EFIL is conducting the Erasmus+ job shadowing project called ‘Common European Citizenship-Different Local approaches’. This project is a learning opportunity for staff members from EFIL, AFS Sweden, AFS Belgium Flanders, AFS Russia, AFS Germany and AFS Hungary on how European Citizenship content can be integrated differently in orientations, in particular in those for the participants to the European Citizenship Trimester Programme (ECTP).


Same AFS but different!

By Anne Cruyt – from AFS Belgium Flanders to AFS Russia

To come from such a small region (Flanders in Belgium) to an enormous country like Russia to attend the sending orientation in the Moscow region, I was having again my own intercultural experience: 90 per cent of the time I needed to ask for translation, they eat so differently there, if you fly for 9 hours (to the Vladivostok chapter), you are still in the same country! Not only did I learn a lot about how Russian ECTP students are prepared, I can now also imagine how “our” students in Russia feel on arrival.


I was really happy to see how thoroughly the Russian participants are prepared, how eager they are to cooperate and to learn, how enthusiastic the volunteers are, how the debriefings go really in depth and how nice our colleagues in the Moscow office are.

The orientation weekend was for ECTP (European Citizenship Trimester Programme) and Year Programme students, along with their parents. This was completely new for me; in Flanders we usually invite the parents for one workshop at the end of a weekend but here they attend their very own weekend with mostly separate workshops just for them. I can only imagine the luxury of having had the opportunity to inform the parents in person for a full weekend: this probably prevents a lot of support cases and phone calls to the office!

Since most participants and parents travel such a long way (up until a day of travel including a train ride or even a flight), they are very motivated to soak up all the information at this weekend. Even though the programme was very full, everyone was still attentive at the end of the day. Workshops included expectation management, presentation about history and mission of AFS, knowledge about intercultural learning (Iceberg theory, Adler curve and many others you are all familiar with), programme rules, do’s and don’ts, many real case studies and early return statistics, behaviour on social networks, hygiene, explanations on how to get a visa and behave in an embassy and finally practical information about documents, money and how to pack your bag.

ECTP-specific workshops included a thorough explanation about the Brussels camp, Facebook group and ECTP Booklet, a workshop on “my identity” and one on how to be an active citizen during the exchange.

A fun fact I learned was that even though we seem to have the same energizers all around the world, they are played slightly different in different countries. Now I can take back home a new version of the laughing game and the funky chicken!


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