The program and leisure activities
The topic of this youth exchange was: Active Citizenship in the 21st century. As we were a mixed group from different European countries there was a huge basis of various perspectives, opinions and experience on this topic which allowed us to have great discussions. During that time we did not only talk about current political matters which concern all of us such as the Covid19 pandemic, social inequalities within the EU, migration flows and climate change, we also questioned our own prejudices against marginalized groups in our countries. Therefore different methodical approaches were used such as role plays and simulations. One morning we imagined a world without countries and tried to form our own country by choosing a form of government, a head of state, a constitution and so on. Another task was to perform a role play in a group of 3 people about “ media propaganda” or “oppression of women at the workplace”.
The whole program was very interactive and helped us to understand that from time to time it is important to change the perspective in order to understand certain things in politics but also in our society. During that time the whole group grew together, during the programme but also in our free time we learned with and from each other and spent as much possible time together. Usually we spent the free time together. We went to the beach, had parties on the rooftop of our Hotel and made excursions to the nearby salt lake or the city centre of Larnaca.
Travelling again after 1,5 years
When it was announced that our youth exchange would actually take place in Cyprus and not online, us Germans had mixed feelings. First of all, a “Yay, something is happening”, then a “Oh shit, the Covid-19-numbers in Cyprus are really high – is it a good idea to travel and meet in a bigger group there?”. Followed by a gasp of relief when reading about all the measurements and tests. Also after one and a half years and especially the winter without meeting people it was an event we all simmered to with excitement.
When arriving in Cyprus at first it felt really weird to be in a group of 20 people, to hug each other and sit together. But we all had negative PCR-tests and after some time even us Germans finally accomodated. That feeling of being in a group, of being with more than just 1 or 2 friends at a time, it had us all hooked and made this youth exchange so special. For all of us it was the first time after all those months and so we quickly bonded and became a very close group. And after this wonderful youth exchange we realised that it gave us the energy we all had needed.
Accomodation and people on the youth exchange
Even though we had lots of changes and last-second-changes concerning both our accomodation and the participants prior to the youth exchange, altogether we can be considered very lucky with what we got: We spent the first three days in a quite noble hotel and had to switch into another, less noble one, during the stay – which led of course to some complaints by us participants, but seriously, we could be more than happy with the rooms in which we basically only spent our nights. While the food was quite good during the first days, it got worse as we got into the second hotel “San Remo”… but apparently, we are still alive so it couldn’t have been that bad!
The participants, about 20 youngsters from Italy, Greece, Romania, Czech Republic and Germany, were all interested (and some even actively involved) in politics as well as the role of “Active Citizenship” in our societies. The group quickly grew close and we spent the evenings together and had inspiring discussions during the program and afterwards.
Kira, Jannis, Karlotta, Franca, Corinna, Abdul