Keep Erasmus Plus case studies

The UK leaving the European Union places our membership of Erasmus+ in jeopardy. Discover how people, charities and communities in Scotland have benefited from Erasmus+.

Toni, 16, Royston Youth Action

I have been a member of Royston Youth Action since I was 6 years of age. For the last couple of years I have been volunteering to help staff work with younger children. I left school in the summer as I was not enjoying it. I would love to work with children that is why I volunteer so much with Royston Youth Action. The staff are very helpful and giving me advice about my future. They are like family to me.

In July this year, I took part in a Youth Exchange which was run by Royston Youth Action. I loved it. I tried some of the food from different countries. Some I liked, some I didn’t. But it was interesting to see how popular cucumber was for Finnish people. They ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I even tried some for the first time in my life. I am quite a shy person and do not have a lot of confidence but it was nice to meet young people from Austria, Poland, Hungary and Finland and to get their views about life in the countries and their hopes. At the end of the week I felt a lot more confident in being able to speak to everyone from the different countries and I learned so much during the week.

The young people from the different countries took part in Scottish country dancing and ate haggis, potatoes and turnip at the Rainbow hall in Glasgow which is also managed by RYA. They also got the chance to visit the City Chambers in Glasgow and the local councillor organised a nice hot buffet for all of us. It was great.

I felt quite proud that all of the European visitors said how much they enjoyed their visit to Scotland especially the Glaswegian friendliness. Everyone got a Youth pass certificate for all of the hard work they had done. I was very proud to get mine.

I do feel European but the week made me realise how much I did not know about Europe and the Parliament there. I would love to visit Poland and other countries in Europe. I was even able to learn a few phrases in a foreign language as a result of being on the youth exchange. All of us who were on the exchange are still regularly talking about the great experience we all had during the European exchange at the RYA youth centre. The exchange had a big impact on all of us as very few of us travel abroad.

Everyone is hoping that we will get the chance to meet other young people from different countries next year and let them learn about Glasgow and Scottish culture. It would be fantastic if I got a chance to visit one of their countries on a youth exchange as I do not have a lot of money.

Michaela, EVS volunteer, Xchange Scotland

At the start, I was convinced nothing could surprise me but, unexpectedly, I was challenged in many ways... My hard times have been balanced greatly by I-will-never-ever-forget times: professional experience I’ve gained, people I’ve met and places I’ve seen. I was given a great responsibility to co-ordinate European projects and its participants in Scotland and abroad, develop trainings and presentations, collaborate on promotion, set up and maintain new partnerships with local and international organisations and much more. I was part of an inspiring team that have always supported my talents and ideas and never put me down.

Brad, 23, EVS, Xchange Scotland

Brad went on a short-term EVS project last summer to France with Xchange Scotland, and has since developed his skills and confidence by leading international projects in Scotland.

He says of his experience: "At that point I was annihilated with social anxiety and found it difficult to even have a conversation with a handful of people at the same time. That's not an exaggeration at all. So going to France and travelling alone was a really big deal for me. There was an excitement mixed into it as well. When I arrived and was greeted by the hosts my anxiety properly kicked in... But Xchange Scotland staff were there to reassure me via email each morning for the first few days, which helped massively. After that I just got stuck in - properly loved it and didn't want to go home after only 16 days. Still friends with all those I met.

It was months later that I came back to see about other opportunities, and I was offered the opportunity to not only take part, but lead another two projects - which went terrifically well. I owe a lot of my interpersonal development to Xchange Scotland for affording me these opportunities. The projects are great in general, but I know the state I was in mentally last year in comparison to now and it's improved tenfold. I'm now in comfort knowing that my relationship with Xchange Scotland is only going to get better and better."

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