What are international youth exchanges? (English version)

See the world with different eyes – International Youth Exchange

See the world with different eyes – International Youth Exchange

Young people are curious. Foreign Countries are unfamiliar, often unsettling because of a lack of language skills, but interesting new terrain.

Anyone who has the courage to leave his comfort zone is able to experience completely new, entirely fascinating things and increases his chances to get a job.

We try to give the experience to young people that it won’t hurt to get in personal contact with foreign speaking People.

It is the goal of international Youth Exchanges to introduce youngsters to other countries, to people of foreign countries and their habits and living conditions (especially of the teenage inhabitants). Another goal is to let young people make experiences with foreign speaking people in their countries and – in the role as hosts- in their own country.

The focus is always on the intensive personal encounters with other (youthful) people, that is what makes it different from vacation and holiday trips. To learn from each other, about each other and most of all to learn together should be fun and according to this we create (together with you, the participants) our program.

You get to know each other quite well by making adventure and experiential education experiences (canoe trip, rock climbing, sailing, cooperation tasks and games) together, while doing sporting and artistic community activities you can find similarities and also differences, so there is enough occasion for communication – even it can be a little difficult to communicate in a foreign language at first.

It depends on the theme of the exchange whether organizations and associations are visited, companies or places of interest are viewed and/or cultural events are joined or workshops held. While all this you are together with the youngsters of the other group, who shows you – abroad – what they think is interesting, und you show them – in Kassel – what is in your opinion important to see.
International Youth Exchanges - for whom, what for and why?

Youth Exchanges since the Seventies
Since the 1970’s the municipal child and youth promotion arranges international Youth Exchanges, since about 10 years they are directed by the Jugendbildungswerk of Kassel.

Target group:
The offers of exchanges of the Jugendbilungswerk der Stadt Kassel are addressed to all young people aged between 13 and 27 years from the region of Kassel and Nordhessen.

Each year the Jugenbildungswerk der Stadt Kassel organizes 4 – 6 international exchanges.

The projects are mostly realized in cooperation with other organizations in Nordhessen and with one or more partner organizations from other European countries.

Currently the Jugendbildungswerk works together with partner groups from Sweden, Finland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece and Poland.

Goals and methods
Exchange projects are supposed to establish a link between young people of different cultural heritage and support them in learning about each other, from each other and with each other.

We accomplish international Youth Exchanges so that youngsters and young adults:

  • Get to know and appreciate parts of the cultural diversity of this world
  • Get to know social, economic and cultural backgrounds of other regions in the world
  • Deal with a foreign point of view and therefore
  • Develop appreciation for different values, perceptions and codes of behavior
  • Make experiences in international collaboration in sheltered surroundings
  • Don´t sense something different as a threat
  • sustain their social, cultural and international competencies.

The encounter with the other group at the own country or abroad, which lasts for 8 – 14 days, is the key element of such an exchange, during which the participants work together on a topic that they have been selected jointly. In the last years meetings dealt e.g. with questions regarding necessities and expectations of education in different European countries, with questions of “bare life” (in correlation to a famous art exhibition), the dreams and possibilities of living, which youngsters with and without handicaps have, or the fears and hopes of young people concerning their future in Europe.

The topics are picked up and deepened with different methods:

Dancing, theatre, painting, adventure and experiential education, music, making movies or radio shows, designing web pages, Circus, interior design, visits, sightseeing, conversations... It is important for a successful project to do intensive preparations and evaluations with the participants, the teamers and the partner organizations.