23rd of September: It was a rainy September day in the east-Croatian city of Vinkovci. One after the other more and more young people come together at a hostel near to the city centre. They are from Armenia, Croatia, Kosovo, Portugal and Germany. A big cultural festival just ended, but what brings the 30 young people together in this old Slavonian city?
The Youth Exchange “Creation of Culture” organised by the Croatian organisation Amazonas brought everyone together. During one week the participants exchanged about the differences and similarities of their cultures and got insights into the life in Vinkovci.
Already beforehand the young people thought about how to introduce their home culture to the other participants. So we had an imagniatinatory bus ride through Armenia, had a glance at the chances of humans with a migration background in Portugal and learned a dance from Kosovo.
Further, they learned that not every german eats Brezeln and Weißwurst and that the Croatian language is influenced by many other European languages.
The participants got to know the city of Vinkovci not only through a city Rallye and visit the bar but also while going to the local market and having a session at the city lake (Banja).
In the evenings, after the workshops, the group came together for intercultural evenings, watching a movie or singing karaoke.
Also, everyone had a “secret friend”, that brightened up the week with little presents.
To share the experience gained through the cultural workshops with the local community, a quiz was organised. On Saturday evening the people attending the quiz at the city library had to answer some tricky questions: What subject does every Armenian has to learn? (-chess) How many litres does a German drink in a year? (-102 litres)
During the whole week, the participants met in small groups to reflect upon their learning and also had the chance to fill in the Youthpass.
Over this intensive week the participants made different experiences:
Why did you choose to participate?
Misgin: “The seminars topic was quite intriguing but also the participating countries.”
Juliane: “The topic was very interesting for me as well as the participating countries. “
Kristina: “Getting a real insight into the culture of a country is not easy, that is why I wanted to learn directly from the participants about their culture.”
What did you learn? What was new? What was surprising?
Misgin: “I was surprised about how little I actually knew about the participating countries so it was amazing to get the chance to dive into their perception of their countries and it’s culture.”
Juliane: “I learned a lot about the cultures of the different participants but also new methods. Further, I was able to discover a new country.”
Kristina: “It was very interesting so see how other countries see themselves and what is important for them – some things are the same as for us, but others were completely new for me. I also understood the Balkan history better than before.”
What are you going to do/change now that you are home?
Misgin: “I am very inspired to question even more what identity means to me and how much my environment /culture impacts my perception of self identity.”
Juliane: “I am more aware of my home society. How are we perceived by others and what it means to be German.”
Kristina: “I want to learn more about the Balkan and Armenia.”
Anything you want to add?
Misgin: “ Youth Exchange always lead a little further to self discovery and so did this one for me.”
Juliane: “If you want to learn a lot about yourself and how you (re)act to certain situations, you should participate in a Youth Exchange!”
Kristina: “In every Youth Exchange, you will meet new people with different backgrounds, so you can be sure that you will learn about yourself and People.”
The Project was funded by Erasmus+.
Liridon, Juliane, Misgin, Kristina, Abdallah and Caroline