10 short days, 24 awesome people,5 different cultures, one exchange. Hundreds of beautiful memories. What it is? ‘Urban Culture’ Youth Exchange realized in Lisbon, sunny capital of Portugal.
WHAT IT IS ABOUT ?
This summer intercultural opportunity was realized by 3 different organizations: Clube Intercultural Europeu (Portuguese), Big Bangs (French), and Kozbe für Köln (German) under the program Erasmus+ between 5th and 15th of August. Young people had chance to participate in the daily program which included activities within the topic of urban culture (street art, street golf, sports, creative activities like doing stickers/graffiti), and shape the evening program by putting own ideas of spending time together. This is all about: about being together, unity in diversity. This is how participants from 5 countries (Portugal, France, Germany, Poland and Spain) come together ready to learn, be inspired, integrate and spend quality time in one of the sunniest capital in Europe – Lisbon!
EVERYDAY LIFE (by the eye of the participant)
For 10 days we (had to!) become one big family who were living together, sharing experiences, dealing with problems, and follow the house’s rules. It was a bit challenging but we made it more organized (in German way!) and were divided into three groups (teams) each day: cleaning team, cooking team and team responsible to organize energizers and integration games. Living with different cultures and with such different people is a fascinating part of the exchange. It is where the cultural positive shock appears and surprises of everyday life rituals are meeting. We were learning every day from each other in informal way and we got aslo inspired from each other (and while in the beginning we didn’t understand why Portuguese are adding chips to sandwiches, in the end it became somehow “normal” and everyone was secretly doing the same!). It is also where the true integration comes, it comes often after official program, in spare time when participants can talk with each other about their more personal topics, share interests and life experiences and everyone can bring to the group new values, knowledge, opinions and unique spirit. We did not only need to talk about stereotypes, we could break it! (seeing that Germans are not that always on time (some Portuguese influences?) and Polish are not really stealing… maybe besides some hearts? :))
Participants couldn’t leave Lisbon without really feeling its special spirit and experiencing countless possibilities this amazing city offers. There were time for Lisbon sightseeing (by the various games), tasting portuguese cuisine, listening to Fado, trying a nightlife in Bairro Alto, eating delicious pastéis de Belém (in Belém!), being lost in streets of Alfama before discovering rooftop with amazing view over the city, and even.. taking surfing lesson in Costa da Caparica! All this with accompaniment of a blue sky, hot sun and great people!
ITS NOT THE END!
-”You are such a nice group. I can see you become friends for a lot more years! Trust me, I am 50 and I know what is life about!” – said one woman on one of the streets of Bairro Alto one evening. That’s true. Although the plan of the exchange was rich from street art, through sport games till surfing in the ocean, it would have never be done without the people who came in groups and become one team in the end. Cause it is mostly the people who “make” the exchange, not only place, not only activities, not even the bluest sky. And we had it all. We could use thousand of words but this one is enough: For all organizers and participants: OBRIGADO!
Text: Anna Czubernat