What did GROW mean for Elena, former trainer in Iasi? Let’s find out from her story:

Sometimes in life you encounter experiences which cannot be described since words appear inadequate. GROW was such an experience for me. It was one of the best in my life. Everything, from the training I received to the closing ceremony, was unique, educational and forced me to grow. For this reason, talking about my impressions will be small compared to its actual size. The word GRO(W)ZAV is enough by me to describe it. Laconic word yet perfect.

elena grow greciaThe project itself is constructed with a strong basis that screams for positive change in the adolescents, in the society, in us, and can be used as the stepping stone for a better tomorrow. However, if it was not the willingness of literally all parties involved, with extra credits to the participants, it would all be in vain. I thank deeply every single party for contributing for the project to bloom. It is beautiful and i am more than happy i was part of it.

The whole project was a challenge. Living abroad, receiving an exhausting,  yet fun and amazing, training for 5 days, working with the awesome adolescents, meeting internationals with different cultural background, mentalities and ideas as well as learning to cooperate and understand them, were not always easy things to do. However, it was worthy in a plethora of ways and I would not change it for the world.

The truth is, what would GROW be without the sweet excitement of challenge? What life would be without challenges? In my philosophy, life is about growth, which would never occur without the existence of challenges that are meaningful to us. If we do not force ourselves out of our comfort zone, face our fears and get exposed to experiences and people, then there would be no progress. But we are humans and have all the power and right to progress, and challenges stand as triggers.

As an individual with huge cultural thrust, learning about other countries and interacting with the internationals excited me deeply. I learned to view things with a more global scope and compromise, I got exposed to new ideas, different values, lifestyles, idiosyncrasies and concepts, which eventually matured and made me mentally rich.

Dwelling in Romania had a similar positive effect as well. Interacting with the people of this country, purchasing and learning about the products from their market, conversing about the socioeconomical, political and educational matters, learning facts about Romanian history and myths, trying the Romanian dishes and understanding the psychosynthesis and mentalities of this beautiful nation was unique and excited me deeply every time.

grow 5tcOn the other hand, GROW gave me the opportunity to hone some essential skills. These skills are pivotal in life. For instance, public speaking, leadership and team work management are demanded in the workforce. Interacting with the participants, trainers and even OCPs was very educational in this term. There were times that this interaction was challenging but through exposure relevant strategies were adopted and this type of situations reached an end or got resolved. I believe that we all gained knowledge and increased our introspection skills from this experience and I am glad we faced them because we bettered ourselves.

I believe that our ultimate session, with every single group, was beautiful. Although it had its gloomy elements (it was the last session after all) it was covered with a veil of optimism. Also, we had the chance to converse about subjects of general interest, dreams and goals, our countries, the project and our sentiments regarding our – then – upcoming departure. The cherry on top for these sessions was that it took place outdoors, at one of Copou’s (Park in Iasi) foisors. It was alternative, ideal for the final week. In addition, some of the groups had the privilege to listen the mesmerizing opera of an old man, an elderly groups’ choir, were bombarded by some children holding water guns and accompanied by strangers who were interested in our sessions. Even the punishment for these days was positive; hugging a stranger and spreading the love. It was definitely a week I will treasure and will vividly remember as the closing of our trainings. It was indeed beautiful and the participants and co-trainers amazing.

Every single individual is unique in his or her own way and interacting with them was equally as interesting. The participants are characterized by their mature idiosyncrasies, wittiness and strong beliefs something that excited deeply my interest. Hanging out, conversing and interacting was in a high level. They have an extremely fun nature, and they are willing, passionate, rich in knowledge, dreams and potentials. I see friends that I cannot anticipate to see again in the future. The only thing that i found hard was to enjoy clubbing with them, and this because I cannot enjoy clubbing itself. However, I admired their brilliant dancing moves! So, apart from that, which is a personal choice, I loved every moment I spent with them and frankly, I miss that. We shared experiences, conversed, had fun and made great memories. Luckily, we live in the internet era, where communication is easier than ever.

If someone from my country asks me about Romania, I would you say to him…

’’Go and see yourself the beauty of this country and its people. Independently of what I will say, it is you who needs to be exposed in order to actually see and learn about Romania and Romanians. I had an amazing experience myself and made great memories and friends in this country, and it worth every second. Be willing to try new things, travel around, taste the local cuisine and be open minded to what the locals have to offer and say. Dare to learn some words, some myths, some stories and leave what you know at home. You have only to gain. But first, buy a dictionary, it will really come in handy!’’