EFDN Youth Exchange kicked off in Rotterdam
The EFDN ”Breaking Barriers through Football” Youth Exchange has officially kicked off in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. With the participation of young people from four countries with different cultural and religious backgrounds, the Youth Exchange offers many opportunities to build bridges and use football to create cultural understanding.
From 13th to 19th of May, 25 young people aged 17-23 and 8 staff members from Feyenoord Rotterdam, Aberdeen F.C. Community Trust, Everton F.C. in the Community and SL Benfica Foundation will take part in the ”Breaking Barriers through Football” EFDN Youth Exchange. The Youth Exchange provides the participants with unique opportunities to share cultural experiences with each other through engaging in fun activities that help with the understanding of cultural and religious diversity. During the entire exchange, football will be used as a key tool for breaking cultural barriers with interesting activities prepared by EFDN and all clubs involved.
The Youth Exchange officially kicked off with the visit of the participants to the ”De Kuip” Stadium, home of Feyenoord Rotterdam and main venue of this weeks exchange, followed by outdoor and indoor activities. Staff members from Everton F.C. in the Community kicked off the programme with an energiser, in order to get familiar and create a friendly relationship between each other. Aberdeen F.C. Community Trust followed with a team building activity to create affiliation between participants and a good overall atmosphere for the rest of the exchange. After having lunch, the participants were divided into groups of 5 and had to create their own country based on their beliefs and values.
The following days the participants will experience related football activities as Blind and Walking Football to create a non-formal learning environment for everyone. These non-formal group activities will focus on increasing the level of tolerance between the participants and the reduction of existing stereotypes. There will also be special self-reflecting activities to increase self-awareness and self confidence.
More specially, to emphasise cultural awareness and understanding, each evening will be dedicated to a certain country and culture. Participants will be encouraged to prepare a special traditional dish and a presentation on their country and culture. Dutch participants from Feyenoord Rotterdam will start off this special tradition, followed by participants from Portugal, Scotland and England.
Additionally, the Exchange programme will consist the promotion of a healthy lifestyle achieved through sports and the young adults will learn to deal with the feeling of achievement and frustration. At the end of the Youth Exchange, every participant receive the Youth Pass Certificate.
In general, the ”Breaking barriers through football” Youth Exchange aims to foster the understanding of cultural and religious diversity, as well as to promote the involvement of young people in local communities. We are looking forward to a successful exchange that will create new friendships and highlight how football has the power to bring people together across boundaries, cultures and religions.
The exchange is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Sport Programme.