Intercultural dialogue

“Diverse” – Youth exchange in Illora, Spain




Written by Giorgio Ostinelli from Switzerland

August 2018

My scepticism was very high, I have to admit it. An all covered stay of one week in Spain where I could discuss social issues and experience cultural diversity with other 30 people from all over Europe: it must be a joke or a randomly dream that I had. I mean, if it would be real, who wouldn’t jump at it?
I’ve got great news for all the young curious people interested in learning and discovering our complex society: that wasn’t a dream or a joke. It was “just” one of the great opportunities which are offered by SCI Switzerland and its partners.

This Youth Exchange in particular had the aim to emphasize the importance of cultural diversity, dialogue and understanding of the “other” in today’s society through informal teaching, activities and games. Informal teaching? Games? That sounded strangely to me coming from University, where everything is formal and detached from practical experiences. But I can assure you that those games where more eloquent than half of the lectures that I had. Role games and debates were the bread and butter of our days in Illora, allowing us to deepen our knowledge of those latent social phenomenons that normally we aren’t able to recognise or even see.

The “culture effect” is dominant in every social group or country; it pushes humans towards a specific direction which is often a dead end. Yes, because outwards closure and incapability to understand the differences are the common denominator in our modern society. This project wanted to tackle all this through a 7 days experience made not only of learning and activities, but of friends and laughs, new encounters and long nights at the bar.

Because it’s only through the knowledge of new people from different social frames and countries that you can really broaden your sight, avoiding the dead end which we spoke before.
Well, I’m sorry but I have to be honest and present the other side of the coin as well. Unfortunately these Youth Exchange Erasmus+ projects aren’t always available for us, Swiss people, but that’s another story, rooted in the aftermaths of the 9th February 2014 vote. Therefore I consider myself even luckier for participating in such experience.
The next time don’t hesitate – take a look into the fantastic world of the Youth Projects!