“Urgent – participant from the UK needed”, it had been a while since my last Erasmus+ project, so when I stumbled upon this opportunity to go to Latvia, I immediately got into contact. I had participated in a few Youth Exchanges before, but never a Training Course, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect – but I was very keen and eager to find out. I left my accommodation in Cardiff on Sunday and arrived at Riga Airport around Monday midday, I coincidentally bumped into a few other participants whilst waiting for the bus to Riga – THANKFULLY – their company definitely made the three and a half hour train ride to Rezekne much more enjoyable! When we arrived, we met a few other participants and we were greeted by our wonderful hosts, who travelled with us to the hotel where we were staying. A few other participants had arrived the previous day, but we were quickly acquainted. Oh, did I mention? We were greeted to many boxes of pizza too. The training course officially began the next day, where we spent the morning introducing ourselves and getting to know each other along with a few games and ice-breakers. The trainer, Alex arrived in the afternoon and we began our learning about Youth Employability, to which he gave us an overview of the objectives and what to expect over the next few days. At the end of the day, we had an intercultural evening, where each country introduced us to their culture and their food!

On Wednesday, we went through a series of different activities and discussions which were very insightful to discover similarities and differences between the other countries and we went bowling in the evening – and whilst I was absolutely terrible at it, it was so much fun. The next day, we visited Zeimuls, a government-funded Youth Centre which really surprised me, it was for young people aged 4 to 25, and provided so many different activities for free, such as baking, dancing, woodwork, ceramics and photography(which is just a few of the many activities
it offered). We then met a few individuals who were part of the local Youth Council – I was really inspired by the relationship of the local government and the youth council and how the government really try to enact on the issues the youth see in the community and the changes they would like to make.

Friday was a very informative day of learning – where Alex went through several different models and competencies we could adopt, then spending the afternoon developing future potential projects with the other participants on the course. The last day we spent evaluating the past week and reflecting on our learning – for which the feedback tended to be that we wished to have learnt more! We then spent the rest of the day exploring the city.

Overall, the time I spent in Latvia was amazing, I was surrounded by an inspiring and wonderful group and I made so many great memories. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the “student bubble”, but opportunities like this help put things back into perspective and help me see things from new and different perspectives, especially on this training course as there was such a variety of participants – I loved hearing about their experiences and listening to their beliefs and ideas. The organisers at World-Our Home were extremely friendly and did an amazing job hosting us this week!

By Dan