On 25th April 2011 a group of participants from across Europe took part in a training program about ‘EU-Simulation games’ in Bad Urach. This training was organised by Citizens of Europe in cooperation with Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg and supported by the EU’s Youth in Action programme. It addressed areas of EU youth policy, non-formal learning (eg. simulations) and participative methods in political youth education.
It was very exciting to hear about the current situation of projects which we first discussed in 2008. In one of the discussions the participants represented their countries and articulated what they would need in order to run more simulation games in their own countries.
We started to learn the methods of simulation games with a presentation which not only discussed definitions, but also how to implement simulation games within a group of people. We had a chance to discuss the limitations of simulation games and to take part in a simulated game first hand.
The next day was devoted entirely to playing the simulation games. The participants took part in a simulation game about the Danube Co-operation. Many of the participants were not aware of the situation for the individual countries in the Danube Co-operation, but luckily there was basic information on hand and everyone enjoyed their roles as delegates from the different countries. At the end of the day we discussed what we had learnt and evaluated the results of the game.
The fourth day was the ‘Workshop’ – Day, where the participants participated in workshops on themes which interested them. The themes included: awareness of processes in intercultural learning, methods of youth participation, methods of non-formal learning…etc. The participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas and ask open questions. The final part of the day culminated in the collection of ideas and a presentation about simulated games from the participants’ home countries. These were innovative and exciting presentations and it was clear that the participants were keen to take what they had learnt at the conference back home.
During the final evaluation day we discussed the training and thought about how we would use our training in the future and what would be the next steps for us as a group. Everyone was keen to take part in another training course and we discussed where this would take place. On the whole, the five days were filled with creative moments where participants had the chance to exchange thoughts, feelings and experiences. We learnt a lot from the simulation games, lectures and from each other and are eager to take these skills back to our home countries and implement them effectively.