Cultural Diversity as a Learning Tool in Youth Work, Vicolocorto

Cultural Diversity as a Learning Tool in Youth Work – Study visit in Latvia

In February, Vicolocorto hosted eight members of European organisations, as part of the project “Cultural Diversity as a Learning Tool in Youth Work”. This time, Carolina (from Vicolocorto) and Sabina (who works for EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal) went to Tukums, in Latvia. They experienced the working reality of the association Pozitiva Doma, which promotes intercultural awareness, non-formal education and voluntary service.

 We asked them few questions about their experience there

  • What was the objective of this travel?

Carolina: The objective of the study visit was to get to know the realities of our Latvian associations partners, focusing on cultural level. We visited around 10 associations, 3 or 4 per day, that were working with cultural diversity.

Sabina: It was also a study visit about the exchange of best practices. Speaking about the activities, we had to identify best practices and think about how we can use them to improve our activities together (EURES and  Vicolocorto).

LV1

  • What is something you learnt in Latvia? Is there something you would like to implement in Italy?

S: In Latvia, we realised how important it is to develop relationships with the municipality and different stakeholders. We work together since many years but nobody really knows and acknowledges it. To improve our service and grow, we need the support of bigger entities. They have to know what we are doing, in schools, in universities, because our social work involves the society and youngsters. Also, with their acknowledgment, we could hope for marketing budget, helping to promote our associations and the different activities.

C: In there we were positively shocked by the support they get. They are a small community but they are really recognized and the municipality gives them a budget for intercultural, non formal education, etc. Together we can try to go also in this direction, even if the context is different. We have to work on our connections. On another level that is not really related to this project but which can also be interesting for our work here, is the reflection about the concept of mentors, and how it could be interesting to involve adults in the monitoring process

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  • What part of the experience did you like the most and the least?

S: What I appreciated the most is the intercultural exchange. We were all from different cultures, ages, and backgrounds, all spending time together while working but also during our free time. I also feel that the time we spent together outside of work helped us be more efficient. Overall, it was a really nice atmosphere.

C: During our last day, we went to this activity where a Latvian girl taught us traditional songs and dances. This experience for me was a lot of fun but a bit grotesque, as it lasted way longer than it should have and we ended up running late for writing about best practices.

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  • Wich were your expectations before leaving, and how was the reality compared to them?

S: I am used to have these international meetings because of my work with EURES. However, when I go for trips like this, all the participants are usually on the same “level”, regarding their professional status, age, or activity. This time it was different because as I said, we were all very different, which was a new experience for me. The reality ended up being better than my expectations.

C: I took part to several international meetings but this was my first study visit. It was exhausting on some levels, as we were always running, writing, always being stimulated. I was expecting the experience to be more “formal”, but in reality it was more about interacting a lot with EVS volunteers and different associations, which was really interesting. Overall, the reality exceeded my expectations as well.

Lea e Nayra

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