Routes&Roots – impressions from a participant

Routes&RootsJohanna shares her impressions as a participant in EEE-YFU’s first ever 3D Exchanges, Routes&Roots.

This March I spent one week in Genoa on the roots and routes exchange.  In this week I met about 35 other exchange students, who are having their exchanges in Europe but who came from all over the world.

With 35 exchange students everyone with their own stories to tell it never got boring!

We spent the first day getting to know each other and everyone was delighted to meet so many companions.

The topic of the exchange was migration so of course we also had a lot of workshops and team activities. The first day we started rather slow with a lot of workshops in our accommodation, but the other days we went on field trips.

One day we had a kind of sightseeing tour of Genoa called the Migrantour, where we saw the city from a different point of view. Another day we went to the Cambalache association, which helps asylum seekers. We spent almost the whole day there and got to talk to some of the asylum seekers or migrants who lived there. This was very impressive for me, because from the man I talked to I heard a very different story about his country and in the few hours we spent with them I got a peak or at least different idea of what it can be like to immigrate.

Although the days were long we still had enough energy for the evenings. After the first shyness was gone we started singing and dancing… a lot. One day even with a Senegal percussion group. Because like I’ve already said with 35 exchange students it never got boring!

During the week there was so much to do, to laugh and so many people to meet that I didn’t realise it but I also learned a lot during the week. Maybe I can’t remember all the dates or countries with the most migrants but this week made me think about a lot of things and changed my opinion and point of view not only about migration but also about other things. For example what really makes you who you are and the exchange raised once again the question, which I’ve got the feeling is following me throughout this year: what is culture?

The author of this post is Johanna Alz, a YFU exchange student from Germany who is currently spending one year in Spain. She participated in Routes&Roots and she wrote this post for the YFU Spain Newsletter.