Odeta took part in the youth exchange “Food for Inclusion” organised by Associazione Kora in Fattoria Scuola “La Buona Terra”, Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy, from 3 to 15 October 2017. The project involved 35 youngsters from Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Italy, Lithuania, Spain and Turkey in activities about food: cooking classes, debates, intercultural presentations and reflections on the production of the ingredients we eat.
This is her story!
I am Odeta, a second-year New Media Language, and Marketing student from Lithuania, originally from Marijampolė, but currently living in Kaunas. I am 20 and I have always loved discovering new places (even though I cannot show off the number of countries I have visited, as the digit would not be impressive compared to others).
How did I find out about the project? Over a month ago my friend sent me an invitation to an exchange program taking part in Italy, whose goal was to talk about inclusion through food. I love food and travelling, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to try something new. I submitted the online survey with little to no expectation. My friend was the last one to be accepted, because there was only one place left for the project. I got quite sad because I thought it would have been such a nice opportunity to travel with my childhood friend. A few days later I was selected as well, and I could not have been any happier. From that exact moment we all started planning and packing for our trip of a lifetime, even though I knew Italy was and is highly praised for its friendly people and spectacular sceneries, I did not have high expectations. I tried not to expect anything and just go with the flow. I was not disappointed.
The roads uphill opened amazing views and a totally different architecture style than I was used to see. The huge lake that structured the form of the town of Passignano, seemed pretty small from the window of the house of Buona Terra. Nothing will ever compare the sunsets, painting the sky with the warmest colors, I have never seen before. Each evening was more beautiful than the last one. “It’s not fair”, said my childhood friend Liucija who pondered the same thought in her mind.
The organizers and participants were very friendly and it gave me a sense of feeling, as if I have known them for a long time. Even though the people there were older, I could not sense the age gap when it came to communication. They taught some words in their own language for interaction and how to prepare their traditional meals. Nothing will top those evenings we danced and cooked all night to music blasting throughout the house, however, I cannot single out the funniest moment, because each day was significant in its own way. Despite the enjoyment, the cultural exchange and cooking brought us, we had to discuss more serious topics, such as racism and social inclusion in each participating country. Even thinking of these problems was not easy, but it was essential to speak out if we wanted to make a change.
During the project, we became like one big family and it was not easy to say our goodbyes. Through this exchange I understood how cultural exchanges are essential to give brief ideas on what is happening in a certain region of the world. We get an even more detailed idea about social and cultural differences on a European scale from the local European countries. We get to form our own understanding towards various issues and we are able to share it in our own country to change controversial points of view. I recommend these projects to every young person who is in doubt of travelling abroad for an exchange. There is no better time than now! You have nothing to lose. Getting to know people with different approaches, discovering new places and getting more valuable experience, what can be more thrilling than that?
Follow our Facebook page Associazione Kora to find more opportunities like this!