Youth Exchange: "Taste Without Frontiers" - Project Results

The Youth Exchange "Taste without frontiers" gathered 35 participants from 7 European countries (4 participants age 18-30 years old and 1 team leader without age limit per organization): Greece, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, Croatia, Latvia and Estonia in Athens, Greece from 1st to 10th October, 2017 (8 days, plus 2 travel days). 

Participants explored the European culinary diversity as it has evolved by the flow of migrants during the last decades -national tastes combining ethnic cuisines and a fusion of new flavors- by active participation in interviews, presentations, games and outdoor activities. They had the chance to taste different migrant food every night, interview the local migrant community and be actively involved with them. 

During the 8 days of the project, migrant kitchen was used as an instrument to create cross-cultural understanding and promote cooperation, tolerance and solidarity. In each activity related with food, participants had the opportunity to listen to the stories of the migrant community, find more about their national food preparation, taste recipes from non-European countries and explore how food can connect us. 

The main aim of the project is to help change the general image of migration in society, promote tolerance and positive attitude towards immigration today and contribute to the social inclusion of marginal communities, migrants and refugees.

- Use the food as a tool for mutual understanding between different cultures and nations;
- Create and increase multicultural awareness;
- Raise awareness of the immigration situation in Europe and how it can positively contribute to our daily lives;
- Combat xenophobia and raise acceptance of migrants;
- Learn about the European migrant and asylum legislation;
- Promote the dissemination of information and knowledge about ethnic cuisine; 
- Encourage dialog between participants from different backgrounds and provide the conditions that will boost young people's ability to work in groups or individually, exchanging thoughts about migration in their respective countries; 
- Identify the competencies that could be developed through games that are required for young people's active participation in social life;
- Encourage mutual cooperation between organizations and participants to deal with the topics of inter-cultural issues and xenophobia and build strong relations for future projects;
- Reinforce young people's participation and social inclusion;
- Promote Erasmus+ mobility opportunities.

DreamTeam is a group of young people active in youth work and its activities are based on non-formal education methods and structured dialog. Culture, arts, creativity, youth active participation, social inclusion, solidarity and tolerance, mutual understanding and respect, human rights, cooperation, European awareness are the core elements of the group.

The project partnership consists of organizations with significant experience in European Projects, with contacts throughout Europe and wide dissemination networks.

DAY 1: Ice-breakers, Introduction to Erasmus+
The first day of the project was mainly dedicated to ice-breaking and team building activities. The day begun with the name circle so we get to know each other’s names and then we continued with the "Mission Impossible".
After a successful "Mission Impossible" where participants developed their creativity and talents and they created a song, a countries' map, an Instagram account, a hashtag of our project etc. they wrote down their expectations, contributions and fears about the project. Our facilitator explained the project, how it will be developed, made a timetable analysis, explained the rules, the desired results, listened to ideas and proposals, and we continued with team building activities.
The afternoon, was dedicated to the Erasmus+ programme and the opportunities it offers. We explored what is a Youth Exchange, a Training Course, what is EVS, the 8 key competences of Youthpass and its use for our professional and personal development.

DAY 2: National presentations&Middle Eastern Dinner
The day started with an energizer held on the roof of our hotel with a a breathtaking 360° view over Athens and continued with the countries' presentations about immigrants influences in their national gastronomy. The variety of northern and southern european countries resulted to interesting facts and habits and participants pointed out similarities and differences of migrant food in each nation. We found out, that Chinese and Turskish restaurants were in every country! 
The presentations were followed by a fun and informative Migrant Food Trivial Pursuit game where participants tested their knowledge about international food in mixed nationality teams. The following activity was the creation of a Migrant Food Map in the same groups and each team had the task to explore a specific world flavour: African, Asian, American, Australian, Mediterranean.After learning about the culinary habits in regions around the world, the time came to actually taste our first migrant dinner: Middle Eastern cuisine at Feyrouz.
Feyrouz is a small family enterprise that serves food from the Middle East. Andrreas and Savvas run the restaurant and their mother, Feyrouz cooks. They are migrants of second generation living in Athens and they have roots from Antioch and Lebanon, Cyprus and Constantinople. We listened to their family story and ate delicious lahmacun and pumpkin soup with zaatar and sun dried tomatoes. More information about Feyrouz:

DAY 3: A deeper look into immigration& Intercultural Dinner
The third day begun with an energizer on the rooftop of our hotel and was followed by the activity "Are you what you eat?" where participants teamed up in pairs and interviewed each other about their favorite childhood meal, the most extraordinary thing they have ever tasted, which meal they prefer: breakfast, lunch or dinner, their traditional food and much more. This was then presented to the group and we got to know each other a little bit more.
In the afternoon, we explored the European migrant problem a little more in depth: how the latest refugee crisis begun. what policies are implemented, which countries are affected most, problems and opportunities from refugees flow in Europe. This drove a discussion in plenary and the group idenitified the main problems that cause non-integration of refugees to our societies. These problems identified by the participants were taken as a base to create the situations using the tools and methodologies of the "Theatre of the oppressed" at the activity "Am I immigrant?".
This was a really interesting activity where participants came up with innovative ideas to describe what problems immigrants face. They were engaged into finding the solutions and turning a social problem into a social opportunity for peace, tolerance and acceptance of migrant minorities. They were engaged to it, they enhanced their knowledge and creativity and had a lot of fun. 
In the evening we had our Intercultural Night where all coutnries presented themselves with a video, traditional songs, dances and food. We enjoyed greek salad and souvlaki along with local specialities from all participating countries.

DAY 4: Outdoor activity&Chinese dinner
The day started with our first outdoor activity: participants were asked to explore the city's Migrant Gastronomy map. They were divided into 5 mixed nationality groups and they were given a map along with an Athenian neighborhood to explore: Plaka, Thisseio, Kolonos, Exarheia and Monastiraki.
Their task was to become journalists and conduct interviews to migrants who have a shop in their assigned neighborhood and create a media output the way they chose (a nespaper article, a radio show, a tv show, a blog post, etc.). They went out to the streets and they listened to interesting stories which they had to present to the group in our afternoon activity.
Presentations were really awesome as participants enjoyed the day a lot and created very nice and fun things. Their outputs were very informative about the immigrants businesses in the Athenian neighborhoods but also other staff such as for example, the group of Exarchia had trouble finding someone who wants to talk to them because they are a bit "hostile" to strangers.
Our migrant dinner today was in a Chinese restaurant run by a Chinese woman named Lily. Lily lives in Athens for 17 years with her family. She explained us her lifestyle and why she does not feel integrated to Athens.
DAY 5: Cultural Visit, Study Visit& Egyptian dinner
The morning of the fifth day was held our cultural visit. Participants had the chance to go visit the Acropolis and/or Sounion and explore Athens and its surroundings. 
In the afternoon, we had our study visit that took place in NGO "METadrasi" (action for migration & development). We were brought closer to the work and scope of the NGO by Christina Dimakou, a lawyer working for the organization. 
The Organization's main aim is the legal support of escaped people, primarily unaccompanied minors. The organization exists since 2010 in response to the acute refugee situation, with over 600 volunteers, including a large number of lawyers. 
Its working areas expand further than Athens to 13 more cities, especially in island locations, which constiture "entrance gates" for immigrants. Over 400,000 cases have already been processed. In addition, four special accommodations have been created for unaccompanied minors. The talk was followed by an exciting Q & A session and discussion on migration. 
In the evening we went to an Egyptian restaurant where we tasted authentic Egyptian food and listen to the story of Mr. Giorgos who came to Greece as a student and he perfectly fitted in the Greek community.

 DAY 6: Outdoor activity, Photography competition & Georgian dinner
Today's activity was to explore immigration from the scope of the locals. Participants were divided in 5 mixed nationality groups and their task was to interview the citizens about their perception on immigration.

Here are the videos of the interviews:

Furthermore, they were asked to show their photography skills by taking part to a photography competition "Open palate, open mind". In the afternoon, we saw the group presentations of each group and the photo competition was held. The winner photo was captured by Linda Žukovska from Latvia who won a special prize from DreamTeam.
After the evaluation of the day we tasted traditional Georgian food to a "secret" Georgian restaurant. Aza, the owner of theis restaurant came to Athens from Georgian 14 years ago and she loves her life here. She speaks perfectly greek. Her mother owns a smaller georgian fast food place while she opens her restaurants only on weekens. 
DAY 7: LipDub & Falafel
The 7th day, participants created a lip dub video, which was interpreted as a collaborative group action. The goal was to create something fun and creative, like a souvenir from the project.
It was a challenging process to reach a consensus on what they would represent, where to film and be on time for the film presentation. Eventually the job was done and participants had a lot of fun doing it. They incorporated many of the aspects of the Youth Exchange into the video, such as the theme of food, dance, interculturality and towards the end an outlook on the grandiose seminar venue Athens. The video can be found on YouTube.
After the daily evaluation, we visited Mahmout's falafel shop to try authentic falafel. Mahnmout is from Egypt, he came to Athens in 2008 and works in shop in Vathis Square, that serves a mixture of Egyptian and Lebanese cuisine since its opening at 2009. He is very happy with his life and his favourite food is falafel.
DAY 8: NGO Fair, Future Plans, Final Evaluation, Mexican Dinner, YouthPass ceremony and Goodbye party
The last day of the project, participants presented their sending organizations at the NGO fair. We learnt about the actions and areas of activities of these NGOs, the people behing these actions and got inspired.
In the afternoon, participants split in multicultural groups created their own project. An intense brainstorming took place and youngsters were trying to find innovative ideas that can be a plan for future reunions. It was very moving and fun to see that people got so close during these days. 
In the afternoon, right before our last dinner the final evaluation took place. It was an interesting time where people had an insight to the feelings, knowledge, inspiration that were driven from the Youth Exchange. In our last special dinner, Mexican cuisine, the Youthpas ceremony took place.
A deeper insight into migrants life journeys, settlement and businesses to Athens was achieved. Participants had the chance to learn from first hand and direct communication with them.
Migrant integration and cultural appreciation through food were a key for the success of our project. Interculturality and migrants customs awareness was gained. While working together, participants created deep friendships, exchange thoughts and ideas and gained experience, knowledge and special time with each other.

Dissemination is an important goal of DreamTeam, the hosting organization of “Taste Without Frontiers” project. Dissemination activities offer immediate value to the participants and also raise public awareness. 
In this report we present the actions taken by the partnership to disseminate the work which has been performed from 1st to 10th October 2017 in Athens, Greece. The purpose of this report is to highlight the main achievements of the dissemination activities carried out, share results, gine inspiration to future projects and analyze the impact of our work.

Main dissemination tools:
- Dreamteam's Website
- DreamTeam's Social media (Facebook page, youtube channel)
- Instagram profile created during the project @tastewithoutfrontiers as well as our hashtag #tastewithoutfrontiers
- Tumblr
- Local community via our outdoor activities
- Partner organizations

Δεκεμβρίου 05, 2017 / by / 0 Comments

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