Good times to improve yourself in the “yim” in Santander

Imagine all the people living in the “yim” (the organizers’ way of pronouncing “gym”), sharing life in harmony and providing a balanced place to start improving ourselves.

Extraordinary Me: SU Santander started on the 17th of July, although for all participants arriving a day earlier, the organizers provided accommodation and all the help needed. After the first ice-breaking games, 23 participants discovered how important it is to be open to new challenges in order to improve themselves. After the introduction, it was time for an inspiring team building experience hosted by the cheerful Gerardo García, of AEGEE-Oviedo, in which participants had to buy breakfast food for 3 days with limited money and time while having their hands tied up one to another. From this first group challenge, participants were involved in everything trainers and organizers had to offer – numerous workshops, social activities, trips and colorful parties 24/7.

Identifying personal strengths and weaknesses and becoming more self-aware was easier when amazing trainer Urša Svetelj, of AEGEE-Ljubljana, serves up her “mooshi mooshi” energizers and super interactive workshops. Furthermore, when dealing with failure and overcoming challenges, it’s strongly recommended to take advice from the powerful trainer Fabian Brüggemann, of AEGEE-Düsseldorf, and if necessary to just do it (perform the task at hand) once again! As part of the workshops on developing social skills such as communication, body language and public speaking, participants also experienced how important is to determine your space on the stage of life. Even more, thanks to the special effort of organizer Pablo Laboreo, of AEGEE-Santander, the group had  the chance to perform in a lovely theater and deal with fear of public speaking.

Another opportunity to overcome weaknesses was given on the special TEDx evening that was hosted by Extraordinary Me SU. How did the participants perform unprepared? With experience from earlier improvisational theater workshops that had the most enthusiastic volunteers ever, the task didn’t seem so hard anymore. To really be into “impro theater” just shout out the following: “Three, two, one – go!” and snakes, kings, priests, Chinese patients, doctors, people putting chalk instead of shower gel and a lot of other interesting characters will emerge from the minds of the extraordinarily imaginative participants. During the last days, the trainers provided the time needed to process it all, learn how to network, give and receive feedback and shape your future goals.

In between the inspiring workshops, participants were active in group assignments and games in city rally, Gymkhana in beautiful Comillas and Challenge Green day trip with games and hiking in Mount Buciero. Organizer Bruno Di Lorenzo, of AEGEE-Santander, just had to say “Come on ‘pipol’!” and a group was ready. There was also enough time to enjoy the wonderful green “Cantabria Infinita”, running into the big ocean waves, barbecuing during the afternoon and a game of paintball in which the group spirit shone at its brightest, even after the painful “war” was over.

In Cantabria, crazy nights start right after the sun goes down, around 10 pm. So the good times continued at the Rubik’s Cube, Surf and costumed parties, followed by a European night, Karaoke and Pub crawl evenings and rounded up with the unforgettable ‘Design your T-shirt party’, a party in which everyone took away some fond memories of the “yim” and the people who lived inside it. The connection of the group was indeed great, sharing sleeping mattresses, breakfasts, dinners, showers, love. Fireworks night during the Semana Grande, the celebration week of Santander, made the group even more sparkling.

Everyone had his/her own challenges on the way of improving him/herself, but they were easier to overcome with a support from an extraordinary group. On the 28th of July most of the people went on his/her own journeys, but continued giving support and sharing personal challenges with the group.

Not to forget – all that for just 50 Euros? YES, the helpful organizers proved that it is possible to have it all: a lot of powerful educational workshops, an amazing social program and unforgettable parties in an extraordinary 12 days (and more if needed) for such a small price. So big thanks to all of them (not mentioned in the text above): Carlos Alonso, Marta Martínez, Sara Sota, Christina Bengoechea, Carmen María López, Óscar Ruiz and Fernardo de la Torre.

Special thanks to the main organiser, Rubén González, of AEGEE-Santander, for making it all come true.

Written by: Mateja Sunce Sombraro, AEGEE-Ljubljana and Tea del Torro, AEGEE-Zagreb.

Photo courtesy of: Bruno Di Lorenzo, AEGEE-Santander; Rubén González, AEGEE-Santander; Kirk Paintball and Mateja Paškvan, AEGEE-Ljubljana.