Our youngster Samo described his first youth exchange experience as follows:

The Residential Care Group Črnuška Gmajna joined forces, will and a team of young people and mentors from Produstion School for a youth exchange in Martinique, which started on March 20 and ended on March 28, 2023. The youth exchange was co-financed from the Erasmus+ program. The topic was sustainable development and recycling, as well as outdoor sports activities. We took part in several hikes, walks, workshops and some debates.

The journey to Martinique was extremely tiring, as it took two days. We left Ljubljana in the early afternoon on Sunday by bus to Paris, from where we flew to the French island in Central America – Martinique, where we landed on Monday evening. Young people from three countries participated in the exchange: Germany, Slovenia and France – Martinique. By the time we arrived at the Martinique airport, we were all glued together, tired and honestly, a little smelly and very sleep deprived. There we met the Germans, who had landed a few hours before us. From there we went by bus to the resort, where we were accommodated for the entire duration of the exchange. After unpacking, we tried traditional Martini food for the first time, which I really liked.

On the first day, almost all of us slept quite poorly, due to the 6-hour time difference. On the second day, we started with cognitive games, where we connected a little more. After that, we went to explore the mangrove forests along the coast in kayaks, which was tiring and uncomfortable for me, and in the end most people got lost too, as there were strong winds that made paddling difficult.

On the third day we had a hike, and later we had a workshop with Tomi on first aid. In the evening, the Slovenian team organized a Slovenian evening with a presentation of our country, Ljubljana, and with the help of the mentors, we made our own dinner.

On the third day, we went on a hike again, which this time ended on a beautiful sandy beach, where we went kayaking again. Towards the end of our kayak trip, we also got the chance to watch or swim with tropical fish, which are extremely colorful and beautiful.On the fourth day we had another hike, this time to the local stadium for smaller matches. It was nice when it started to rain because it was extremely hot before. Later we had a workshop where we built rafts from materials we found on the beach. Our team’s raft worked best.

On the fifth day, we were divided into 3 groups, each in charge of its own task: one for the sports workshop, one for the report on the exchange and one for recording a video for the participants, as a memory.

The sixth day was the day we spent in the capital of Martinique, Fort-de-France. This day was extremely busy and some tasks were completely pointless to me and I didn’t do them. Later, in the evening, we attended a soccer match between Martinique and Costa Rica, where Martinique unfortunately lost.

We organized the seventh day ourselves and my feeling was that people didn’t care and were only there because they were “forced”. Regardless, those of us who participated had a lot of fun and enjoyed the activities we prepared. On this day, we also did a clean-up campaign where we collected garbage from the nearby beach.

On the last day, we just packed and enjoyed the last few hours in Martinique.

This exchange, more than anything else, taught me how important it is to communicate with others and to respect them, because we cannot function otherwise as a society. I learned a lot about working with others and a lot more about myself. It was very tiring, but interesting and educational. The journey there and back was the worst part of the whole exchange for me because it was extremely tiring. It was great meeting all the people and I look forward to seeing them again.