The Erasmus+ project “Escape from the Net Cave II” was my first international youth exchange. Traveling to Sedes, I experienced a great mixture of emotions – unsure of whether I should have no expectations at all or whether I want this project to match my personal aspirations. As so often in life, things developed differently in the end.
The first thing I noticed was how friendly, passionate, and open-minded all the organizers as well as the other participants were. I immediately felt welcomed, and our connection as a group only grew stronger during our time living and working together. We exchanged our feelings and thoughts, analyzed the media landscapes of our home countries, and learned about popular strategies used to manipulate its consumers. Even though our days were long, we always had enough time to socialize, play games, or make music together. What a wonderful atmosphere!
In addition to all the social connections I made, I also learned a lot about the differences and similarities in the media creation of Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Latvia, and Turkey. Listening to the other participants‘ descriptions and experiences, and getting to know relevant approaches such as Noam Chomsky’s theory on media control, really broadened my horizont and made me think about its problems and solutions even weeks after getting back to my home country. This project really changed my perspective and even if the media systems I know all have their difficulties, I feel hopeful and excited.
As I said, things often turn out differently. Coming from a background of theoretical, face-to-face education, the style of non-formal learning definitely challenged me in the beginning. However, I got to know its advantages – the large amount of personal interactions, the exchange of ideas, feelings, and thoughts, and the possibility to easily adapt a given scenario to its participants’ needs – and I am convinced that this has not been my last Erasmus+ youth exchange!