Close to nature, youth in action, Poland 2020

From the 9th till the 15th of October, our volunteers alongside young people from Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Portugal took part in an International Youth Exchange program in Poland.
The Youth Exchange aimed to improve their skills while living in nature and learning ways to survive, through a variety of interactive and outdoor activities.
In the following lines, you can explore the experiences that our volunteers gained through their participation.

Nena:

During these difficult times we traveled to Poland to participate in a project called “Come close to nature”. It was my first time as a leader and I was a bit concerned, but with the help of Nikos from GYM I learned a lot. When I saw the willa we were about to stay, I realized that the title of the project will be fulfilled. The small village, fires at night, stars in the sky, the hut with the fireplace, even the snow of one day. Everything was so peaceful, exactly what we needed to calm from the noisy cities.

We learned techniques for survival, how to use a compass, how to make sticks and weapons using only stones and branches from trees. The vibe of this village made the experience so magical. If you combine this with amazing people, Portuguese, Slovakians, Polish, Hungarians and Greek you can understand the whole experience. But you can’t feel it. That’s why I advice every young person to participate in these projects and reveal new sensations they never knew they existed. I’m so glad I was part of this. I can’t describe how thankful I am for the dances, laughs, conversations, shared experiences. This small village and each of the people I met, have taken a small piece of my heart.

I never regret working with Greek Youth Mobility because with the responsibility, the discipline and the amazing ideas about projects, makes my experience much more comfortable, much more fun, and of course during the Corona virus times, safer. Thank you!

Tasos:

This was my first Erasmus+ experience and it was something different for me. I really enjoyed the workshops that we did as they had a very interesting topic. I got to know people from other countries, different cultures and ways of thinking and I had a nice feeling when working in teams with them on a common purpose. It would be my pleasure to be part of such an experience in the future.

Thank you Greek Youth Mobility for providing me with such a great opportunity!

Theo:

The whole experience through this program was very important to us in several ways. Firstly we learned how to work in teams and how to interact and communicate with people from different countries and cultures. Everyone learned from each other and we exchanged knowledge about our different lifestyle and about our languages as well. For me, getting to know people from abroad is very enthusiastic because the whole interaction with them makes my perspective get better and at the same time one can make new good friends, like I did. Additionally, the program taught us unique skills in getting to know nature in a different viewpoint, with the positive point being that each Erasmus participant shared his knowledge among all of us.

Additionally, the way the tasks were done was very innovative, both for the inside tasks that were very creative and for the outside tasks that motivated us to be more energetic and wilful to do things. With the above and with the combination of the “secret friend” game the whole group became a really good team with a lot of new friendships coming up through this program. The experience we had was one of the best travel experiences in my life and I will never forget either this beautiful Polish village or those wonderful people that I met. I think that the risk to travel through those difficult covid days finally was worth it for all of us, Greeks, Portuguese, Slovakians, Hungarians and Polish as well. 

Victoria:

It was one of the best experiences in my life! I learned new things about the nature, like how to make tools and how to survive. Plus, I hiked on the snowy mountain that was so exciting! I met people from different countries and made friends for life. You cannot imagine the friendships you can form in such a short period of time. Maybe that part of the journey was the most important. Life is all about experiences, and this one was worth a lifetime.

Thank you Greek Youth Mobility for this opportunity, I hope we will meet again soon in a new project!

Dimitris:

I am Dimitris and this was my first Erasmus+ Project.

Firstly, the organization divided the participants randomly, which means that I had to live with a foreigner for 6 days. For me that was the best part because I came really close with my roommate and I understood that no matter the distance or the religion there are guys that live 2500 km away from you and they have the same dreams and hopes for the future. Actually I think that the friendships I made at this project are the true purpose of Erasmus.

Moreover,  every day we participated in outdoor activities that concerned the environment  so as a result  we came in touch with  the nature and the wildness of Poland. I found this part of the project really exciting because in general  I m interested in the flora and the fauna of an ecosystem.

Last but not least, every night a different country group presented something about their culture and customs, as a result we understood each other and we learned a lot of information that helped us perceive the differences and the similarities between our countries .

Eleni:

Participating in an erasmus+ project during these difficult times is no piece of cake. We were sceptical before we decided to participate, we encountered difficulties during our time in Poland, but none of that really mattered when I think about everything that I gained from this project, all the nice people that I met and everything that I have learned and experienced. After each erasmus I find myself different, like I discovered another part of myself and I’m closer of putting all the pieces together and realizing who I am. Although that’s the thing, it’s not about realizing “who you are”, because in the end it’s something that is not static. We develop, we grow, we constantly change and all that due to our experiences and the people we meet. It’s so hard to talk about such a strong experience and share with someone else this feeling, I think there are not enough words for this. But there’s this quote that comes to my mind after coming home from each erasmus, that goes like that: “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”. And just like that, I left another piece of my heart, this time in Poland and in return I took with me the most precious thing of all. This feeling of gratitude, for having met the most amazing people, for having worked with them for 5 whole days, for having shared more than anyone can ever imagine that it’s possible to share in this small amount of time. Nothing could describe my feelings better than this quote.

Thank you Greek Youth Mobilty for making this happen, despite the difficult times.

Eugenia:

My experience in this Erasmus+ project was just amazing!

First of all the topic of the project was very interesting. I learn a lot of things about survival skills and the outdoor activities of each country. Moreover, I am very happy that I cooperated with people in my age and I shared my knowledge with them. About the accommodation I would like to mention how nice and warm the hotel we stayed was. The ladies on the kitchen were upsolutely helpful and their food was delicious. Our facilitator, Ola, motivated us, helped us and made the program even better. She might be a little bit strict about the hours and the tasks, but I think it was needed. Lastly, I really like the new friends I made from each country and I hope one day to see them again.

EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT. I WOULD DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Resilience and Democratic approaches for young people, France 2020

From the 14th till the 22nd of September, our volunteers alongside young people from France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria & Turkey took part in an International Training Course program in France.
The Training Course aimed to increase the level of youth participation. Moreover, it promoted democratic values, intercultural dialogue and social inclusion.
In the following lines, you can explore the experiences that our volunteers gained through their participation.

Mary:

Being part of a team always triggers me and now I know that being a part of an Erasmus+ team is where I truly belong. Even the training course was all about participation and how it makes young people take place in critical matters.

The eight days I spent in Poitiers were so much fun. The place we stayed, the activities we had and the people I met. Oh, those people… There’s a special place in my heart that belongs to them, for the fun we had, our never-ending conversations and the things I learned from every single one of them.

Of course, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of it, if it wasn’t Greek Youth Mobility. Thank you GYM for the opportunity and especially Nikos who was there for me before, during and after the project. It would be nothing without you GYM and without Ademi Association, who took care of us the best way possible and made my first experience unforgettably amazing.

So, that’s not a goodbye, that’s a see you soon.

Chloe:

In the period between the 14th and 22nd of September, I had the opportunity to be part of an amazing project who took place in Poitiers, France. The place that we spent all the days was close to nature and for the first day I felt that I was about to witness a different and unique experience. The topic of the training course was about youth participation and the ways that young people take initiatives, getting involved, and participate in different aspects of life. I keep in mind the ladder of engagement in youth participation (non-engagement, partial engagement, full engagement) which one can identify in activities and decisions that young people are taking in comparison with the initiates and the involvement of the adults. The workshops and the activities we had were efficient as there were based on the interaction and the engagement of the group. The environment that we worked in was beautiful and the project was fertile ground for collaborative learning, discovery, and connection of the group. I will miss the nights that we spent all together playing the Djembe drums (African instruments). Despite all the difficulties concerning Coronavirus those days, I am grateful that I had this opportunity to travel, to participate, and to make new friends. Thank you GYM for that, I am really looking forward to new experiences that they are about to come. 

Christina:

An Erasmus+ youth program is always a good idea and an unforgettable experience. I would highly recommend to everyone to participate at least once in a project like this and I am sure that you will not regret it!

This program was organized by association Ademi in Poitiers and had the title “Resilience and democratic approaches for young people”. It was a well-organized educational opportunity to enrich our knowledges and learn a lot of things for the aspects of democracy. In general, we had the chance to meet with young participants from different countries, discuss and share our ideas and thoughts. I really enjoined the workshops that we did and the team building activities during our breaks! It’s really interesting for some days to live and be surrounded by people who come from different countries and discover their cultures!

Thank you very much GYM for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Greek team and participate in this amazing program!

Light Up Your Future, Italy 2020

From the 1st till the 7th of September, our volunteers alongside young people from Italy, Spain and Czech Republic took part in an International Youth Exchange program in Italy.
The Youth Exchange aimed to improve the self-confidence of the participants through a variety of intercultural and interactive activities.
In the following lines, you can explore the experiences that our volunteers gained through their participation.

Matina:

Participating to the Erasmus youth program ‘’Light up Your Future’’ through Greek Youth Mobility was a unique and unforgettable experience. Honestly, in the beginning I was worried a little bit about the whole thing, travelling in corona time, about the participants and the adaptation in general. As a team I had good guidance from the organization and I had one of the best times in my life. I met amazing people, I visited beautiful places in Nuoro, Sardinia, I practiced to speak up and to do the step out of my comfort zone. Another important thing was that we had a great communication not only among the participants of the Greek team but also with the members of the rest of the teams, even if some of them they could not speak English very well. So we had to overcome the communication barriers and in the end we all enjoyed it. After all, those lessons teach us how to overcome obstacles in our lives and not to give up. I would definitely participate again to a relevant program.

Giannis:

The Youth Exchange programme in Nuoro (Sardegna) was an unforgettable experience for me. Undoubtedly, the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic created uncertainty for all the participants. Nevertheless, with the prompt and responsible aid from both the GYM and Malik organisations, we managed to confront these difficulties and moderate the uncertainties. Our weekly stay in Nuoro brimmed over with wonderful and fascinating activities which, certainly, stimulated us to take initiatives, step out of our comfort zone and boost our sense of creativity. This enriching environment had been in total alignment with my initial expectations when I applied to this programme. In fact, it even exceeded them. But most importantly, our heritage from this programme will, surely, be the enduring friendships that we forged. I, also, feel the need to express my gratitude to the GYM and the Malik organisations, the incredible Sardegnian local team as well as the other teams. Every individual had something special to offer and I am blessed to learn from all these interactions. Without all of them, it would not have been possible for me to engage in all these intense and indelible emotions that I had the unique opportunity to experience. My mind is still a little blurred as this experience has eventually come to an end and I am surely going to miss all these exciting people. However, even though the main part of the programme has ended, I am absolutely certain that all these relationships have just begun. To conclude, I am looking forward to participating in more Youth Exchange programmes organised by the GYM organisation.

Irini:

My experience in Nuoro was amazing. I will never forget all the amazing people I met and the fun times we had together. To me, that was the best part of the trip and the greatest learning experience.
I really enjoyed the workshops and the energizers. Both helped us to connect and enjoy each other’s company as well as exchange ideas and create something together.
Moreover, Nuoro was a great place, I enjoyed exploring its different areas, local cafes, shops, gelato, wine. All were beautiful.
Still, nothing compares to the friendship we all created and how much fun we had with each other. I already miss my new friends and I can’t wait until the day we meet again.
It was the first time that I participated in a youth exchange program and I loved it. We had a busy and productive week and it felt great. From now on I will definately try my best to participate more in such educational opportunities and this one in Nuoro taught me a lot about working with other people, debating, entrepreneurship and coming out of my shell.
I will always remember those times.
Thank you to everyone who helped in putting it together and organizing it. You all did a great job.

Dimitris:

As my first Erasmus+ program I must admit that at first I was skeptic. I thought that the morning routine would be boring, I wouldn’t communicate with my fellow participants and I wouldn’t gain any new knowledge. Thankfully I was proved wrong! The exercises were very interesting, the stuff was very cooperative and I made new friendships that hopefully will last long. But most importantly I learned the true meaning of the program. I got out of my comfort zone. I done things that I wouldn’t even imagine, I socialised with the participants and the locals. I practised my Italian and I encountered new interesting cultures. Overall, this whole program has broaden my horizons in terms of entrepreneurship and getting out of my comfort zone. I’m really looking forward to do that again!

Katerina:

After about six months living under the new conditions due to the covid – 19 without travel and without much social interaction, the youth exchange program “Light up your future” in the island of Sardinia was a feeling of euphoria in my life.
A trip to Italy at this time was a risk for me but looking back it was absolutely worth taking it.
From the first moment that we arrived in Nuoro we felt the Italian hospitality from the hosts and with time we all became a very strong team.
During the days of the program, we had the chance to learn a lot of new things through the activities and to discover the place of Nuoro.
It was an unforgettable experience that every young person deserves to live. I want to thank the Greek Youth Mobility team very much for this opportunity and for everything that they offered to me!

Anastasia:

In short, it was an experience I will remember. Not only because I had the chance to learn more about the meaning of entrepreneurship , but also because of the people from such diverse backgrounds and the exposure to their cultures . I highly recommend GYM as they are dedicated and passionate in what they do and are more than eager to help us. As a huge advocate for the Erasmus plus scheme i think every single youth should try it and taste this life changing experience.