The EEF team from Gorj in an Erasmus+ project in Rome!

Emanuela Tulpan, English teacher

As representative of Euro Education Federation, Gorj, I was delighted to become partner in Music Builds Communities, an Erasmus+ Youth Exchange organised by “Orchestra Imrovvisata”, Rome. We put together a team of young people from various parts of Romania, with an interest in music and a background in youth work. What made the team even more special was that none had taken part in an Erasmus+ project before, and this was their first chance to receive a Youthpass.

Below are their brief impressions after the exchange in September 2022.

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Natanael Dragan, student

What can happen when you put over 30 people from 5 different countries together for 10 days? All start speaking the same language – and for “Music Builds Communities” the common language was of course music.

Everyone came with different levels of musical knowledge, and, though fearful in the beginning that we would embarrass ourselves, we discovered that you can’t go wrong when it comes to improvising music. You just have to enjoy and live in the present, and this is exactly what we did in Capranica, Italy.

It was a privilege for me to lead the team that represented Romania, and I am very proud of everyone’s contribution. We were really united and “in tune” because we knew one another before the project (three of us being siblings!)

We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the organisers www.orchestraimprovvisata.com for making every aspect of the exchange worthwhile, and also to our sending organisation www.euroeducation.ro for a really memorable experience.

Alexandra Belciug, graduate

First of all, the location surprised me pleasantly. Beautiful view, big space, green and clean, overall an amazing place. Also, the welcoming was warm and the people there, who organized this project were lively and happy.

If I could turn back time I would do it again, I would repeat those 10 days several times, because this project brought together different people from different cultures and still reminded us that we are not so different.

I will never forget what I learned there and I want to use these new skills, to call them that, to coordinate, a choir to produce something new, a new sound, a music that everyone likes.

I am grateful that such projects exist. I think the tears at the end were a proof of what this project meant to people: community and communication through music.

Stefan Dragu, high school student

A moment lasts for seconds but the memories last forever.

I never would have thought to play improvised music, in the middle of Rome. But this project surprised me. We made music on the streets in Rome, in an open bar in Capranica, in a schoolyard, and it was perfect.

For me, this was a unique opportunity that came one week before the exchange due to a vacancy in the Irish team. So, the organiser invited me to join the team, as representative for Targu Jiu. At first, I was not sure if I should go, because it meant missing school. But then I decided that non-formal education is as important as the formal, and it was finally my chance to participate in an Erasmus+ project.

And I was right, this project taught me so much. Beside new music skills, this project helped me to get out of my comfort zone and it taught me to show kindness and understanding to others. I learnt a lot from everyone there, and it took me little time to make new friends. Even if our cultures were different, we had one thing in common, and that thing was Music.

Cristina Belciug, graduate

When the time came to go on the exchange, I was nervous because it is difficult for me to communicate with new people, especially in English, which I am not very good at, but the fact that they were very welcoming helped me a lot.  What I liked most was the fact that every day we learned interesting things about music, how to collaborate with others and what it means to lead a group that plays different instruments.  It didn’t matter which country we came from, we all got along well and were able to enjoy this experience.

Lidia Andrei, student

My first Erasmus+ experience and trip abroad will always remain in my heart. These 10 days passed too quickly, but they are one of the best experiences that I had in my entire life. This project helped me get out of my comfort zone, socialize, make friends, it ignited my desire for music and even helped me improve my English.

It also gave me the opportunity to see how beautiful Rome is. The day we spent visiting the city together was perfect – made even more so by actually seeing the Pope and hearing him speak from his balcony in the Vatican!

I would like to relive those moments again. I miss the Capranica location, the evenings when we sang on the street in Rome, the friends I met, the music we created, I miss everything and everyone in this project…

Emma Serban, student

I did not know what to expect from this project, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences that I had in my entire life. I was once more put in the position where I had to exceed my limits and get out of my comfort zone, by conducting a band and improvising in front of so many people.

The relationships that were built over those days, I am sure are going to last and I know I want to share what I have learned there with my friends and other teenagers here in Romania, because what I realised in this project is that music is truly for the soul and it connects people so well, even when they have different beliefs and opinions.

Something that I want to keep in mind and I heard during the project was that “fear is the fence of the comfort zone”, and in that moment a lot of things made sense to me… I found the answer to “how can I overcome that fear?” and that was possible because of everyone telling me “you can do that” or “you have to do it”. So, “encouraging” would be one of the words that describe the atmosphere we had at Music Builds Communities.

If I were to repeat this experience, I would definitely say YES.

Daniel Belciug, MA student

At first, I didn’t have any expectations, I heard that it’s going to be about music and that we were supposed to perform in front of everybody so I thought we will embarrass ourselves. But when I actually got there and saw the place and started to meet everyone, it felt like a dream, to be honest. Everyone was so nice and open and down-to-earth, I never believed that I would click so fast with such a random group of strangers.

The schedule was good, the food was also really good and the activities were top-notch. I really want to show others what I’ve learned there and keep everything in my memory because it was amazing. I totally enjoyed every single thing that we did and most of all, the relationships we’ve created.

The whole project shows how music can literally connect everybody, even though we all spoke different languages, we were able to talk through music and that was the most wonderful part. I truly do miss all of them, especially some great friends that I made there, and I really hope to see everyone again someday, because my heart and mind are still there!

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