Youth Exchanges

What is a youth exchange?

Stripped down to its bare parts, a youth exchange is a residential involving young people from at least two countries spending a few days together in a chosen country. They then use that time exploring a certain topic together, in the process learning about each other and the place they’re in.

But what does one look like?

Youth exchanges vary hugely. In Belarus, we brought together young people from six different countries to explore how sport could be used as a tool for inclusion; in Lithuania we were hosted by NGO Nectarus and explored ‘beauty’ from the very different perspectives of the attendees; in Estonia, nature and the environment became the focus.

Why does the Swift bother?

Youth exchanges are great fun but also offer a non-formal learning environment in which young people can rapidly gain skills, self-belief and a sense of opportunity that can greatly increase their prospects.

The Swift’s focus is on leadership. As a result, every youth exchange we take part in is planned and directed by one or more young people. Those participants not leading are encouraged during the youth exchange to think about the processes involved in internaitonal youth work, and gradually move towards taking on more responsibility.

How to get involved…

Get in touch with Paul (paulclewett@gmail.com), if:

  • you are an individual, resident in the UK, within travelling distance of the Swift Centre in Newham, between 15 and 25 years old, and interested in taking part in a youth exchange at some point in the next year
  • you are a youth organisation or school based in Newham and you are interested in partnering or seeking advice from The Swift
  • you are a youth organisation based in the EU with experience in the Erasmus+/Youth in Action programme and interested in collaborating
  • you would like to sponsor a youth exchange, or would like to find out more for any other reason

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