What is it?
Life in community naturally integrates work, study, informal time, free time and mentoring. It is expected of the members of the community that it becomes their home and temporary center of life. It is not only about accommodation. Members desire to be actively involved in what is happening around them. This includes adapting to the life style of the community, which consists of shared meals, programs, workshops, discussions and the like. The group lives together in Bratislava on the premises of C.S.Lewis Bilingual High School. Members live together in shared en-suite rooms of two or three. Free time, discussions, workshops and movie screenings take place in the community room. Apart from this, the students can use kitchen, study room and the gym. Members of the community sign the “Understanding of shared commitment,” where they express their commitment towards other members of the community and to the school.
Life in the community
Life in the community involves some more intense and some less intense weeks. The main milestones of the community are moments of common life, where all members are present. These translate into common experiences, sharing, seminars, discussions, and meals. Through these moments the members intentionally let go of the outer world, they are “here and now” with other people that made a commitment of community towards each other. Throughout the year, members of the community take three different trips to the mountains or nature.
- Breakfast – start of the day with a short introduction to leave some food for thought for the day
- Dinner – shared meal that is the start of a community evening taking place twice a week
- Theme – time spent together thinking about topics, questions, movies, books, very often involving interesting guests
- Weekend together – we would like to spend every other weekend in each other’s company. This would mostly include a relaxed day in the community (with the addition of a Saturday day program, dinner and a topic), but also three times a year as a field trip away from Bratislava.
Every member of the community has special gifts and skills, through which they can work to enrich others in the community and its environment. We see work as a tool for creating relationships and values. Thus Bilgym’s environment is naturally a world where members of the community can test themselves and their gifts by providing service to others. At the beginning of each year of a new community, a “Community Portfolio” will be put together, to serve as a map of projects and responsibilities, including the internships of the members.
Training/leadership program for the group
All members of the community take part in a development program focused on the following topics:
- Identity – who am I? (background story, skills, character traits)
- Context – where do I live? (socio-political context of Europe / Slovakia / Bratislava; identifying the opportunity for development; forms of fulfilling civic responsibilities)
- Vocation – where is the intersection of what I am good at, what I want to do, and what needs to be done?
Every member of the community has access to help (not just related to their studies) from a mentor who is a worker, colleague or another member of the Bilgym community. The mentor asks questions and provides a safe space for discussing important topics that life in a community can bring. Mentors are chosen from amongst the workers and colleagues from the community.