The date is 21st of November 2011 and the place is Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The time is around 9:30 a.m. and we throw balls of crumpled paper – it’s a paper ball fight. Its sounds ridiculous, isn’t it? Actually that is how the 2011 study session of IFHOHYP started. It was a game to help the participants get to know each other – on each paper ball was written a name. After that icebreaking game there was a welcome note from the European Youth Centre’s Director Ms. Tina Mulcahy.

The next presentation was given by the vice-president of IFHOHYP and it was about the structure and the goals of the organization. After that the aim, objectives and program of the study session was introduced to the participants.

The participants

On the first international coffee break we ate some traditional food from Poland and Indonesia. After that we were asked to wright down our expectations, fears and own contribution of the study session. Most participants expected to meet new people and building a network of HoH. They expect their main contribution will be to share experience and ideas. The participant’s fears are mostly about “not be able to understand and/or follow the discussions”. The lunch was a time and place where we continued to know each other but this time in an informal way. The next game was called “PONCHO speed dating” – each member was asked to make a poncho from a paper and write down his/her name, country, organization, profession, hobbies, motto of life, etc.

Poncho dating

After the “Russian” coffee break we had intercultural learning – a game was a simulation of a meeting of two cultures. The outcomes of the first day of IFHOHYP Study Session were that we have learned more about each other (in an amuse and fun way) and learned to work effectively in a group, despite the fact that English is not our first language and despite of cultural differences.

Groupbuilding - Making the lion statue together

By Mina Bukurova and Daphna Dobrenko, photos by Andrea Pietrini