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European bridge
Start date: Feb 16, 2015, End date: Dec 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"European bridge" youth exchange was held in Vlore, Albania, from 31st May to 9th June 2015 and it was focused on youth employment, tourism and EU citizenship. The objectives, reached, were: a)to raise participants' awareness and understanding of different cultures: especially for the people who were involved for the first time it was important to be in touch with another culture and do activities and also have fun together. They change their mind about different cultures and also they worked a lot on their prejudices; b)to offer to participants to build international contacts with the aim to learn active participation and practice it, going deeply in EU citizenship values, rights and opportunities: the two countries involved are a founder and a candidate members of EU, but exploring the opportunities and the citizens status helped Italians to be more aware about EU and Albanians to learn what they can get entering in EU; c)to improve participants' competences about English language: this objective, as the participants demonstrated, was more dedicated to Italians than Albanians, becuase they know very well English. Some participants improved their English language skills and they tried, also in free time, when they were maybe not mixed between the two groups, to speak English. It was useful, but especially they need to continue; d)to raise awareness about youth unemployment: it was the opportunity to go deep in the situation and also to explore the conditions of youth unemployed, because of proper workshops, the analisys of datas and the discussion with experts; e)to provide a ground for young people to meet and to learn new and creative ways to use tourism as active participation and employment opportunity: thanks to the experts that participants met and to practical workshops, also in touch with the tour operators in Vlora, they got the ideas of what are the initiatives and the activities, but also what is missing and which are the needs. They had also some informations about the opportunities in tourism sector, also they worked on some idea to be implemented; f)to discuss about various unemployment problems, especially increase their skills in order to improve their approach to the labor market: participants got the informations about unemployment and about the EU opportunities, but especially they had some practical and peer to peer workshops, learning how to face an interview, how to prepare and propose a project; g)to learn about marketing, cultures and traditions: they explored their cultures and traditions and they had an essay on how they can be used, thanks to Albanians who took us to discover some use of traditions as tourism attractions; h)use their creativity to promote their towns: participants explored Vlore, the tourism office and also some of the attractions, talking with people who are responsible for tourism promotion, going diply in methods and tools used, then they developed some ideas on the promotion of Vlora and then they tried to think about the regions where they live and to imagine how to apply their ideas; i)to create a common strategy to promote themselvs in labor market and new ideas to be active in tourism field: thanks to role game and job interview simulations, they understood, using also peer education, on how to present themselves and also propose some business projects. There were 20 participants, 10 per country, plus two leaders, one per country. Participants, aged between 18 and 30 years old, were coming from different backgrounds and - in some cases - with cultural, economic and geographic obstacles, some of them come from rural areas. There were some university students, some occupied and some unemployed youngsters. Many of them were at the first experience in youth exchanges. The gender balance was one of the aim of the selection, but since we changed the dates of the activities because we were not able to realize them without a bit of financial support, we noticed that for students was period for the exams and we changed some of them and in Italy there were more males and in Albania more females. We had 11 males and 9 females, plus 1 leader female and one leader female. Participants had workshops, work groups, meeting with experts, activities in town with tasks to find places and informations and role games. They learned how to build their own business project, how to present it and how to search funds. A group made by for youngsters of Italya and Albania is working to implement its own business idea in Albania. Participants now they are more aware about the opportunities and the ways to search a job or to create their own business. In six months we will have a follow up, to check how participants used what they learnt and if they obtained some results about their professional life applying the tools and the methods they gained during the exchange. The results were shared also with local community and authorities in both countries with meetings and through media.

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