ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: youth exchange
Venue: Wojnicz, Poland
Dates: 3—13 July 2023
National team: 5 participants (aged 16—30) + 1 group leader (18+)
Please read the info-pack.
Hosting organisation: Fundacja Ornament
Our mission when going to Wojnicz, Poland was to get closer to „Our Better World“, as the name of the project suggests. Dating from 3rd July to 13th July, the youth exchange (YE) brought together 48 people from 8 different countries: Czech Republic, Turkey, Macedonia, Greece, Italy, Romania, Poland and Germany.
With our facilitators Haris and Ruta, we were glad to have taken part in a series workshops which improved many of our skills with the ultimate end goal being to strengthen the value of sustainability within us.
Those workshops involved for example discovering greenwashing as a part of many large companies, finding previous cases of it in the past, also learning how to avoid it as much as possible using critical thinking and expressing our ideas with the form of a roleplay afterwards.
When it comes to roleplay, this was not the only way we were creatively expressing ourselves during the YE. We were also taking pictures – for example during one workshop called „Treasure hunt“, where we were supposed to do 11 tasks by going to various places all over our town of stay (One of the tasks was, for example: make three photographs where is a person and a different animal), which made us be more aware that there is a whole other world aside from our venue.
We haven’t stopped at photographs, though. We even made movies concerning the theme of small habits anybody can incorporate into their daily lives in order to, in the end, create a more sustainable future – thus giving us a more responsible way of seeing the climate crisis (anybody can turn off their taps to save water, right?).
During the upcycling workshop we were supposed to collect trash from a nearby park (which was full of it!) and then use our creativity to make new, useful products out of it. It was very satisfying seeing the old being brought a new life upon itself.
Apart from the workshops, we were also given a free day, during which those who wanted had a chance to have a guided trip to Auschwitz concentration camp, that was a very strong experience that I am sure nobody who visited is going to forget.
Apart from the obvious value of sustainability, there was also another one, and that became obvious only at the end of the while YE. It was responsibility, but one which had many faces, one of them being the obvious ecological responsibility that consisted of trying to strive towards a better future by doing small actionable steps every day, because when summed up over long time and in many people, they can create huge differences.
The next face was the creative responsibility, that consisted of acting upon ideas and creating new things even though they might not turn out the best (we are still just humans, after all).
Then there was the face of social responsibility (if one can call it that), and that was staying open to new contradicting ideas coming from people who think differently and also trying to make new connections all the while trying to improve upon our english skills.
Finally, picking up on the theme of english, I think it was one of the best opportunities to strenthen the language. Not only did we speak it with friends, but we were also presenting, creating and sharing with it, which in turn made us more skillful speakers.
I cannot thank the organizers enough, it was such a great and refreshing experience that gave us all a new view of the world, valuable friendships and made us more active towards making our world better.