity and self-discovery. Participants will share and analyse the meaning of nationality and community.

We address questions like:

What are borders and where do we as humans place them?

We ask participants to explore and question their own identities: am I shy or just polite, am I religious or rather community oriented?

To do so, we believe it is vital to create a safe space and encourage participants to think about how we can communicate effectively with people with different backgrounds and ways of thinking. Participants learn leadership skills and teamwork through self-reflection, and developing their communication skills (public speaking, discussion, debating, etc.). They explore their own strengths and start creating meaningful friendships across borders.

YOU: Understanding Borders

YOU, moves on from the self to understand the larger context of society. Now that we’ve defined what borders are, we aim to answer:

How are borders created?

How do we relate to other people around us?

What are the consequences of having borders?

We look at borders and the related current issues. Both on a global scale (developing countries and developed countries, continents and nations) and a societal scale (wealth, religion, race, gender and sexuality, political inclinations, etc). To look at society we will also use Turkey for examples to give participants the chance to learn about the local context. Our coordinator team includes several Turkish members who will help us explore and navigate life and society in Turkey.

US: Connecting Borders

For the final section, we look for solutions:

How can we connect borders?

How do we work together (as an “US”) to do so?

Participants will be equipped with the necessary confidence and tools to be active members of their communities: they will be empowered and learn how to empower others. We collaborate with local NGOs (e.g. environmental, refugee organizations) to do community service and connect with the local public. In 2017, for example, we did a beach clean-up. Participants discover how they can act for change and by doing community service they will be able to see the immediate impact of their actions.

Group Projects

As an extension of “US,” in small groups, participants will come up with their own projects/initiatives to take back to their home communities. Our coordinators/facilitators and NGO contacts allow for a wealth of knowledge that participants can build on. Participants will use their own creativity and motivation to come up with their own plan of action. This means that even after the Short Course ends, it will stay with the participants. Based on previous editions, we know that the Short Course has a lasting impact on the participants’ lives as well as those around them.

Umbrella Groups and Reflection

Divided into smaller groups, participants and facilitators, meet daily after dinner to reflect on the day. These meetings depend on the particular day: playing games after a challenging discussion or winding down after an active day by sharing stories or going for a walk. Umbrella groups creates a safe space and allows participants to build close bonds with their fellow participants and facilitators. We discuss participants’ favorite workshops and evaluate the day. This allows the coordinator team to provide participants with the best possible experience as the course continues and for following editions of the Short Course.

Activities and Self-Challenges

Every day, participants will partake in fun team building activities which help them get to know each other and to take advantage of our beautiful surroundings. These can include sports, arts or even just watching a movie together. Participants bring in an amazing variety of interest and talents and we encourage them to share it with the rest. An especially nice way to spend time outdoors, energize and use their creativity, is through Self-Challenges. Self-Challenges include an aspect of self-reflection to build confidence. We do a wide variety of active and creative activities that encourage participants to find and keep exploring their potential.