Cyprus is the divided island that has united several young people this September. Thanks to the Fundació Catalunya Voluntaria, Gemma, Anna, Alba, Mohammed, Abel and Erola we spent the first days of September on the island of Cyprus. We have done a youth exchange called ECO-TOGETHER, organized by the entity Youth for Exchange and Understanding Cyprus (YEU Cyprus), where we have shared the experience with young people from 7 other European countries: Cyprus, Serbia, Italy, Ukraine, Croatia, Lithuania and Austria. In total we were about 50 young people in a small town in the center of the island, Pedoulas, surrounded by nature.
The main axis of the exchange was sustainability. Through dynamics, roles, conferences, debates and games, we have worked on this issue in depth, but we have also touched on other issues such as stereotypes or cultural baggage both at the community level and at the individual level. Thanks to all these activities, proposed in large part by the facilitators of the exchange, as well as by the leaders of each country, we have learned a lot.
One day of the project we went to Nicosia, the capital, where after taking a tourist tour that helped us better understand the reality of the city, we had time to discover it on our own. It is an atypical reality since it is the last city in the world to be divided and has a border in the middle called the “green line”, dividing the Greek part from the Turkish part. You see and notice the cultural contrast on one side and the other.
Once the project “ECO-TOGETHER” was finished, we took the opportunity to visit the island, our destination was Paphos, since it is a tourist city full of history and archaeology. Here we have been the last two days of the experience, where we have been able to get to know each other better and enjoy free time on the island.
The highlight of all this has been spending a week with people from different countries. This has allowed us to learn more about other realities of young Europeans and learn first-hand about their stories and the reality in their country of origin. We have met very interesting people, and we have also made a very nice team in which we have taken great care of each other and everyone has played an essential role. It has been very enriching because within the group each one contributed their essence; We have laughed, we have learned and above all we have had a great time.
For most of us it was the first (or the first experiences in youth exchanges), we have returned tired, but very happy with the experience, since it has allowed us to learn a lot and interact with young people who had a lot to say about other parts of Europe. We all share that it has been a very nice experience, and we came with the desire to meet again soon and to participate in more exchanges.
Anna Xumetra, Gemma Naspler, Abel Camacho, Alba Lucia Quintans, Mohamed Touhami y Erola Giramé