Ohrid is a beautiful city, located in the southern-eastern part of Macedonia. Undoubtedly the city is one of the most popular touristic attractions in the country, because of the picturesque landscape and stunning lake. This month CID organised a youth exchange in this wonderful place.
The youth exchange was entitled “Through intercultural learning to better chance for employment” and gathered young people from six countries such as England, Italy, Spain, Poland, Turkey and Macedonia. The youth exchange aimed to familiarize youngsters on how to develop their job-related skills by becoming more aware of the intercultural learning that they experience.
During the first two days, the participants took part in activities related to team-building and getting to know each other. In those very first days, one of the most interesting activities was ”jump the rope” teambuilding: all the group was challenged to jump a rope without repeating the same method! The feeling of accomplishment was very fulfilling.
In the next days, the group explored in depth aspects connected to the topic of the youth exchange. Firstly participants took part in several activities on the topic of intercultural learning, which were aimed to raise awareness of diverse society we live in, problems of youngsters around the world and how to stop sustaining stereotypes. The activity which impressed the participants the most was about division into groups according to stickers on their foreheads. Surprisingly, some of the participants were excluded from the groups, because they didn’t suit into them because of the color or shape of the stickers. This activity brought up the question about how we are divided in society, why we still believe in stereotypes about other nationalities and cultures. The discussion of this activity touched upon the topic of racism as well, which nowadays is still a significant problem around Europe.
The sessions about writing a CV and motivation letter were very interesting, even though all the participants already had experience in writing a CV. However, sharing knowledge and tips on how to improve a CV for sure will help them in the future with getting a job. Moreover, participants learnt how job environment looks like in each countries not only by comparing CVs but also through interesting presentations, which every national team prepared.
Ida, one participant from Italy, shared the following thoughts:
The best part of this youth exchange was the exact moment I came back home and I started to feel my heart heavier than it used to be. The story, the time, the moments we shared made me preciously aware that the things that make us similar are way more than our differences. Sometimes it feels pretty good to be a human. Thank you all.
Another enriching activity was a roleplay of a job interview. Participants could learn about their strong skills and weaknesses, as well as to see in practice what is the job of an interviewer and how much responsibility it entails.
In my opinion, the most difficult activity was related to the future development plan of participants. Only a few people were willing to share, which was understandable, because this session was very personal and demanded not being afraid of sharing feelings. However, those people who decided to speak about their plans, for sure inspired others.
Viktor, a participants from Macedonia, thinks that the youth exchange played an important role in their future development:
The whole project was about really nice topic. I think that youth unemployment is really important topic to be discussed. People were open-minded, friendly and brave enough to talk about their country’s problems.The place were we stayed was awesome along with the activities and the parties we used to make!
Naturally, youth exchange is not only about learning but having fun as well. Surely participants had a lot of fun on the intercultural evening. During this evening, we could get to know customs for each countries, try food and drinks and dance traditional dances. Obviously, when the youth exchange is located near by lake, a campfire should be definitely organised, which of course was. Singing songs from different cultures and countries and dancing while enjoying the campfire was definitely an unforgettable and amazing experience. Naturally, while being in that beautiful city, you cannot miss the opportunity to sightsee. That’s why there was a boat trip, which took them to other part of Ohrid – Sveti Naum. Enjoying the not-so-hot weather, beautiful landscapes and traditional food, for sure let participants learn more about Macedonia.
Certainly, the youth exchange was an unforgettable experience for all of the participants. Learning about new culture, making new friends and gaining knowledge which allows to increase chance in job labour is a mix of meaningful and memorable experience.