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EU Youth Exchange project "ENHANCE YOUTH EMPLOYABILITY" in Palermo (Italy) was held from 9-th till 15-th of April, 2022. It brought together young people from different countries: Italy, Netherlands, Estonia, Romania, Portugal.
Bright Future's Dutch team is evaluating its great and unforgettable Youth Exchange Experience in Palermo.

(EVALUATION VIDEO below is created by THIRZA, NL Participant)
MYRTHE, NL Participant

"I am really happy I participated in this project. It really helped me to learn a lot more about how to cooperate in a group and what my part in this is. It has developed my understanding of group dynamics and how my personal insecurities in a group (due to a history of being bullied and excluded) affect the outcomes and cloud my perceptions.

I have learned a lot about the employment situations in other countries and feel more confident in my own capabilities of forming a strong CV and being able to hold a good and representative job interview.

The goal of this project has, in my eyes, been achieved. This is because I know many people really benefited from the information given and will definitely use this in their struggle to find jobs. I have heard a lot of positive replies around me.

Working together with so many young people from different nationalities and backgrounds was a very healing experience that will definitely give me some confidence and trust to try to meet more people in my daily life and study.

I will take this with me in my future life by applying it not only in the work field, but also on a private level with friends or family by relying that people do find me interesting and will not judge me.

The Youth Exchange project helped me to see how I can apply my character traits in a possible job and how I can ‘’promote’’ myself towards a possible employer. It showed me that you don’t always need to be 100% qualified to apply for a job as long as you can explain in your motivation letter why you are relevant for the position.

The organizers of this project were always full of energy and found interesting ways to engage us in all the activities of the project and in the topic of youth employability".

ESTHER, NL Group Leader & Participant

"When I think back about the Youth Exchange project in Palermo I get a really big smile on my face. It was very interesting to think about employability and how we can enhance it. I really liked that non-formal learning activities were used.

When you do the activities, such as building a pasta tower, you don’t realise that you are learning something. Only when reflecting on it you can uncover the learning points. These kind of activities really force you to pause and reflect on them. By doing this you learn more actively and discover new things about yourself. The intercultural aspect of the project was something I learned a lot of. When the people from Portugal and Romania told about the situation of the labour market in their countries, it made me realise even more that I am quite fortunate to live in the Netherlands. On the other hand, each countries has its own ups and downs, which was nice to share with each other.

The part of sharing our food and culture with each other each night was a really valuable addition to the project.

Estonia, Romania and the Netherlands all have national dishes with potatoes and vegetables, but the dishes were still completely different.

This project makes me feel more connected with other EU countries. Before this, I didn’t know anybody from Estonia, Romania or Portugal. When those countries were mention in, for example, the news, it didn’t activate personal feelings within me. Now it will, as I’ve had the delight to meet some very nice people from those countries. It definitely made me more aware about the European Union and the possibilities it gives us. I’m looking forward to participate in more youth exchanges or training courses".

FAYE, NL Participant

"I have deepened my comprehension of different labour markets in Europe. It was interesting to hear the perspective from North, West, South and East Europe. The participants from the five countries did a great job at explaining challenges and opportunities with regards to their prospective labour markets. The host organization succeeded in handing me the tools and the resources to find job opportunities within the European Union and the support in terms of institutional policies and instruments.

Furthermore, we worked on personal development by exploring strengths and skills. We learned how to communicate this to future employers. By observing how the organizers and other participants communicated, I could improve my own intercultural business communication regarding speaking, body language and virtual communication. I have increased my intercultural awareness and intercultural sensitivity. However, I would still have to work on my intercultural effectiveness in order to attain communication goals in intercultural interactions. Moreover, I still have to learn a lot in order to effectively negotiate within an extremely culturally diverse environment.

I had a fantastic week of interesting visits, amazing food and new friendships. In a country , where you do not speak and understand the language, you have to rely on people’s good faith, which was scary at times, but the people of Italy were very friendly and welcoming. This experience showed me how easily I can adapt to new environments. I got to know many new people and explore Palermo next to the project activities. Roaming around Palermo and seeing the realities of inequality made me aware about my privilege and made me deal

with my prejudices. That time, I value the socio-economic conditions in the Netherlands more than ever.

The habitants of the Southern part of Italy have suffered unimaginable hardships, but are still hopeful for the future. It was a very inspiring surrounding to be in, due to the Italian hosts and participants. The career guidance focusing on your purpose provide me with a new outlook on entering the labour market. I will use the Ikigai method throughout my life to help serve as a compass to navigate both career and life decisions.

I am very satisfied with the organization of the host organisation HRYO. They were fully committed to provide us with an educational week full of connecting activities. They took care of us and ensured nutritious and healthy food three times a day. They were always available and well-prepared. However, the communication about the

exact programme could have been clearer".

Has the goal of the project been achieved?

THIRZA, NL Participant: "Yes, the goal of the project has been achieved because I was involved with new cultures and I learned about their habits and the way they lived. The cultures I met were from Portugal, Estonia, Romania and Italy. I also learned about their labour markets. I really loved to meet people of the same age living in another country. I could really relate with them because only our culture and backgrounds were different but at the end we had so many aspects that were the same and I found that really beautiful".

EMMA, NL Participant: "I believe the goal of the project has been met. During the Youth Exchange I gained new insights into the job market in different European countries and discovered some new interesting things myself regarding employment. It was very interesting to hear from likeminded people what the situation was like in their home countries. This led me to think more about my own situation in the Netherlands. Besides, the career counselling conversation with one of the leaders of the host country helped me to think about my interests and goals regarding employment and my future".

What is the biggest learning point? What do you take with you and how will you apply it?

THIRZA, NL Participant: "My biggest learning point is that we can learn so much from/about different cultures, if we respect all the cultures. It was a way to open myself for another point of view. For example, the differences on the labour market. But it was also in the small things, for example the patience that some cultures have, the way they dress-up themselves, the way they talk, etc."

EMMA, NL Participant: "The biggest learning point of the project for me was the way of thinking about your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, what you want to do, what you can earn money with, etc. A graph was used to figure this out and from this I gained some personal insights. These insights led me to take this forward, even on the flight back, I started thinking more about what I really wanted. In the future I will definitely take this graph into account when wanting to make decisions about my future".

How did the project help you and what are you going to do with it?

THIRZA, NL Participant: "I had different things I did in the Netherlands without really thinking about what I loved the most. Because of the lesson we had about reflection we used the SWOT analysis and applied it on ourselves. I found out that I didn't do what I was supposed to do in life. So when I was back in Holland, I quit my job. Now I will give myself the time to grow in where I am good at using my talents - to be where I am good in and for!"

EMMA, NL Participant: "The Youth Exchange helped me to think in a different way about my future and to put things into perspective. As mentioned in the previous question, I will take this into account with different questions in my life. Furthermore this project left me with inspiration and motivation to travel more and go on more exchanges like this one. It left quite a big impression on me in a very positive sense".

Additional comments from the participant(s)

EMMA, NL Participant: "The Youth Exchange project was very insightful and left me with a lot of inspiration to travel more and meet more people from different cultures, backgrounds. The project was well arranged and left enough time for bonding with the fellow participants. Dinners were also very nice. Every country had to cook one night which was a nice way to get to know other cultures through their foods. The mixture of cultures and countries that participates were also nice, since it was a combination of Southern countries, Eastern- and Western-Europe countries. This made for a nice mix of people and different, but interesting perspectives, conversations and experiences".

THIRZA, NL Participant: "I have made a video about my great experience - the Youth Exchange project "Enhance Youth Employability" (E.Y.E.), where I tell/show what I have learned and did in Palermo".

The participants of this project were involved in European Union’s Erasmus+ project, traveled for free to Italy, experiencing different cultures, sharing and gaining skills in challenging non-formal environment. Learn more

♨️FORMAT: Interactive International Youth Exchanges


📢DATES: 09/04/2022 -15/04/2022

♨️PROJECT VENUE: Palermo, Italy

💰✈️ECONOMIC CONDITIONS: Travel costs were reimbursed up to 275€ for each participant, travelling from the Netherlands. Food and Accommodation were 100% covered.5€



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