How many of you love to travel? And what do you think it gave you?
One last question – have you ever wanted to just drop everything for a while and go somewhere where no one knows you and you don’t know anyone?
This is starting to sound a bit like a telemarketer ad already, you probably expect me to tell you “Here now – you can do all this only for the modest price of 100 euros”. And at the risk of sounding like that, I will tell you that traveling almost for free, seeing new places, meeting people from all over Europe (sometimes even further away) is completely possible. And not only is it possible, but I and many other people do it all the time.
You must be thinking – what is this girl talking about? You may be thinking, “Yeah right, so many countries, for such a small amount of money.” But fortunately for us, these possibilities exist, as long as you can find them. And if I will tell you about my experience and try to awaken in you an adventurous spirit. To start off, I will tell you about my first project.
I was 16 years old, lying lazily on my favorite beach when my mother called me
– You will go to Romania for ten days. You’re leaving in a week.
You can imagine the shock, since I was neither involved in any organization nor knew what it was all about then.
And in the end I really left. For the first time, I traveled alone, not knowing where I would go, who I would meet, or what I would experience. But it was this adventurous spirit here that paid off. I had a really great time, met wonderful people and in the end I felt like I was leaving behind close friends.
That was more than 4 years ago. However, to this day I have fond memories of this experience and I know that if I see them again, it will be the same as during these 10 magical days.
Four years later, in the summer of 2019, I decided to travel again. It was one of those “I don’t feel like sitting here” decisions, and in less than two weeks I went to Romania again, but this time to the beautiful city of Timişoara.
Then I was extremely lucky to go to a fascinating training course in France, where I was involved in a youth circus. I (almost) learned to juggle, play diabolo, do slack line and dance with poi, which I still love to do.
I welcomed the end of summer in a beautiful village in Italy. Тhe nature, people and atmosphere stayed with me even months after this experience. Just look at these smiles!
After all, when I drew his line, from July to the end of August I had visited Romania, Spain, France and Italy, and my expenses were minimal.
Everything is great- but what happened to me is long gone and lives on only in my memory. No matter how much I tell you and show you, I can’t take you back in time and experience it together, even though if I could I would.
The common denominator between all these experiences of mine is that I found them on my own, I went alone and carry memories that will stay with me for life. These were some of my best and richest days, I learned and experienced so much that I can tell until next week. But the reason I tell you this is not to show off, but to tell you something very, very important –
YOU CAN EXPERIENCE IT TOO.
No matter where you are, what you study (whether you study), no matter what your interests and hobbies, whether mom and dad work as a millionaire or a shepherd, all this can be part of your life.
You may already be wondering how?
It’s actually quite simple. But to torment you a little more, I will leave it for last.
First I will answer some doubts:
Doesn’t it cost a lot of money?
No, it’s free. Yes, everything is free. The only investment is in tickets, and your money is returned after the exchange. You do not have to give a penny for sleeping, for food, for activities. Here I will only open a slight bracket to clarify. There may be costs associated with taking a brandy for the cultural evening of Bulgaria or a salami, onions, etc. The other thing that can be an expense is the fee, which happens to reach a maximum of BGN 100. This is the only investment you need to make to create some really wonderful memories
I’m shy. I will not have fun
This is so unlikely that you will win the lottery a dozen times before it happens. You will be surrounded by people who are your age, super friendly and kind, who really want to meet you and have fun. Unless you growl at everyone who speaks to you, there’s no way you’re going to be bored.
You are somehow special. I have not heard of such a thing.
I am no more special or privileged than anyone. These opportunities are open to everyone, you just have to register and go.
And now let’s get to the word – HOW?
Let’s just clarify some things –
The first rule of Erasmus + projects is TALK about Erasmus + projects
The second rule of Erasmus + projects is TALK about Erasmus + projects
And the third rule is
“DO NOT PANIC and GET A TOWEL.”
Are we clear? Okay.
All you need to do is look for them! Write Erasmus + Projects in the group search toolbar on Facebook, google websites that offer things like this, talk to people – everything is online! It can be a Facebook link, or a post on a site – if you find something you like, don’t miss out. When you find something that’s right for you – apply for it.
Depending on the project, the application can happen in several ways. You can send an e-mail in which you can say a few words about who you are, you can send a CV, or you can fill in a simple Google form in which you can say where you are from, how old you are, and why you want to participate. All this is described in detail in the announcement, and more information about the project itself (which countries will participate, where, when, what is the topic, what is the host organization, etc.) can be found in the info pack, which is attached to each announcement.
It’s not complicated, is it? That’s how I found all three opportunities I participated in last year, and my mother said that the first trip happened similarly.
Now, along with the coronavirus, the number of opportunities has definitely decreased, but before that I received notifications about at least 2-3 different projects per week. I guess they’ll start posting again soon, so don’t wait if you like something – apply now. You can learn and experience so much that it is worth 1100%. And we made an agreement – DON’T PANIC.
If you like the idea, you might also like ESC opportunities that are similar to youth exchanges and training courses, but are long-term and focus on voluntary work.
To live and experience your dreams isn’t hard. It just takes courage and action. If you want to do it – the world is full of opportunities for you! Go ahead and explore!
This article was written by Detelina, volunteer at Sunrise Project France since April 2020. She is a Bulgarian citizen and likes to learn, write, cook and meet new people.