In the beginning of the month of august I and some other bulgarians got to experience the amazing opportunity called youth exchange. This particular project had the theme Active Citizenship and was held in the village of Bodo, Timis county. The whole project from the participant’s side is something hard to describe, because every day is full of adventures, emotions, challenges and new experiences.
Many young people lack the opportunity to meet international peers and communicate in a multicultural environment. When it comes to Erasmus+, it is one thing that shapes the generation of tomorrow into a more tolerant, understanding and criticaly thinking youth. My personal experience in this particular project has brought me closer to my goals in personal development. I find I have become more culturally aware, sensitive to political topics and communicative. My knowledge of european countries’ personal history has made me a more informed individual, that can manage cultural differences in a productive way. Having an interest in psychology has deepened my understanding of the way things operate in an interpersonal level. As I have grown up, been raised and studied in a strictly Bulgarian environment, I have not had the chance to experience new cultures. Being put in a situation where everyone brings their differences makes us more aware of not only them, but also our similarities. As an example here I can use the fact that I observed many similar interests between Bulgarians and our neighboring countries which participated – namely Romania as a host, Croatia, Greece. I was very suprised to observe how similar we are not only to the countries close to us, but also to the one further away – like Lithuania and Spain. With the right mindset one can connect to anyone and build a relationship based on mutual cultural exploration. We had many similar songs and a similar attitude to life, which really opens up the discussion about our shared history and our traditions.
Not only have I learned a lot from the activities we had planned, but also made some great friendships. Being able to not only explore the village of Bodo, but also learn more about the history, architecture and social life of Timisoara had a long lasting effect on how I see my neighboring country of Romania. Some of the political issues I hadn’t been aware of before are now food for thought and something I often discuss with my friends and family. I feel the experience has definitely helped shape the person I am, brought me closer to the person I want to become and made me even more grateful for the intercultural environment of today.