My name is Lilia Gasmi, I am 20 years old and I had the chance to participate in a youth exchange in Kagel, Germany, in September 2019. This exchange was designed to give us keys to better understand our lives and create our own “hero
journey”. Interested? So read me and you will understand why it is, for me, a real school of life.

Get out of your comfort zone

During the youth exchange, in everyday life, we inevitably get out of our comfort zone, it is even an obligation given the trials that happen to everyone. With this program, we were in a place called Kagel-Zebra lost in the forest. This former Soviet camp, devoid of any internet and telephone networks allowed us to create a real network and facilitated communication with others since nobody had a nose in his phone. For young people for whom living without the Internet is a real challenge today, it was a good proof of commitment in this project.

The hero’s journey

We were all puzzled at first because we did not know what we were going to do. Indeed, the goal being to do an exercise in life, we only knew at the moment what we were going to do. For example, we knew the day before what time was breakfast and when we had to meet without further explanation which left us in limbo but was wanted. Our program was based on the principle of monomacy developed by Joseph Campbell. Our challenge was to live for 3 days and two nights in Berlin, in groups of 4 with 30 euros per person to get around, sleep and eat. Most of us managed this challenge and were able to return the last day with the pride of the challenge accomplished despite the driving rain. Want to know more about how we came back, click here. 

Intense links

During this ten days, we have been able to forge unforgettable ties and friendships that will remain for a long time. Indeed, despite the distance and constraints of each, we continue through a group messenger to give news and follow each other’s
progress. In addition, we had during the exchange a group of reflection, which allowed us to meet by 5 to discuss the day around a question which facilitates the speech because we were more comfortable than group of 5. We also had the
national groups that gave us a moment of speech in our mother tongue. It could be difficult to speak English all the time for 10 days, so we could breathe. And finally we each had a “buddy” with whom we took a time to talk about more personal things if
we wanted or other.

Just a beginning

To conclude, I enjoyed the youth exchange because it allowed me to make friends around the world, to discover other ways of thinking and to get out of my comfort zone. Even so, you have to like being tested and not knowing everything you are
going to do. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn in a different way than by school.

Lilia Gasmi, Mantes La Jolie,