Cyprus Youth Exchange (Austria, Marlies)
The hard facts first: Ten young people from Tyrol (Austria) together with ten people each from Estonia, Poland, Malta, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus met in Platres within the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus.
What has become out of this?
The Youth Exchange’s topic was ‘climate change’ with the specific title ‘Climate Changes as fast as Fashion’. The whole week there were given workshops and presentations on this topic. The special thing about it was that English was mostly used and that the groups were mixed through every time. Hence every participant worked together with Bulgarians, Romanians, Estonians, Maltese, Poles and Cypriots. In this way you could see their view on climate change and the situation in their countries.
But the focus was not only on climate change. Also the intercultural exchange was very important. You would very often learn words from other languages. To support the exchange even more every evening there was a special program.
The first evening was Cypriot. The chef cooked a traditional dish for us and to make the evening more vivid friends, family members and sponsors from town came to celebrate with us. Later in the evening people were dancing and we could see traditional Cypriot dances.
On the second international evening three other nations presented themselves: Austria, Bulgaria and Romania. Also on this evening every nation offered traditional food and beverages from their home countries. The Tyrolean group taught the others how to dance a ‘Boarischen’. Again people danced, sang and celebrated.
On the third international evening it was Estonia’s, Malta’s and Poland’s turn. We were taught some midsummer games and traditional dances and could again taste traditional dishes from their countries.
It was not only about climate change during this week but rather about cultural exchange. Many participants could improve their English and their presentation techniques. Also dealing with cultural differences is now easier. After this Youth Exchange you don’t just feel like being Austrian but rather European.
At the end: a beautiful quote from a participant from Bulgaria – Annie (18 years):
"I have met great people and learned a lot of things about traditional food and dances. Also just being there and making conversations with others helps you develop as a human being And: I liked the parties a lot!"