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Travel abroad for free and get to know the European Union!

Hey, lovely readers! My name is Nadia, and I am a European Solidarity Corps volunteer in Amazonas. You will see my name here on a monthly basis, talking mostly about youth in the European Union: a good combination of politics and opportunities to jump into! Enjoy! 🙂

The European Union is a place full of opportunities. Living in it means living in the middle of 27 different cultures, 24 different (official) languages, people striving to unite backgrounds and ideas.

Young people are the backbone of a successful European society. That is why many opportunities are offered to them. A common one is Erasmus+ Youth Exchange.

Let’s dive in and see how it works!

What is an Erasmus+ Youth Exchange?

An Erasmus+ Youth Exchange is an experience abroad that lasts between 5 and 21 days and is open to young people from 13 to 30 years old. Exchanges are taken care of by organizations and informal groups of people, and supported financially by the European Union.

They deal with a variety of topics: from journalism to environmental protection, and their main aim is that of giving young people the chance to learn and discuss about a topic.

What’s so special about a Youth Exchange?

Three are the main exciting features of a Youth Exchange.

First of all, you get to meet people from a lot of different EU and non-EU countries, live with them for a week or more, participate and build activities together, and get to know your peers and their culture better!

Secondly, you have the chance to explore your interests and learn more about matters that you care about, in a fun way. Forget about formal classes in school, in Youth Exchanges everything is learnt through hands-on activities, round tables, and challenges!

Last but not least, everything is free: when participating in a Youth Exchange, you get reimbursement for travel and free accommodation and food; sometimes there is even space for some extra pocket money that you can spend on a souvenir or an ice-cream with your new friends!

Can I take part in a Youth Exchange in my own country?

Sometimes travelling is complicated, and sometimes it is just plainly scary. Although one of the points of Youth Exchanges is to get people to go abroad and explore new places, you can participate in an exchange in your own country. This is an opportunity particularly if you’re younger than 18 years old: we must admit international projects for underage youngsters are a bit rarer than the ones for older people, so participating in a Youth Exchange in your own country allows you to see some places nearby that you may have never visited and still living the international atmosphere typical of Erasmus+ projects!

What do I need to do to participate in a Youth Exchange?

The process is actually easier done than said, but let’s break it down step by step:

  1. Find a project that suits you! Projects can be found on multiple platforms. The most used ones are Facebook groups such as this, or portals like this. There are groups specific for each country, so look for yours! More information can also be found on the European Youth Portal. More, similar projects can also be found on Salto Youth. Amazonas also organizes Youth Exchanges!
  2. Read the infokit: this is very important to understand better what the exchange is going to be about, the activities, and the partner countries. If you don’t see it published in the portal or the Facebook groups, ask an organizer or the person who posted the opportunity for it!
  3. Apply! You will either have to fill in a form, send an email to an organizer, upload your CV or a motivational letter to a webportal. Clear instructions on how to apply are in the description of each project.
  4. Have an interview! In most cases, but not all of them, you will have to take part in one meeting where the organizers are going to know more about you, and you will know more about them and their project. Do not worry about it! The atmosphere is always friendly.
  5. Book your tickets, and go! This is where everything becomes real!

Help! I don’t have the skills, I don’t know English well and I’m lost.

Do not worry! We all doubt ourselves, but Youth Exchanges are just the right opportunity to challenge yourself and learn more! No skills are required. You just need to be open minded and excited about the project. The official language is English, but be sure that you can greatly improve it while you’re actually there!

I have no idea which project would be a good fit for me :/

Well well, that’s why I created a test just for you! Answer some questions and you will be directed to a project that can inspire you 🙂

Do you want to see what happens during an Erasmus+ Youth Exchange?

Here’s a sneak peak into one I took part in last July – Non Formal Education in Action! In Poland. Enjoy!