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Ich hab Bock auf Kulturschock
Start date: 01 May 2015, End date: 31 Dec 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background: The project „Are you ready for cultural shock?” was an international youth meeting focused on the theater-pedagogical program. The youth organization Kreisjugendring Würzburg initiated the project to develop an international youth work in the Franconian region. This international youth meeting took place from 27th of July till the 2nd of August in Würzburg, Bavaria. Working language during all the Youth Exchange was English. Main aim of the project was to improve methods, which make the international meeting and the communication possible - also without one common language. Language, cultural, political boundaries should become blurred - the youths forget all the differences and meet at the same level. Another goal of the project was to bring the youth together from many different countries with the various cultural and social backgrounds. The meeting and the activities aimed to develop and strengthen tolerance, soft and intercultural skills and help youth to engage socially. Profile of Participants: 25 (18 female, 7 male) young, creative people from France, Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden and Germany aged between 13 and 18 years participated in the youth Exchange. Almost all participants had skills in English, German or French language, which has been desirable, but not necessary. The participants knew each other within the “country groups”. Description of undertaken activities: The youth exchange started with an intercultural evening, where every country brought typical food and drinks for the group, to get an entry to the “cultural shock” and first easy contacts between the participants. The main program included four workshops and exercises with theater and pedagogical methods. In the workshops the participants worked with different methods and topics, e.g. “moving”, “self-control”, “stereotypes”, “masks”, “improvisation theater”. Another big part during the week was language learning: The working language was English. To give all participants the opportunity on learning some words in the other foreign languages, they made a poster with most importing/typical words and frases in all languages. Also every day closed with “The word of the day” (one word that was typical for the day/described the day). The participants visited three of the most important buildings in and around Würzburg (Festung Marienberg, Residenz, Rokoko-Garten). All visits were always connected to some group dynamics, like acquaintance games or a picknick. We had Outdoor-Activities, some medieval games and rallye and offered games, singing, etc. During freetime the participants appreciated playing games together, going out or just spending time together and chat. The participants were introduced to Youth Pass an recieved a certificate. Each day closed with a short feedback on the activities of the day, using different feedback methods (e.g. discussion in group, scale-pointing, school-notes, describe with ONE word, acting). Results and impact attained: The participants got in contact and grew together as one mixed group very fast. Differences between the participants (language, culture, politics…) did not matter or cause any difficulties. They learned about their own and other cultures got a critical view on it and got sensitive for stereotypes and clichés and learned how to break them. In theater-workshops they learned how to use voice, body, mimic and room to communicate. That helped to strengthen key competences, especially social and personal competences of the participants. By the way they learned some words in French, German, Swedish, Polish and Czech. Longterm results: As we hoped, participants are interested in more projects with the partners in the youth exchange. We plan to organize a youth meeting in one of the partnercountries within this or next year. So we hope we can realize a long term cooperation, which provides regular international youth projects between the partner countries and further partners. Some participants got interested in other possibilities, like European Voluntary Service.
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