I, personally, was very happy finally to see all the partners in Bari. At some point I thought we were never going to make it to Bari or anywhere else!
When you first arrive at the airport and see a very clear navigation in many languages spiced up with nicely designed pictograms and signs, you have an impression that you come to a truly multilingual, translanguaging-friendly country, where you can't be lost.
Then in a couple of hours you find yourself running circles around the area of the train station searching for the correct platform, and you feel truly lost and totally discouraged. At the end of the day, however, eating a tasty pizza and drinking wine, you think that you actually did a great job and applied many different techniques to facilitate communication and finally to find your way to comfort.
A few more gestures, language mixing, Google translator sessions, voice translators and voila, on the day before you leave, you ask a guy at a cheese counter in a supermarket to pack you this and that in Italian! He even looked like he understood you! So, please come to Italy if you need to get rid of linguistic insecurity. You can make it!
Back to the meeting, there we also spent a lot of time talking about linguistic insecurity and how we can help others and ourselves to feel comfortable when we are in conversation with people. We collected many strategies, but also a lot of questions, where one can't find an immediate and easy answer. However, if people work together as a group and aim to conduct a search for solutions, one can find a very comfortable way to co-exist and communicate efficiently. Finding and offering solutions/practices will be our main topic for training in Berlin that we discussed in great detail. Moreover, the team prepared reports for individual countries, which we are going to summarize soon, and we spoke a lot about learning diaries for employers, employees, language learners and newbies in a country!
A lot of exciting topics ahead! Stay tuned and keep yourself motivated!