Everybody knows the curiosity and the enthusiasm felt before traveling.
If it is before a youth exchange project, the excitement is even bigger because we are yearning to meet other, young and inspiring people like ourselves. People from different countries, in one place, in new surroundings, in a different culture. That is how eagerly I expected the youth exchange “Stone Age in Us”.
This Erasmus+ project organized by the NGO “Suderve community” together with “Atelier of Treasures” took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, 16-25 July, this summer.In the project participated six people from each of these countries: Lithuania, Armenia, Estonia, Portugal and Macedonia.
While looking for words to briefly describe this project, the first ones to come to my mind are: active, active and active! The aim of the project “Stone Age in Us” was for the young people to connect with nature, to feel what is it like to spend a few days in tents. In the picturesque surroundings of Vilnius there was a camp planned for us, which for the most of us was a big challenge, and that meant raising the tents, providing some of the conditions, lighting a bonfire and, of course, having a lot of fun. The highlight of the camp was the all-day hike, for which we had to guide ourselves using only some signage and a geographical map. After the long hiking, we got back in late in the evening, singing loudly despite our tiredness. At the end of this two-day camp all of us were thrilled of how much the nature has spared us possibilities, plus the team work and support we had among each other, together created a very pleasant experience out of everything.
The name Lithuania, on Lithuanian translates as rain, therefore we weren’t quite surprised that coming back to Vilnius we were met by light, pleasurable summer rain. While we were driving toward the center of the city, through the misty windows you could see the more and more beautiful and grandiose urban scenery. We knew that this city is full of things waiting to be still experienced. In the several sightseeing walks we saw the large number of high, spectacular churches, the gothic church of St. Anne, the Vilnius Cathedral, we admired the panorama and the old, baroque part of the town. In the evenings we visited the local breweries and bars, were you could feel the authentic Lithuanian spirit mixed with the smell of Lithuanian beer of which the locals are, rightfully, very proud. Moreover, we spent a day at the Trakai castle, which is surrounded by over 200 small lakes and islands, and is a popular tourist destination close to Vilnius.
Ten days went by so fast.
Every single one of us came eager to meet new, different cultures, make new friendships and all of us successfully worked in various random teams with pleasure because all of the participants showed wonderful team spirit. Most of the activities were bonding tasks and projects through which the participants presented their culture, history and the life of the youth in their country. This kind of youth exchanges allow young people via the intense group activities to get to know each other well and become really close friends for a short period of time. You can’t even imagine the delight, the happiness and even the nostalgia which we took back with ourselves after the youth exchange “Stone Age in Us”
Author: Eva Zović