Learning about the different countries and cultures and how individuals view diversity and democracy. The country presentations where very eye opening and gave everyone a broader idea of each countries stance alongside the individual ideas. For example Britain spoke about the different political party’s that we have and what difficulties they face day to day, whereas the Ukraine are still at conflict and certain areas are like war zones. This made everyone see their own countries in different lights. The work we did as mixed groups where very beneficial – getting to know people from different countries on a personal level and making great friendships was one of the main things I will be taking away with me.
One particular part of the trip our group thoroughly enjoyed was the trip to the European Parliament. We all found it very insightful and interesting to learn about the process of European law and how it affects members of the European Union. It certainly raised our interest in European politics and inspired us to take interest in active involvement within this.
The official opening of the exhibition was wonderful. It was amazing to see everyone’s hard work and efforts come together. It was also really interesting to see the images each nation had chosen to represent their countries democracy and diversity, which meant each participant was awarded and insight in to the lives of others.
Finally, I believe it is important to consider the overall effect the project had on our group. Every single member was affected in an extremely positive way and we all learnt a lot in regards to democracy and diversity across Europe. Furthermore, a large portion of our group admitted the trip broadened their perceptions of the work the YMCA does massively, leading to some members hoping for more involvement in future activities at both a global and national level. Overall, it was an absolutely fantastic opportunity for each and every one of us. it enabled us to learn a lot, create fantastic relationships with people from all across Europe and really feel part of the YMCA family. Although, one of the best ways in which the trip has affected our group has to be the sense of empowerment our team felt, it really was a life changing trip! “
Lucy and Beth, 22, YMCA Bolton