The Youth Exchange: "Screenagers: Growing up in the digital age" in Greece

Screenagers: Growing up in the digital age
10/10/2017 21/10/2017

At the beginning of October, when the trees in Estonia were just about to leave their colourful leaves and memories of warm summer started fade, 6 young Estonians decided to pack their bags and flew to Greece, to Spileo, to learn more about the social media and new technology. Besides us, there were also participants from Greece, Finland, Belgium, Italy, Hungary and Spain.

Already after the arriving it was clear that it was about to be one interesting and mind opening event with a lot of climbing. The climbing part was something that made the whole event maybe even more special, since people from Estonia in general are not used to this kind of landscape as it was welcoming us there.  

In the middle of the night, we arrived in the village which was a lot smaller than we were expecting. With only 90 people living there, the village is dependent on tourism and mostly elderly people enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountains. As the village is hard to reach, most people never end up there which makes it even more special. The view from the window is still in our minds. 

During the event we learned more about Erasmus+ project, who is the target group and what benefits do they have for people like us. Also about online threats, different applications and add-ins, how to protect your computer and how to make your posts go viral.

Before the event we also had a task to share a survey about the internet usage in our country. It became even a competition between the participants to get as many responses as possible. Thanks to it, we got a good overview of the situation in our country, and also about other participating countries. It was very interesting to get to know what people think about social media, and would they be willing to give up their accounts when a certain amount of money is offered. The results also taught us that quite many people have at least once in their lifetime owned a fake account, which shows that everything that is online, is not real. Besides that, we also got to know how much time people in average spend their time on the internet, what kind of social media accounts do they have and which kind of digital skills they would like to acquire.

Besides educational knowledge about the advantages and threats of the interned, we also had time to explore the local culture, their food and traditions. For example, we had a chance to visit their annual winter market, which has been organised by the local people more than hundred years. The traditional market was held for the people from surrounding areas to get prepared for the beginning winter season, and the tradition still keeps going. It can be said that from this market it was possibly to buy everything that you can possible think of, starting from living baby turtles and ending with shoes, bags and kitchenware. Besides that, we also had another trip to old monasteries on top of the cliffs and an excursion to the archaeological museum to see the biggest found mammoth tusk. All of this was very memorable and special, giving us a good feeling about the local culture and values.

Estonian youngsters have commented their youth exchange experience in different ways:

“This was my third Erasmus+ youth exchange so I already knew a little bit what to expect. But this was my first youth exchange outside Estonia so in a way, it was still totally different. I had never travelled so far away without my family and in our group, nobody knew others before this project. And doing something like this without knowing anybody before was new to me. But stepping out of my one comfort zone was really good and this experience taught me that I can make new friends really quickly and have the best time with them. 

Before going to Greece, I didn't understand why this project had so big age range and I thought I wouldn't like it. But actually, I understood that if you have some people who are maybe 15 or 16 and then people who are even over 20, it gives a balance. And I liked it more than having 40 teenagers who are basically all the same age. For me, it was interesting to talk with people who were older and I got some ideas for my future. 

I would recommend to everybody to go to an Erasmus+ project because you get so many new friends from all these different countries and it really shows that all the stereotypes you hear actually are wrong and you can be friends with so many different people.”

“Throughout the two weeks I made really good friends and it was really nice to be in project with them. The project people + Spileo was the best thing ever and i loved every single day of it. Everyone got so close that the Italian group even made an event calling all the participants for a new meet and many are going there. I would definitely go to another project!”

“It was my first youth exchange and I'm so grateful for that opportunity. I also have to mention that i finally got my first flight!!! so amazing!!!! I miss those people so much and i hope to meet them again soon. I recommend these projects for everyone, because you can meet so many young and cool people from different countries who you will remember forever.”

 “I liked this project because I learned how to be more sociable and also got new friends and knowledge about different cultures.”

“When you go so far away from home, you get a sense of freedom. You are not limited by your family or friends or school – it’s just you, people around you and the world. And it is one of the most magical moments of Youth Exchanges. It’s not just a vacation to a sunny place where you can relax and enjoy your free time. It’s a time for your personal growth and knowledge what helps you go on with your daily life. If you are hesitating whether to go or not, step on that plane and fly because you will never forget that decision.”

  Every meal was served in a local tavern, where the authenticity of the local food was valued. Feta cheese, olives, freshly baked bread and traditional Greek dishes

Trip to the neighbouring city to visit their annual Winter market. 

Real Greek Yoghurt was something that made every breakfast memorable

Evenings were filled with good company and unexpected talents.

A weekend trip to the old monasteries, organized by the local city major. 

From not knowing each other to all to best friends

Longest found mammoth tusk in the world

View from our bedroom’s balcony

It was possible to see this kind of miniature statues all over the town. It is believed that they are keeping away bad luck and accidents

Local grapes, just stretch out your hand and eat

The days were filled with different trainings, group works and workshops.

It’s not easy to fit 50 people into one small room

There were so many posters that we lost the count of them but all of them teached something to us

Friends for a lifetime


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