Swatar Exchange: Active and Healthy European Citizens

On the 11th of August ZAK Swatar and two members from ZAK Zurrieq were excited to depart to Roma Fiumicino Airport to finally begin their 9-day-long journey together in Italy. This exchange was part-financed by the European Union through Youth in Action funds.

After an endless bus ride, we finally reached our destination: Oratorio Don Bosco in Porto Potenza, Marche. The Italian group was extremely welcoming from the very beginning and the location looked lovely and comfortable. As the exchange programme commenced, day by day we started learning interesting things about the European Union, healthy lifestyles, inclusion and active citizenship, whilst getting to know the Italians better by means of ice-breaking games and working together in small groups.

The activities and tasks included creating banners to promote healthy breakfasts, a quiz concerning the European Union and making a Youth Pass. Also as part of the exchange programme we visited the amazing Loreto and Agora` and the educational and heart-touching visit to the Santo Stefano Hospital. Both groups prepared an Italian evening and a Maltese evening, during which we got to know more about each other`s culture. Two masses were celebrated during the exchange, alongside the community of Porto Potenza which included the parents of the Italian participants who were always available to help, just like the committed and patient volunteers of the Oratorio. Our free time was spent socialising, having good laughs all together, at the beach, or walking around the beautiful Porto Potenza.

Throughout the exchange we experienced a few difficulties, mainly concerning language, since it was hard for the Italian group to communicate with us using English. Nonetheless, we all tried our best to not let these difficulties create any problems between us and we managed to adapt to the situation with a little effort from both groups. All in all, not only was this long-awaited experience fruitful because of the knowledge we gained through the activities and visits planned by our leaders, but also because it provided the priceless opportunity to create new friendships and endless, unforgettable memories!

Elian Scicluna, ZAK Swatar