(Bulgarian Youth Forum)
It was a wonderful afternoon when I saw an email from Bili, the coordinator of BYF, inviting me to apply for a youth exchange in Marmaris, Turkey. What a wonderful opportunity to exchange experiences and youth activities just after a few months of quarantine because of COVID-19. Well, how can I not apply considering that I am in the group of BYF, thanks to Bozhidar Tsvetkov, who was my teacher when I studied in “Non-formal education” at Sofia University ” St. Kliment Ohridski ”.
I didn’t think about it, I immediately applied without any anxiety, regarding the PCR tests for COVID19 before and after the visit to Turkey. I didn’t care about anything. My soul longed for travel, for lifelong learning, for meeting new people and finding out how other nationalities are influenced by the latest topic, Media Tools for Active Youth. Everyone of us is 24/7 in the media environment.
When I arrived in Marmaris, I was one of the first participants. I was extremely well received by the organizers of the project. The evening of the arrival began with icebreaking activities, which involved about 40 young people, in whose eyes you can see the thirst for life and the desire to grab from it with handfuls.
In the days that followed, we were journalists interviewing people, we were influencers who posted on social media, we were people who removed all barriers between each other. We communicated face to face, live, what we had been missing since the beginning of 2020, even though we were wearing masks everywhere, we all saw the sparkles in the eyes of each one of us.
Everyone of us appreciated the fundamental value of the European Union, namely free movement. When a person begins to take things for granted and suddenly they disappear, they realize what they have lost. After the travel bans caused by COVID-19, we all appreciated what more than 50 people considered a given, namely to get up in the morning, book a flight somewhere and fly in the evening. The organizers said that the project was about to fail because of the virus, but I admire their efforts and the sleepless nights they spent to bring us all together.
For me, this was the tip of the iceberg, to gather over 50 people from Bulgaria, Turkey, Germany, Lithuania, Portugal and Spain in these times full of worries and trouble. It was incredible!