I know one thing; that I know nothing

The learning process is a big paradox, the more we learn and obtain new knowledge the more ignorant we feel. Nevertheless, I adore this process of learning new things and that’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed so much being part of “28th International Leadership Workshop for Rural Youth” held on the 9-22nd August 2017 in Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany. At Herrsching, every two years people from different countries of the world come together to cherish the beauty of diversity and to learn how to work together leaving outside the racial, political and religious differences but using their cultural differences only to inspire each other.

The workshop lasted for 2 weeks and there were almost 100 participants from different countries. I was there as YPARD Kosovo representative together with YPARD Tukey representative Seher Gumus and YPARD Armenia working group member Anna Hovhannisyan. At the beginning of the seminar, we were divided into language groups (4 English, 2 Franch and 1 German) where we learned how to build our team and how to make the team stronger by listening, discussing with and trusting each other. As a second step we were totally mixed with other groups, the aim of this section was to learn how to make discussion and work with people that you don’t know very well. In the end, we needed to work on our own, our task was to create our own action plan.

In my opinion, Herrsching seminar is a great opportunity to develop leadership skills, you may ask why? Why this opinion? Because, not only does it give you the chance to practice in this field, but it also is a platform where you can work with people coming from different backgrounds, cultures and have a different language. To be a leader you need a team, also you cannot have a team unless you win the trust of team members. People tend not to trust the unknown, on the other hand, as a feigner you are most likely other people’s definition to the unknown.

Trust, communication and teamwork – getting rid of the unknown

How to win someone’s trust for a short period of two weeks? - That’s what I learned in this seminar.

H. Jackson Brown Jr. once quoted “Every person that you meet knows something you don't; learn from them”. This quote was my motto, so I talked to people, lots of people; to those who were happy to talk back and to those who were more conservative, I even talked with people with whom I have no common language, by using body language or google translation. In the end, I learned from them. When they saw my interest in their knowledge they were curious to learn something from me, and so we start to exchange something (our knowledge in areas of common interest). With this exchange, we start to trust each other because we were not unknown anymore. 

Besides learning, we had lots of fun during the seminar. We organized so called ‘international evening’ where everyone showed their dances, songs and culture. We went to the church for Sunday mass, where people from different religion sing the same song of the same god. During our stay there we had the walk to the gorgeous Alps, we played countless games and of course, there were lots of networking, networking, and more networking…When 100 people from different countries come together, networking becomes inevitable. As a YPARDian, for me, networking was the best outcome of the seminar.

There were also a few sad moments, especially when we played a visit to the Dachau camp. There we witness one of the ugliest time of human history, that we shall never forget or let it repeat itself.

I do believe that every person that I meet in my life leaves a mark in my soul, those marks define me, change me, help me evolve in my journey through life. Some marks are a life changer, some are just painful, some of them I can barely recognize, yet some I cannot forget. People I met at Herrsching has left the most joyful and colorful marks, to which I will be grateful for whole my life.

Picture credit: Hana Voca