This is my first blog in english, I wanted to give everyone the possibility to read it and maybe after this one there will be more of them. I hope you enjoy it.
First of all my week in Italy was organized by EEE-YFU ( European Educational Exchanges-Youth for Understanding) and supported by the Erasmus+ program with the project called 3D (Diversity, Development & Discovering ) exchange.
The topic was exploring migration in Italy and was about the issues of cultural diversity, migration and identities.
There could apply all exchange students from yfu (my exchange organization) in Europe. So we were a mixed group with students from all over the world with their host country in Europe.
We were 44 students from Estonia, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic and Belgium.
We went there with a group of 10 students and one fascillitator from Estonia with the plane first to Frankfurt and then to Milano. As we arrived in Frankfurt we already met a lot of students and could talk about our lifes, experience, exchange years and so on.
From Milano we had a two hours bus ride to Genoa and arrived at 2 o' clock in the night.
The next day we started with games to get to know eat other better, we were at all a group around 50 people, students and facilitators.
This was followed by an introduction to the topic migration and immigration and in the end reflection groups (smaller groups, where we talked and discussed a bit more about the day, what we liked/disliked, questionts and so on), which ended with a movie to the topic in the evening.
We also went to the part of Genoa were we had stayed and visited the surroundings a bit. And of course we ate ice cream, what we actually did every day.
The next day we started with energizers and then an association, arci liguria, came to us and introduced themselves, their work and projects with immigrants in Italy. After that we also had the chance to talk to migrants, who came to Italy.
After that we watched short movies about migration. We went more into one movie, discussed about it and had a trial about it.
And the day ended again with reflection groups and a quiz night.
On the next day we were driving to an association in Alessandria. They were giving us a presentation about their work, the exact way how and why refugees and immigrants are coming and what is happening with them in Italy.
After that we had the chance to talk to refugees again.
And we had lunch cooked and served by immigrant and then a roleplay. After we were driving back to the venue we had a bit free time and in the evening a little concert from senegal musicians.
On this day I learned a lot, for example that exchange students and immigrants have something in common. Both are going to a foreign country, most of the times, they don't know the language, the culture, the people and we don't know what is waiting for us. We are all strugeling with the language, with understanding the culture, finding friends and getting a part of our new country. That's the same for us. But we as exchange stundents don't have to leave our countries, we want to do that. But immigrants do not always have a choice, the leave because they have to, because it's to dangerous to stay there. But we all have something in common. We should always be aware of that.
The next day we had workshops based on the topics of identities, our own and others and stereotypes in our home and host countries.
But what we were also doing in our freetime:
And the last full day we went to the city centre of Genoa to visit the museum of migration there and we were just walking around the city! The museum was about european people migrating to the Usa. The day ended with our closing party (and some unofficial "oscars" for different funny things)
In the next day we went all back home to our exchange countries. The Goodbye was really hard because we all built a relationship in our group. The week before at the airport we were completely strangers but we left as friends. Our connection is definitely our exchange year and how a workshop showed, we all want to travel, see the world, be free and enjoy and see new countries and cultures and now this is even easier, because we made friends all over the world and we will always have something in common: our exchange year and this awesome week in Italy with a lot of new experience and different views.
But what I also really loved about the week, was that we got the chance to learn more about immigrants and especially in Italy, Europe, close to our first and second homes. The associations gave us a really good overview, let us talk to them and they all were free and open to share their storys with us. Now I can understand a lot better what there are going trough, what was happening to them, how they are living now. I learned a lot more about the topic and not just that what media is giving to us. And I'm really thankful that we had the opportunity to switch in their point of views and to understand it as good as possibile and to take a lot from it.
And of course it was so cool that it was in Italy, first of all there was really good weather, our venue was awesome, because it was right next to the sea, the feeling of a bit holiday was good. It gave us more creativity and we were more open for everything. And the topic immigration is in Italy very actual right now, so we really had the chance to see how it is in Italy, the process and everything was real.
"The exchange increased participants’ capacity to look at issues through different perspectives, be more conscience of their own cultural stereotypes, and be more critical to narratives they hear in the media and in social media networks, especially narratives about other cultures and immigrants and refugees in particular."
That's what our organisation is saying about the trip, you can read it here if you want, and I can just toally agree with it. I think I can say for the whole group that we all learned excatly that and a lot more.
It was a week with new faces, experiences, views and fun! Thanks to everyone who made this week so incredible good!
And I really want to share a blog from estonian girl who is spending her exchange year in austria right now. She wrote a really beautiful and true text about being an exchange student! Triin we all shared this without talking to each other about it, thank you!
Thank you for reading it untill here,