River of Life


River of Life is an artistic method that invites participants to reflect on details about a specific, real-life journey or experience over time using the visual metaphor of a river.


TARGET GROUP: Young adults.

TIME NEEDED: Optimal from 45 to 90 minutes

River of Life is one method of Biographical Learning. Biographical learning is a helpful tool for initiating learning and reflecting on own story and history, and drawing conclusions about the present day.

Invite participants to draw on paper a river that symbolises their journey. They should fill the river with elements representing life’s milestones, failures and successes and people who played a significant role in that period. The river can run straight, or it can twist (e.g. at turning point moments in one’s life). Through visualization, the river can become like a compass for the person creating it.

Adapt the instructions according to the purpose of the activity. They can explore their path as a leader and what it was like to be you today, and they can reflect on their volunteering period (e.g. ESC volunteers).

Once they have completed the work, invite them to share the parts and findings they wish to share. Take time for the activity so that participants do not feel that their story is not significant enough. Prepare questions that support the sharing of insights that participants have gained through the activity. The questions should reflect the purpose of the activity.


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