Erasmus Youth Exchange “Breaking trails Breaking barriers “18-26 September 2023 (Lithuania, Telsiai)

In our ever-changing world, the issues of gender roles, sexism, and biases among
young people are more relevant than ever. These challenges hinder personal
growth, limit opportunities, and maintain inequality in all parts of our society. By
discussing these topics openly, we can promote mutual understanding and challenge
stereotypes. This is our chance to break free from the constraints of the past and
foster an environment where individuals are judged based on their abilities, not their

As young advocates for change, we have the potential to reshape societal norms
and drive progress toward a more just and inclusive world. We must work together,
support each other, and create a future where everyone can thrive, free from the
limitations imposed by gender-based biases.
For that reason, we traveled to Lithuania and took part in the Erasmus Youth
Exchange Project “Breaking trails, Breaking Barriers”. We met so many young
people from many different countries and cultures had discussions with each other,
exchanged experiences, all participants developed presentations, created role
games in a group learned more about these essential topics and therefore we were
an active part of a positive change for greater gender equality.

This Youth Project took place from the 18th-26th of September in a remote rural
tourism homestead called Minavuone in Telsiai which is in the west of Lithuania. It
has existed for more than 20 years and it is located on the picturesque shore of a
lake surrounded by old forests. All together we were 30 participants and 2 project
coordinators from 6 different nations: Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, Armenia, Moldova and
Georgia. Exactly this diversity of people and nations made this project unique and
very special.

In addition to the main theme, gender roles, gender equality and biases among
young people, our international group also planned and undertook many other
sports, cultural and educational activities like:


    1. City Tour in Telsiai:
    The City Tour was led by a professional guide in perfect English, therefore it
    was very easy to understand her and to learn a lot about this historical city.
    Even heavy rain could not stop us from the tour across the center of Telsiai.
    One of the highlights was the visit of the bear museum. Not fewer than 4683
    bears are exhibited in this tourism center!



      2. Local food:
      We could taste local gastronomy in a Lithuanian restaurant named “Senoji Kvorta”. There was a buffet prepared with many different traditional dishes, like
      “Kastinys”  lithuanian samogitian dish made of sour cream, curdled milk and
      butter with spices; or  “Saltibarsciai” it’s a cold beetroot soup made of beets, kefir, cucumbers, dill, boiled eggs, salt, spring onions and natural yogurt.  
      And much more! It was a big delicacy and we got very good insights into Lithuanian cuisine.

      3. Professional local Basketball Match:
      The Lithuanian representatives and coordinators made it possible that the
      whole Erasmus group were able to watch a professional basketball match in the  stadium of Mazeikiai. It was their first home match ever in the first league and therefore the atmosphere was breathtaking, also
      because of us!


        4. Bonfire:
        The bonfire by the lake was another spectacle of this unforgettable week!
        A few of us turned out to be true barbecue masters and provided us with sausages and
        potatoes. We had so much fun, and at this point we realized
        that a very close and intimate friendship had developed between us!

        5. Hike in the forest:
        In the middle of the week the coordinators organized a hike in the forest around the lake, where we could learned a lot from the nature that was around us:

        >  Mushrooms, how they live, how they are connected, which are poisonous, which are edible and healthy…
        > Natural soap: There we discovered a certain plant named “Common Soapwort” which you can use for cleaning and washing hands, dishes…
        > We saw 2 extremely big anthills and we learned how an ant colony works
        and is structured
        > Pet bees: One of the coordinators showed us how to treat a bee properly to
        be able to pet it


          6. Team building activities:

          We participated in numerous workshops, activities and sessions where teamwork was essential. We learned to communicate better, to trust our colleagues and to develop a better strategy thanks to all the participants.

          And let’s not forget volleyball. The participants played almost every single break we had and it was good teambuilding game because everybody was welcome to join, play and support each other.


            7. Presentations of Home Countries:
            On the first day of the Erasmus week we agreed that every nation would
            present its home country on each evening of the week.

            Using very professional PowerPoint Presentations, we showcased all our different nations with their unique history, traditions and culture. In addition, all participants cooked and prepared the main dishes of their respective countries. Every evening was a great success and we learned and experienced so much from their own countries.


              8. Energizers:
              As the name suggests, these are short and intensive exercises, movements
              or games that give you energy quickly. We always did it before new tasks
              or meetings to be energetic   and we were able to concentrate before the workshops. The energizers were always led by an Erasmus group member and most of them were very funny and effective!


              Special Thanks:
              First and foremost, we would like to thank “O2 POR LA VIDA” for giving us this
              unique opportunity! We would also like to thank the two Project Coordinators
              for their dedication and sacrifice in doing everything they could to make the
              week succeed and matchless. A big thank you also goes to the owner of the
              property who gave us such a warm welcome. Last but not least, a big thank
              you to all the Erasmus participants this week. Each and every one of the
              participants was responsible for making this week such a great success.
              We didn’t say goodbye to each other as colleagues, after that week we were
              one big family and some of us were definitely friends for life.

              If you want to know about this project or want to participate in the upcoming ones do
              not hesitate to contact Eko fun kamp or O2 por la vida in their official channels!

              Created by Stefan Reif