Erasmus + and ESC projects and how they affect young people.

Have you ever participated in one of the many Erasmus + projects? If not, but you are really curious about what it is all about, the following article will try to give you a small insight on it. Being a participant in a long term, 10 months ESC program myself, I could share all about my experience but I decided not only to speak from my point of view but also to report the experiences of other fellow volunteers, here are a few.“Participating in a Erasmus + project is a great opportunity to get out of the conventional way of living, that is, studying and then finding a job, while through such experience you allow yourself to have the opportunity to try a path you would have never even considered” says Rita Sousa, 24 years old from Portugal, currently living in Turkey for a long term ESC about Art and Animal Protection, “it is a safe place to develop other skills and to find out that maybe you have other talents other than those regarding your field of work or study”. With the organization, she is working with, based in the city of Sinop, Rita has the chance to have a positive impact on the local community and also to develop her personal project, all while having a great life experience in a country culturally and historically different from hers.

Of the same opinion is Ricardo, 20 years old from Spain, which is currently attending a long term ESC in Austria about having an impact on the local community, carrying out activities in the local youth centre, schools and shelters.

“You definitely have the chance to live out of your comfort zone and, even though such experience can be very challenging, it can be also amazingly enriching and fulfilling”. Living in another country can be challenging in many aspects, not only the cultural and linguistic one. “I am from Seville where the weather is usually extremely hot, it can reach also + 40 degree Celsius in summer and now I live in Austria where the temperature is below zero”.

“Participating in a project can also help you to see your life from another point of view, especially if you are at a moment in which you feel stuck” says Sara from Spain, 28 years old who two years ago participated in a Training Course in Innsbruck, Austria. Her project was a non-formal training to boost women creativity spirit to start social entrepreneurship.”The schedule and organization of the course left us enough time to explore the city, learn about the culture and taste the local cuisine, in addition, we took some of the free time to conquer the top of the Austrian Alps and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views” says. “In general, it was an incredibly enriching experience from which I keep great memories and, most of all, great people”.

As shown, attending an Erasmus+ project is not all work, but also a lot of fun or, better said, it is half work and half fun. In fact, the work hours per week are usually not more than 35, so that while learning new skills and working for the project, you will be given the opportunity to fully enjoy your life in a new, different country.

“Participating in such projects is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Carlos, 29 years old from Colombia but currently living in Spain. “It is the perfect occasion to go on a personal journey of self-discovery and while enjoying the time doing what you love the most, you also have the opportunity to meet new people and, why not, to meet a new version of yourself”. Being a Salsa and Cumbia teacher, last September Carlos participated in a Training Course in Turin, Italy, about alternative ways of teaching how to dance.

Last, but not least, my personal experiences in a short term EVS, a long term ESC and three Training Courses are one of the best and enriching experiences of my life and if I had the chance to go back in time, I would do it all over again. I think that Erasmus+ projects are great opportunities for the youth to explore the world and themselves and, in line with the Erasmus principles, everyone can participate since food and accommodation are provided by the organizations and travel cost are reimbursed up until a maximum coverage according to the distance.

Francesca Giarrusso

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