Youth Exchange in Athens from 29/03/2016 to 05/04/2016
Experience of Greek participants from the youth exchange in Athens
“Youth impACT” was an 8-day youth exchange that took place in Athens from 29/03/2016 to 05/04/2016. The 24 participants from Greece, Germany and Russia had the opportunity to discuss and share their ideas about a great variety of topics regarding democracy, politics and participation as well as other topics that we were interested in. We learned to participate in a group through non-formal type of education and we communicated with other European citizens.
During the youth exchange we had the opportunity to discover Athens through a rally in town where some tasks were asked to be fulfilled and be presented about the archeology, health, diversity and democracy of the city. We came closer to the other cultures by the language animation activities where we learned letters from the three different alphabets (Greek, Latin, and Cyrillic) and words from the three languages. We discovered the way that the other youngsters all around Europe participate in their organizations, how they work in their organizations and we came up with some very interesting and innovative ideas and projects. We discovered active participation and how everyone trusts each other by painting our “dream house” and cooperating to make the “dream house” of everyone.
One of the most interesting parts of the youth exchange was the dialogue with the people from Vouliwatch where we discovered a very innovative kind of participation that most of us didn’t know. We had a really useful and fruitful discussion. In addition, the meeting with Christos Dimas, a Member of the Greek Parliament was something interesting and inspiring as it was the first time for the majority to meet a politician and we had the opportunity to understand politics and participation in a better way. The visit of the Greek Parliament was also one of the best moments of the youth exchange as we had the opportunity to learn more about the history of the building and democracy since Greece is the country where democracy was born.
However, the best and most innovative activity of the project was the implementation of an action to motivate people about a problem. So the participants split in two groups and two actions took place. The first action was “The marbles of Parthenon” where the problem of the missing marbles of the Parthenon that are hosted in the British museum was presented. We had the opportunity to visit the Acropolis and the museum of Acropolis, to be informed about the issue and motivate more Athenians and tourists about this heritage issue. The action took place in front of the Acropolis and many people were interested in this action and encouraged it. The second action was “Unity is our power” an action about diversity and the interculturality in the modern European societies. This action took place near Acropolis and also motivated many people that passed by the place.
The last day of the youth exchange we were asked to criticize which are the reasons that hinder people to participate in groups. This criticism led to some utopic societies where no rules existed and everything could happen. No time limits, a fully democratic society without corruption, tolerance for diversity were some of the imaginary ideas. However, after the utopia the realization came and the planning of future projects where some of these ideas may come true.
We shared our passions through the passion nights, passions about the country, a culture, a way of life, fashion, music, theater. We shared the best and the most important moments of each day through this blog page, the “online diary”.
This youth exchange empowered us with cultural awareness, it enhanced our skills about active citizenship and active participation. The self-confidence, self-esteem, personal development and socialization were strengthened as well as the active participation in non-formal learning activities was increased. Moreover, the use of ICT tools was effective and the communicative skills in English language were highly increased.
“The participation in every Erasmus+ project is a completely new experience, a new journey to the unknown. I had the opportunity to learn about different cultures, share ideas and opinions on various topics like participation, democracy, politics and education. I met new friends from all around Europe and we shared beautiful moments all these 8 days. All the activities of the project were magnificent and the actions in town were really motivating and inspiring for us, the Athenians and the tourists. It was one of the best experiences in my life and I recommend it without doubts to all young people.”
“It was a very nice project during its implementation I gained much knowledge concerning democracy and participation. I also learnt a lot about the ideas, customs and the culture of the Russian and German participants. What I liked most from the project was the part of Utopia from the future lab because we didn’t have any borders in our way of thinking”
“When I first set foot in the Romantzo venue on Tuesday 29/3, along with 30 other people, I did not know that this would be the beginning of a beautiful journey in learning, sharing and experiencing new things and ideas with new friends. Our first days helped us get introduced to each other and find out about the various causes that motivated us to participate in our respective communities, but also about our personal interests and passions. I got the chance to work on several different activitiesand form discussion groups with my fellow participants, in which we learned from each other, we cooperated and merged all our ideas into a united conclusion. The process was as fun as it was creative, and at the end of the day I felt accomplished and happy, albeit a bit exhausted! When the day of departure came, I realized how quickly the week flew by and how much I have gained in such a short time; knowledge, new friends and inspiration to help change the world for the better.”
“The youth exchange in Athens was my first experience in Erasmus+ projects. After a week of living together with youngsters not only from Greece but also from Germany and Russia, I realize now that this experience was unique, the knowledge I gained plenty and the remaining feelings very pleasing! I had the opportunity to meet people from other countries, express our opinions for a great variety of social issues like the way democracy works nowadays, the education system in Greece, Germany and Russia, the equality among the different social groups, the role and the power of the youth in critical issues of our days. We also used our imagination and creativity in order to deal with the interesting activities during which there was cooperation and team spirit.
For all these reasons and even more that I cannot express in words, I am very glad that I took part in this youth exchange and I would like to participate again in similar projects-youth exchanges in the future!”
For more information on the project contact Nikos Pasamitros at email@example.com
To read more about the experience of the participants visit www.youthimpactsite.wordpress.com