C.U.T.E. – Cooperate, Understand, Tolerate and Empower. Just some of the things that we had the chance to learn on this youth exchange, which turned out to be a life changing experience.
This youth exchange took place from 29.07-07.08 and had 4 countries participating: Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. The Macedonian team consisted of 8 people: 6 participants in the age group 14-18 and 2 group leaders over 18. We started our trip on 28.07 and we got to spend this Saturday in Debrecen, the second biggest city in Hungary. We were walking around the city centre in the evening and had fun getting to know Debrecen but also each other.
The next day we had one of the organizators drive us to Hortobagy and after an hour of driving we were there. Since we were the first ones to arrive, we had a lot of time to explore the house and the huge yard it had. After a couple of hours the other teams started to come and so we began to meet the other participants. Each of our days started with morning energizers and team buildings, then during the day we had some workshops and fun activities and in the evening we had intercultural evenings, where each of the participating countries had the chance to present their country with traditional food, songs, dances, etc.
So the second day was the Hungarian day and the Hungarian team started the day with energizers that helped us break the ice and get to know each other better. Then in the evening we had traditional Hungarian goulash and we tried to pronounce some Hungarian tongue twisters, which were pretty hard.
Third day was the Macedonian day and the first thing we did were the energizers. Then we paid a visit to the bird park and had some photography workshops all around Hortobagy. When we came back to the house, we started cooking and preparing the dinner immediately because there were many stuff that needed to be done. It’s safe to say that our Macedonian evening was very successful, with everyone enjoying the food we made and also the snacks and sweets we brought with us.
On our fourth day here we were volunteering at the bird park and we had the Bulgarian evening. The next day we did a pusta rally on bikes, which was really fun to do and also one of the best activities we did, and then we had the Romanian evening.
The following day we had a trip to Debrecen. We did a small city game where we could explore the city and also have a bit of free time. In the evening we were back in Hortobagy, ate pizza at the local pizza place and then watched the stars and the milky way, which was pretty awesome. It was a good day with an even better ending.
The next day, after breakfast, we had a lesson about herbs, then a carriage ride and pottery workshop, and we also had slambuc dinner. The next day was a very exciting one. We were treasure hunting in a boat and we handcrafted some leather bracelets, which are a very nice souvenir and reminder of our stay in Hortobagy.
So Monday was our last day here and we didn’t really have any activities, we were hanging out with each other, we were leaving each other notes and we got our Youthpasses. Our team was the first one to leave, so after a lot of tears and future meeting arrangements we had someone drive us to the Budapest airport.
The 12 days that we spent in the small village Hortobágy helped us to widen our perspectives, improve the way we see the world and build us to be better people. It also brought us new friends and contacts that we hope will stay for life. So, huge thank you to the Volunteering Centre Skopje for giving us this opportunity because it’s something we’ll never forget.