Youth Power in Croatia
“I was not sure about attending this Youth Exchange, but I am so lucky I went. We met people from six European countries, learned a lot about politics, other cultures and created even stronger bonds within our KRAN team.”, says Ali, our young person, first-timer in a Youth Exchange.
Youth Power in Croatia was a youth exchange which gathered 42 participants from Croatia, UK, Finland, Denmark, Portugal, Serbia and North Macedonia from 15th July to 24th July 2019. The project itself was a part of the Erasmus+ programme funded by the European Union. The mission of this Youth Exchange (YE) was to get young people more interested in politics and to become more involved in political processes.
The opening activities focused on getting the participants acquainted with each other and encouraged them to understand why the project brought them together.
The project’s activities intended to deliver equal parts of informal educational workshops and easy-going cultural exchange moments. Even with a schedule planned for learning and studying, the ambience allowed both organised and spontaneous bonding, which in turn led to a deeper understanding of each other’s cultures and experiences.
Learning political-economic concepts can be a daunting task, which makes the goal of this YE relevant in our current European setting. Making this topic approachable to a broad, young audience requires delivering appealing activities, the workshops excelled at this.
The workshops creatively used different methodologies when dealing with the topics, namely: EU values, Welfare state capitalism and Active citizenship.
Youth exchanges are never solely about learning. They are a safe space to express yourself and share your culture. The area surrounding the project’s location provided a lot of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, with Orahovica’s natural landscape serving as the perfect background for leisure time. Holding some of the workshops in locations such as the lake, gardens and the woods created a relaxed environment in which bonding and sharing came naturally.
“We did not know what to expect, but this project exceeded all our expectations. We learned a lot, made friends, laughed a lot and created memories – and we are looking forward to the similar project in the future.” – Bashir
To this day, there is still a long road to be walked when it comes to inclusion, integration, and motivation of young people in politics. Today’s youth are the incoming flag carriers of the goals and expectations for a united future.
The skills gained on this exchange, the friendships built and the visions discussed are building blocks for that future.