Group of the participants in Youth Exchange take a picture in the grass, while showing their Youthpass certificates

In the scenic village of Diósjenő, Hungary, from May 22nd to 28th, a remarkable Youth Exchange named “EVERYONE IS ABLE TO DO FOR GREEN INCLUSION” took place The event, a product of collaborative efforts between five dynamic Youth organizations hailing from Hungary, Romania, Armenia, and Belgium, brought together young minds from diverse backgrounds.

May 22nd marked the arrival of participants at the venue, eagerly ready to embark on a week of fun activities and collaboration. Excitement filled the air as individuals and groups gathered, eager to get to know one another and forge connections. Unfortunately, the mood was dampened by the news that the Armenian team could not attend the youth exchange due to reasons beyond their control. It was a moment of disappointment for all, as the absence of the Armenian participants was keenly felt. Despite the setback, the participants were determined to make the most of the exchange, cherishing the opportunity to learn from one another and collectively contribute to a greener, more inclusive world.

On May 23rd, the participants  dedicated their time to getting acquainted with one another through engaging team-building activities. They played fun name games and brainstormed project expectations, with each country presenting their proposed initiatives. The day culminated in an intercultural evening hosted by the Hungarian group, where participants indulged in local treats and learned an upbeat Hungarian dance.

The morning of May 24th commenced with an evaluation session, where participants had the opportunity to express their preferences, concerns and suggestions to enhance the program.

In the second main activity, participants delved into the diverse green practices implemented in their countries. Each group presented their unique approaches to sustainability, showcasing  eco-friendly initiatives.

After lunch, the group engaged in a captivating hands-on activity centered around transforming corn waste into butterfly-shaped decorations. Guided by the understanding that seemingly useless materials can be repurposed into beautiful art pieces. Through their crafting, the participants gained a valuable lesson in upcycling and the potential for beauty hidden within everyday objects.

As the day transitioned into the evening, the Romanian team hosted a memorable intercultural evening, carefully attending to every small detail to make it a truly special night for all.

May 25th was an extraordinary day for the youth exchange. In the morning, everyome worked in smaller groups, collaborating to construct their own insect hotels. Despite some participants being new to using tools, the activity showcased the power of teamwork and determination. The results were truly phenomenal, reflecting their creativity and commitment to providing habitats for beneficial insects. After lunch, the group embarked on a train journey to the charming town of Vác, where they enjoyed a delightful sightseeing tour and had some free time to explore. It was a day filled with hands-on learning, cultural immersion and memorable experiences that further strengthened the bonds among the groups.

May 26th held a series of impactful and meaningful activities during the YE. The day began with a brief evaluation and reflection session, allowing participants to collectively assess their experiences and share their insights. Following this, the group visited the local social institute for people with disabilities in Diósjenő. Here, they had the opportunity to hear the story of the castle that now serves as a home for individuals with disabilities. Notably, one of the participant groups had their insect hotel placed within the castle, adding to its significance and promoting ecological awareness within the community.

In the afternoon, the focus shifted towards personal narratives as participants were invited to share their own stories. An open space was created for those who wished to inspire others with their journeys of self-love and acceptance. The sharing of these individual narratives was profoundly moving, creating a sense of empathy and understanding among the group. It was a reminder of the power of personal experiences and the resilience of the human spirit.

As the day progressed, the Belgian team took the reins of the intercultural evening, adding their own unique touch. The air was filled with the enticing aroma of chocolate, a quintessential symbol of Belgium. The Belgian team prepared a lively quiz, challenging the group’s knowledge about Belgium and ensuring active participation and enjoyment.

On May 27, the youth exchange reached its final day of activities. The focus of the day was mostly about evaluation sessions and collecting activity ideas for the next edition of the YE. In the late afternoon, the memorable YouthPass ceremony took place, honoring the participants’ achievements and contributions throughout the program. Each individual received their well-deserved certificate, symbolizing their growth, learning, and commitment.

May 28 marked the bittersweet day of ultimate goodbyes and departures for the YE. In the beginning, there were concerns about potential language barriers, as not everyone was fluent in English. However, to everyone’s delight, communication flowed ALMOST effortlessly with the help of the amazing translators. This exchange proved to be a catalyst for forging meaningful connections and, perhaps, even laying the foundation for lasting friendships. The memories created during this week will forever hold a special place in the hearts of all those who participated. With a mixture of joy and a hint of sadness, the participants bid farewell, cherishing the shared moments, personal growth and the inspiration that will continue to guide them in their future endeavors. The YE was indeed a week to remember.