Youth exchange "Environment and Green Thinking" in Turkey

On 7–13 February 2016 I participated in youth exchange with the topic environment and green thinking. The program named as Youth in Green was supported by Erasmus+ and Estonian participation was organised and guided by Seiklejate Vennaskond. From Estonia there were 5 people participating with the project. In total, a youth exchange contained 42 young people from Bulgaria, Estonia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Romania, Spain and Turkey. 

At the first day when all youth arrived, we spent the night in Istanbul and the next day we went to Yalova by ship were the actual program activities were organized. People who were interested for this subject were in different ages and mostly they did not work in environmental companies. Groups of young people from different countries jointly designed, prepared and carried out a work program. It was usually a mix of workshops, debates, roleplays, simulations and out-door activities. The whole program was well organized, therefore participants could focus only on the target of the program. 

Every day we had different in-door or out-door activities. For example, the participants from each country introduced their environmental issues followed by the discussion of topics. It was noticeable that every country had their environmental problems, some more serious than others. Atmosphere of discussions within the whole week was open-minded and inspiring. Participating in different debates did not help us only to give new knowledge but also raised confidence of presentations. 

Communication within the whole week was focused to be international rather than national level, e.g. the mixing-up young people with different countries was common. Program included also practical activities. For example, we had a chance to clean up Yalova. Afterwards the cleaning process (e.g. gathering trash), participants had to show the creativity when finding re-use opportunities of collected trash. Near the hotel we had an opportunity of planting. 

Additionally, a brief introduction of writing a project with Erasmus+ was given. The presentation indicated that writing a project and having a foundation is step-by-step process and needs commitments. Additional benefit was the familiarisation of Turkish local culture. For example, we visited a museum which introduced the Turkish history. Museum miniatures of actual buildings and the musical background made being there as real as it was in history. Turkish food was different from typical Estonian food as being very spicy. It seemed that Turkish people eat a lot of rice foods and every kind of meat. Also, Turkish delight is really something special and characterises well their culture. 

Jane Kukk


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