POLISH-DUTCH PROJECT OF PHOTO YOUTH EXCHANGE
Since 2022 the Secretariat for Youth of the West Pomeranian Voivodship supports Polish-Dutch youth exchange WE – Young People See Nature.
It is bilateral exchange project for 14- or 15-year old participants from Poland and the Netherlands, who are interested in photography, nature, European Union and learning English.
The idea of the project is to use the camera as a tool to observe nature as a field of activity for Europeans. In the project, young people will discover that nature is fantastic, diverse, inspiring, and people living in partner countries are equally curious about the world, open, seeking freedom and fighting for their rights.
The common language of the project is English, so students willing to participate in the project must demonstrate at least a communicative level of the language. It is also a motivation and a reward for those who have devoted time to learning English.
The nature of the project:
“The nature of Europe” refers to something more than European nature. The project offers more opportunities than just learning about the similarities and differences in the nature exloitation in partner countries. It is an exchange between the Netherlands and Poland. West – East.
Teenagers can learn to look at themselves, their culture, history of freedom and current customs – all of these with use of a camera.
We want to make young people aware that no matter how old you are, it is always important to open up to other people and their stories. Since both countries belong to the European Union, it is important in to get to know those features that WE have in common. The project is our bridge between young people from both countries. It encourages them to talk face-to-face, to ask about their passions and interests, plans for the future, to discuss and break stereotypes.
How is it organized?
Ten Polish students with their teachers and a representative of the Secretariat for Youth leave Poland for 5 days for a selected place in the Netherlands. There we meet 10 Dutch students and their teachers. The place of stay is always an area of special natural value, where young people learn about photography and nature, as well as about programs such as Natura 2000.
Lessons do not take place in any classrooms, but outdoors. The content is short and interesting. Through the photography, they learn about biology, geography, sociology and history, and practice English. We organize short sightseeing trips that help build even greater interest and engagement in young participants.
Every day, young people take pictures on a given topic. In the evenings there is a presentation of photos and a discussion in English. The best photos of the day are rewarded – the authors receive gifts that refer to the given topic.
After returning to Poland, students keep in touch with their friends from the Netherlands, often using the current media, e.g. Instagram, Fb, Snapchat or others. They continue to develop their photographic skills, sometimes meeting online.
Then, after a few months (in the spring of the same school year), the same group of participants from the Netherlands comes to Poland, also to a particularly valuable and environmentally important area. Due to the region of operation of the Secretariat for Youth, we choose venueas located in the beautiful region of Western Pomerania.
Here are some photos from the 2022/23 edition: