Žan Malek Petrovič Image
Žan Malek Petrovič
Journey Date: Dec 2014
Age: 17
Nationality: Slovenian
Job: High school student

Why did you apply to take part in a Connecting Cultures journey?

When I was offered to apply to Connecting Cultures course I wanted to get to know this project better, therefore I made a small research about this journey. Soon I realized that this is a truly unique, interesting and exceptional project. It gives young people from Europe and Arab countries a rare chance to discover each others cultures and lifestyles. I think that many Europeans often see Arab people and their culture in a wrong way. This is often caused by media and the fact that people are not critical towards the media. I believe that one of the most important reasons for cultural misunderstanding is also lack of life communication between people with different beliefs and ways of life. Connecting Cultures course gives us chance to better understand different people. And I strongly believe this is a key to world peace, cooperation and prosperity.

On reflection, what was the impact of the Connecting Cultures experience on you?

Connecting Cultures journey was one of the life-important experiences that shaped me as a person. It truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am very proud that I have been part of it. This amazing course has fulfilled all my expectations and even more. It gave me the chance to find new friends, from different cultures, to cherish our differences and enjoy in our common ideas, values and visions for the future. In the desert, out of the comfort zone, we discussed about burning issues of our societies. In long evening conversations under the desert sky full of stars we debated about essential things in our life, things that really matter. During our stay in the desert we have discovered that we are more similar to each other than we thought before we have met. All these debates, discussions, walks through the beautiful desert, preparing camping equipment and other adventurous things have taught us how to act as a group to survive in uncivilized environment. This also made me forget about stereotypes and prejudice that I had towards different people, despite my effort to be tolerant. I realized that some western media spread ignorance and disinformation about other cultures and I find this very problematic, as they have a big influence on all of us. For me, it was extremely inspiring when I learned about other participants life stories. They were all proactive people, full of energy and great ideas to help people around them, their environment and country. I was one of the youngest participants in this journey, so this gave plenty of new ideas and courage for my future endeavours. I believe that the most important thing I have learned in Oman is the fact that we can change the world to be a better place for all people. We have to be active, brave, tolerant, inspired and determined. With this qualities everything is possible.