The second Erasmus+ youth exchange took place in Skellefteä, Sweden 26 June – 2 July 2017 and included youth and youth leaders from Bulgaria, France, Finland, Spain, Sweden, and Northern Ireland (UK).
These partners are also part of the Erasmus+ Euro-Youth MediaLab project which includes partners from Croatia, Italy, Poland and Slovakia.
The youth exchange was hosted by the Swedish partner from Skellefteå in the region of Västerbotten in the north of Sweden with a population of around 72,000 people. Skellefteå has a population of around 33,000 people.
Skellefteå is the southern entry into Swedish Lapland. The region has wild salmon rivers, hundreds of lakes, dense forests and miles and miles of coastline.
Youth & youth leader from Co Tyrone in N Ireland on their way to the youth exchange in Sweden
The youth stayed together in a hotel and held some of their meetings in the conference facilities in the hotel as well as the gym of the local school and the youth centre in Skellefteå.
Swedish youth leaders and youth facilitated the games so the young people could get to know each other as well as the activities and workshops to explore the key EU issues important to them.
During the week long programme the youth explored integration and inclusion and what it meant to them and how it differed across the regions which enabled them to understand the different views and opinions of youth from other countries.
The young people also looked at how they would like to change Europe based on the issues that are important to them. The most important issues for the youth were the Environment, hate speech and the importance of understanding cultural differences.
They then summarised their views on how they wanted to change Europe and how they wanted Europe to look like in 2018 using key words and phrases to create photographs and art installations to share their work with each other and the community of Skellefteå.
In the evening the youth from each youth group held a cultural evening to present their city, country and their music, culture, traditions and foods. There were lots of activities, games and fun throughout the week and many friendships were formed by working together and sharing each others cultures.
Video Testimonial from Vineyard Church youth Group leader Matt Graham on the value of the Erasmus+ youth exchanges to France and Sweden for the young people from Dungannon.