The aim of our project “Tech Youth: Always connected” was to help young people get comfortable with new technologies aiming to improve their lives and better their communities. In this project, 25 young people from Italy, Slovakia, Estonia, Spain and Greece came together on the beautiful island of Syros. We had the chance to spend 8 days in the small village of Galissas, not far from the island’s main town. We were very lucky to have some amazing group leaders and coordinators. We also had the chance to travel around the island a bit and discover its beauty! Everyone seemed to be having a great time and we will dearly remember our days in Syros!
What motivated us to do this project was that some of our coordinators were actually from Syros and had experienced first hand the difficulties of living on an island. They wanted to raise awareness on the matter and make young people come up with innovative ideas using technology and contemporary methods.
The main objective of this project was to inform young people about the opportunities new technologies have to offer and how they can apply them in their lives. We teamed up to work on some tools the internet has to offer. At first, we focused on free applications and websites that can enhance our creative side, but also on more practical things, like presentations and communications. The second part of the project, helped us find the ways in which technology can improve the life of people living in rural areas.
A very important aspect of this project was its impact on a local level. Firstly, we tried to come up with ways in which young people, knowledgeable about tech, could help people who live far away from the city center, especially focusing on the island of Syros. During the activities, the participants analyzed the problems that people in Syros face and they came up with specific technological solutions. We were very happy to be joined by some local young people who were informed about our project and wanted to contribute as well.
Since our group consisted of young people with different backgrounds and social skills, we wanted to make sure that everyone felt safe, welcome and appreciated. We focused a lot on teamwork, carrying out fun activities so that people had a chance to bond. We were happy to see that it started to happen from day one. By the end of the project we were all a big family!
Our workshops were held for the most part by the coordinators and the group leaders based on the topic of the project. But apart from that the participants were also encouraged to do workshops on any topic they liked. This was a great opportunity for people to break out of their comfort zone and practice their public speaking skills as well. For example, some members of the Estonian team that are certified doctors, carried out a first aid workshop. This was very interesting as well as useful for future projects, for both the participants and the organizers.
Our participants were exceptionally motivated and engaging in every activity so all our activities run smoothly. People really enjoyed working together under the warm sun with a view to the beach! Right from the start of the project, everyone seemed relaxed and comfortable.The participants with more experience on the topic of technology were helping out those that had less experience and there was a great sense of solidarity in the group. Everyone felt included and appreciated, which had a great impact on the overall project.
Everyday, after the activities, we had a small anonymous evaluation session. The participants could write on a piece of paper their feedback about the day, their suggestions and ideas for the following days. We later went carefully through all the papers and adjusted the schedule, when needed. This was definitely very helpful. We also had some group reflection sessions during which the participants had the chance to share their thoughts on the project with their teammates and bond at the same time. We are very happy on how this aspect of the project turned out!
We would not be able to have a successful project if we hadn’t taken care of the social aspect of it! Each of our participants were really one of a kind! We had an amazing hike in a remote part of the island, not very far away from our accommodation. This trail ended up in a cave open to the sea where some of us had the chance to cool down by jumping in the water! Also, each night we had our cultural events during which the national groups were responsible to present their country through fun games, traditional food and dances!
One more thing that has to be mentioned is the event we carried out in a local technical school. At first, we had a presentation of our organization and of Erasmus+. The most significant part though, came afterwards, when we had the chance to talk to the kids in the school about their ambitions to travel, their future goals and the opportunities given by Erasmus projects.
Get a glimpse of what this youth exchange looked like. Erasmus+ projects are an amazing opportunity to make new friends, learn about new topics and simply discover who you really are. It might all sound too good to be true, but the only way to find out is to experience it yourself.
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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission Erasmus+ programme. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.