It took me some time to start this article since a lot of things are going on at the moment: work, social activities, deadlines, recharging myself and alone time, just to name a few. However, I think it’s never too late (Deadlines beg to differ).
This is my last week of my program in Bitola and I think it’s time to express myself and share wholesome experience that I’ve spent in North Macedonia.
My name is Nemanja, raised and coming from Belgrade, Serbia to experience and know more about other cultures and nation. I feel like this is also not important, because it can create both positive and negative stereotypes and prejudices, majority of them usually have nothing to do with me. Now I know that Serbia and North Macedonia are not that different, based on that we know and what media is serving us, but trust me, they are. Stepping out of your comfort zone means to really step it up. Well, I didn’t feel like that super-deep this time. I mean, going away for 2 months leaving your family, friends and city is a big step, however the cold-streets of Bitola with warm-hearted people is additional delicious spread throughout this journey. Friends that I already made couple of times before my program, made this activity way easier. Us coming from North, famous for being introverts, cold and not so social coming to over-the-top hospitable and helpful people from Macedonia is a perfect merge that you can experience as a young person abroad.
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I will be able to change
– Carl Rogers, American psychiatrist –
Professor by my degree locally, Youth-worker internationally and regionally, did my masters abroad. Why is this important for me? It means I travel most of the time and the whole world has been so far my home address. This is a huge deal for me, since this was the way for me to develop my skills and competences as well helping tool to find my identity and who am I as world guy. With all of this unusual and not so common experience and job, it has been both a blessing and a curse. Blessing because not a lot of people are able and fortunate to do youth work, a curse because it can get lonely sometimes. But you learn overtime to be alone, but not lonely, because it seems that this is my call.
My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than solitude
– Warsan Shire – British/ Somali poet –
I remember that one of the reasons that I had applied for RouteWB6 program was different topic. I have been really being comfortable, familiar and knowledgeable to the topic that is closest to my heart – social inclusion meaning tolerance, discrimination and generally involvement of disadvantage youth, which all of us had that certain unpleasant feeling throughout our life journey. This time I decided to go for the Environmental Issues. What I learning here about it, which is now my ever-lasting opinion is that I have been selfish thinking at one point in my life that this is not that important as our personal issues and social anxiety we are experiencing time to time. I was somehow right, it’s not a personal issue it’s everyone’s issue.
There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.
– Bernard Williams, British Philosopher –
I did have a chance to do ‘my own thing’’, as an open space method for one of the activities. However, the atmosphere was different and newer running ‘’Green Activism’’ workshop with the youngsters. The participants shared how they actually already did green activism on their own in school, on the streets and in their own community, which was awesome hearing about it, even spectacular seeing young souls fighting for earth.
In the long run, we should advice one another to seize the opportunities, days and years meaning already being fortunate to enroll and be engaged in this kind of programs that the world is offering to us. We need to accept it. But really accept it as our own thing – the road, the journey the change.
Did it take you long to find me? You’re here now, welcome home.”
– Warsan Shire – British/ Somali poet –