– We were connected by a common passion for foreign trips and exchanges – says Katarzyna from Lublin. – In the third year of high school, I went to Italy for a year. I was staying with an Italian family. I went to an Italian school. There I met Michał, who just now called me and proposed joining the project. Of course I agreed, and so did the other members of the group.
It consists of Kasia, Michał, Stanisław, Patrycja, Adam, Wojtek, Marysia, Wiktoria, Paulina and Kornel. They come from Lublin, Warsaw, Krakow, Poznań and Białystok.
– What we have in common is that we took part in intercultural programs, including e.g. four annual exchanges in the USA, Italy and Norway. We thought it was a great opportunity. That is why we have set ourselves the goal of making young people aware of the opportunities for development that are associated with international exchanges and how important it is nowadays to cross cultural borders in order to create a united global community – says Katarzyna.
Hence the meetings, workshops, presentations at schools and the publication of reports from the exchanges and interviews with their participants in social media. So far, we have managed to organize meetings for over 500 people and reach thousands of recipients through the media.
– Exchanger cooperates with the international organization AFS, as well as the American Councils (FLEX program), which took the honorary patronage over the project. This is the first such initiative in Poland created by young people with their peers in mind – says the young Lubliner and reports that young people going to the programs can choose their duration (three months, half a year, a year) and whether they can then go to their home countries schools pass exams to pass the year or just take a day off. – I chose the second scenario and I do not regret it. It was a great opportunity to become independent and gain important experiences.
And what conditions must be met to participate in such an exchange? – Each country has its own requirements, so you have to check it. In most cases, however, the requirements are not excessive. In my case, I went to Italy not knowing the language at all. All I could say was “My name is Kasia and I don’t speak Italian.”