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The Benefits of Erasmus+ Youth Exchanges!
St Andrew's Talk About Youth project is based on Pearse Street, Dublin 2. It aims to provide a safe, non-threatening environment where young people can meet and socialise, build on their self esteem, develop their social skills and begin to take responsibility for shaping their own lives. They believe in young people and their ability and that every young person has something to offer. In 2016 St Andrew's Talk About Youth project participated in the "Change! Leaders for Active Participation Laboratory" (CLAP Lab 2) youth exchange in Ligonchio, Italy. Here the leaders and participants share the benefits of participating in their Erasmus+ Key Action 1 Youth Exchange.
The Benefits of our Youth Exchange for the Young People
"The Youth Exchange Clap Lab 2 in Italy was such an eye-opener. It was a fantastic learning experience for me and for all of the Irish participants. I made many new friends from all different cultures and made lifelong memories along the way. The countries that took part were Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The exchange centred on ‘Unity through Diversity’ particularly in human rights. We did many different workshops on topics such as the refugee crisis and the EU, LGBT+ rights, empowerment and making a positive change. We did a workshop called Power Walk which had us stand in someone else's shoes. We then compared them throughout the different countries. It was so strange to see that someone with the same attributes did better than others depending on which country they were from.
We all took part in a final event in Lucca, Italy. Our campaign was “I Care!” Through this we proved that even though we were all from different countries and cultures, we could become as one united group to make a difference and create something beautiful.
All this helped broaden my perspective and see the world from different points of view. I will continue to use all the skills that I have learned and improve on them in the future, both in my personal life and work/other projects. Given the chance I would undoubtedly go again, possibly as a leader".
- Leah, Erasmus+ KA1 Youth Exchange participant
"The exchange was a brilliant success. All the workshops and activities each individually added to my experience of the exchange. The exchange was full of fun but also had eye-opening workshops that had huge impacts. I had an amazing time, grew as a person, expanded my knowledge and made great friends. I would definitely go again!"
- Carly, Erasmus+ KA1 Youth Exchange participant
The Benefits of a Youth Exchange for Youth leaders
"I took part in Clap Lab Youth Exchange as a participant last year. This year however, it was a whole different story. I was a Leader. I had to take on that extra responsibility which added to the high pressure I had already put myself under. Mixing with big groups of people has become a huge issue for me since I came out as Transgender. I was so scared that everyone would instantly judge me. I don't think I have ever been so happy to be wrong. And wow, how wrong was I!
Everyone accepted me for who I am and wanted to learn more about being Transgender. Everyone made me feel so comfortable. It was strange but the other leaders, participants and supporting staff gave me so much joy and hope.
Being a Leader was so different to being a participant. I quickly identified my strengths and weaknesses. It made me conscious of myself and how I work but also made me aware that different people have different ways of working.
While I learned a lot of information through participating in workshops and facilitating workshops, I also learned a lot from just mixing with all the different people, learning about their lives and cultures. I've made connections that will honestly last a lifetime.
I think taking part as a Leader has been one of the things I will always remember. The lessons I learned while working on this project have already bettered me on a personal level and a professional level".
- Youth Leader, CLAP Lab 2 Erasmus+ KA1 Youth Exchange