Since October last year we have been discussing and planning, making preparations and excursions. We gave our best and worked weekly towards one goal: to meet a Finnish and a French youth group in Finland in August. The 9 German participants were from the 8th grade (14-15 years old) of the Diesterwegschule school in Chemnitz and the 7th grade (13-14 years old) of the OS in Frohburg. They actively contributed with their ideas to the implementation of the Youth Exchange.
On Friday evening, 04.08. at 22 o’clock, we went full of joy on a nearly 20-hour journey by train, bus and airplane. Really exhausted, but very happy, we finally met the French group in Helsinki, with whom we went to Tampere together. A first Uno-game together started the getting to know each other, which ended a good week later in a farewell that was difficult for everyone.
Arrived in our first accommodation in Virrat we start the introductions and the ice-breaker games. 26 teenagers aged 13 to 18 and 6 coaches aged… let’s say… older, took the greatest pains to pronounce correctly and keep one or the other name.
The programme for the next few days was quite extensive and varied: from debates about stereotypes and youth participation in decision-making, the next Erasmus+ applications and a visit to the Finnish school and Tampere, more active activities such as practising pesepallo and mölkky, two typical finish games, also climbing, hiking, boating and swimming. The evenings organized by each country were welcomed and aroused the anticipation for the next planned exchanges in Germany and France. The highlight were the saunas, where we spent a lot of time. Cooling down afterwards in one of the countless lakes and rivers was a must!
“Everyday life goes intercultural” is the topic of the encounter. In addition to the youth hostels in Virrat and Sastamala, the young people also spent two nights in Finnish families. In small groups, they were given an insight into everyday life, which everyone enthusiastically reported about.
Friendships were made, new things were learned and an incredible landscape was admired. We are looking forward to see each other again in spring next year if everything goes well.
Kiitos to all involved! We are now preparing for the next meeting!
The youth exchange in Finland was supported by the ERASMUS + project of the European Commission. A huge thank you to the Finnish organisation Marttinen, who also made this encounter possible!
ERASMUS+ European Union funding programme