Passion 4 Action
» When I decided to attend the Passion 4 Action project, I didn’t know what to expect. I
knew that my aunt ran leadership trainings and this was one I would be taking part in, but I didn’t know much else. The trip didn’t begin easily. When I arrived in Zagreb with my dad to meet the Spanish group, which I would become a part of, I was terrified. I remember sitting inthe hostel, hearing super fast Spanish zipping around, not understanding a word of it. However, even just this part of the experience made me grow as a person. Within 24 hours of this moment,I was already feeling much more comfortable. However, once again I was faced with meeting many more people from different cultures as the project started. At first, I was very scared to be the only one from the United States, but after only a day I had already met many new friends.
When the sessions started, I began to learn so much about myself and also about
leadership. One of the things that made this project such a unique experience was that so many of the sessions were taught by kids around my age. It made it very interesting and accessible to be learning from my peers. When we put on our final event in Gvozd it was inspiring to see the difference we made in the lives of the citizens, even just for a day. I had a rather pessimistic view going into the event, but when it happened and I got to see people participating in the events and stations we put together it was amazing.
One activity that was particularly interesting to me was when we filled out a
questionnaire about discovering our passions. While the questionnaire was difficult to answer, it raised some interesting questions for me to think about for the rest of the trip. While at the moment I was not able to answer many of the questions, by the end of the trip, if given the opportunity, I think the questions about my passions and goals in life would be much easier to answer. When I answered these questions it led to a very interesting conversation with one of the Croatian and Lithuanian participants, neither of whom I had talked to much before. This conversation helped me understand the lives of different people and was a bit of a turning point in my view on the other participants. I noticed that while these people, who led very different lives from mine, had different experiences and applications of their passions, we still shared many of the same values. I would not have thought beforehand that I had anything in common with a 20-year-old Lithuanian guy, just finished from traveling through Asia for 4 months, or a Croatian college student living in Split, but I did. I think that was the most interesting and inspiring part of the project for me; to see how I was able to connect with people from completely different backgrounds and notice the similarities between people everywhere. I think
many problems in the United States, such as racism and xenophobia, could be solved if people were to go out in the world and meet different types of people. I think it would be great to see a team of Americans in a future Erasmus+ program for this reason.
This trip had a big impact on the way that I view the world and people around me.
Overall, it has made me more aware. When we had a group project in history class, I was aware of the leadership role I took on in the group. I thought about the different qualities of a leader, and the map of the different directions of leadership. The things I learned during Passion 4 Action will be skills that I rely on for many years to come. I learned how to make a difference in a community, and to trust myself and my abilities. I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity.»