On the Island of Madeira and in the capital city of Lisboa with an International group of 70 young people from 7 countries, we spent 15 days in a Youth Exchange of play, knowledge, experience in using our voice to make good choices for our communities.
This adventure began in the month of July – actually with the applications for an Erasmus+ grant already last year – and some of us were a bit anxious before this special event: Will it be OK? Will everything be like I imagined? What will I learn? How will we communicate? These were the thoughts echoing in our minds.
The theme of this International Youth Exchange was “Our Voice, Our Choice, Our Community”, a relevant theme as the hosts of this Exchange have an on-line web Radio made by young people with and for their community.
The Eco-Estilistas, hosting this Youth Exchange, have been working very hard together with the e.p.a. team to make everything as good as possible for everyone to enjoy the time together.
We were all moved by moments and astonishing stories – and during these two weeks with a full programme we had a lot of them. We learnt: each and every one of us is what we are, because of what we feel, see, hear and speak.
All the participants were asked to describe their experience using one word. A participant chose the word “Incredible“, because “the exchange really changed me”. Another one summarized the exchange with the word “Peace“. The third one chose “spectacular”, the forth one “valuable”, stressing the “importance of sharing with each other”.
Together we learnt that our voice is powerful and can tell many things. It can express our deepest emotions. We make choices every day with it. “I want this”, “I won´t do that”, “Yes” or “No”. When we are young, we think sometimes we know everything and sometimes we don’t – this international exchange helped us to gain confidence on our journey of life.
Our community is where we make most of our choices, it is a big part and important awareness of this experience and we encourage each other to change things together.
This won’t be the last adventure we young people will face. Many more adventures in life and experiences will come. Now, what will our voice be, when facing the coming challenges? All of us have our own voice, and can choose what we want. Having this choice to use our voice, working in our communities, we took international friendships, new cultures and the feeling of care and respect back to our homes.
This international youth exchange gave us some important tools to make better choices for ourselves and our community.
Youth Exchange 2018 in Madeira, Lisbon