International Cook and Chat u Inicijativi
Blog, Projects

The “International Cook & Chat” workshop encourages cultural integration and inclusive learning

In December 2023, at the Initiative premises, we held the first activity as part of the "Cultural Paperclip" project - the "International Cook & Chat" workshop – in an atmosphere filled with enticing aromas of dishes with sentimental value for each participant. The event brought together members of the local population, refugees and people displaced from Ukraine for a unique cultural exchange of food that is traditionally prepared in the area where the participants are from. The workshop was organised to promote cultural integration, and a diverse array of dishes was presented, reflecting the rich palette of cultural origins, from traditional Cuban delicacies to local Croatian specialties.

However, the true potential of this workshop lies in the creation of relationships between participants of different origins, cultures and traditions - each person became a cook and storyteller of their prepared dishes.

In addition to the exchange of different traditions and cultures, the workshop also served as an informal language learning session, thanks to intensive communication among participants in a relaxed atmosphere, thus facilitating the acquisition of the Croatian language. This added value not only helps with practical integration but also increases the participants' ability to connect with their new environment on a deeper level.

The "Cultural Paperclip" project is focused on the social and cultural integration of refugees in the area of the City of Zagreb. The goal of the project is to strengthen social ties and encourage refugees' feelings of belonging to the new community, by creating opportunities for refugees and local residents to come together. Cultural Paperclip activities, including this workshop, contribute to breaking down barriers, building mutual trust and promoting acceptance among different communities. By encouraging an inclusive social environment, the project simultaneously nurtures individual belonging while respecting different cultural, social and religious identities.

The City of Zagreb financed the project for 12 months. You can find out more about the project here.

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First partner meeting as part of the project “Digital Integration for Equality“

The starting point of our role in this project is that if we have knowledge and skills that can assist anyone – we are there to help. With this idea in mind we went from a thought, to writing a project, and in the end, we were incredibly lucky to get this project. We can't wait to tackle this project and develop a new and innovative digital learning platform!

We have created and written the project “Digital Integration for Equality“ which arose from our wish to provide digital education to those of lower socio-economic status – migrants and Romani people.

With this project, we aim to support lifelong learning for adults with poor access to education. We held our first online meeting with partners from Slovenia, Germany and Belgium, in which we coordinated and set the schedule for the project's activities.

We are very happy to be cooperating with international organisations that are leaders in adult education.

Ljudska univerza Lendava (Slovenia) is an adult learning centre, founded in 1959, which has evolved from a regular school into a modern centre for lifelong education. It has become one of the leading institutions for adult education in Slovenia.

Institut für Roma und Minderheiten (Germany) is a leading Romani organisation in Europe, whose employees have been certified trainers since 2008 thanks to the programme Open Society Foundation. They implement courses with the aim of increasing employability, including promoting social entrepreneurship in vulnerable groups.

Welcome Home International (Belgium) is an NGO founded with the aim of finding innovative and advanced methods for stronger socio-economic integration of refugees in Belgium.

We will publish all activities regularly on our website.

✔This programme is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme. Erasmus+ changing lives, opening minds 🇪🇺

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Gamification and game based learning- How to get lost in Italy!

Article avaliable also on EPALE.

Now February tends to be one of those months that never ends. Christmas is a vague memory and spring seems like it will never arrive- what better way to put a shine on this dull month than an immersive week playing games, solving riddles and exploring the riveting world of game based learning and gamification in the beautiful, ancient city of Bologna.
I arrived on the evening of the 5th after a slight mishap which saw me re-routed through Milan (tough life! :)) The sun was beginning to set and as I disembarked the train, the smells of charcuterie and fresh focaccia hit me in the food capital of Italy. Dinner was the first port of call, after which it was time to grab my first sleep in Italy and prepare myself for an exciting week.
The first day started with an ice-breaking exercise, my new colleagues and I had to write three facts and one lie about ourselves and then as we made our introductions, we had to guess one another’s lies- this set the mood for the entire week. This was followed by a tour of Bologna and a fantastic dinner. The next day the “serious” work started, Sara our trainer explained how things were going to work, the week was organized into a big game, first we had to create our player “avatars”, and then as we were separated into our respective teams the game began. Time for level 1!

We were first introduced to the differences between Gamification and Game based learning (GBL).
To keep it brief, introducing gamification into the classroom meant using techniques such as; timed challenges, point earning tasks, and other “game inspired” motivational techniques to engage students. On the other hand,” GBL” is the use of actual games in the class to promote the same goals, for example “matching crosswords”. We also delved into the pedagogical value of playing, how it promotes the acquisition of soft skills and stimulates problem solving, encourages experiential learning and increases the motivation of students.

Of course, behind all of the fun and games there exists theory, do students benefit from this type of learning? Can gamification and GBL really influence the classroom experience positively? Here we looked at the “Octalys method”, a study that looked at the motivations of the different types of players, their core drives and some real life examples. Level 2!

Level two delved into the extrinsic motivators and intrinsic motivators, how we could use “white hat” and “black hat” motivators to immerse students in their tasks, and encourage them to move through the game and accomplish their goals.

Games such as “Lupus in Tabula” were used to highlight these types of players, goals and motivations.

Level 3 started with an introduction to more traditional games and web-games that could be used in the class. From here, it was time to start the “10 quest challenge”- we were separated into teams, and each team was given the same set of “quests” to complete i.e. singing a song for 3 minutes, memorizing the core motivators etc. The benefits of this game were:

  • To enhances group atmosphere and energy
  • To create choice-based lessons and learning pathways that are both personalized and differentiated
  • To break down topics/assignments into a menu of choices, mission-sty
  • To give learners a sense of agency or autonomy!
  • To provide a simple way to gamify learning

In level three we looked at, and played many games “Battleship”, “Omars game”. These games are intrinsically connected with enhancing creativity and imagination, promoting positive atmosphere and energy and providing multiple and inclusive ways of expression.

Now for the last level. Level 4!

  • Using game-based mechanics to engage learners and motivate to act and learn outdoor
  • Learn to create online Scavenger Hunts to be performed indoor or outdoor
  • Learn to create Digital Escape Room style experiences

This was by far the highlight of the week, Sara created an unbelievably fun and interesting outdoor treasure hunt of Bologna. She imparted her knowledge and taught us how to use various applications to create these interactive activities ourselves. The main goal of this type of activity is getting students to apply acquired knowledge to real life, and at the same time, increase focus, and create a positive and fun atmosphere. During the game, we were able to consider the different motivation factors that were introduced to this activity, and see how it pushed us to achieve the overall outcome. Winning!

As we moved through the “levels”, we learnt more and more about how we can introduce these methods into our respective classrooms, and how each game can be adapted to fit the needs of our students. I was particularly interested in the online quiz making tools, the “actionbound” treasure hunt and the google sheets “escape room” activities.

Now I know this all seems like “lots of work and no play” but aside from the fantastic, interesting educational adventures we had with Sara, another person deserves a special mention- Alona. Alona facilitated our city tours, helped drive the dynamic of the group in the classroom and out of the classroom and overall made the trip extra special for all of us.

A massive thank you to Inicijativa for organizing this trip, to Sara for creating and leading an unforgettable course, to Alona for guiding us from one beautiful, interesting site to another, to the wonderful staff of Camplus who made us feel welcome in comfortable surroundings, but most of all to the colleagues I met.

Manuel and Juan- the Spanish “cheers” will never be forgotten, Gruia- you exuded positivity all week and helped cohere the group with your good humour, Alexandra- a real tem player, Cristina and Andreea- the good witches, and Edyta, Paulina, Aneta and Gabriela- you all imparted your own special touch to the week.

I look forward to using these new acquired skills to help create fun and interesting activities that engage our students in Inicijativa and promote inclusive learning. Fun times ahead.

Mobility of course participant is enabled within the project "Step up", code number: 2021-1-HR01-KA122-ADU-000018329. The project is funded by the European Union. Erasmus +: Enriching lives, opening minds.

Stephen Breslin

Step Up – KA 1 Erasmus+ projekt
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Knowledge transfer and workshops – part of the ‘Take Initiative’ and ‘Step Up’ projects

Article also avaliable on EPALE

Our teachers – Adam, Maria and Tamara – participated in mobility activities through a course held in Bologna as part of the projects 'Take Initiative' and 'Step Up'. The projects were financed by the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes through the Erasmus+ Programme.
Each teacher attended one of the courses, and through an array of interesting and interactive activities, they shared the experience and knowledge they had gained with our other teachers from Zagreb in in-house dissemination workshops held at Initiative on the 17th of December, 2021.

In a workshop focused on tools for encouraging creativity and critical thinking, the staff at Initiative actively participated in solving creative tasks presented by our teacher, Maria. The activities included drawing, interpreting illustrations with the aim of reflecting emotions, as well as tasks encouraging critical thinking. Maria transferred the following to our educators:

  • knowledge and tools for developing creativity
  • experience and techniques for encouraging critical thinking
  • tasks focused on problem solving
  • the importance or creative expression and strengthening critical awareness within the group

Teachers Tamara and Adam presented the application of innovative methods in education – using new technologies and online tools in education (ICT tools). The Covid-19 pandemic brought big changes in group work, which was still predominantly focused on online learning. The challenges of maintaining group interaction and the students' focus online could be solved by using the latest information trends while teaching online, together with continually developing knowledge and skills in that area. Our educators were shown:

  • ICT tools for creating content to be used in virtual teaching
  • ICT tools for maintaining and strengthening group interaction and student focus online
  • The advantages of using various online tools in a bid to make learning easier
  • The importance of continually developing knowledge and skills for using virtual aids in their work

The workshops were held with the aim of transferring experience and knowledge to our educators so they would be able to implement it during lessons with their groups and, subsequently, improve their own way of teaching, as well as for the whole group dynamic. The implementation of these valuable methods and tools aim to improve the experience of face-to-face and online learning for our students, as well as strengthen the personal and professional skills of our teachers.

This project was financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Dženana Kalamujić

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Workshop as part of the Pokreni Inicijativu project

As part of the project Pokreni Inicijativu, our teacher Domagoj Biondić participated in a workshop in Bologna, Italy. The project is accepted by the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes as a KA1 activity. The focus of the project is innovative teaching methods development. As part of the project, our employees got an opportunity to learn and gain skills in order to provide better and more comprehensive learning experience to their students. Our partner in this project is the Italian organization ELA: Erasmus+ Training Courses for teachers and educational staff.

Our teacher Domagoj gained valuable experience and knowledge which he then transferred to our colleagues through workshops in Zagreb and Split. 

Our colleagues participated in a workshop with the title Effective Classroom Management Strategies for Teachers and other Education Staff.

We transformed theory into practice through many interactive activities. Our teachers learned more about:
  • Knowledge, practice and tools related to social and emotional learning.
  • The importance of group dynamics within the context of cooperation, inclusiveness and affiliation.
  • Language usage that supports a growth mindset.
  • Four learning techniques.
  • Conflict management.

The main result of the workshops is acquiring knowledge, elevating our work and having better teaching methods. Personal skill development implementation is only one aspect. Our teachers will have to develop business skills which will help them achieve excellence in educating students! Workshops like these are a valuable example of transferring knowledge and experience. They are highly motivating for our teams in Zagreb and Split, who implement innovative teaching methods in our curriculum.


The project is funded by the European Union.

Step Up – KA 1 Erasmus+ projekt

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Final Conference of Education for Asylum Seeker Integration Project

🙌 The final conference of the EFS project was held Education for Asylum Seeker Integration

🎉 We congratulate to the participants who completed the education program as well as all partners on successful project implementation and completion!

Project coordinator: Initiative - Centre for Education

Partners: Jesuit Refugee Service and Vocational Training College

Project title: Social inclusion and marginalized group employment support

Implementation body: The Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy and the Croatian Employment Service

Project coordinator: Initiative - Centre for Education

Partners: Jesuit Refugee Service and Vocational Training College

General goal: Increase asylum-seeker employability with the goal of labor market integration and the Croatian society integration.

Specific goals:

1 To increase the vocational knowledge of unemployed asylum-seekers through the adult education program.

2 Empowerment and soft, transferable skill development of unemployed asylum-seekers. Implementation of linguistic and cultural integration programs. Providing individual mentoring and translation services.

More about the project - Project: Education for Asylum Seeker Integration • Initiative

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Transnational Partner Meeting: Creativity for Innovation, Erasmus+

Step Up – KA 1 Erasmus+ projekt


From the 13th to the 15th of October, we held our first international partner meeting.

The goal of our project is to learn how to use creative methods in working with adults. The core of the method includes three creative methods: reading, creative writing and storytelling.

Over the course of three days, we got to know our partners better as well as presented the goals, effects and the desired outcome of our project.

We were excited on the first day as it usually happens. We didn’t know what to expect from new partners, but we were excited because we knew our topic was very interesting,

After talking over a cup of coffee, we realized that we had made new friends with whom we would carry out an excellent project, but also have a great time.

All members presented their organizations and we learned about the activities, methods and the field of adult education. Alongside the two schools (Initiative and Europass), there was a creative organization which implements storytelling when working with marginalized groups.

We learned a very important piece of information; storytelling is not just a skill of telling stories, but also listening.

We chose a book for the project and the book club, which was Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession. It is a book about ordinary, unusual people that moved our students.

Impact Exercise in process

On the second day, we dove deeper into the project in order to assign roles and talk about our tasks. Impact exercise helped us with that. We use this exercise when putting the project on paper or when meeting new partners. The goal of the exercise is to get a clearer picture of the impact of our project on our organizations, but most importantly, on our students.

We identified project success indicators and then talked over a cup of coffee to end up, as it usually happens in Croatia, hanging out until late drinking pelinkovac.

The last day was the most fun one. We discussed marketing and dissemination activities.

We settled on a marketing plan and result dissemination plan, selected hashtags, and exchanged Facebook and Instagram accounts. So that everyone keeps busy when we go back to our routine, each partner needs to design a visual identity project.

You will find out what we came up with in a month.

At the end, our guests participated in our Erasmus Days Workshop and the dissemination of our KA1 project "Pokreni Inicijativu". Our guests learned about creative teaching online tools as well as how to entice students to think critically!

It was a great ending to a great project start!

We are grateful to our partners Storytelling Centre, Europass Teacher Academy, Eva and Layla, who madet his experience even better!

Initiative - Centre for Education is the promoter of the international Erasmus+ project with the code number: 2020-1-HR01-KA227-ADU-094782 which is dedicated to the implementation of innovative and creative methods in the work of organizations.

This project is funded by the Erasmus+ programme. Enriching lives, opening minds - Erasmus+

#innovation #creativity #Erasmus+ #education #storytelling #language

Jelena Posavec

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Erasmus, Uncategorized

What is a KA 1 activity within Erasmus

Hi there,

If you are a teacher, trainer or educator, I’m sure you are well aware what challenges are we facing with the change in pupils concentration, demand for the innovative teaching methods and constant self improvement to meet the standards of todays needs.

Lifelong learning is ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge and is one of the goals and  of the key elements to having a successful career and a fulfilling life/work balance.

We are here for you to:

  • Provide you with high-quality education, training and lifelong learning
  • Support educational staff in implementing competence-based teaching
  • Encourage a variety of learning approaches
  • Explore and validate new key competence

You ask yourself, what do I need to do to use those benefits?

Well, the European Commission has developed Erasmus + courses for you and your organization to use it and upgrade your skills.

But, first thing to start with is to actually find out can you and your organization get involved in Erasmus + courses and how can you get an Erasmus + grant?

To do so, you need to get into ERASMUS + KA 1 Activity that offers you 3 different types of sub activities you can choose when writing a project.

  1. Job Shadowing – yep, sounds creepy ? but I assure you, you won’t need to become a vampire to participate. This activity is created for people who want to learn good practices from their colleagues in other similar European organizations. You will most likely be participating on meetings, classes and back office activities and tasks. This way – learning by seeing, you can implement newly learned skills and practices in your organization when you get back home.

  2. Attending Training Courses – you want to upskill yourself or your organization community, learn new teaching strategies, approaches or improve your soft skills? You can choose from wide range of specialized courses. From learning and improving your English, to entrepreneurship, marketing skills or new teaching methodology. For more tips, make sure to check our description on How to find good training organization, because this will be crucial in your successful application process as well as in finalization of your project.

  3. Teaching others – this activity is designed for those who want to share their knowledge and experience in their own expertise. Find organization who is searching to upskill its team and share qualifications you are acing.

One site that will help you more to get familiar with the program is EC.EUROPA.EU .

There, you will find all the guidelines that can help you get closer to your mobility.

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