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EU programme for education, training, youth and sport

Pleun Driessen

Youth exchange participant from The Netherlands

Pleun Driessen

I first discovered Erasmus+ from my neighbours who made me aware of a youth exchange programme. I decided to apply and did participate in three different youth exchanges in Spain, Austria and France as a participant, and later as a youth leader.

I participated in 10-day youth exchanges where 60 young people came together for a fun and interesting experience. Now, I am organising a similar youth exchange in my village for Summer 2023 with a team of former Erasmus+ participants. We plan to collaborate with the 2023 European Year of Skills to boost the skills of young people participating in youth exchanges. We will focus on organising activities that develop new skills, build new relationships and facilitate collaborative learning.

Erasmus+ created the opportunity for me to connect and make friendships across borders, languages and individual comfort zones.

Erasmus+ gave me the opportunity to experience the cultures and lifestyles of local people. During the youth exchange I had dinner with a host family and gained a deep appreciation of local habits. I participated in different activities including traditional cooking workshops and traditional dances. The opportunity to visit a centre that facilitates people who have a disability to play sports as part of a youth exchange left me with an unforgettable memory. In addition, I discovered that making friends with people from different countries can be easy in the right atmosphere with activities that allow for bonding. I made valuable friendships during Erasmus+ and have also built a great network. Spending time in different countries gave me the confidence to communicate in multiple languages.

In sum, Erasmus+ is a great opportunity to build your confidence and step out of your comfort zone, especially when trying to learn another language. Participating in a Youth exchange can give you an insight into different cultures and countries and provides the perfect basis for making and maintaining lifelong friendships. I made connections that opened my mind to other people’s perspectives. This made me appreciate the beauty of my own culture and beliefs, and I enjoyed sharing them with others.