A youth exchange is a project funded by the European Commission and the Erasmus+ program in which groups of young people from different European countries participate. These projects allow participants to meet in a foreign country and exchange knowledge and experiences related to a specific social theme.
What is a Youth Exchange?
What does it mean to be the group leader of an exchange?
In Erasmus+ youth exchanges, each national group has a leader, who is usually over 18 years old and typically without an upper age limit, to facilitate the organization during the preparation and implementation of the project.
If you are the group leader, your role will be that of the contact person for the “Spanish group” for the organizers (trainers and monitors) of the exchange. This involves participating in pre-project or during-project meetings with other group leaders, communicating all decisions made during the project to the participants, conveying any problems or concerns within the Spanish group to the organizers, etc. At times, leaders participate in a pre-planning visit to the host country with the other representatives to prepare the project’s activities and locations.
The most important task is managing the reimbursement of travel tickets for the participants. Usually, this is done after returning from the project (after sending the used “Boarding Passes” for the return journey), and sometimes it’s done during the project itself. The group leader will need to collect all the boarding passes from the participants and hand them over to the project coordinator. Additionally, the group leader will ensure that the correct amount is returned to each participant if the reimbursement is done in cash during the project. It’s important to note that in order for the reimbursement to be processed, it’s necessary to attend 80% of the sessions. Trainings and exchanges require active and motivated participants.
And if I’m not a group leader, what tasks do I have?
If you’re not a group leader, then you are a participant. But, be careful! That doesn’t mean you don’t have any tasks 😉
Pre-project phase: each participant should be involved in the organization and preparation of the project, as well as attend any meetings we organize to prepare for the project. You should also collectively send a photo of the group at the airport or upon arrival at the project so that we can publish it.
Post-project phase: you will support the group leader in writing the article for the Mundus website, recounting the experience you have enjoyed together.
Collaborate as much as you can with your group leader. They will ask you for your tickets, boarding passes, invoices, and other travel documents. Make sure that all transportation tickets are received and properly archived. To facilitate the task, create a list of all travel expenses that you can justify and attach it to your tickets with the final amount that should be reimbursed to you. REMEMBER: No tickets, no reimbursement!
As a group of participants from Spain, you will usually be required to prepare a presentation about your country/culture. Try to be creative and showcase customs and ways of life, breaking down stereotypes and demonstrating that we are not just the country of siestas. We also recommend bringing typical food, postcards, and tourist information from your hometowns, as there will be a national presentations day or an international dinner where you can share your culture and customs.
Remember that an exchange or training is not a vacation paid for by the European Commission. The more active and motivated you are, the more you will enjoy the project. Try to interact with everyone, avoiding forming the famous “Spanish ghetto”. You, as participants, are our calling card, so don’t stop smiling!
Whatever your role, the Mundus team wishes you to make the most of your experience. Now, it’s up to you to make it unforgettable!
How to make a good CV and Cover Letter?
When you’ve found a project you like, to apply for a spot, you should always send us your Curriculum Vitae and your Motivation Letter for that specific project. Both documents must be written in English or in the language of the country you have chosen to do the project.
These documents will be your introduction letter to the host association or hosting organisation, which will be in charge of the selection process. So don’t forget to write them with your target audience in mind: what would they like to know about you?
The first thing is to be aware that you are not applying for a job. It’s good to include your academic background and work experience, but emphasize particularly on any activities similar to an exchange or related to your interests and skills.
Don’t worry about the language level, projects do not normally require a previous language level. However, if you can speak, write and/or understand another language, include it in your CV. Remember to adapt your CV to the country where you want to carry out your project. E.g.: In the UK it is frowned upon to include your photo on your CV.
Finally, remember to include your details correctly and up to date: full address, email, phone number, Skype account, date of birth, etc.
A motivation letter is a very personal thing. There are those who make it more formal – a well-ordered text, arguing why it should be selected – and those who make it more informal – a Prezi presentation, a video, or simply a text accompanied by photos. The important thing is that you maintain the style from beginning to end, that it has coherence.
A cover letter should include, divided into paragraphs or slides, the answers to the following questions:
Who are you?
Why do you want to participate?
What do you think you can bring, personally and professionally, to the project?
What do you think the project can bring to you personally and professionally?
Include your contact details, specify your sending association (in this case MUNDUS Association) and say goodbye with one of the many possible formal formulas in English.
Finally, even if you apply for several projects at the same time, remember to change at least one paragraph or a few sentences for each project, adapting it to the theme and the activities to be carried out.