What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear "youth exchange"? The latest answer I've heard was "an activity in which young people go from one country to another in a project". Technically it's not wrong, but not right either and the Erasmus generation would definitely have a lot of add-ons and comments to make. As a matter of fact, they might never be able to stop talking about it! I won't give you the exact definition firstly because there isn't an exact one and I'd like you to be able to compose your own. In order to do so, I can help you extract pieces of information from the project I'm participating in this January, called "Towards diversity". You can read about the first part here!
Informal education through experience and reflection. Sounds pretty abstract, doesn't it? In my previous blog post about the project I wrote the questions which have (and still have) a guiding role in unveiling the "mystery" of informal education and how we can put it into practice. 30 amazingly different people from Georgia, Germany and Poland actively learn from each other and use memory, their experiences, reflection and different tools provided by the facilitators to answer these questions. Together, but not always, because self discovery and reflection play a very important role.
Starting with identity, defining it for ourselves, accessing history on a small, personal level and also on a bigger, general one, introducing diversity because it's such an important and complex topic, we learn. We experience. We live and grow.
The first days of any project are dedicated to getting to know each other and creating a safe space for expressing ourselves, experiencing and sharing. I'd love to share with you some insight from these first days as reflection points and also guiding points into answering your own questions:
"learning is unstoppable"
"life on process"
"my molecules of identity reflect my uniqueness"
"people look different but they are amazingly similar"
If you are interested in this topic and would like to connect with the organizers or the participants, feel free to contact us anytime:
Germany: Solidarität e. V. - Mikhail Zhukov: email@example.com
Germany: Solidarität e. V. - Irina Dolbonosova: firstname.lastname@example.org
Poland: Foundation CampoSfera - Jakub Kubiec: email@example.com
Georgia: NGO Gergart - Levan Khutsishvili: firstname.lastname@example.org
Participant (for team Germany) - Alexandra-Ioana Simon: email@example.com
The project is supported by EUROPEANS FOR PEACE programme of the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” and the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
Photo sources: Alexandra-Ioana Simon and Mikhail A. Zhukov.