From 21.06.- 28.06.2018 the first exchange with the Helmholtz Secondary School in Lisbon took place. Since October 2017 the group has been preparing the joint week and programme with games and workshops on the topics of exercise, health and sustainability. Shortly before the departure all participants were very excited and partly also insecure, because they have never met the partner group from Portugal face to face and some wondered “what if we don’t find a connection with them? In retrospect “this worry was unnecessary”, because what prevailed was the joyful surprise that new friendships developed quickly. Despite language barriers, the young people found many ways to exchange ideas and learn together as a German-Portuguese group. The departure at the end of the week was really difficult, they cried and exchanged contact data – in order to keep in touch via WhatsApp and other social networks until the Portuguese exchange back in Leipzig. This youth exchange in Lisbon left a lasting impression between the two groups and gave them all – apart from the joy about the new friendships and the common experiences – many exciting and valuable moments. To conclude, we can take the knowledge and advice of one of our participants who is eagerly awaiting the next exchange: “one should approach some things more openly, not think too much and be ready for something new”.
The Youth Exchange in Portugal was supported by the ERASMUS + project of the European Commission. We have to thank very much the Portuguese organisation SPIN, which also made this exchange possible!