ERASMUS+, Key action 1: youth exchange
Venue: Balatonszárszó, Hungary
Dates: 23 November—1 December 2023
Czech team: 1 participant
Please read the info-pack.
Hosting organisation: MeOut Group
From 23.11.2023 to 1.12.2023, an international youth exchange took place in Hungary, in the village of Balatonszárszó, on the southern shore of Balaton Lake. The name of the project – „Youth for green future” already says a lot in itself – the event was tuned to an environmental theme, the content of which was mainly contributed by our experienced facilitator Jannes. However, the participants themselves also had the opportunity to share their own experience and knowledge during the event and to pass on, especially further during the time set aside for presenting and open space programs. Altogether, about 25 participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Georgia and Croatia gathered and participated at the event.
The first day was arrival day. Many participants used a direct train connection from Budapest to our final destination, one van brought the farthest participants from Vienna Airport.
The first day of the program was dedicated to introductions, icebreakers, team building activities, framing of our expectations and needs and the first workshops, which were focused on renewable energy-saving solutions in the building and its surroundings – the building in which the project took place had southern orientation, which prevented increased energy leaks without the need for lighting. Photovoltaics pannels on the roof covered most of the energy consumption of the entire building; water from the lake was used to flush the toilets. The building was equipped with two dozens of bicycles, which were freely available to us for easier mobility in the village and its surroundings. The following days were focused on a deeper perception and discussion of long-term sustainable solutions – for example with the Hungarian Szábó, who explained us the above-mentioned measures in the building during discussion activities on the topic of “Green” in our own context. We presented examples of successful solutions from all participating countries, and at the same time we tried to find long-term sustainable solutions for e.g. waste management, air pollution or transport problems. When surveying the village, we focused on individual aspects and discussed them again later. Two consecutive evenings were dedicated to the presentations of our countries, where we enriched each other with what makes our countries special, shared folk dances, tasted local specialties and laughed while uncovering the correct answers to the prepared quizzes.
Other activities that followed during the days included, for example, connecting long-term sustainable networks, connecting international organizations dealing with similar interests, discovering a book of “green practices”, brainstorming projects that we would like to implement ourselves, sharing eco-practices when working with youth, and many others. The activities in the lecture rooms were interspersed with outdoor activities – we planted several trees in the immediate vicinity with our joint efforts.
One of the popular activities included a workshop on how to properly present on social media, how to get a higher audience for posts dealing with environmental protection than a bunch of sensationalism that often runs on social meadia, and how to generally raise awareness among the lay public about this issue. We also learned how to choose the ideal space for organizing training courses and youth exchanges, where all environmental aspects (location, transport, catering, logistics, surroundings and others) will be taken into account.
During the youth exchange, there were several open blocks where we learned from each other across different areas. Among the activities presented by the participants were, for example, presentations in the field of geo-information technologies, forestry, painting or yoga.
The program also included theater, or pantomime on an environmental theme.
I would like to thank the EYCB organization for the opportunity to be one of the participants in this Hungarian youth exchange. Thanks also go to the MeOut organization for organizing the event, and to our trainer and facilitator Jannes, who facilitated most of the activities and who also spent his free evening time with us. Although I am a person who is actively interested in environmental protection both professionally and in my free time – this experience allowed me to immerse myself in environmental topics even more and to deepen my knowledge in them, especially in an international (global) context. Thanks for this opportunity.