Thematic and national evenings
Organized evening activities are certainly an inseparable part of international integration. During a project lasting a few or several days, where we spend whole days on intellectual work, the time after the last meal should be spent on entertainment. Please note that participants should not be required to be present in all entertainment activities. After all, those activities are supposed to be primarily a pleasure.
Activities undertaken during each evening should be directly related to the interests of our group. The project promoter should establish this as soon as possible (at the stage of online preparation or preparatory visit – see PROJECT PREPARATION) in cooperation with the participants or leaders of the national groups. If the group likes to sing, dance, play instruments, we can organize karaoke, disco or talent show. When we are dealing with athletes, suggest a football or volleyball tournament. Or maybe they are plastic artists? So give them space and let them paint their own exhibition or sew costumes. A heterogeneous group guarantees even more interesting solutions – after all, we can organize completely different activities, so that everyone can find something for themselves, and also be able to try their hand at something completely different and new to them. The organizer, however, is responsible for the preparation of the appropriate tools and equipment: the microphone, projector, ball, paints or brushes must be prepared much earlier, so that the participants do not run out of anything! We should also remember that organizing such activities requires proper management of the place and its cleaning after everything, which may be on the side of the organizer, leaders or even the participants themselves, but we must communicate it to the whole group in a timely and transparent manner.
The idea of national evenings is closely related to the values of intercultural projects. The point is to get to know the characteristics of another country in a direct and tangible way – its art, tradition, history and even food. It is important that the organization of such activity involves all its participants.
The organization of national evenings should be taken care of at the project preparation stage, in consultation with the leaders of other national groups. Each of them should agree to participate in the project, or at least no objections to the fact that all other groups will implement it. From now on, each of the partner country leaders is responsible for the success of the evening moderated by their group. However, it is worth sharing the vision of such activities: what topics do we expect? Do we want to bring our regional specialties to the project? How much time do we spend on the organized part of the evening? What tools and equipment will each group need? The latter information is especially important for the project organizer, because it is up to them to ensure appropriate conditions for the activities being prepared. Despite the communication with the leader, it is also worth reminding participants independently about the organization of national evenings before their arrival to the location of the exchange (e.g. in an e-mail with a list of things to pack).
How to organize your own national evening?
The national evening should be based on the cooperation of all participants from the group coming from one country. As a leader or organizer, we should contact everyone in advance using a common conversation (using, for example, What’sApp or Messenger) to establish a vision of the event and share responsibility for its individual elements. When planning your evening, remember to:
music from your country (it can be both traditional and modern),
hall decorations (it can be, for example, a country flag),
national drinks and snacks, and maybe even whole dishes,
an informational element (e.g. presentation, promotional video, posters),
an element of entertainment (e.g. learning national dance together, an interactive quiz about your country, a national game of some sort).