“January is the time of the winter break. Everybody grabs their skis, snowboards, and googles and races their feet towards the nearest mountain or hill to go crazy in the white fluff. Instead of immersing in this snowy scenario, I was to spend my winter break in a city. Studying. Honestly, not for a minute had I suspected I would have had fun. As is turned out, fun was far too little of a word to describe that Erasmus + youth exchange.
Right at the start, on a bus to Kaunas, I met my first exchange companion. From the very first moment Ania and I got along, and the full of laughter and chattering journey was a clear sign that my winter break was going to rock. Later, it turned out it was out of this world.
It must have been outwordly great, as all 28 of us were willing to work hard and play even harder. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Italy together broke the ice in a snap and then on cracked business cases and challenges one by one in the sweat of our brows. Even though we could only learn a few words in our languages from each other, with English as our official language and “we are awesome people” as our official motto, we had more than enough to create a glorious team.
And our Polish-Lithuanian-Latvian-Italian teams were smashing. Especially, we showed it in the finale when we were presenting our business start-ups to people in Kaunas. Even though it was at least -10, with our Spike Shoes project we heated up the city! It was amazing to have walked the main Kaunas avenue and discuss our project with locals. I was awed how perfectly we all got on with the project and how people in the streets motivated us to make our shoes real.
Even though we did not manage to create real Spike Shoes, real was the friendship we made in Kaunas. We instantly became close. I don’t know whether it was the power the Vytautas water gave us or the charm of Kaunas’ alleys, but we all created one big Erasmus+ family. We got to know each other and our cultures, we found out how wonderful it is to be so close in united Europe. All of us laughing, working, singing and dancing together – once we even managed to make the front office guy to dance with us! We had tears in our eyes when it came to say goodbye, so we chose to say “Arrivederci, Do zobaczenia, Uz drīzu tikšanos, Greitai pasimatysime!” – see you soon instead!
The Erasmus+ experience I had makes me sure we really will see each other soon. Together, through rich national evenings and hard out-of-the-comfort-zone tasks we learned how diverse, yet how similar we all are. We proved that there are no mountains high enough to stop us when we are together. Next winter break, don’t tell me about skis or snowboards, I am on Erasmus+!”
– Agata, participant from Poland in youth exchange “Think, work, create!” sharing her experiences.