At first glance in Munich, my expectations circled around Bavarian sausages and all of the other wonders that Germany gave to mankind. We (the WYA Croatian “ambassadors”: Lucija, Ivan and Stipe) were welcomed to a chilling 1˚C and a Christmas atmosphere worthy of the Nutcracker. By the time we got to the hostel, after circling around the city because the S-Bahns and U-Bahns are made to relive Pac Man’s story, a cloud of reconsideration gathered in our minds and started mixing with the foggy weather. But as soon as we saw the Portuguese WYA squad in the lobby, suntanned and sarcastic, a rainbow of wheat beer connected broken bonds by the misdeed of Ricardo Quaresma (#NeverForgetEuro2016). Sharing a room with the English duo, roomies Shah and Daniel, ended up with long debate on Brexit instead of a nightcap-definitely not Ivan’s cup of tea.
Day NN (aka Workshop Days)
The only thing I can say and be certain of is that we woke up early every day and hugged our pillows too late. Everything in between, from workshops to leisure time, literally flew too fast for any decent description. WYA Germany organized our accommodation, transportation and meals everyday in a manner of an A+ travel agency. Workshops were moderately intensive, very educational and interactive: discussions about important topics and best practices in advocacy seemed more like a nerdy friends’ get-together (maybe not as cool on the outside, but we actually enjoyed every minute of it).
That leads us to the most amazing part of this project – the people. As international coffee breaks and festive lunches passed by, I was constantly surprised by the many talents of truly amazing individuals from Austria, Spain, Romania, Portugal, England and Germany. All those people created an absolutely unforgettable atmosphere. Our final assignment was creating a solidarity campaign, and during a viewing of really funny videos made by us, I realized that the best campaign for solidarity was this entire project. Appreciating others’ backgrounds, promoting authentic inclusivity and renouncing violence Satyagraha style when people put on alarms to wake everybody else (but themselves) up are just a few of many useful lessons I learned while experiencing Munich. That is why I would recommend WYA projects similar to this to everyone (and thanks to WYA Germany & WYA Europe for making this happen).
In the mixture of happy circumstances, I forgot to be a tourist in Munich and try those promising sausages. The remaining few of us decided to mingle around Marienplatz and visit the famous English garden. With the surprising gift of sunny weather in December, I finally saw an oasis in form of an authentic Bavarian sausage stand. The rest is history.
Published: Dec. 18, 2019
Written by Stipe Orešković, a World Youth Alliance member from Croatia