Blog, Participant's Corner

YE, «Let’s go out!», Italy, 5-12 Nov 2021

Between the 5th and 13th of November, Ioanna, Ivana, Marilena, Natalia, Nikoletta, Spyros, Thanasis, and Thanos were the 8 Greek participants who alongside youth from Spain, Latvia, and Italy travelled to Paola, Italy for the edifying Erasmus+ Youth Exchange ‘’Let’s Go Out’’, hosted by the PAOLAB association.

The project was mainly focused on the environmental protection, reconnecting with nature, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. The participants got familiar amongst others with the concepts of carbon footprint and earth overshoot day, and got active in the outdoor environment with activities on the beach and the mountain. Enriched with an experience from which they’ve been influenced in different ways, the group came back home and shared their thoughts in the following lines.  

Ioanna:
An amazing experience in Paola, Italy. We met beautiful people from Spain, Latvia and Italy. All of us had unique stories to share and a lot of information about the environment. We learned more about the climate change, carbon footprints and low waste. We were participating every day in activities that we had to search more about information of the topic of the project. For sure, we returned to our homes with much more knowledge and probably we can now change our everyday life and make it greener. However, in that project we had a lot of fun and every day and an intercultural night. We got into the cultures of the other countries and learned about their habits, history, tradition, and customs. This experience will always have a special place in my heart.

Ivana:
If I were to describe the youth exchange ‘’Let’s Go Out’’ in a few words I would say beneficial, informative and mind-opening. I find myself to be very passionate about the environmental protection, yet I were provided with information of great importance that I wasn’t aware of, learnt about the current situation in the different European countries and saw the problem from various points of view. I returned home deeply motivated to keep on working towards my goal of a more sustainable future.  Beside the educational part, I had the chance to spend those days in the beautiful southern Italian city of Paola, I felt as if I were transferred to a different time era and truly enjoyed the peace during the siesta time at noon and the loud Italian nights. The people I had the chance to meet and share those moments with made these days memorable. The feelings of belonging to a group with which you share the same passions and visions are beyond words. The hospitality and warmth I felt from the people in Italy are also indescribable. Grateful to everyone and everything involved in this terrific experience!

Marilena:
How can anyone describe such an amazing experience? Where should I begin? It was the first program I had the chance of participating, and I fell in love with the idea. Of travelling abroad with a purpose, of meeting new people and sharing thoughts and experiences. The topic of this project is a very important issue that has to be discussed. Global warming, pollution and ecological and sustainable lifestyle should concern everyone. Something I really liked though was the intercultural evenings, where we could learn more about each country, the way of life, some interesting facts, etc. Coming up with solutions and having conversations with people from different countries gives you another perspective. The activities to promote the topic were fun, we got to clean a beach, we hiked up the mountain and the view from up there was incredible. All in all, we were able to raise awareness, at least in the group and hopefully in our countries as well.

Natalia:
Since this was my first Erasmus+ project, I was a bit nervous. However, my anxiety disappeared once I arrived at the airport and met the first members of the Greek team. By the time boarding started, I had already forgotten my doubts and fears. For the next week, through a series of energizers, indoor and outdoor activities we learned about environmental problems, how they affect other countries, and possible ways to resolve them. During my stay in Paola (a beautiful small city in North Italy), I met people from Italy, Latvia, Spain, and, of course, Greece. It’s only been a couple of weeks; I already miss each and every one of them and I can’t wait to see them again. All in all, it’s been an amazing experience and I am looking forward to my next Erasmus+ project.

Nikoletta:
Ενώ λοιπόν ήμουν και εγώ ένα από τα παιδιά όπου ο κορονοϊός τους στάθηκε εμπόδιο αρχικά, καθώς ανακάλυψα το πρόγραμμα ανταλλαγής νέων Erasmus+ όταν η μία χώρα μετά την άλλη κλεινόταν σε lockdown, κατάφερα φέτος να λάβω μέρος στην πρώτη μου ανταλλαγή νέων. Τόλμησα να βγω από αυτό το «κουκούλι» που είχα μπει τα τελευταία χρόνια και μπορώ να πω με σιγουριά ότι άξιζε και με το παραπάνω αφού ήταν μια από τις καλύτερες εμπειρίες της ζωής μου! Οι διοργανωτές του project καθώς και όλα τα άτομα που συμμετείχαν ποτέ δεν παρέλειψαν να με κάνουν να νιώθω μέλος της ομάδας, μου έδωσαν πολλά ερεθίσματα και με βοήθησαν να μάθω καινούργια πράγματα. Εξάσκησα τα αγγλικά μου μετά από καθημερινή επικοινωνία, όπως επίσης ήρθα σε επαφή με γλώσσες που δεν μιλάω η ίδια. Είχαμε την ευκαιρία να δούμε μια πλευρά της νότιας Ιταλίας, μακριά από την οπτική του απλού τουρίστα, να αλληλοεπιδράσουμε με τους ντόπιους κατοίκους και να συμμετάσχουμε σε ενδιαφέρουσες δραστηριότητες όπως το trekking και το sailing. Θα ήθελα να ενθαρρύνω όσους θέλουν να το τολμήσουν παρά τις περίεργες καταστάσεις που βιώνουμε αυτή την περίοδο, γιατί πρόκειται για μια εμπειρία μοναδική που σε «αναγκάζει» να βγεις από το comfort zone σου.

Spyros:
Let’s go out was for sure an unforgettable project for all of us. As a member of the Greek team, I can support that statement fully. It was my first experience with an Erasmus+ youth exchange and I can confidently say it was one of the greatest memories I will forever hold. The whole project was great. I had a lot of fun interacting with different people amongst the participating countries. The organizers were well prepared and helpful all throughout the project. Every day was filled with very interesting and informative activities whether they were non-formal practices or dialogues about important issues concerning the environment and our everyday lives. In conclusion I wish every young person could participate in such a project and I promise they won’t regret it.

Thanasis:
Well, this Youth Exchange was pretty impeccable to me. I had the opportunity to learn numerous of new things that evolved me as a person. From the very beginning, I was afraid of travelling alone in a new place but soon after I met the team that fear got away. I really enjoyed the multi diversity of the people which I think helped us to improve the quality of our activities around the topic of the environmental awareness. Paola, the place that hosted us is gorgeous and our accommodation was in the best place possible. I also learnt that even though I consider myself as an eco-friendly person the reality is quite different. To be honest, I could write a whole article expressing my experiences from this program but to sum up I will say that I totally recommend taking part in an Erasmus+ program because the experiences you get are unique and priceless. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, it worth it. Thank you CET platform for making it happen.

Thanos:
The program for me was an amazing experience. The driving force for me to apply was the location that it took place and its theme. Getting to talk to people from other countries about ways we can contribute to the wellbeing of the environment was very insightful and fun. The activities that we took part in were also enjoyable, not very time consuming and giving us the chance to talk and exchange ideas. Everyone that took part in the program was nice and I had made a lot of friends by the end of it. It was the first program that i took part in and I was really happy to find out different things about the cultures of the countries that participated, especially Italy since the program took place there. All in all I was very happy with the outcome, was able to learn some stuff about the environment and ways I can impact it and also meet wonderful people!

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