International Youth Exchange
workshop by Silvana Uhlrich

The workshop started with a brain storming of what the youth exchange is about. Then the facilitator sprinkled various steps for a youth exchange and asked the group to prioritize the process for a logical step towards finalizing a youth exchange programme:

First idea of the Project
First contact with the Organization
Partner Org
Search for possible sponsors
Application Form
Before Travel
After home coming
Next round of exchange

After this part of the workshop, the facilitator gave information on what you need to think of when planning an international youth exchange.

What do you need for an international youth exchange?

  • A minimum of 2 partners (best is one of them is Europe as there are chances of funding)
  • Interest in an exchange programme must be clear from both sides of the programme.
  • Basis of both organizations are equal to avoid confrontation. Having similarities in the ideas.
  • Criteria for travel to foreign countries: vaccinations, customs, situations, money change etc.
  • Strict choice in choosing participants (members of the organization, social engagement, responsibility)
  • Leader of the group: need of good relations to the youth, has to be older than the youths, need for personal contact. He/she should know all the participants and the willingness to lead.
  • Calculation of travel costs, visa, health etc.

Think of these points when planning an exchange:

  • Help and support through youth office and funding organizations
  • Funding applications depend on their outline claims for funding, good to have personal contact or contact through phone, checklist via internet.
  • Need of a Plan B in the case of refusing the application (higher travel costs for participants , other applications to different funding organizations)
  • Calculate with lack of money

After home coming:

  • Remember meeting after the exchange programme with all participants to exchange their experiences, pictures, movies, getting knowledge about things which happened
  • Arrangement for the newspaper or for other official statements
  • Possible projects (interview, discussion round or speech in school exhibitions etc)
  • For the funding organization – presentations, written report, map and pictures

When you want your exchange programme to be enduring:

  • First travel is more a knowing each other with personal introduction, overview to social projects or working fields, methods etc
  • Development after some travels to a clear programme and do no expect so much from the first travel need of the routine.
  • The hosting organization is responsible for the accomplished programme in the time of the exchange (change with the next round)
  • Meetings before the travel starts, checklist of very important things, overview to cultural and social things, transparency, introduction to the country, culture, customs, law etc.

Important points for all kinds of travel

  • Team introduction – team leader, participants
  • Programme for the travel – programme list for every participants, flight details
  • Date, place and time of leaving (directly at the Airport or a central point
  • Arrival date and time (imp for the family)
  • Information to the staying place (where, how, which rules)
  • Rules, prohibitions to drugs, alcohol etc
  • Information to possible dangers
  • Important things for travel – Passport details etc.
  • Information about special needs – important for the group leader etc
  • Clarify the date for paying of the travel cost.
  • If problems, question etc, giving a telephone number, host address etc.

Preparations for the travel:

  • Team leader, co-team leader depends on the team size
  • Need of knowledge to leader functions (instruction to behaviour, rules etc., first aid, fire protection, youth penal law, awareness training for danger, supervise duty
  • Checklist for travel points