When you take part in an international exchange, you cannot forget about its evaluation, comparing the results of the project with the initial intentions. It is an assessment of the project’s effectiveness and it is carried out not only at the end of the entire project, but also every day of the exchange – on a regular basis and in various forms. But in the mind of the participant, it is basically living the experience a third time. Why three times, you may ask? I like to think of the youth exchange as something that starts long before it officially starts and continues after its last day.
Before the departure date, there’s the preparation, and along with it you generate expectations about the goals of the project or the new place that you are going to discover, or the people that you are going to meet. During the project comes the experience itself, everything is so fast that you don’t even realise how many new things you are absorbing and lastly it comes in handy the above mentioned “recollection in tranquillity”, which culminates in the Youthpass Certificate. Beside being a great addition to your CV, it is a moment where you ask yourself “What did I learn?”. Because even though they take place outside the school environment, erasmus+ allow groups of young people to develop important personal and professional skills that might be transferred in any job they might choose.
During the 6 days of this recently ended youth exchange in Romania, youngsters from five different countries (Romania, Italy, Spain, Lithuania, Greece) with different cultural backgrounds got involved in many activities such as workshops, exercises, debates, role-plays, outdoor activities and more. The topic of this project was Sustainable Entrepreneurship. In this context we had the opportunity to understand better the idea of entrepreneurship, start up, MVP(minimum viable product), selling, promoting and sustaining an online operated business. All activities and workshops, realized in the frame of non-formal learning, served as tools to analyze the content of the project from different points of view while team building activities, energizers, getting to know each other’s activities created the right mood for a memorable stay.
However, it’s good to keep in mind that every youth exchange is a subjective experience.
The most interesting thing for me was finding out that this knowledge could be applied to everyday life; for example the concepts connected to critical thinking and problem solving skills. I improved my awareness about the topic of sustainability and improved my knowledge of other cultures… Did you know that in Spain to welcome the New Year people eat a grape with each clock bell strike at midnight of December 31? And what about the beautiful Greek word “meraki”? Modern Greeks use it to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love.
Finally, it would not have been the same without a team, so I collected the feedback of the other 4 young people from Calabria that joined me:
“Amazing experience” -Pietro
“It was my first youth exchange and it couldn’t have been better than this” -Delia
”I really loved the theme of the project, I will never forget all the things I learnt and how to put them into practice“ -Francesco
”Unforgettable experience. I loved the chemistry between people” -Alessandro
We came home with a baggage full of good memories and things to share with the world, starting from this video! Sustainable Entrepreneurs – Make Cash out of Trash
Francesca Politi. Team Leader of the group participating in the mobility.