Do you know what SDGs stand for? What is your opinion on non-formal education? Have you ever experienced learning in a friendly, relaxed and interesting environment with people from 12 different countries?
These are questions which concern an international youth exchange that I myself participated in, which occurred in Petrohan, Bulgaria between the dates from 21th to 27th of October.
The topic of the exchange was “Youth for SDGs & SDGs for Youth“ and it was organized by a wonderful team from the International Foundation for Y-PEER Development, and funded by Erasmus+ program of EU. The participants were 25 amazing youth activists from 12 countries, them being: Bulgaria, Georgia, Portugal, Italy, North Macedonia, Kazakhstan, India, Palestine, Brazil, Iraq, Russia, and Armenia.
The main topic we worked with was that of the SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals. For those of you who do not know the meaning behind SDGs, this is a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. They were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.
Our team’s focus was on SDG goals №3 – Good Health and Well-being, №4 – Quality Education and № 5 – Gender Equality.
In order for every participant to feel comfortable to express themselves and to want to engage in the activities, the competent trainers used a variety of methodologies of learning like theatre technique, lectures, energizers, games, debates, group projects, etc.
Every morning the trainers would wake us up with a fun and dynamic energizer which would light up even the sleepiest of us. Every one of us could freely express our opinions about the structures of the seminars and exercises or how we felt about the project as a whole.
With great effort and appreciation together we created a friendly environment in which we could openly share and learn something from everyone present there, whether it was about the topic of the project, the diverse cultures, and traditions of the above-mentioned countries or just about something we found interesting about each of the participants.
When it came to acquiring new skills and knowledge, the process felt light and enjoyable due to its non-formal structure and the approach of peer education. Every one of us finished the project with a feeling of confidence that we have something new and useful to bring back to our home countries and to share with the world.
I personally really liked the topic and focus of the project and I loved the community that we created in our home for eight days in Petrohan. The experience was amazing and I would love to participate in future projects with similar themes and approaches. I wish to extend a huge thank you to everyone who was behind the organization of this youth exchange and to the wonderful participants who brought so much positivity and displayed helpful skills, without whom the project would not have been such a success. Thank you!