Abroad // Partnership Building Activity “Future Generations” in Sint Maarten

The project “Future Generations” was a partnership-building activity taking place from the 19th to the 26th of April in Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. 24 Youth Workers from Aruba, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Sint Maarten, Latvia, Türkiye, Croatia and Germany took part. The Caribbean Youth and Sport foundation hosted everyone in an amazing accommodation with nice views on the hills. One random fact at this point: the Island of Sint Maarten is divided into two parts, the Dutch part, Sint Maarten, and the French part, Saint Martin. Unlike the French part, it is not in the “Schengen Area”, so we needed to bring USD to pay and prepare for not having mobile data. Not having mobile data however is compensated by getting a cool stamp in the passport.

With the main goal of building new partnerships within the Erasmus+ network, the goal of the activity was to write six new projects to implement Youth Exchanges in 2025.

Personally, I (Gero) wanted to participate because of two main reasons. Having had some prior Erasmus+ experience, I got to know people, who had written projects themselves. The idea of creating a project from scratch myself was so appealing, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. Doing this in a place so different and far from home, the Caribbean, was the second reason to join.

Adding to that, my (Anna) personal reason to participate was to link my experience in writing project applications to a different target group, a diverse group of youth workers in an environment that needs different things to consider than on the European mainland. Moreover, I was very interested in meeting people who grew up on islands as well as learning about the history, colonization and current situation on the islands.

The main activities of the first part were of course, focusing on getting to know each other and our organizations better. Also, we got to know Philipsburg – the capital- and our surroundings during activity or free time. After building first connections we made international teams and started working on the topic: “How do I write an Erasmus+ project?”. In our teams we decided on a topic we wanted to address with a new project. Gero’s team focused on environmental protection and recycling. The whole process was new to me. However, being led by experienced professionals, it was insightful to go through the different phases of writing a new project with a practical approach. On the other hand, Anna’s team focused on the employability and empowerment of young people, facing some language barriers and different levels of experience in working with Erasmus+. So, there was quite some work to do. This was balanced by the international nights and special breakfasts that each international team prepared for us every other day.

There are two main things we will remember: 1st thing is the Carnival and dancing during the opening parade. 2nd is the openness of people in Sint Maarten. Whenever we got lost or appeared so, locals were open to help us either getting the right bus home or giving us a free ride. Being back home we aim to continue writing the project because we are convinced it can be a meaningful experience to young people and a great learning process for us as well.

Overall we are more than happy to have taken part in this project, about the new insights, memorable experiences and friends we made! 

“I have learned exactly what I applied for: I had the opportunity to review how I am applying for funds and receiving very useful and practical tips on how to write KA1 applications (youth exchanges specifically). Consequently, improving my chances of my projects being approved, and increasing the quality of the projects that I am going to implement in the near future. Therefore, I covered my main objective: creating new partnerships and opening up new professional opportunities for myself and NaturKultur e.V. Surprising was – again – how we can translate what we write into reality, while satisfying various stakeholders that are going to be affected by our future youth exchange.” — Andre, one of the German group participants.

Partnership Building Activity “Future Generations” is financed by the Erasmus+ Programme and organised by our partner organisation Caribbean Youth and Sport Foundation.