Section 2: What is it about?

This is an extract from the CYEC Youth Exchange Starter Pack. You can download a full copy of the pack here and you can download the section you are currently viewing from the bottom of this page.

Thinking about a youth exchange

Get involved in a different world where for some people there is no local take-away, where ‘popping to the shop’ can mean a five mile trek, or a shower a dip in the river.

And that’s just the challenging part.

The exciting part is really getting involved - maybe helping to build a school classroom, learning a traditional dance, working on a health education project, or helping to protect the environment. Or maybe you’re concerned about global issues – from HIV/AIDS to child labour to global warming – and want to see what’s happening for yourself?

In fact, it’s what your group wants it to be – every exchange has its own theme and activities. But mainly an exchange is all about joining up with a group of overseas young people of your own age - and understanding that beneath the obvious differences you’ve got lots in common.

Reaching your exchange destination is just the tip of an iceberg of achievement. It will take about two years to complete an exchange – but in that time you’ll have learnt new skills, grown in self-awareness and confidence and become part of a team of young people who aim to make a difference at home and overseas.

Importantly, an exchange is a group thing for young people aged 15-25 years. You can participate in a Commonwealth youth exchange through your local organisation – your youth club, community or youth organisation or school.

And it’s also a two-way thing – hosting is every bit as important as visiting overseas.

So, if you want to:

  • make new friends across the world
  • experience a different culture and way of doing things
  • learn lots of new skills
  • take part in something purposeful
  • learn about yourself
  • be part of a caring and supportive team of friends
  • be a visitor and a host
  • have loads of fun

an international youth exchange could be for you.

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