From 1 to 8 December I participated in one of Erasmus + Youth Exchanges «Our Voice, Our Choice, Our Community» in Errenteria, Spain. The exchange focused on raising awareness of environmental issues among young people. The participants from such countries as Russia, Moldova, Romania, Italy and Spain gathered together to gain knowledge on climate change and develop skills in organizing campaigns that will address environmental issues of their regions. One of the aims was to learn theoretical and practical material on how to lead conscious and eco-friendly life.

It was interesting to me to study, because Russia is only on the way to eco-friendly life and I wanted to find out how other countries put into action principles of environmental consciousness. I can certainly say that I got sufficient practical training, however I must note that theoretical material was rather scarce.

Our learning process was informal. Every day during our sessions we were meant to address some environmental or social issues by giving performances, make PowerPoint presentations, «broadcast» news etc. In my opinion, the most interesting session was about regional environmental issues. I learned a lot about other countries’ problems and realized that all of our respective countries face same problems such as deforestation, pollution, lack of recycling plants etc.

I think the most intense session was in our last day. We took part in debates between NGO organization and coffee company that exploits its workers and doesn’t follow the law of child labor. During the heated discussion I gained some skills how to make compelling arguments. I am sure I use this acquired knowledge in my carrier and everyday life.

 During the Youth Exchange I met some wonderful people and I am glad I had the opportunity to get to know them and their country’s cultural and historical background. Last but not the least, I was lucky to visit and explore beautiful Basque Country. Mountains, the ocean and sustainable towns once again reminded me that we as humans are responsible for our planet and we indeed need to protect Earth at all cost.

Anna Gorobenko (Russia)