Study Visit to Weimar

How do we learn from and promote interesting migrant initiatives in different corners of Europe? To do exactly this, last month in Weimar, we gathered 20 young migrants, youth workers & activists to share:

📌 experiences of leading migrant youth work initiatives or participating within them

📌 methods for stimulating intercultural dialogue

📌 case studies of migrant/intercultural actions in their local realities with a focus on the use of spaces, like youth & community centres, based on the research of our partners in our research work-package.

📚 We tested new methods for intercultural dialogue (such as a Lego workshop from Vladislav, and silent theater from Xavier, and learned about initiatives run by the participants locally, such as the @thegalpalcollective by @ashleychadamoyo and @RootsofFuture (networking initiative for second generation migrants). Our program contained many study visits, each supported by substantial reflection in the framework of non-formal learning, to ensure that learning was able to be integrated into our participants’ home contexts. Here are just some of the cultural & migrant initiatives we visited in Weimar & Erfurt.

👉🏼 @sprachcafe.erfurt – “has been running as an informal group of young people since 2015. Back then, a group of international people living in Erfurt thought of an initiative to meet new people (internationals and locals) in order to practice German language in a friendly environment and without fearing to make mistakes. We also saw the initiative as a way to network, make new friends from different cultural backgrounds and get integrated into the local community. We started a language cafe every Tuesday to have spontaneous, intercultural open-minded conversations in German language. As the years pass by, the initiative grew and now we hold several activities, like meeting to play board games, cook together, having theme nights about different home countries, play movies with lecturers to analyze it, karaoke, picnics, outdoor excursions. Yearly, we organize nearly 50 activities. Currently, Sprachcafe gathers dozens of people from different cultural backgrounds (university students, refugees, youth) to participate in the different weekly events and through our social media. The initiative has been running volunteer-wise, supported by motivated young people eager to make new friends and create a sense of community involving newcomers, foreigners and locals.”

👉🏼 @globalbiogardens – The group was originally created during the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown in Germany. A group of international students from the University of Erfurt and the Willy Brandt School, who were cut off from their families as a result, came up with the idea of a garden where people could do something productive and become more food secure during a time when resources were limited. During this time, it was also significantly more difficult for international students and new residents of Erfurt to get used to life in Germany and to find a community for social exchange. From this, the want to learn more about food security and sustainable gardening, and the need for an inclusive, international community, Global Bio Gardens (GBG) was born. Therefore, the gardens have existed next to the University of Erfurt campus since mid-April 2020 and currently involve around 70 people. Most of them are international students from more than 15 countries, and a handful of others are migrant families looking for a community and some space to garden. The GBG initiative found a local expert on Demeter agriculture, Ms. Rose, ( and she offered a piece of her land adjacent to the university, Demeter seeds, and pre-grown saplings. Later, she extended support and provided the project with agricultural experts from Erfurt University of Applied Sciences to GBG to teach the participants sustainable agricultural practices.

👉🏼 Saline 34 – A ‘lighthouse’ for artists and NGOs in Erfurt North. This initiative was particularly relevant to our study visit, given how it uses physical spaces to connect diverse communities. We were introduced to the concept of Saline by the building manager: an abandoned building was leased to a set of NGOs and Artists to collaboratively run as a community space. We organised an evening grill in Saline, with the participants of our study visit to give an opportunity for the Saline community and our group to connect.


📌 First, we used NfE methods to break down the barriers between the groups, and to open the diverse experiences of our group regarding migration and youth work for peer-to-peer learning.

📌 Through a series, of piloting workshops, reflection sessions, collaborative research sessions, and study visits across Weimar & Erfurt, new learning and methods came to light.

📌 Our participants from 🇮🇪 🇩🇪 🇮🇹 🇨🇾 then created follow-up plans and will be supported by this 18-month project to run their local follow-up actions!