EFDN Youth Exchange in Arnhem – #Breakingbarriersthroughfootball
From 8th until 13th of July, 23 young people and 9 staff leaders from 4 different countries have been in Arnhem, the Netherlands, taking part in the EFDN Youth Exchange “Breaking Barriers through Football”.
The participants of the exchange are all following different local Community and Social Responsibility programmes at one of EFDN’s partner clubs SL Benfica, Vitesse Arnhem, Vaalerenga Fotball and Mifalot. Now, they had the unique opportunity to spend one week abroad on a football-based exchange, jointly with other young people who are passionate about football.
“Breaking Barriers through Football”
During the entire exchange, football has been used as the key tool for breaking cultural barriers since the sport has proofed to have the power of addressing a wide range of societal issues.
Coming from very diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, the young people of the EFDN Youth Exchange are all united by the common interest in football, making the exchange a fantastic opportunity to foster the understanding of cultural and religious diversity.
In order to strengthen the cultural understanding, each day, a cultural evening took place at which the participants from the different clubs prepared a traditional dinner and organised an entertainment programme related to their culture. Thereby, all participants learned about the Netherlands, Portugal, Israel and Norway.
Joined by the common interest in football
By taking part in non-formal learning activities such as Walking Football, Blind Football, playing beach volleyball and seminars, the participants of the Youth Exchange jointly worked on overcoming invisible barriers in society and developed. Although most participants did not speak English, after the first days, the communication among the participants had become far easier and through sign language and Google Translate, creative methods were developed, which made it possible to understand each other well.
Next to topics related to cultural diversity, a healthy lifestyle through sport was being promoted and the young adults learned to deal with the feelings of achievement and frustration.
Moreover, many activities were carried out that encouraged and motivated the young people to actively engage in their local communities.
Learning about the Netherlands by visiting the city of Arnhem
The EFDN Youth Exchange took place in the surroundings of the training ground of football club Vitesse Arnhem, which was regarded as the perfect venue by the football enthusiastic young people. Therefore, one of the exchange highlights was visiting Vitesse’s stadium the Gelredome.
Next to visiting the stadium, the group received a tour through the city of Arnhem, which contributed to learning about the Dutch way of living and the Dutch culture.
On Thursday, the last day of the EFDN Youth Exchange, every participant proudly received the Erasmus Youth Pass Certificate, which acknowledges that the participants took part in an Erasmus Plus Sport programme.
Many thanks to Vitesse Arnhem for providing all participants with the opportunity to have such a unique experience, during which new friendships were created. It was a week, which showed us again in a beautiful way that football can be a powerful tool to promote understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions.
More photos can be found on our facebook page.