In the middle of July, 35 adventurous youngsters from 7 European countries managed to find their way to gather at the  remote, wild and remarkably beautiful Isle of Skye, Scotland, United Kingdom. As they were turning from strangers to closer and closer friends day after day, they had no idea that there awaits for them an adventure only life can paint for you.

Already before arrival, participants were asked to “imagine to post a picture of yourself in your favourite place. If you cant go to the place, use photoshop and other creative tools”. This invited to transit from cozy home environments to raw wilderness of nature.

Magic place - youth exchange- abroadship.org

Magic place – credit: Jorge Nuno

We searched for disconnection to reconnect. We wanted for few days to experience a drop of all gadgets, put away surfing on internet, playing games, watching tv, working on a computer and go wild.

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Getting Ready - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Getting Ready – Photo: Karolina Boniecka

Project has been an outstanding learning curve from the very beginning – learning to set up and set off the tents. Learning to camp, cook, make decisions on the cooking, eating, cleaning schedules.

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - tents - youth exchange - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – tents – youth exchange – Photo: Tatyana Kovalyonok

This project was an outstanding intercultural (7 countries minimum) learning by experience. It was important that responsibility was in the hands of the participants.

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Famous Isle of Skye trail - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Famous Isle of Skye trail – Photo: Karolina Boniecka

We were following environmental sustainability – zero waste concept.

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Famous Isle of Skye trail marking - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Famous Isle of Skye trail marking – Photo: Karolina Boniecka

Participants were given the notebooks in order to document the processes and  most importantly – for reconnecting with yourself. We were fully into outdoors – walking 360 outdoors – hiking in nature, urban drifting, urban hiking.

We were introduced of Erasmus+ programme and Youthpass.

We started with silent dating. Then collaborative drawing. We reflected. We spoke about expectations, fears, contributions. We listened a story of a stone soap. We played various team building activities. We agreed on ground rules. Lots of logistics.

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - Isle Of Skye - youth exchange - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – Isle Of Skye – youth exchange – Photo: Tatyana Kovalyonok

Hiking lots and intensively. Meeting mountain and inside yourself. Bling Fold walk. Defining outdoor, experiential, environmental education.

Lots of camping skills. Meeting Isle of Skye, one of the most magnificent trails in the world.

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - blind fold walk - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – blind fold walk – Photo: Tatyana Kovalyonok

Orienteering. Where does the map lead to? Where we are? What is the location? Trails? Swimming in the cold lake. How to deal with the toilet outdoors?

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Famous Isle of Skye trail mountains- abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Famous Isle of Skye trail mountains- abroadship.org

Bicycle of values. What are you core values?

Where is south and north? What is the weather forecast for tomorrow? Are we going further or we stop here?

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Famous Isle of Skye trail marking - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Famous Isle of Skye trail marking – Photo: Karolina Boniecka

Silent time – what can we listen then?

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Swimming - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Swimming – Credit: Antonio Cotao

Forum Theater – can we act out all what is inside our communities?

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Forum Theater - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Forum Theater – Photo: Tatyana Kovalyonok

Can outdoors be possible in Urban environment?

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Swimming - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Swimming – Credit: Antonio Cotao

Lost in the sea – what do you do then?

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - urban drifting- abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – urban drifting- abroadship.org

Gravity session starts with body awareness, working in pairs, letting to feel the weight, then change. Then working in groups. In dynamic groups, 6 or 7 persons. Stand in the circle. One person relaxes in the middle. Someone falls – letting go. All in silence. Trust.

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Famous Isle of Skye trail marking - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Famous Isle of Skye trail marking – Photo: Karolina Boniecka

Slacklining and Holy Herma.

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Urban drifting Slackline - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Urban drifting Slackline – Photo: Karolina Boniecka

Urban Drifting (Hiking) in Glasgow

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Urban activities - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Urban activities – abroadship.org

The closing of the project looks million miles away from the opening. Strange. Again silent date. This time different. With notes and wishes to each other.

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - urban drifting- abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – urban drifting- abroadship.org

The closing is done, but we still rush all together to finalise the experience at a dinner in Scottish Restaurant. Can not believe it is over. Is it?

East or West - Outdoors is the Best - youth exchange - Panorama of Isle of Skye - abroadship.org

East or West – Outdoors is the Best – youth exchange – Panorama of Isle of Skye

What Abroadship’ers Say?

Darius (UK):  “After experiencing raw, unpredictable nature.. i will never look at camping thru the same eyes”

Aleksandra (Poland): “I started to enjoy spending time outdoor and I do it more frequently than I used to do. I am more aware of the nature and my personal strengths and limitations. I am surely having more active, aware lifestyle.”

Semen (Ukraine): “I really like the purpose of this project, I’ve thought about the problems with an online world many times and actually it’s a real problem for me and for others. People forgot how to spend the time normally in our commercialized and fast growing world. I’m trying to stick to the normal activities and live the life as a child (finding something interesting everywhere in all the small things and details, you just have too look or at least be prepared for it and adventure will find you). I’m sure that it will be one of the most influential experiences in my life and then I will share what I learnt with the others.”

João (Portugal): “As soon as my friend told me about this opportunity I didn’t even blink and soon realized that this is what I really needed at the moment: a change to be outdoors after so many days or even weeks stuck at my university and at home studying. I’ve always loved camping with my family and friends but never really had an experience to be in the middle of the wilderness. That and my lifelong fixation for Scotland made me set some time apart from this difficult time of preparation for exams just to make this answers as genuine and as complete as possible, as this would be a lifetime opportunity that I really don’t want to miss.”

Edoardo (Italy): “I live in a village in the Alps, in a rich natural context, my father is a geologist and since I was a child he involved me to exploring activities and to do camps in nature, also in project of environmental education with schools, most of them focused on land use. The town where I live is included in an environmental national park, Val Grande National Park, famous for its wilderness characteristics, recently become also a Geo-Park recognised by UNESCO and joined to the European Geoparks Network. So I had the opportunities to do many excursions along geological itineraries inside the park and to view an appreciate beautiful geological heritage. In my territory there are also different regional park and two Special Protection Zone established by European Directives, therefore I often do trekking along high altitude mountain trails, adventure hiking on rivers and torrent banks, climbing on rock slopes, camping outdoors, mountain bike excursion with friends, kayaking on beautiful alpine lakes. I did basket and swimming at agonistic level, so I’m used to live challenges. Joining in team educational-sport-working activities organised in a very special natural site that Isle of Skye represent for me, so different from the natural alpine context in which I live, and together with people of different languages and cultural origin, will enlarge my European cultural views, background skills and general competence in environmental and relational themes. I hope to contribute to experiment an intercultural model of healthy lifestyle, that I could promote and spread in my Italian territory when I come back, also to enrich new youth exchanges opportunities”

Nana (Georgia): “There are so many ways we can take advantage of the benefits of nature. It starts with putting down your phone and experiencing the outdoors. It mean less time in front of the television and computer and more time walking and doing other things that put the body in motion. Why not discover something that makes a huge difference for me personally or professionally, or both”

Project Description

Youth Exchange: East Or West – Outdoors is the Best

Location: Scotland

Dates: 12-20 July 2018

Number of participants: 35

Participating countries: United Kingdom, Georgia, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Ukraine, Armenia

Age: each country send 4 participants + 1 youth leader. Participants are aged 18-30 and youth leader has no age limit

Your applications will be reviewed and you will be selected by sending organisation from your country, so if any particular question, please inquire at following emails:

Abroadship.org UK hello@abroadship.org
Georgian Youth For Europe Georgia georgianyouth@gmail.com
Vedogiovane Italy bellomo_francesca@yahoo.it
Institute of Ukrainian Studies Ukraine project-coordinator@ius.lviv.ua
4YOUth Poland exchange@4youth.pl
Novo Mundo Portugal gj.novomundo@gmail.com
The Young Biologists Association Armenia hripsimeatoyan@gmail.com

Inquiries about this project: Justinas at hello@abroadship.org

East Or West – Outdoors is the Best #2 Scotland

Download here: East or West – Outdoors is The Best – Scotland – youth exchange – abroadship.org

Download the PDF file .

Context

Nowadays youngsters spend more and more time indoors, which leads to a passive and what is a bigger concern – apathetic style of life. Contemporary youth is the first e-generation, which grew up in the environment of computers, i-pods, Internet, Facebook, playstations and can stay in front of the computer 12 hours non-stop. This generation avoids going out and having fun with simple things like hiking and camping in the nature.

With this project we would like to bring you outdoors, give a chance to re-discover, re-invent and be surprised by outdoor world of nature. We seek to address the importance of spending time outdoors: exploring the nature, to show that spending time and learning outdoors is a great way to keep fit both mentally and physically

Based on long standing scouting experience, we designed a unique programme of outdoor experiential learning that enables and increases personal (me), social (we) and environmental (all) interactions, exchange of experiences and understanding among people of various backgrounds, nationalities or beliefs, beyond cultural and traditional barriers. This programme also promotes cultural diversity by involving European and non European participants.

Overall Focus

Project “East or West – Outdoors is the Best” is a multilateral 2 phased youth exchange project aimed to promote healthy behaviours, in particular through promotion of sports and outdoor activities as a mean to reach a healthy lifestyle.

  • To uncover the main principles of outdoor education and to use the experience as a learning tool with the main focus on outdoor activities
  • Through personal experience to increase motivation and involvement of youth in organising activities in the nature
  • Promote healthy life style and sport activities
  • To experience camping and living outdoors
  • To increase multicultural competences among participants

Who Should Attend

The background of participants is 18-30 years old youth, who are motivated to look from indoors to outdoors perspective, change the lenses of inside camera, take an eagle approach, who are willing to challenge and (re)discover himself/herself and at the same time to incorporate the views of others (developing intercultural empathy) and acknowledge environmental responsibility. It is for youth that are open minded to explore sensitive topics via outdoor setting, who are eager to hike, camp and interact with other minds alike.

Programme of East or West – Outdoors is the Best

DAY 0: Arrival to Glasgow, Scotland and traveling to Isle of Skye

DAY 1-5: Morning activities. Hiking famous Skye Trail in the afternoon. 5 days of wild camping

DAY 6-7: Intensive programme in Glasgow. Evaluation, E+, Youthpass, Closing

DAY 8: Packing and leaving

Delivery Style

  • “Learning by experience” – learning from experiencing different activities and putting them into practice;
  • “Learning to play, playing to learn” – connected with learning through games, from actions and playful environment;
  • “Learning through outdoor sports” – learning about sensitive topics while being outdoors, hiking and doing sports
  • “Learning with nature” – being aware of the environment and its stimulus to brains, mental and physical condition

Methods Used

  • Experiential learning through hiking
  • Group dynamic processes, simulations and teamwork activities
  • Inputs from experts through non-formal education lectures and facilitated processes
  • Dynamic workshops and presentations
  • Outdoor environmental work and assignments
  • Intercultural sharings, learnings and reflections
  • Learning by doing in a group setting or individual processes.

Where

We will stay first 5 nights outdoors, wild camping every day in a different wild place on a famous Isle of Skye trail in Scotland and 3 last nights we will stay in a hostel in Glasgow.

Participants will be living in tents shared by 2 people. Organizers will provide tents and mats, but participants should bring their own sleeping bags

How to Get There

  • We will send the traveling information once you are accepted to participate.
  • Fly to Glasgow airport using azair.com to get the cheapest flight.
  • We will arrange the traveling from Glasgow to Isle of Skye. Or will inform if there are any changes.
  • Travel will be reimbursed only for the most economical means of transportation (see fin conditions).
  • Traveling options must be confirmed at hello@abroadship.org prior to the purchase of tickets.

When to Get There

Arrival Day: 12 July

Programme: 13-19 July, in total 7 full days

Departure Day: 20th July

Days allowed to stay in United Kingdom: Thi is a great time to explore Scotland (Glasgow or Edinburgh?) and England (London?). We will not have a lot of free time during the programme, thus if you want to explore country, please arrange extra days. You are allowed to come max 5 days before the YE or leave after max 5 days after the YE, but the total amount of the days that are not part of the programme is max 5 days. If you decide to stay more than 5 days longer than the official programme, you will have to cover the traveling expenses yourself. During these extra days, you have to find your own accommodation and no other expenses are covered (we will cover just flights on different days).

Practicals – What to Bring!

  • Please bring a large backpack with 1/2 or 2/3 free space, so that you could get on the plane without extra luggage – because we will give you a tent, mat and food to carry on the hike. And for that you need space! Super important! Come light as a feather.
  • It is a country of rain and wind, so prepare well with raincoat for yourself and your backpack! Bring waterproof sturdy and very comfy shoes to hike.
  • Sleeping bag and towel
  • Your personal things, sport clothes, warm clothes for the evenings, swimwear, sunny clothing for warm days.
  • Sun cream
  • Head lamp-torch
  • Insurance – this is critical! Please arrange insurance, because we do not provide and are not liable for any incidents
  • Bring camera – lots of great shots to make
  • Prepare endurance, Good spirit and Positive vibes!

Weather

In July temperature in Isle of Skye (Scotland) reaches the peak of the year, but still is pretty low, ranging from 7 (coldest nights) to 23 (hotest days) degrees – it will be hot and cold, rainy and windy. Average temperature is between 11 and 16 degrees. Expect to take a swim in a freezing Loch, melt from the sun, suffer and endure the high winds and overwhelming rain to exprience Nordic Scotish way of living.

Check the weather forecast here.

Medicine, Allergies and Diet

If you have illness, physical limitations and/or use medicine we need to know about, please inform us. If you are vegetarian or have special diet, let us know, indicating what you can and cannot eat, so that we can arrange the suitable food.

Follow up

There is an option to join the next youth exchange or training course, organized by us, as a group leader. Check Abroadship.org.

Contact

For information about practical matters, accommodation or how to get to the place, please contact Abroadship.org at hello@abroadship.org