“I will miss you!”
or “It was the best week in my life!”
– those kind of words you could hear after our youth exchange “Ground of Understanding” in Moldova. Participants of this program were pupils from Ukraine, Moldova and Norway in the age from 15-18.
The name of project symbolized its main aim – exchanging of culture, experience between youth of different countries for future understanding. But how did we reach this understanding? The way was simple – friendship, born in common trainings, workshops and life. What “workshop” is? It is a complex of games and exercises which worked for our cooperation. These kinds of games usually bring people together and unite them. . Maybe that’s why we lived all week in perfect atmosphere of friendship?!
English became the main language of project. It helped foreigners to understand each other during common activities. This language you could hear in Chisinau during city quest, in rooms, where representatives from different countries lived together, during evening parties where we singing English songs and so on.
Every day of our exchange we learned more about cultures of each other. For example, we had very interesting and difficult language workshop. Every team chose the “teacher”, and he explained some words and expressions in his o her native language. The other funny task was writing usual schedule of typical Ukrainian, Norwegian and Moldova teenager.
It was interesting to discover some differences and similarities in our everyday life. In the afternoon we have small quest in the centre of the Chisinau. We had six multinational teams and six different routes. We had to speak English; the people on every station gave us funny tasks to complete. For example we had to film seven hugs with strangers or to say “Hello!” in Romanian to them.
After dinner we had country presentations. We prepared them in advance. The team told each other about their customs, culture, mentality, famous people and places. Every team brought some sweets and traditional food from home, so we could enjoy it. Ukrainians especially loved cheese from Norway; in their turn guys from Norway thought that Ukrainian chocolate was really good. We also played one traditional Moldavian game with kissing. It was jovial and we could dance a lot.
The great advantage of this exchange was free time, because we could plan our time by ourselves. As for other common projects, we had the day of movies. “Well… it was a challenging day. It was really stressful, we had little time and miscommunication because of language became a problem. It was still really enjoyable and really funny to work with people from the other nations and cooperate to reach the common goal. At the end of the day it was a really good day that I learned a lot from” – says Serhiy from Ukraine.
The other training we had was about finding similarities in international couples and expressing them in creative non-verbal way. After this training you have real soul-mate from other country. “We became one real team” – it`s opinion about the most hard day of Pietru from Moldova.
We also had a talents show! In 3 teams we danced and sang international English songs. Jacob from Norway: “The talent show was probably one of the most memorable moments of the week. We gathered people from all the nations and created an amazing act together. It was shown through the dance that you should be able to be the way you want and not be ashamed. It was a symbol of the tolerance we created. We also showed that it is totally okay to be gay and that gay people should embrace their sexuality and demand respect for it!”
Our group became more and more united every day. We found our grounds of understanding through improving English and meeting new friends, discovering new cultures, speaking about tolerance and learning about new life styles. That rich experience brought us new friends and soul-mates as well as gave us many virtues like tolerance, kindness, honesty, loyalty. These features created our real friendship. And we do hope we will repeat this experience one more time!
Nataliia Khyshko, 16
Mariia Bielinska, 14
School “Parostok”, Poltava