My first youth exchange: Pescara, Italy!

Posted in: Travelling on 21 April, 2017 by Sacha

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As mentioned in my previous post, I went on my first Erasmus+ Youth Exchange in March. It took place in Pescara, Italy. I figured it might be interesting to tell you a bit more about this particular youth exchange, and how I experienced it.

 

The youth exchange took place from 20-29th of March, with the 20th and the 29th being the arrival and departure, or travel dates. This meant that we started our journey to Pescara, Italy on the 20th of March. I was travelling with two other participants from the Swedish team, who were both travelling from Gothenburg, and we took our flight from Landvetter Airport in Gothenburg. We first flew to London Stansted, where we had a 7 hour layover before catching our flight to Pescara, Italy. All in all, it was a very long day, as I had to take the bus from Linköping at 2:00 AM to be able to catch the flight from Landvetter at 7:00 AM. At about 19:00 we finally got to the hotel where the youth exchange was going to take place. In total, 35 people from seven different countries took part in the youth exchange: Sweden, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Turkey, Spain and Italy. The Swedish team itself was also very international, which was very fun! And I think it was great that we broke the stereotype that all Swedes are blonde and blue-eyed 🙂

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Killing time at Stansted Airport…

 

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The Swedish team!

 

As there were strikes on the arrival day, many people arrived late in the evening or even the next morning (we got very lucky and had no delays!). Therefore, we started a bit later the next day. It gave us the time to explore the area of the hotel a bit and take a walk through the town. It was very nice to be in the warm, 20-degree, sunny Italian weather after a cold, dark, and long Swedish winter!

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Compulsory touristy picture

 

In the afternoon we started the planned program, which first consisted of some introduction exercises to get to know each other, learn names and to break the ice. We also did some team-building exercises, which stayed very imported throughout the rest of the exchange. An example of an exercise we did was a drawing exercise. We sat in a big circle, all wrote our name on a piece of paper and then handed it to the person next to us. Each person had to draw one feature of the person whose name was on the paper, so that in the end everybody would have a portrait of themselves, drawn by the full group. It was really fun to do this, and I quite like the result of mine:

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As the topic of the youth exchange was youth employability, we talked about skills and competences a lot. One of the exercises was making an overview of our own Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). We then were divided into small groups to make a poster, drawing our strengths.

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As the weather was pretty good most days, a lot of the work was done outside. It was nice to be taking part in non-formal education in a pretty non-formal setting, outside on the grass.

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A lot of flipcharts/posters were created over the week. Below you find an example of a flipchart about necessary skills for the job market, in the form of a pizza. Very Italian!

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Each team also got the opportunity to show a little bit of their culture at the intercultural evenings. There were traditional foods, videos, music, and dancing! Here is a picture of the Swedish/Czech/Slovak evening.

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During the week, there was even the opportunity for a little bit of sight-seeing. On one day, we went to explore the area and we were taken to a castle in the mountains, to the seaside and to a city nearby, Chieti.

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And on the day after we took a (3.5 one-way busride) trip to Naples!

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After these ‘tourist-days’ we still had some work to do, so we continued the program with several exercises around the topic of employability and unemployment. One that really stood out for me was the Forum Theatre/Theatre of the Oppressed. It was really cool to do this exercise again, as I also did it during my last face-to-face week. The topic was a bit different this time, but it was still very cool and led to very interesting and valuable discussions about the problems that unemployment causes and how we can solve them.

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All in all, the youth exchange was a super rewarding experience for me. I got to meet amazing people from all over Europe, I got to hear a lot of different languages, hear about different cultures, all while also learning about employability. It was a great first impression and I really hope that the upcoming youth exchanges that I will be attending will be as rewarding as this one.

 

For more information about the Erasmus+ programme, you can look at its website. And if you are interested in taking part in a youth exchange, one possibility is to follow TNB International, the international FB page of the NGO that organised this exchange. They post new opportunities when they are available (you have to be living in Sweden to take part, though!).

 

 


 

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Sacha Bogaers

Sacha Bogaers
Hello everybody!
My name is Sacha, I am from the Netherlands and I recently came to Linköping to study gender studies.
I am looking forward to sharing my experiences in Linköping and Sweden. I hope that living here will give me the opportunity to see more of this beautiful country!

MSSc Gender Studies - Intersectionality and Change

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