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  • Writer's pictureARTE.M

Erasmus+ Youth Exchange: Insights from the Tatra Mountains

Updated: Feb 16

Our team has just returned from Poland...a youth exchange Introvision -2024 prepared by our polsh partner NGO FRATERNITAS ..It takes place in the Tatra Mountains, and for our participants, it can be the highlight of the new year.



As project organizers, the primary objective was to combat teen unemployment through a multifaceted approach. The initiative focused on providing comprehensive guidance on resume writing, job requirements, and interview techniques to empower young people to secure employment opportunities. The value of volunteering was advocated as a means for young, first-time job seekers to gain valuable experience and enhance their profiles. A holistic approach was taken to address the diverse needs of young individuals facing unemployment challenges, offering targeted education, skill-building workshops, and experiential learning opportunities. Ultimately, the project aimed to help youth clarify their career goals and reducing youth unemployment rates and fostering economic empowerment.


What was the most liked, or perhaps surprised or even shocked our team ?


-ANNA

Introvision program was a surprise. Time spent on learning activities and leisure was perfectly balanced - so we had plenty of time to know each other and participants from other countries better. Also you could've had a rest those days when you just arrived, or when you felt under the weather.

Activities themselves were very interesting and engaging. We had group projects (team would be different each time) and solitary work. And even though activities were great, if you didn't want to do something, people would not force you!

Atmosphere was friendly and non judgemental. If acting or public speaking is not your cup of tea and you do something embarrassing, no one will judge you because we all there to learn.

And of course, can't forget most important topic - food. Amazing polish ladies cooked us delicious food every day, loosing weight was impossible!


-TINA

Ten days of snow, warm sweaters and tea - what could be better? I think that the time and place was perfect for this project. It created a special atmosphere, at least for me. I had no explanations from this project other than to meet new people. And the facilitators made the perfect conditions for people to bond - team building activities, group work, side "quests". It didn't even feel forced, more like if my comfort zone slowly expanded.

As an introverted person I struggle to speak publicly. I can force myself to fake confidence, but it takes a lot of energy and doesn't feel like me. During "Introvision" I gained some real confidence, and by the end of the project I didn't even have to fake anything - it just came naturally.

It didn't change the fact that I prefer to be alone over being with people. But at least now I am more confident when I do decide to make new friends and socialize. I think that in future the confidence that I built during the project will help me to develop my dream skill - leadership. It feels like the first step in the right direction.


-RODRIGO

The Introvision Erasums program was a perfect one to begin with. 10 days was enough time to be in a place with more than 40 strangers and leave with more than 40 friends, who some we will meet for a coffee or a beer in our homes. Including the hosts of course.

The activites were not only challenging for introverted and extroverted people, with presentations about us and improvised theatre, but also made us collaborate with each other, creating natural and strong bonds.

Everyone by the end of the program was having a good time, and being openly comfortable with themselves, even if it took more than half the program and/or some drinks (on the food night) for it to be possible. The free time in the program finely balanced with the activities, but some of us even slept 3 hours a day so we could have even more time to have more fun and still be at the morning activities. Although, I do not advise doing this every day.

There were so many things I would say were surprising and new. From the actual soft snow where we had snowball fights, built forts and snowmen, to the typical and delicious foods that were prepared by the Austryjok Willa’s cooks.

I won’t even talk much about the thermal baths we went to. Just going to say it was the most relaxing and enjoyable swim I ever had, it would be possible to sleep there if it wasn’t prohibited.

All in all, a perfect experience for a first or any time in an Erasmus exchange program. Worth the experience 11/10.


PHOTO was taken with an old fuji compact camera so dont mind the quality


-DUARTE


During 10 days, 40 strangers lived together in a Villa. This could be the premisse for a crime fiction novel, but no.

In this case, the 40 strangers were together to create a relationship based on cooperation, understanding and trust. At the end of the 10 days, there were no more 40 strangers, but 40 friends.

The Introvision program, na Erasmus program, made this to happen. Without it, our lives, the participants, wouldn’t have got better. During these 10 days, we engaged in activities that allowed us to know each other more, day by day, to know more about our cultures, our countries, our lifes. It’s one of those moments we never forget.

The responsibles for the project did a splendid job. Everything was for us, for our safety, for our enjoyment. The activities did not force anyone to do anything we didn’t want to. On teh contrary, it made us want to try new things. We always had food for us, we had time to rest, free time to explore the area or to hang out and get to know each other.

In a personal note, I would also highlight a small but very meaningful action. Me and my colleagues arrived at the Willa, at 2h30 am, a very late hour. However, some participants waited for us to arrive, to hang out with us and to welcome us, and the responsibles did the same. It’s a small action, but it made us so happy to have them csre about us and the fact thelat they waited for us.

I recommend the participation of everyone in Erasmus Projects, because it allows us to be in touch with new people, new environments, new cultures and traditions.







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