My european volunteering started very intensely since I arrived just before the project “YOUrovelo 2018” was launched. It is a project financed by the European Union’s program Erasmus+. These funds made it possible for Young Caritas Luxembourg to bring young people from all Europe together to join social projects. This year’s project “YOUrovelo 2018” gave the opportunity to 32 participants (age 15 to 30) to discover Luxembourg by bike.
For a week, young people from Georgia, Italy, Syria, Ukraine, Slovakia, Spain, Luxembourg and France shared their daily lifes and made new friends. The proposed “team building” activities fostered interactions between the participants who had to act as a team to meet the challenges of the supervisors. Despite the fact that not everyone spoke French or English, the willingness to communicate and exchange was present within the group. It was evident throughout the trip and especially during the evenings where everyone was asked to propose an animation. All the young people took part in the game and participated in the activities, leaving each person with unforgettable memories.
A bicycle tour as a social project? That cannot be right… But somehow it brought the participants closer together, because you have to be careful and mindful towards yourself and others, when traveling with 30 other people. From the first day, a spirit of solidarity prevailed: when one fell or had a problem with his bike, the others stopped to help him or protect him from car drivers in the areas of passage. Our bright yellow vests did not go unnoticed! Also, the bells echoed each time we met walkers, cyclists or motorists in the opposite direction, and we heard screaming “Attention !!!” at the front of the pack. The opinions on the hostels where we stayed were always positive, and the variety of food they offered us has allowed us to discover all the ways of cooking lasagna, to the delight of everyone!
In short, this multicultural and intercultural experience was very enriching from a human point of view. It has allowed young refugees and young volunteers to be part of the same group, animated by kindness and mutual aid. It was a unique opportunity for everyone to meet people he would not have met in another context, to open up to others and to very different cultures, and to realize that we actually have much in common. “United in Diversity”, the slogan of the European Union, is a perfect description for the “YOUrovelo 2018” experience.
Thoughts on “YOUrovelo 2018” :
“My name is Ivana and I have participated one great great week of cycling in Luxembourg. For me personally, it was an unforgettable experience I have never lived before!
It has all started in Bolzano at 5 am. Our crew, 8 people from Southern Tyrol, took a flixbus direction Munich, where we have continued our long travel by train. After a very quick city walk and one pint of Munchner Bräu we jumped on our next three trains. After quite a long trip we finally arrived safely to Luxembourg.
This amazing city welcomed us with its beautiful historical buildings and a new amazing glass elevator. Our accommodation was based close to city center in one of most amazing Youth Hostels I have seen in my life. All hostels on the road were perfectly clean with nice and helpful staff around.
We have spent 4 days in total on bikes. This type of travelling helped us to enjoy the country from different point of view, we have seen beautiful lands and fields, castles, rivers, small villages and historical, clean and very quiet cities.
But the project was not only about Luxembourg itself! We have met different nations such as Georgian, Luxemburgish and Syrian people. Georgians can dance like gods and have also shared interesting intercultural games and songs. Syrian boys were extremely polite and helpful while trying to communicate by many different ways even without English language.
We all have spent a truly wonderful time, created new friendships and learned a lot about Luxembourg, European union and world itself.”
“For me the project was really great. I enjoyed all the activities and to travel with the bike. I have lots of very good memories I will never forget. We helped each other, everyone was there for the others and many friendships grew. I hope that they will last long. These 10 days ran away too fast, I was very sad when the last day ended.
It was very interesting to learn about other cultures, other languages and about the different ways of life. We weren’t all the same age so we were like a family and looked after each other. I will hardly try to participate in the next YOUropean project. Thank you Young Caritas and Erasmus plus.”
– Madita from Luxembourg