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Beyond Wor(l)ds
Start date: May 4, 2015, End date: Nov 3, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The youth exchange entitled "Beyond Wor(l)ds" has been developed in partnership with the associations: Young Partners for Civil Society Development Association (Romania), AJ Intercambia (Spain), Students and Youth Organization "Idea" (Lithuania), Mostar Friedensprojekt eV (Germany), Association Euro Méditerranéenne des Echanges, Volontariats, Evénements (Tunisia) and two informal groups: SOYOP (Turkey) and Cross Culture Youth Group (Egypt). The exchange took place from the 21th to 26th September 2015 in Palermo (Sicily) and it lasted six days. There have been involved 40 young people aged between 18 and 30 years (5 for each country), minding gender balance. The overall objective of the project was to increase the awareness and knowledge on other cultures and countries, valuing diversity through the cultural exchange of the participants. To achieve the specific objectives of the project, all the activities were realized using non-formal education as a methodology, with specific focus on intercultural learning as a mean to prevent and fight racism, xenophobia and intolerance. During the exchange self-awareness exercises, role playing and simulations were used in order to facilitate the understanding on the importance of non-verbal communication for relationships between different cultures. The project aimed to enhance self-esteem, confidence and self-reflection, and to improve quality of interpersonal communication and self-critical attitude to develop a sense of responsibility towards the community and a sense of active citizenship. The exchange stimulated young people to explore new contexts, to meet new people and to be curious and open minded and improved their ability to compare and respect different cultures, their ability to self-reflection and awareness of one’s own emotions. Furthermore the project contributed to the quality of interpersonal communication, developing a self-critical attitude in the participants. This experience allowed participants to gain personal, interpersonal, intercultural and cross-cultural knowledge and skills necessary to understand the complexity of modern reality and useful in the path of their personal growth. The activities were realized in the way to facilitate a critique reflection and the dialogue among participants addressing topics such as: non-verbal communication, intercultural communication and intercultural learning. Discovering cultural differences allowed the participants to experience the relativity of personal opinions and of cultural backgrounds as they influence interpretations and assessments. The final event of the project involved the local youth community: it was shown a video made by the participants which focused on the importance of non-verbal communication in an intercultural context. This event provided an opportunity for the young participants to reflect on stereotypes, prejudices and commonplaces, allowing them to get closer to different cultures. The final event was an important moment of dissemination of project’s results and also a tool to spread the visibility of the Erasmus Plus Programme and to inform about the opportunity it offers to young people.
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