Erasmus+ is a powerful experience. It can have a big impact on your life. It’s one of the greatest opportunities to develop skills and competencies while traveling and interacting with different cultures. The program was founded by the European Union with the purpose of giving opportunity to young European citizens. The youth exchange that took place in Coimbra, Portugal between the dates of 14/11 – 22/11 of 2022 it was focused on social inclusion through sports.
The objectives of the program were to raise awareness on the current threat of youth radicalization with violent extremist believes, through promoting sport as a tool for increasing and reinforcing positive social thinking and behaviour. It aims to promote positive social values, explore the possibilities of the Erasmus+, growth and self development and finally spread the word about the need of creating such a social campaigns and related public events. Participating in this project gave to all of us the opportunity to meet people from different countries, learn about different cultures, explore the beautiful city of Coimbra and try new things.
The project started with activities meant to break the ice and get the participants more familiar with each other and to the city. Among the most important activities that are worth mentioning are “Mission Impossible” whose aim was getting to know the city,learning how to work as a team through different challenges. Another very relevant activity was the workshop about sports and inclusion in our countries. The participants had the chance to make a short research in national teams about the situation in their countries of origin and present them to the others. Alongside these there were two intercultural nights where every participant country got to share their culture, foods and traditions. We focused on digital competences through making videos and materials of the activities dedicated to sports, discussing about inclusion in an activity called “World Cafe”.
One of the most important activities was meeting a representative of the Sports Clube Conimbricense and a professional football player with a disability. It was a very interesting meeting since the player’s disability was blindness and he could still play a sport professionally.We got to see and try the special sports equipment dedicated to blind people who want to play a sport like football. Last but not least we got to organised our own volleyball tournament which took place at the sports facilities of the university. We planned and arranged the teams with equal members of girls and boys and gave everyone the opportunity to play even if they never had the chance to play before. The tournament was a success and all the participants were very pleased by this opportunity and experience.
Overall, participating in the project was an experience we’ll never forget and an experience that we believe everyone needs to experience once in their life. It gave us a lot of opportunities to think and reflect about the way we can use sports as a tool to include everyone with or without special needs. Finally we got to meet new people from around the world, create memories and form friendships that we last for a long time after the end of the project.
Here are the videos created by participant. The Video Campaign: “United in Sport” was created during the Erasmus+ “Social Inclusion: Make it Sportif” organized by Youth for the Future in Portugal. The project addressed the current threat of youth radicalization with violent extremist beliefs, through promoting sport as a tool for increasing and reinforcing positive social thinking and behaviour: https://www.youtube.com/@associationyouthforthefutu6735