Youth Exchange Blog "Eat Green..." by Tom

I have never participated in an Erasmus project before, therefore my expectations were somewhat mixed. This was because I had read the programme of activities for the week and broadly understood the aim of this exchange, however I did not know who I would be spending this week with, outside of the national group I was in. I was also, as yet, unaware of whether I had understood the perspective that the organisers had in mind when assembling this weekly plan, and approaching such a broad and important topic. I decided to take part in this exchange, because I have studied politics for many years and have developed a narrow view of these issues as a result and, thus, I wanted to broaden the scope of my understanding for such a crucial issue. During this exchange I believe I was able to provide my perspective on these issues, as someone who studies politics. There were, however, other people who have studied politics there so during, and after, activities we were able to exchange our own various opinions on such issues within the terms of our discipline. Due to the broad range of backgrounds, both professional and personal, of the many participants, and organisers, of this exchange I feel the contribution I most wanted to bring to this exchange was that of a good listener and sincere questioner. Whilst I still said my part, it was far more enjoyable to listen to those who study the hard sciences, are involved in the tech industry, and those who organised this exchange, and to understand their logic and experience through questioning. IMG_3079 This multiplicity of experiences and views present throughout the exchange taught me many new ways to be sustainable, and live in greater harmony with the earth, through consumption patterns, as well as in many other aspects of life. I learnt many new things about the various cultures of the many groups present, alongside how better to communicate with those who English is not a first language too. This exchange also provided me with many new perspectives on how I can approach the issues of sustainability now I am back at my studies and at home, as they were good lessons that will be useful for a long time. Looking to future exchanges, I believe the core aims and approach to this exchange does not need to be modified. The sincerity and passion the organisers put into this exchange shone through in the variety of activities and the liveliness of the discussions. This was also clearly shown in the wonderful locations we visited, alongside the many kind and interesting local people we were introduced to, who live and work in ways I was unaware still existed, both in their sustainability and their simplicity. Whilst it is not very easy to have control over this, I also believe that it was a uniquely engaged and aware group of participants at this exchange which greatly contributed to the course of the week. However, the only aspect which could be changed was the timekeeping, as the schedule had to be delayed on many days, however with the group of participants as large as it was, it would have been hard to avoid this problem, no matter how organised. IMG_0907 I would absolutely recommend this kind of an exchange to a friend or peer. For they were many memorable aspects but to select a few I would say, the permaculture farm was an idea and location I had no prior knowledge of, and was very interested to hear about, and see, due to its unique philosophy and unique practical approach. I also found the day which discussed child labour in the cocoa industry very moving, as for a long time I studied such issues politically and had become somewhat desensitised and alienated from the suffering and hardships such conditions place on people. Finally, I would have to say that all the people I met through this exchange were very memorable, as they were what bought this topic to life and gave it the impact it had, and without them it would not have been what it was.