I didn’t expect!

I didn’t expect!

Ekaterina Bychkova


What do you usually expect when you hear something about Youth Exchange? A group of young people, who wants to join an intercultural dialog and to make a party at the end of day, right?

In real life every “Erasmus+” project is a nice mix of education and vacation with new friends or at least with interesting people. Some of them you might like, with others you don’t speak so much, some will be your friends, some names you won’t remember even after a week. But every project is a small life, with its ups and downs and what we learn on it depends on us.

I want to tell you about my project in Bulgaria. It’s a small life full of happiness, new friends and delightful discoveries. The name of the project was “ACTIVate YOUrself” and it was held from 20. till 28. June, 2017. It’s a new essay, how hospitable was an owner of hotel or what a great service team he had (especially Thanks to cook team!). Let’s talk about the location. You could describe it as “the middle of nowhere” (how likes to say my new friend A.), what provided a view of the mountains to us from any point. I can’t describe in words what it is specially to get up early to enjoy the landscape and the surroundings of a small Bulgarian village. I didn’t expect that I’ll be so impressed by Bulgarian nature.

If you have some questions about the organization of the project, who planned everything for us, organized it and leaded us. I should say a special Thanks to Didi and Nadja, who were our team leaders. They prepared a lot of energizers and activities for us, but most of all I liked that girls were into the process with their hearts. Sometimes it seemed to me, that they have more fun in some activities or energizers as we do. They were so open and curious about everyone. We planned together our day schedule, every person had a chance to spoke her or his opinion free, we laughed a lot (Thank you, Macedonian Stefan!), we worked a lot in groups and became real close in these 8 days. I didn’t expect it.

But now more about what I did and where I’ve been. We had a lot of activities with a lead topic active citizenship, but we tried to push the boundaries and to touch such topics as Discrimination, economic crisis, political inequality, environment protection and access in education in Europe. We talked about our countries and their realities. We discussed also opportunities to participant in new projects and encouraged ourselves to be more active in the social life. Besides, we had an intercultural night, where every country was impressive good prepared. I love to learn more about new countries, their dances, traditions, language and food, so, it was a pleasure for me to take a part on it.  Especially I was impressed by Bulgarian traditional custom and the grace of the girls who danced in it. Moreover, in these 8 days we visited Baba Vida Fortress, Belogradchik’s rocks and Magura Cave. The last one is for me a nature wonder, for other people it’s a unique place, which is under UNESCO protection. The cave is only 15 Million Years old. It took me a while to realize it that I’m in a cave with prehistorical pictures on walls where some cave people lived and died, gave birth and loved. It worth to be seen in a real life! As well, we visited municipalities of three towns where we had interviews with majors about their youth development programs. What was quite interesting, because I don’t have every day a chance to ask somebody directly about his or her influence on the development of social awareness of European youth. They have really motivated companies, which include young people in the process of forming city policies.

The last thing what I want to share with you are two words: ACTIVATE YOURSELF! I’m so happy that I got this opportunity to join “Erasmus+” program and to get a support of EU and of my home organisation JuBuK to see the world, to meet new people, to improve my personal and professional skills. The only thing I needed for it is my motivation, to be open for this world and to be ready to learn. I didn’t expect that in this short term I’ll find so much new friends and will know new sides of myself and of the world.