CCG is coming up on our third annual summer programme! Those on the ground are often the best positioned to tell it like it is…so we asked a few participants from previous CCG programmes about their impressions. Participants came from various countries from Eastern Europe and beyond. They had diverse ways to find their way to our events: through newsletters, Facebook group posts and by specifically searching for a project kick-off programme on Google. No matter the way, we were happy to get to know them and keep in touch as alumni!
Why did you sign up?
Petra (Summer Course 2019): What appealed to me perhaps the most is the opportunity to network with successful individuals and professionals from my field of interest. I used to find it hard to reach out to people and especially to ask for career advice therefore, this felt like the perfect opportunity to do so especially because many of the professionals from my cohort shared similar backgrounds with me.
Victoria (Youth Week 2020): I signed up because I am interested in social projects and social entrepreneurship. I had a first project idea but wanted it to mature and to put into practice, therefore I needed support.
Jana (Youth Week 2020): Because I saw it as a new challenge but also an opportunity for me to grow and meet new people.
Yusuph (Youth Week 2020): I signed up because I needed more knowledge about leading social change. At the time, I was reflecting on the idea of creating a sustainability learning center but I had many doubts!
Eliška (Summer Course 2019): I signed up because CCG offered the opportunity to hear from people from various backgrounds and in a range of different professions. What I was also intrigued by was the relatively informal setting that CCG offered.
What was your experience with CCG like?
Ðurđica (Summer Course 2019): Summer in Hungary was supposed to be summer for learning, but it turned out so much more! You do not only get knowledge and meet some amazing people, you get the inspiration, the drive, the will! The tools, the project – that’s where you implement your newly found force, the one which was always there, yet it needed just a bit of outside touch, a touch of like-minded professionals.
Participant (Social Project Training 2021): It helped me reconnect with that side of me wanting to serve my community and it was very encouraging to see that others also feel that they could contribute to the betterment of their communities.
What did you learn from the event?
Jana (Youth Week 2020): The steps needed to organize a project, how to set SMART goals, how to fundraise a project.
Participant (Career Path Seminar 2021): I really feel like it was a step towards the common good in the sense that it gave empowerment and necessary skills to a group of genuinely motivated people to make the impact and find their place to positively contribute to society in accordance with their strengths and values.
Margarida (Youth Week 2020): I signed up to learn more about putting together a project. I have learned a lot about initiating and launching a project, lots of useful tips.
Petra (Summer Course 2019): I think one of my biggest takeaways from the event was the power of social networks and networking in itself (…) I think besides so many memories and new networks, CCG gave me the courage to take the first step in situations I would otherwise be too afraid to do so. I have learned that more people are willing to help and give advice than I would expect.
Trim (Summer Course 2019): I learned many things even about the subjects I was studying (..). I expected to learn things for my career and I did that because some of the facilitators had done things I wanted to know about.
Victoria (Youth Week 2020): I learned about design thinking: how to narrow down your idea, how to find the key problem you want to solve, what target group to address and who are the stakeholders involved. It reminded me that it is important to work for something you like and you’re good at and that social entrepreneurship is a promising career path in that sense.
How did your experience with CCG contribute to your career path?
Eliška (Summer Course 2019): CCG taught me that uncertainty does not equate failure and that it can, in fact, breed a lot of new exciting opportunities and skills. Especially, hearing from people that switched their career paths made me generally more excited about life post-graduation because I’ve had the chance to see that even a path that might be considered non-conventional can be very fulfilling. To sum up, I credit CCG for teaching me how to take ownership of my own career path—especially valuing new skills and not being afraid to seek out different things, knowing that there are many ways to grow besides traditional career promotions.
Jana (Youth Week 2020): It improved my organization, communication and implementation skills.
Petra (Summer Course 2019): I became more certain than ever that I definitely want to pursue a “career in the common good” and in one way or another make a positive impact. Rather than going for a big organization or institution as long as I do something that makes me feel meaningful with my contribution, I will be happy to work anywhere, no matter how big or small the place is. I would like to pursue a career in international development and sustainability while also learning more about public policy decision-making. CCG reassured me that it is a path which can be frustrating at times but definitely worth pursuing.
What would you say to someone who is interested in Youth Week?
Jana (Youth Week 2020): Get out of your comfort zone and be part of such an amazing project and community.
Participant (Social Project Training 2021): I would say that if you have an idea for a social project and don’t know where to begin – and want to have the most fun possible on a Zoom call while meeting new people – you should definitely do it! They help break the project down so it’s manageable.
Petra (Summer Course 2019): I would say go for it! One thing that I learned through CCG about networking and opportunities is that you should just go for it even if you are unsure. There is nothing worse than regret. The CCG team is truly exceptional in making you feel safe while also working in a very supportive and motivating environment.
Trim (Summer Course 2019) : As for the people who are interested I would say that you will not regret because you will learn things for your career and have a lot of fun also
Eliška (Summer Course 2019): I would say definitely apply as the program is enriching on so many levels, not only concerning your career but also in relation to more broad topics of sustainability or human rights, both of which are themes that could be more prominent in central and eastern European discourse and CCG offers an excellent opportunity to engage with them.
Margarida (Youth Week 2020): Go for it, a week of learning, empowerment and motivation.
While we’re preparing for Youth Week 2021, our heart was warmed by the responses and feedback of our alumni. We are grateful to see that participants took important skills and network with them, and keep using their competences and learnings on a regular basis. As Eliška put it, in our ongoing events we keep up the spirit of “no-pressure environment”, work with approachable professionals and build an encouraging community. We are also working on new programmes behind the scenes – and glad to see that former participants want to see what we’re planning: such as job interview preparation, facilitator speed-dating and alumni reunions. We look forward to expanding our networking, meeting new participants and eventually welcoming them in the CCG-alumni community.