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I've had the chance to experience community life for the first time in Greece thanks to the Heterotopia Tour project, which gave me the possibility to live communally in a sustainable way.
When I got back to everyday life, I began to think about the connections made within the group through practical and impractical activities. I immediately started to reflect on the fact that carrying out activities in a daily community is much different than doing so in a temporary one. Practical activities enhance the group's dynamics, with two main challenges for the participants: being together and taking care of the group's necessities.
I've experienced both aspects during my stay.
For what concerns the first one, being together means not only sharing the same room with the same people each day, but also getting to share something and confront with each other, improving both as individuals and as a group. If there's a common target, the second aforementioned aspect comes naturally. This leads to a real collective responsibility and to an increase of the concrete and actual potentialities in ways a single individual could not achieve, especially if the work of the groups produces goods for the community itself. Practical activities, rather than theoretical ones, create a common effort. This effort needs to be nourished by knowledge, cohesion and collaboration. This is the only way to make the common aim come true. The experience I've had during those days made me observe the effects of the theoretical activities which, even if interesting, eventually stimulated the external, individual projects better than the project itself and its cohesion. I believe that the organizers should primarily focus on asking themselves what effects will theoretical or practical activities leave in the participant's feel. Personally speaking, I would have tried to develop some subjects in a fuller and more concrete way by relying on the principles of non-formal education, according to which you learn through practice. This would factually prove that alternatives do exist.