Day 1: On the first day, it was our SEE day, we had a presentation on Human Rights and immigrants realities. Sometime we can imagine it, sometimes it is really difficult to understand a reality that we are not directly facing.
We discussed own realities in our countries and our reasons for joining this Study Session, seeing migration inside our own countries but also from a country to another.
In the evening we learnt how are the other movements and the reality of immigration in their coutries that attend this meeting.
Day 2: On the second day, we continued the SEE day and we discussed in groups issues like social cohesion, first point arrival, policies and government, or Church relation with immigration issues.
All the week long we have four working groups: liturgical to prepare the prayers of the meeting, social for the social life of the community we have here, documentation to have as much information as possible from the meeting as well as drafting in order to prepare a statement that we all want to deliver.
In the evening we had a party in order to know better our countries including traditional food, music and people, an intercultural manner to know better the other.
Day 3: Wednesday was one more long, great and exhausting day for participants of JECI-MIEC Study Session 2009. Lots of things are worthy of note. The day was opened with well prepared prayer after which mid-term evaluation followed. During it young Catholics were sharing their feelings and impressions about the days that have passed. Later on they were discussing with whom they would like to share their shelter and with whom they wouldn`t. Trying to identify the reasons and to think about the stereotypes that are hindering us to see the beauty of this world was one of the main targets of this activity. After lunch the group visited the European Parliament. It was a bit pity that the main hall was closed but still it was great and well guided excursion. The simulation game that began during the excursion and was continued in the EYC touched every participant of Study Session extremely deeply. It was amazing chance for everybody to imagine oneself standing in some other person`s shoes and smell the reality of migrants and their relatives and beloved ones. The day was closed with a British film about the difficulty of love between people from different cultures. It is a must to mention that an interesting talk evolved from the scenes seen in the film. There is no doubt that Wednesday contained many chances for each participant to think over various things again and again and we are grateful to God for that.
Day 4: Thursday was really different from all the days of the Study Session that have already passed. You may ask what was the difference. The answer is clear – leaving European Youth Center, which has become home of participants for a week, and leaving for the sights and shops of Strasbourg. The wonderful autumnal weather was a great ally of those who wanted to have a walk or a ride with a bike. The day was ended with the lunch in a cosy restaurant near breathtaking cathedral. Both good jokes and hot discussions took place while waiting for food (which was really delicious) – that is a sign of every successful international project.
However, it is a must to mention the serious and rewarding activities in which participants were involved before heading for Strasbourg. Four students from four different continents were sharing their view about the migration. Lots of questions occurred. Later on father Chris McCoy interactively presented theology, its types, shared the Catholic approach towards the issues of migration.
Day 5: Immediately after breakfast the group at the Study Session, left to the European Court of Human Rights. There we had a short tour around the premises. A brief seminar about how the court operates was led by an assistant lawyer working there. After, we had a discussion about the laws regarding migration and human rights.
Following this visit, we started the main activity of the day. This was a role game which took till dinner. In this exercise we went to an imaginary village. The village divided because of pressing issue concerning a migrant family. All of us had to enter in the shoes of various people with different views to this situation.
The day ended with a short meeting with another group who are also having a study session at the European Youth Centre. We both shared our study session purposes and experiences. The group’s name is The International Federation for Hard-of-Hearing Young- IFHOHYP, they come from different European countries.
After 5 days packed with interesting activities, we are now all very tiered…. So last night we tried to get some extra sleep. 🙂
Day 6: Its weekend again!!… 🙁 Unfortunately this week, none of the Jeci-Miec, study session participants in Strasbourg were looking forward to it. Others would think that they were friends forever as they all managed to break all barriers and become great friends after just a few hours!
Being the last day, it makes sense that everyone was exhausted. Despite this fact, everyone was prepared to make the best of the last day. Today participants had to gather all that they experienced in the previous days and think how they can act. They also wrapped the week by a various evaluation exercises.
Throughout the week participants formed four committees (drafting, social, liturgy and documentation). After lunch, the drafting committee presented a brief report, summarizing the topics and conclusions of the weeks’ activities.
The participants had the opportunity of meeting the Holy See representative at Strasbourg. The report was presented to him. Following was a short discussion with him. Today the participants had the opportunity to celebrate Mass.
The day ended with a closing ceremony and a farewell party, followed with lots of tears, due to the strong friendships, hugs and kisses.
That’s all from Strasbourg for now… However the experience will definitely be kept alive within the participants’ hearts through the transformation and friendships.
Every day the Documentation Committee of the Study Session publishes on the website live information from the Study Session.