When I was 14, during my first trip abroad, I made a decision while facing an intercultural environment for the first time. I had to have it again. I asked myself, are there any free travel opportunities for youths that allow you to meet and exchange with people from other cultures? In the following years, I grew a habit of whenever I traveled and saw them because I knew a little bit of English and it meant so much to me. I didn’t know that there might be a program that helps young people travel, connect with others, and learn new skills called the Erasmus+ program.
The European Union offers young people the possibility to get out of their comfort zone, meet new people and develop themselves differently than the basic formal approaches. Nowadays, my teenage dream has become a lifestyle. For two years now I’m experiencing more and more opportunities for youth. So, I want to share with you 3 opportunities for young people that can allow them to travel the world, meet other cultures, and develop themselves personally and professionally, all for free.
Do you want to travel for free, learn new skills and surround yourself with new cultures? – Discover Erasmus+ and free travel opportunities for youths
The Erasmus program is a European Union initiative that offers free travel opportunities for youths. They are given the possibility to volunteer, take part in youth exchanges, and do internships abroad. It is a great way to get out of your comfort zone, learn new skills, and meet people from different cultures. The program exists for a long time now, and is available for youth residents in countries of the EU and also for youths from other countries affiliated with the program.
What you can learn and develop during an Erasmus+ experience?
Each person who decides to take up an Erasmus+ experience should know that the overall aim of the program is to allow young people to learn new stuff and develop themselves in the ways that they choose. It offers non-formal educational experiences, which are the opposite of the formal environment that we experience in school education. For example, if you studied something and you want to perfect it through the erasmus+ opportunities, you can. Meanwhile, if you decide that you want to grow a new competence and practice something for the first time, you can do it as well.
Who can participate in the Erasmus+ program? – What are the costs?
The program is open to all young people between the ages of 18 and 30. So, all you need is to have a desire for a new one and for your ID to be valid. Moreover, it’s FREE. You do not have to pay for anything while benefiting from the program. All costs, such as accommodation, pocket money, food money, travel, and local transport are covered by the program’s funds within the project you’ll be registered in.
If you are interested in taking part in the Erasmus program, keep reading to learn more about the opportunities available to you!
How do I register for the Erasmus+ program?
The first step is to register on the Erasmus+ platform, which is very easy. Here’s a quick guide on how to do that:
- Create an account on the Erasmus+ website.
- Once you have the account, you can log in and create your profile, then register for the opportunities.
- After registering, you can search and apply for opportunities based on your preferences, and you will also be visible to organizations that eek your profile for their projects.
Once you have found an opportunity, you need to complete an application form and submit it to the Erasmus+ office. You can find out more about how to apply for Erasmus+ opportunities on the program’s website.
That’s all there is to it! Registering for the Erasmus+ program is quick and easy, and it’s a great way to get started and explore what kinds of projects suit you.
The learning dimension of the free travel opportunities for youths Non-formal education — Skills and topics
As I already mentioned above, one of the main advantages of this program is the non-formal learning approach. It values personal decisions, skills and competency development, and the topics to be learned.
Also, It offers an open, learner-oriented approach that offers opportunities for individualizing the contents and methods of learning to the specific needs of each student. The method of self-assessment allows learners to reflect upon their process and acknowledge their growth. During the program, you can discover your own training needs and activities by analyzing your own skills development trajectory and career goals.
Some skills that can be developed during Erasmus+ opportunities are:
- Intercultural competences
- Foreign language
- Communication skills
- Organizational skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Team-work collaboration
- Entrepreneurship competences
What are some of the learning topics covered by the erasmus+ program?
- Active citizenship
Now, let’s move on to the 3 opportunities we will talk about today. I recommend those opportunities to every young person. Why? Read my testimonial on the EIVA organization’s website, an organization that hosted me throughout my experiences. There, I wrote about my thoughts and some details regarding the project I took part in.
1. European Solidarity Corps – Free travel opportunities for youths
The European Solidarity Corps is one of the 3 free travel opportunities for youths and a great way to get involved in solidarity work while meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. With so many opportunities to choose from, there’s sure to be a perfect fit for everyone. And best of all, it’s a great way to make a difference in the world through volunteering for different causes.
So whether you’re looking for a short-term project or a long-term commitment, the European Solidarity Corps is a great option for you.
When signing up for a project, you will get in contact with an NGO that acts as a host organization and will have to send your CV, and motivation letter. Then, you will participate in an interview. Once all is done and you are accepted, you will start the pre-departure training and receive support from the organization concerning the next steps.
I was a volunteer for six months in a team of 6 participants. Together, we hosted non-formal educational activities for disadvantaged children in Romania. We taught them languages, played different types of games, hosted workshops on arts and crafts, sang and dancing sessions, and many more. See here my project’s volunteering book.
2. Vocational Education and Training – VET internships
Erasmus offers a wide range of internship opportunities for young workers, students, and young people that are not in education or working, some within universities whilst others via companies outside the degree courses for students in higher education. During a VET opportunity, the interns will gain experience in learning and practicing in a company, business, or organization that is active in their chosen domain and will benefit from a mentor and support during the whole experience. The learning outcomes are validated through a document that attests to what the intern practiced and learned throughout the stage.
What type of internships does Erasmus offer?
Opportunities are available in a variety of sectors, including:
- Arts and Culture
- Business development
- Child care/youth work/social inclusion
- Environmental policy and long-term development;
- Healthcare placements
- Industry of hospitality and catering
- Design of information technologies/multimedia
Youth exchanges are youth-focused international exchange programs. One of the 3 free travel opportunities for youths, the youth exchange is designed to promote mutual understanding and collaboration among young people from different cultures. These programs typically involve groups of young people traveling to another country. They participate in workshops, activities, and other cultural immersion experiences. These programs can have a lasting impact on the participants, and can often be a life-changing experience.
Depending on the topic of the project, youths would have the chance to learn new skills, improve their soft skills, and have a self-development process. All this happens quite differently than through formal approaches. I almost forgot to mention how much fun youth exchanges are. Being surrounded by around 40 people from two or three other cultures. All set in a new country, doing group activities, visiting places, working together, and having FUN. Also, you can read about my experience in a youth exchange I’ve been part of.
Wrapping up – You are all set to join those free travel opportunities for youths
You’ve got all you need for now. If you would like to try some of those 3 free travel opportunities for youths, but you still have second thoughts, some fears, or simply need more information, I am here to respond to any of them. For me, It’s always a pleasure to see more people living the experiences I’ve lived and enjoying their youth years so differently than the normal routine. Moreover,I advise you to see how others’ experiences went. For that, I’m leaving you here a link with some testimonials from youths that I met when they volunteered in Romania.