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Youth exchange in Portugal: “Learning Inclusive Forms of Exchange”

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International project News Project Youth exchange

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

Destination: Portugal. Objective: New experience

On 15 February the destination was reached, and from that day, for a week, everything worked out and the goal was met. We left thanks to Youmore, five youngsters, practically all strangers to each other as well as a group leader.

The project was a non-formal experience in a remote village near the Serra da Estrela, not really in a metropolis; the main goal was to create once again, as it should always be, a real community of people unknown to each other who totally share spaces, rules, emotions, difficulties and issues for a week.

Portogallo2 It was not difficult: fortunately all the young people arrived with the same enthusiasm and the same fears and the adults who guided them were immediately in tune, so the work took directly a positive turn. All what was built in a week remains one of those permanent experiences that life keeps forever. Once in that place we immediately realized that the local community had also been involved in the project, so the group of young people from eight countries of Europe, was confronted to and perfectly integrated with the local community. The language used was English, but this experience has put us all in contact with various community languages, many young people have measured themselves under various aspects of their lives, some of them have had more courage and brought home so much experience.

The organization was very good and was able to involve everyone in the planned work, also offering very beautiful moments immersed in nature and culture of the place; it is practically impossible to find a negative side of this exchange; we just think about the bad weather that has chased us a bit, but never stopped us!!!

These are the people who went away with Youmore, came back with such enthusiasm and were full of positivity.

Portogallo4 (1) Elisa and Silvia, 17, second Erasmus +: As soon as the opportunity presented itself, we did not hesitate a minute and registered ourselves. Meeting new people, only speaking English and seeing beautiful places are the three basic ideas; we also add adapting, collaborating, having fun, in short, returning and feeling another person. During that week we met children and adults from eight European countries, not exactly the same: language, habits, different ways of relating, even of greeting, all contributed to forming in us a conscience of European citizens who can living together in friendship, or rather, breaking down barriers and creating chains of friendships.

Erika, 19, first Erasmus +: I shared this trip with people who have enriched my culture and have been very close to me. Thanks to the various activities I was able to know my limits by confronting myself with the English language, but I also understood the desire to overcome them and improve myself.

Lorenzo, 18, first Erasmus +: people meeting each other deeply mark your path of life, leaving memories that are very difficult to forget.

Giulio, 19, second Erasmus +: I started with the fear of not being able to integrate myself, I did not know anyone, I did not stop and I knocked down all prejudices; an experience that opened my mind and gave me excellent traveling companions.

Portogallo1 Chiara, group leader: always be available with everyone and open; everything comes back to you; this time too all the youngsters turned out to be the most beautiful part of the experience: no matter where you go, what you see, what you eat, if the desire is to have a positive experience all around it becomes one, and thanks to them it was so again.

What to say: Elisa, Silvia, Erika, Giulio and Lorenzo would be ready now to go and repeat the adventure! Thanks Erasmus +, thanks Porto, thanks Youmore !!

Written by the group leader Chiara Lecchi

Translated by the volunteer Stephanie Bernardes

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