Part of the Erasmus+ funded project "Eco Campaign-Be the change" included a Youth Exchange in Antalya-Olympos (Turkey), which took place in July 2016. The exchange, focused on environmental issues, saw participants working on the topics of natural park protection, nature,outdoor activities, eco-tourism, interculturalism, among others. The video above gives a glimpse of what the young people were involved with during the week.
Safe Haven sent over 5 young people living in Ireland to take part on the exchange, from all sorts of backgrounds. Amongst one of them was Valerie Molay. You can read Valerie`s personal take on the week down below
"Youth exchange programme in Turkey
While the rest of the world was wondering what’s going to happen in Turkey after the military coup, myself and four others were more interested how to get to Antalya. I had been to Turkey before but never by myself and defiantly not that far south. The idea of living in a tree house with four different nationality while exploring the unique history and landscape of Olympus Antalya was sometimes of great excitement. Our exchange was packed with wonderful activity. My biggest surprise I have to say was the heat. 32 degrees weather at 8am is not so appealing after all. I found myself wishing for my rainy Ireland but that though never lasted as we were having too much fun. From afternoon to the beach, to visiting historical site, yacht trip and bomb fire talks, our trip was filled with awesome surprises.
On our second evening we had what we call culture night, it was very interesting to say the least. Each countries showcased their national or most popular food and drinks. Without doubt the Portuguese team were the start of the show. Their table looked amazing, lots of varieties. The night was filled with tasty food, inspiring speeches, weird dance move but above all lots of embarrassing memories. I really enjoyed talking to everyone. Especially in the evening around the fire. Its felt like we knew each other for a long time. The sing along although in different language was an experience I will never forget. It is true that we appear to be different, yet we are more alike than we think. The similarities in our cultures were quiet astonishing.
One of my favourite moment of the exchange was the night we spend at the beach waiting for the sunrise. We cycled 5km after our last session to the beach. We joined a local’s group of hippies. Some people went for a night swim and the rest of us stayed close to the fire telling story and singing. We even forgot about the language barrier and just enjoyed the night. It was like nothing I had experience before. The same sun, the same sky, the same waters but a little detail like a different location changed everything.
Olympus was breathtaking. Its scenery, its people and above all the people that shared this adventure with me will not be forgotten."
participant in the Youth Exchange in Turkey