Seven Days in Novi Marof

Training Course “EU Goes Wisely”

It was December 3rd 2016 when Charles, Aleksandra and Elena arrived at the bus station in Novi Marof, a small town in north-western Croatia. What brought these three people in that town at that particular point of time was a training course on social entrepreneurship. When Dario, one of the trainers and organizers of the project at hand, picked them up from the bus station, he could immediately deduce that these guys were travelling light. Three suitcases, basic expectations and smiles. That was pretty much what they had.


Nonetheless, they were eagerly expecting the other participants from Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Czech Republic and apparently, the first day of the training course which would have given them some basic idea how the following week was going to look like. As in any Erasmus+ project, the get-to-know-each-other games were in no shortage. Once everybody started saying their names, saying “hi” in their own language, one could conclude that the group spirit was going to be a jolly one.



However, nobody would have thought that the energy of the group was going to be on a pedestal indescribable with adjectives or intensifiers. The participants demonstrated an outstanding level of open-mindedness, culture awareness and willingness to expand their knowledge of the nations and cultures involved in the project. What is more, they constantly and successfully applied these competences during the sessions and especially during the team work, which appeared to be one of the crucial aspects of the training course.

Now, this is the point when the narrator deems it necessary to convey details of the project which, as it turns out in the end, was a life-changing experience for a great number of people who participated in it. With a simple but meaningful title- EUGoesWisely, the project was focused on social entrepreneurship and one of its key goals was providing young people with basic competences and motivating them to become social entrepreneurs. During the multiple discussions, workshops and sessions, the participants were able to hear and learn about the concept of social entrepreneurship and simultaneously implement their existent or newly-acquired knowledge into an idea for a social enterprise. It is very important to highlight that the creativity and productivity were constantly regenerated through the exceptional team work and the support and availability of the two trainers, Armen and Dario.

The outcome of all the above-mentioned segments of the project were a few social enterprise ideas, well thought-out and tailored according to the measure of a particular country. The narrator also feels it is necessary to say a word or two for the last day of EuGoesWisely. Well, as it was unanimously agreed that the participants were smart and hard-working kids, Dario and Armen decided (or rather, had decided long time before the project even started) to reward them with even further useful information, this time regarding Erasmus+ projects and youth mobility. Thus, the participants got a general idea how to write a project, how to organize an efficient workshop and where and how to apply for Erasmus+ projects. This information came handy, everyone said, as the journey for some started in Novi Marof, but it for sure was not going to stop there.



And so it was December 11th when Charles, Aleksandra and Elena finished their breakfast in the small hotel in Novi Marof. They had already packed their suitcases. This time, however, they were not travelling light. Their luggage was extremely heavy! Their luggage was full of knowledge, ideas, skills, friendships, memories…If you are wondering whether that experience made an impact on them, I will tell you “yes, it did”. How do I know? An omnipresent narrator knows all, mind you. But he goes wisely, just like EU, just like the training course in Novi Marof, just like the youth that was there, left and shall no longer travel light.


USA Summer Work & Travel Alumni Macedonia (SWT Alumni) is a non-profit organization voluntarily formed by an independent group of students to exercise, care and align their interests and beliefs, as well as for performing the activities and interventions aimed at improving and promoting the position and status of the students who were, are and will be part of the USA Summer Work & Travel Program.

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