international training course • ERASMUS+ KA1
Strengberg (Austria) • June 29th – July 7th of 2022


“LISTENING: ENHANCING PRESENCE AND DIALOGUE IN YOUTH WORK” was a training course funded by the European Union through the Austrian National Agency for ERASMUS+ and the European Solidarity Corps. The course took place in Austria from the 29th of June until the 7th of July 2022, organized by the Austrian Civil Society Organization “COOBRA – Cooperativa Braccianti”.

The training course, that started its journey before the beginning of the COVID era, was finally held in Strengberg, a small village 150km away from Vienna, situated in a beautiful hilly region next to the Danube called Mostviertel, specifically on a beautiful, comfortable and well-equipped farm. People from various countries gathered there, worked together, collaborated, connected and of course had fun in a multicultural environment. Participants representing organisations from Italy, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Spain, Turkey, Portugal and Austria shared knowledge, experience and created a small united community with main goal the empathetic and active listening.

Actually, this was the main aim of the project: to enhance youth workers’ skills to listen effectively, actively, and empathetically as well as be able to have constructive conversations, ability to receive and give feedback as well as stay present for the stories, feelings and emotions that youth workers encounter in their daily work.

While the topic and program were conceived before the pandemic, it perfectly addressed the challenges that revealed themselves in the aftermath of COVID, like distance learning, remote work and overall elevated stress and uncertainty many people faced throughout Europe. Intensive sessions lasting from early morning until evening included diverse subjects ranging from mindfulness, through body language reading, to active listening and workshop facilitation tools. Participants, many of whom have many years of experience in youth work and educational backgrounds in psychology and communications, had the open space to organise their own activities for the group and share experiences. There were opportunities to conduct networking and plan future cooperation together.

During the course, participants developed their listening skills, awakened their senses through hearing, sensing, seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling the world around and within. Developed the ability to be present and hold space for themselves and others, got out of their comfort zone to explore what it means to stop, be witness instead of run, do and be busy. The methods were based on the non-formal education and experiential learning with tools including embodied listening, mindfulness, solo journeys, nature-based methods, voice work, non-violent communication, The Way of Council, The Work that Reconnects, Community singing, and Community building. Thus, through different approaches, methods and ways of looking, participants had the chance to rediscover simple means to establish and maintain connection with others in their personal and professional lives and make a change through community actions.

Read here the reports and testimonies of the participants:

#Listening2022 #ErasmusPlus