EVS Finland – John

EVS Finland – John

EVS Finland

John's story

At 21:30 on Saturday 31st January, I arrived at Nuorisokeskus Villa Elba, Kokkola, Finland. The significance of this is that this was the place where I would be working as an EVS volunteer for 9 months. It was below freezing and there was snow everywhere. Immediately I was shown to my room by a Turkish volunteer called Onur and I was introduced to the girl I would be sharing the cottage with that night. Her name was Lara and she was from Spain and had travelled from her EVS project up in Lapland. We spoke for a while and then we both retired our bedrooms to get some much needed sleep.
The following morning, 17 more volunteers from across Europe arrived and we began our on arrival training. This consisted of 5 days of group exercises, a movie night where we watched a Finnish film about Santa Claus, an international evening where we shared food from our own countries and learned about our group’s diverse range of cultures, 2 Finnish lessons and excursions into Kokkola and to the nearby town of Pietersaari to see the Arctic Museum (Nanoq). At the end of these 5 days we had gone from being a group of total strangers to being a 19 strong family unit and it was difficult and very sad to say goodbye to these people.
After my on arrival training, my work began. I would be helping in 3 different departments at Villa Elba during my 9 month project. They were the International Department, the Nature School and the Service Department. Each department had several different roles for me to fulfil which meant that I would have quite a wide range of daily activities such as helping leaders run outdoor activities with primary school children, cleaning, or giving presentations in school or at Elba about my EVS project and England.
One of the best things about my project was that every few weeks there were different groups of people coming to Elba – some for one day, some for a week and some for a month. I have been fortunate enough to meet a lot of wonderful people from every corner of Europe. Every couple of months our mentor organised a meeting for myself and other volunteers to discuss how we were getting on in our different projects. There was also a mid-term meeting held just outside of Helsinki which had the feel of a retreat to it, but where we were reunited with those from our on arrival group who did not share mentoring sessions with us. The aim of this was ultimately for us to explain the good and bad things about our projects and to set ourselves objectives to achieve in the remainder of our projects.
I was also able to do some travelling while I was in Finland. My first trip was to Torino, Italy to see friends I had made in Finland. My second trip was to Inari, Lapland for a mentor meeting where we spent 3 days in the far north of Finland. My third trip was a long weekend in Helsinki and Tallinn with friends from my on arrival group. I also managed to do some day trips to Oulu and Tampere.
In the beginning of summer I had the great pleasure of being driven around Kokkola by a friend in her red 1964 Ford Mustang and then at the end of the summer being taken to her Summer cottage just outside the city where I was able to try my hand at Jet Skiing. Recently I saw the Northern Lights which were well worth the 7 and a half month wait! Throughout the summer months there was 20-24 hour sunlight which made the summer nights feel extra special.
Finally, I have less than one month left here now and I constantly find myself wishing I could stay for longer. Since I arrived I have seen a transformation in my confidence, especially when meeting new people but also when talking to large groups. Furthermore I have managed to learn some Finnish, but be warned it is a very hard language to get to grips with. I have had the honour of working with a greatly talented and kind group of people who have made me feel at home here and I have also made friends with some people who I will simply never forget.

Milestones Project

Milestones Project

Milestones Project

Lake District - December 2015

“Milestones” is a professional review and project planning meeting for known, reliable partners from Programme Countries, combined with a parallel activity programme for young people. The meeting will result in agreed partner projects for 2016.

The project will take at the Glaramara Outdoor Education Centre in Borrowdale in the Lake District and will last 5 days. Arrival day Monday 7 December, departure day Friday 11 December 2015. There are expected to be 40 participants from 18 organisations from 14 countries (each to send one project manager and one young person e.g. a young volunteer in their organisation).

The programme will organised as two parallel strands. There will be a project managers meeting and a young person’s media development programme. Groups will come together to provide information for the media development side of the meeting as there will be an eventual aim to publicise this work through different media.

Media Development Programme  

  • Ice-breaking and team building activities
  • Film training including camera work, sound, film editing etc
  • Web site construction
  • Blogging – keeping the Milestones blog up to date with stories from the week
  • Outdoor activity and discovering English nature
  • Information sessions on Erasmus+ opportunities
  • Liaison with project managers on content for media production
  • Intercultural dialogue & social time
  • Constructing a presentation

Project Manager Programme

  • Presentations on what has happened through the year for each organisation
  • What works and what does not – experience of Erasmus+
  • Continuous improvement of working relationships
  • Working with project management software
  • Liaison with young representatives
  • Future projects – detailed planning on joining projects
  • Intercultural dialogue
  • Working in other programme areas and countries
  • Outdoor activity – walk and talk sessions
  • Social interaction – evening trip to Keswick
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EuroPeers UK- What we are doing now

EuroPeers UK- What we are doing now

EuroPeers UK

What we are doing now
EuroPeers logo

EuroPeersUK is an exciting, rapidly growing youth-led network which aims to spread information all around the UK about the beneficial and wonderful experience young people get when they take part in EU mobility projects. EuroPeersUK gathers former participants of Erasmus/ Erasmus+ programme who have experienced living/working/studying in other countries funded with EU grants. EuroPeers network was started in Germany in 2005, and has since spread to six other European countries. Momentum World is now launching EuroPeers in the UK, with the support of 16 British youth organisations!

Why have we decided to establish the network? Because we want other British people to know about these fantastic opportunities thanks to which they can experience something new, unexpected and unforgettable; boost their CV; improve their skills and knowledge; and might even fall in love!

What is our latest activity? We have created an interesting ‘campaign’ on our social media in which people write few sentences about how their EVS/youth exchanges/ internship etc. enhanced their lives. Or they can describe the most memorable moment. Something similar to Humans of New York. The idea is to catch attention and tell people interesting personal stories so they find out about Erasmus+ opportunities. You can find the stories on Facebook: EuroPeersUK, twitter @EuroPeersUK or the website:EuroPeers.uk

Do you have such experience? Do not hesitate to get in touch with us! The network is open for every young person between 15-30 who is enthusiastic about Erasmus/ Erasmus+ projects. Once you become a member of EuroPeersUK, more opportunities immediately will arise for you: domestic and international training courses, school and university presentations, conferences, job fairs, flashmobs and much more!

Gordon Blakely joins Momentum World

We are delighted that Gordon Blakely has joined Momentum World as our Senior Adviser. Gordon is well known to most people in the UK and international youth sector, as former Head of Youth Policy at the British Council.

Gordon began working life with the Greater Manchester Youth Association, a non-governmental support agency. After some initial international work, he took up post in London at the Central Bureau for Educational Visits, the government international body for the Ministry of Education. In 1990, he formally joined British Council as Director of the Youth Exchange Centre. Over the years, this work included managing the European Union Youth in Action Programme; formal bilateral co-operation with Japan, China, Israel, and programmes with South East Europe and Sub Saharan Africa.

In 2010, he received an OBE for services to the British Council. Previously, he was awarded Chevalier des Palmes Academiques by the French Government, and a John Adams Study Scholarship by United States Embassy.

Gordon will be writing occasional blogs on this page for Momentum World, relating to youth policy or other issues of international interest.

China Youth Links

China Youth Links

China Youth Links

October 2015
China visit

October saw the official State Visit of President Xi Jinping to the UK, and the media were full of reports and discussions about whether we should be rolling out the red carpet for China. No matter what our view on that particular issue, most of us would agree that maintaining and developing positive relations between the people of different countries, and giving them opportunities to understand and learn from one another, is vitally important. Momentum World is of course not in the government-to-government business, but people-to-people is absolutely what we are about.
So at the same time as the President was in town, we hosted a group of staff from the China Youth University of Political Studies (CYU) with a view to developing projects together which would create opportunities for youth workers and young people from both countries. Our link with CYU began when Trevor Keough met Prof. Chen Tao, Director of the Institute of New Rural Studies, at a seminar in Vienna three years ago. At the end of 2014, Trevor and Andrew visited China at CYU’s invitation. The recent visit to the UK was the next step, resulting in a number of concrete project proposals.
But how can we hope to set up a meaningful programme of collaboration with a country so huge and diverse as China? How can an independent organisation (NGO) like ours build relationships with a state institution like CYU, or make the slightest impact in terms of youth opportunities? The answer, as with so much of what we do, lies in partnership and coordination for a range of relationships, rather than trying to do everything by ourselves. In any case, in dealing with China there is room for any number of initiatives. So we are pleased that so many organisations have shown interest in this initiative, and took part in meetings with our Chinese guests. These included the British Council, De Montfort University, NCVYS, London Youth, the British Youth Council, the Federation of Young Farmers Clubs, and the Chopsticks Club.
As a result of the visit we are looking at three initial areas of cooperation: youth leadership, youth worker training, and rural youth entrepreneurship. We are also proposing the establishment of an annual China-UK youth forum, with the proviso that it must not be just another talking-shop but an opportunity to report, review and develop projects.
Designing these initiatives and securing appropriate funding will all take time. In China too, the wheels often move slowly, but the important thing is that they do move. What we have done so far is to establish the key principles of cooperation (mutual benefit being chief among them) and trust between professionals. Whether or not this is a “golden age”, we are doing our bit to make sure the youth sector is recognised in our countries’ future relations.

Serbia MEDIActive Youth – Call for participants

Serbia MEDIActive Youth – Call for participants

Serbia MEDIActive

Call for Participants
Serbia participants

SERBIA – “MEDIActive Youth” for Youth Workers and “active” young people aged 18 and over with an interest in on-line media, this course will focus on the creation of educational resources and a trans-regional portal for youth policy, promotion of democratic values and development of media literacy and activism to improve information and cooperation between youth organisations within Europe and the Balkans.
The course will take place in Krusevac, Serbia from 4th to 13th December and will be followed by 2 on-line courses. 2 places available for participants from the UK.

Please email applications@momentumworld.org urgently if you are interested.