This week from 16th to 23rd of September young people from Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Portugal and Greece took part in an Erasmus+ youth exchange called “Build Ecotopia” organized by Orfeas with the intention to learn about important environmental topics like food waste, fast fission and the 3 “R” Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.
What made our youth exchange unique was that it took place in the small town of Xylokastro. This allowed the participants to speak with the local people to understand their view on the problems we discussed. Moreover, we organized a surveys to let the participants learn more about the residents of Xylokastro and their environmental customs. The surveys informed us on what locals think about topics of saving energy, saving water, green transportation, recycling, food waste and littering.
But we didn’t only stay in Xylokastro, we also had the chance to visit the village of Zaholi where our participants could enjoy the mountainside of the municipality. The main activity of the excursion was making the “map of the senses” which required us to use all our senses in making a plant book that would represent the nature around Zaholi.
Although the topic of environmental problems is very important, a youth exchange is not only about learning. It is also about exchanging and experiencing the many cultures from the different parts of Europe. Having open mined participants from seven different countries made the setting perfect for intercultural exchange and communication. That’s why we organized the “intercultural nights” where teams from each country could share their culture with all of us. It was amazing to see so many new friendships develop, contacts exchanged and promises of reunion made!
This time gave us, the volunteers, space to to develop workshops and an opportunity to organize activities and games as well as taking part in those activities.