Participant Blogger #4

“Today we were working and focusing on empathy together with Robert. We focused on listening, and how to be a good and supportive listener. By letting one person speak, without sympathising too much, interrupting with questions or your own stories it is easier and more enjoyable for a person to tell whatever he or she has on her heart. After Robert and Mark’s demonstration we split into couples and tried it out ourselves.

“I found what Robert had said to be true and helpful; however, on the same time I experienced that depending on how interesting the story you are telling is, how interested the other person is in what you are telling him or her, to the extent and how you show sympathy, ask questions or draw parallels between your own life or similar experiences you have had, all these “tools” might actually be helpful and connecting rather than always being disconnecting.

“Last night we saw the video we received from the six students from Layounne. It was an extremely strong and moving experience for me and the other participants in the group. Hearing that they had been beaten up, tortured and experienced violence of various forms was both sad and difficult to except. The way Senia translated the video for the group went really well, and I think it was good to do it this way. To see the participants from Layounne who were supposed to be here, but never got here, speak to us, was really nice.

“Today, after having had time to think about what we had seen yesterday, we recreated the situation that we had seen the students from Layounne in yesterday. Six of the participants from the group, three boys and three girls, sat blindfolded in the roles of the students from Layounne. The group of six put themselves in the position of the participants from Layounne, while the rest of the group were trying to feel empathy with the six. It was difficult, but at the same time really interesting and a great experience. I think all the students did a great job today.”

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