Hello readers of this blog!
In this and future blog posts for Drömmarnas Kontor I decided to share my knowledge and experiences organizing Youth exchange. First of all i am guessing you are wondering who am i and why i am writing this blog posts. Then i think not all of us knows what is Youth exchange so i will try to explain as good as i can. And finally i will share my first experience about organizing it with you.
Let’s start with a first point. I am Marius. I was born in Lithuania, a small town called Trakai and then lived majority of my life in a town closeby, Lentvaris. It is just around 25 minutes away from capital city Vilnius so it was perfect for me. After gymnasium I studied information technology business management but unfortunately just after one semester I had to quit because it became too expensive for me. Later on I had some basic jobs, nothing to brag about really. During all this time since late years of gymnasium i was involved in various activities and volunteering at Lentvaris youth center which turned my life upside down! I discovered youth exchanges, “Youth in action” (now Erasmus+) programme and much more.
While I was volunteering at Lentvaris youth center I have participated in quite many youth exchanges and some local initiatives. That’s where i learned about EVS, opportunity to volunteer abroad for one year. So that’s exactly what i did. I quit my current job at the time and came to Sweden, to completely new place with no contacts or any knowledge about it, having no idea what is going to happen next. Here i was volunteering in a project ‘På ingång’ till it’s end in December and after that became chairman of förening På ingång that was created in order to keep project alive and continue good work. Now i am volunteering at a new project ‘Drömmarnas Kontor’, it is just a beginning of something great, but trust me you will hear this name in the future more often. During my time in Sweden i decided that i want to learn how to organize my own project. Organizing youth exchange appeared as the best option to do so and gain a lot of experience. And having strong support from Drömmarnas Kontor and others from SIP makes me feel comfortable and in safe environment to learn so i made final decision to organize youth exchange for real and don’t leave this dream behind me.
You are still probably questioning yourself: What is Youth exchange? The youth exchange is one of the many parts/actions of Erasmus+ programme financed by EU. It gives young people the chance to experience another country and work together in a team. It’s an opportunity to gain skills in areas such as project management and to improve your foreign language proficiency, there is total of 8 key competences of which you can improve your skills and knowledge and get Youthpass certificate to prove it. Youth exchanges take place outside the school environment and offer a structured programme (a mix of workshops, exercises, debates and role play).
The exchanges are open to young people aged 13-30 and can last from 5 to 21 days. They can take place in any country of Europe or outside the EU in partner countries.
Youth exchanges enable young people to discover new cultures and friends, develop new competences, and better appreciate values like solidarity and democracy.
The learning process is based on non-formal education and involves at least two organisations from different countries within or outside the EU.
Youth exchange that we are organizing now is called “Cultures through youth’s lens”. It will be held in Sweden, Växjö in April for 10 days. There will be total of 25 participants from 5 different countries: Greece, Italy, Poland, Lithuania and Sweden. Växjö welcomes a great number of new inhabitants each year (Refugees, asylum seekers…). This is both an opportunity and a challenge for the city as well as for other European countries and cities that are facing the same situation. And one of those challenges is integration of newly arrived. Therefore we decided to help. From our experience working with På ingång project we think that high numbers of newly arrived faces many different issues which leads to low rate of interaction with locals which leads to more difficult integration process. That’s why with this project we want to create safe environment for newly arrived and locals to interact with each other, share their fears and expectations from each other, discuss ideas and brake boundaries between them. We want to spread these ideas, experiences and all knowledge we will get by creating a short movie that would raise awareness of this situation and encourage newly arrived and locals to interact more with each other. Actually we are still looking for participants, if you, my dear blog reader, are interested in this topic and you would want to participate you can contact me through email:firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about this exchange i will leave this link to the event:https://www.facebook.com/events/1689515104666170/
That’s a long text… I think this should do for a first blog. I introduced myself a bit, told what i am going to write in the future and explained what it is In the next blog post from me i will share my first experiences from the beginning of organizing this youth exchange and tell a bit more detailed, technical information what it takes to start your own youth exchange or other project with Erasmus+. Stay tuned it’s going to be interesting.