150 exchange students learn about active european citizenship
The students took part in the three-month-exchange European Citizenship Trimester Program (ECTP).
About 150 students and 30 volunteers met at the Vormingscentrum Destelheide in Dworp between 28 November to 2 December.
During the camp the students shared experiences from their stay in the hosting countries, reflected on how they see themselves as Europeans and developed their knowledge regarding active European Citizenship in a variety of workshops offered to them.
During a visit of the European Parliament in Brussels the students deepened their knowledge about the European institutions and specifically about role and tasks of the European Parliament.
Clémence Tondut, a sixteen year old student from Brest, France, said, that initially she wanted go for an exchange to know more about the world, a different culture and how other people live in another country.
After her three-month-exchange in Russia and the camp in Brussels she now has a more positive view about Europe. Before going into her Russian family she regarded Europe rather more important to companies and economy, than as a space of peace. “Now I know that it really can work if you believe in it and work for it”, she said.
She and fifteen-year-old Iñigo San José Pardo from Bilbao in Spain, who went on exchange to Göttingen in Germany, liked most the Brussels trip to the European Parliament. Iñigo enjoyed the visit of the premises a lot, and both students learned how the Parliament works. “Now I understand how parliamentarians take decisions – interesting”, Clémence added.
As for active European Citizenship Iñigo chose the workshop “Sports and citizenship”, one of eleven topics, such as “You(th) in Action” or “Migration” which took different perspectives on Active European Citizenship”. Iñigo learned about the democratic values in sports as fair-play and team spirit – and also as a method for integration of minorities: “In sports it doesn't matter if you are from France or Germany – you simply can play together”, Iñigo said.
Both students have already plans to go abroad again after finishing school.
“With AFS France I want to go half a year to Paraguay with a community program to work in a project for Amnesty International” - Clémence explains. Also Iñigo wants to have another intercultural experience, maybe for a year to Italy or Greece. “But this time longer than three months”, he decided, “otherwise it’s too short. Once you feel at home, you have to go”.
The European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL) is the umbrella organisation of 22 AFS Organisations in Europe. AFS (formerly American Field Service) is a non-profit volunteer based educational organisation offering educational exchanges for young people around the world. The Members of EFIL are voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organisations providing intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world, and to act as responsible global citizens.
Further Information about EFIL click here
and about the ECTP-Camp