Youth co-managers talks #1

Youth co-managers talks #1

Hi Aida. It’s so nice to meet you here in Lorca in Spain. 

Oh. After, so, so long, we are finally here. 

In the past years who have been living in Lorca. So what do you like about living in Lorca?

Well, it’s been three years already since I am here. And I think like the thing that I like most people know it’s a small city, so everyone knows each other. It’s very warm people welcoming, and it’s a nice community. You get to see a lot of different cultures also. I think it was like 97 different nationalities. So very intercultural, small city. It’s very nice.

Is it small in comparison to other cities? 

City is small, but like the entire municipality is quite big.

And what does it mean for you and actually for Lorca city to be City of learning?

Well, I think that it brings a new element to the city and it brings an alternative to education and extracurricular activities for young people, because here it’s a lot of formal education. So we are always trying to bring innovative tools and methods for young people to be more active, to learn outside of school.

So you’ve been quite actively involved in making Lorca City of learning. What does it mean for you personally or professionally? 

We’ve been involved with Open badges and Cities of learning for around seven years now. It’s something that we really wanted to bring even more. And to try to involve the high schools to use some digital tools for learning to make it more interesting. That’s the plan because they also like this this knowledge of alternative learning and education. So I think this can be a nice solution for them also. 

And is it easy to do that?

Uh, it’s not very easy, but not because they don’t accept it. I think it’s more because of the time. If you’re a teacher, then you have to prepare classes, you have to be with the kids. So they don’t always have the time to create a playlist or to draw the badges or something like this. But I think we need to find a way to make it very accessible for them and very on point when they create something. They are always open to ideas. ‘Why now you’ve come into the high school to do a workshop. When are you showing us?’ But it’s a little bit of time issues. 

So, as you say, it takes quite a lot of time and energy, you have to put into promoting the Cities of learning platform and so on. But what motivates you as a youth co-manager of Lorca City of Learning?

I think what motivates me more is like to see the youngsters from Lorca being involved in international projects, taking a little bit of control of their learning paths, to say, ‘I want to do this’’; ‘I want to change this’. So I think, it’s very empowering. And it’s a very nice collaboration with them. That’s very nice because they are not just going through school and staying there. They always want to learn more, to do more, to travel more. So that’s very inspiring, I think.

You do a lot. And have you noticed a difference even in yourself personally or professionally since you are involved in the City of learning?

I think so. If I look at myself before coming to Spain, and then when I came to Spain, I already started using Open badges for a while, in my volunteering. And I think it made me more aware of different learning styles. So learning doesn’t have to be something very strict or not fun, you know, it’s like you get to know people, you get to interact with people to learn from different persons you meet in your project, in your work, in your activities.

The Cities of learning and the project and everything we’ve done until now aimed at making it fun to learn professionally, to grow personally, also to create networks and relations with people from all over the world, basically.

You already mentioned some of the differences that the platform and being a City of learning makes to the city. Is there anything else that you have notice how the city has changed since it became Lorca City of learning?

Because we work with the youth center and with different local organizations, so I think it helped also to create like a more close connection between local organizations. Having everything on the platform, you know, for example, the Scouts can see what Caritas is doing or the other way around. And they can participate to events organized by each other. Then from there, you know, develop common activities or common initiatives and projects.

So I think that’s something that really brought everyone on the same place. 

A lot of local networking happening…

A lot of local networking, and sometimes that’s what’s missing because everyone has so many projects, so many activities. But we don’t know because there is not one place where you can see everything that’s going on. So I think the platform and Cities of learning  have really helped in creating this group of local organizations. 

You have young people around you. Is there an opportunity for other young people to get involved? 

There is always the opportunity to getting involved. We are always, open for more young people, informal groups who want to have their own initiative to use the platform, to give it visibility to their activities. We are there to offer support if someone needs – how to create the activities on the playlist, or if they want to be more on the creative side of doing the nice badge visuals and so on. And actually there are lots of local initiatives and they need visibility. They need the support, you know, and I think the platform is a good tool for this.

And for the last question, let’s go from local to global. You’re a part of a huge global network of Cities and regions of learning. Is there anything you would like to wish from Lorca City of learning to everybody else?

I think it would be amazing to at some point, meet everyone from this global network and to exchange everything that is going on and how it’s going. We had also like a little bit of a difficult time, but it was very inspirational to see new cities joining the network and to take inspiration from others as well. So I would say keep going because we are going in a very good direction and I think everyone is doing a very, very good job.

Thank you so much Aida.

Thank you!

Visit the platform of Lorca City of Learning.

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