Youth Exchange Blog: "Green yourself" in Florence by Kalle

Erasmus projects and all other “Exchange Year Abroad” type events have always been on my wishlist. Unfortunately, my modesty and fear of communication have kept me from these projects. One day, however, an acquaintance of mine came and informed me that the ERASMUS+ is organizing a youth exchange program in Florence, Italy. She strongly advised me to apply for and be a part of this project. To my great surprise, I was selected and invited to Italy for the Green Yourself youth Erasmus+ project. Emotions were running high. A little inner fear came in, but I was sure that it would be a very good and exciting experience for me.

As of today, a week has passed since the exchange program, and I am back in my homeland. Thinking back on this program, tears come to my eyes. This whole project exceeded my expectations and I will never regret making this decision. It is so worth it and I honestly wish I could go back right away.

The youth exchange project was a very educational and eye-opening experience. During this week we had a lot of different group work, independent tasks and lots of creative activities.

Each day, the participants focused on different aspects of environmental conservation related to everyday human activity (such as recycling, reuse, and conscious consumption). We learned to self-produce or creatively reuse everyday tools and objects. Each national group developed an aspect of the theme or proposed new techniques during the workshops.

However, the biggest obstacle for me was the language barrier, because communicating with so many people and not in my own language caused me some difficulties at first. As time went by, I came out of my comfort zone pretty quickly and started communicating with others. My newly found love of talking to new people and getting out of my shell is what helped me the most. I really found the courage to communicate in English, thanks to which I feel much more open and confident.

My wish for others is to not be afraid and go try and take part in such an opportunity. It gives you so much, something you could never think of. It was my first Erasmus+ project and it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Thanks to the project, I’ve made several new friendships, and I’ve continued talking to them even after the project, meaning I’ve created meaningful friendships that last a lifetime.

And of course, it won’t be my last project, because I fell in love with traveling and new, wild experiences through Erasmus+!