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Look at the Same… And See Different

Look at the Same… And See Different

From 19th to 28th of August, we, participants from Youthfully Yours, had the opportunity to take part in the Youth Exchange "Look at the same... And see different", in Arrouquelas, Rio Maior, Portugal. The hosting organization, "H2O" Associação de Jovens de Arrouquelas, with 26 years of history, hosted us in a camp and organized a program of activities that were connected with the topic, gender equality, financed and supported by Erasmus +.

The main objective was to bring together 60 young people from 11 different European countries: Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain, with diverse cultural backgrounds but with common interests to share knowledge and learn about the topic of gender equality, discrimination and social inclusion.

Also, this exchange has defined other objectives that are generally intertwined with the objectives of the Erasmus + program itself, namely: to explore gender equity and inequality in youth work realities; to explore sectoral policies that reflect and address the special needs of young people living in rural areas; to share non-formal learning activities and creative exercises for the roles of socially designated patterns of behavior; to promote the Erasmus + Program as a tool for gender equity and equality; to promote dialogue between participants from different countries in order to promote mutual understanding and tolerance; to increase young people's knowledge about gender equality in different dimensions; to learn to respect each opinion and deconstruct stereotypes by conducting assessment and discussion with young people from other countries.

The Organization "H2O" also cooperates with the Non-Formal Education Center, located in the village of Marmeleira, which provided a game with the same topic as a project.

 

How have our participants perceived the project?

Eleven countries, sixty participants, five from Slovakia, ten amazing days spent in the picturesque village of Arrouquelas, Portugal. Those are just a few words with which could we describe our participation in the Erasmus+ youth exchange project Look at The Same … And See Different. Most of us from the Slovak team met in Lisbon, where we began our adventure and explored the capital of Portugal. On the bus to Arrouquelas, we connected with other participants, and from that moment we knew we would build a nice community. And we also did. We formed an exceptional group of friends and collaborated flawlessly in every activity in and out of the program. Arriving at a place, we were quite curious about sleeping in tents. However, we immediately found our tent next to the Czech one, met welcoming volunteers from H2O and started to get to know the place.

From the first day of exchange, we had an opportunity to learn about the main topic of the project- “gender equality”. The project aimed to establish a discussion about gender equality, roles of women and men, discrimination and observe different perceptions young people have. We bonded through group dynamics, human bingo, got to know the village of Arrouquelas and met local people and meeting points through the “Village game”. We were pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the local people and the work volunteers from the H2O association have done to make this place even more welcoming.

From the very beginning, we worked to gain knowledge and experience in the topic “Gender equality”. For that, we played educational board games, did simulation exercise after which almost everyone was surprised by the results. Our task was to build a country with given material and money, while we could see (but no one noticed it at first) the inequality in the resources obtained within the groups. We created posters which we later presented in groups and most, discussed our opinions with people of different cultures and traditions. During one day dedicated to solidarity, we could see H2O’s work and all participants split different tasks. We went on a recycling tour, helped with the painting of the “Arrouquelas” sign, helped at the dog shelter or helped with the painting.

Every night belonged to the presentation of two different participating countries. Our night together with Czech was even more special because of the visit of Slovak Ambassador Tibor Králik and Czech embassy consul Anna Syková. Every intercultural night was accompanied by traditional national dances, presentations of typical cuisine and drinks, quizzes and interesting activities prepared by presenting countries.

Our trip was much more than about education and working on the project. We went canoeing on the river Tajo where we also got a chance to explore Constância and tried typical food Caracóis (snails) and danced flash mob on the beach near the river. Temperatures in Portugal were quite high, so we visited the swimming pool in Rio Maior, where we also danced flash mob and enjoyed diving boards.

We would like to thank the European Union, the H2O association, volunteers, organizers and all the participants for the amazing, instructive and enriching ten days spent on youth exchange Look at The Same … And See Different. We got the opportunity to listen, respect, discuss and learn that even if we are all looking at the same, everyone can see different.

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