Back to the future, forward to the past in Chernivtsi

Through quests, games and photo exhibition youngsters from 6 different countries made trip back to the future and forward to the past. This specific time traveling took place in Chernivtsi, marvelous city in Ukraine. In this article I will tell you a little bit about this trip to show you interesting and attractive world of Youth Exchange program. As you understand from the name “Youth Exchange”, it is not about learning, but about educating. Thanks to nonformal methods. It is about communication, discussion; work in groups for good result. It is about exchange between youth from different countries. Exchange not only knowledge or experience, but also traditions, points of view etc.

All participants of this Youth Exchange were is like Chernivtsi itself – mix of cultures, styles. Mixed but not contrastive. Every culture, nationality, style in Chernivtsi is respected and accepted because of the history of this magic city with ancient building and hospitable citizens. We learned, we traveled back and forward to the future, to the past. Citizens, history of Chernivtsi guided participants. The spirit of tolerant and polite attitude to OTHERs lives here.

Members of OPORA’s teams assisted our guides. They helped to create from us a real team, to break ice between us, to get know each other better. We even tried ourselves as city creators or founders. And we created five different cities, with its logo, slogan, plan, traditions, legends of founding, attractive places etc. We guided other participants in our cities. After presentations we gave the name for the country where all created cities are situated. Participants decided to name it LOLand. For icebreaking and teambuilding we played in the Theatre of improvisation organized by the Latvian team. The Theatre of improvisation consisted of more than 5 activities. Participants enjoyed playing in the Theatre of improvisation, especially they liked role games. After Theatre of Improvisation we was divided into 5 groups and worked within these groups ill the end of the project and in frame of these teams the exhibition was developed. We walked the streets, talked to local people and formed our own vision of the city. As a product of our Youth Change was the photo-exhibition, we tried to find the visual interpretation of our vision and to take photos.

We also discussed about national minorities in Chernivtsi, talked about their tolerant and peaceful coexistence in one region. Participants told that it is because of friendly, tolerant, peaceful, helpful, understanding attitude to other people. These impressions were built on their own experience while communicating with local people.

For developing our exhibitions we learned about exhibit design a bit. As a result of our knowledge we presented our concept of city exhibition. It was “Dryer exhibition: Back to the future forward to the past”. Teams chose photos for exhibition, printed it. In coordination with organizers we decided to install our exhibition in the Central city Park. Participants found the place for exhibition and installed photos. A lot of local citizens were interesting in Exhibition and asked a lot of questions about the topic of the Exhibition. Some of spontaneous spectators (people who walked at that time in the park) wanted to buy exhibited photos. We worked as a real team and we were very satisfied by the results of our project. We left our photos in the Central City Park for local citizens to watch our vision of Chernivtsi. Hope, they enjoyed our exhibition!

Nadiia (VIRNA) Babynska, Civil Network OPORA