The Local Challenge of the Erasmus+ KA2 Small-Scale partnership ‘Install Youth’ took place in Padova, Italy from May 15th to May 20th, 2023.
Padova, a picturesque Italian city renowned for its academic excellence, proved to be the ideal setting for the ‘Install Youth’ local challenge. The choice of location was motivated by a desire to be closer to the target audience, youth aged 18 to 29, and to immerse them in an environment that encourages alternative modes of transportation, such as cycling, public buses, and trains, thus minimizing the need for cars. This consideration was particularly valuable for young individuals with fewer opportunities, enabling them to participate more freely.
The ‘Install Youth’ project aimed to enhance the participants’ learning experience by conducting the local challenge in English, departing from the traditional school-based approach. Support in Italian was readily available for those who needed it. This bilingual approach not only promoted the use of English as a medium for learning but also encouraged cross-cultural interaction.
Throughout the challenge, an average of 15 participants attended each day, with more than 50% of them coming from various foreign countries. The participants emphasized the significance of their experiences. Foreign participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity to converse in English, addressing the isolation they often felt due to language barriers. The chance to actively interact with Italian peers was another significant aspect, bridging the gap between local and international students.
One participant from Ireland shared, “During our university courses, we are not able to interact with each other. Most of the time, professors lecture, and we take notes. There is never any interaction. After class, Italians hang out with their friends, and Erasmus students hang out with other Erasmus students, and if you are not part of the Erasmus group, you need to find your own circle. I wish our classes allowed us to interact as we are doing here.”
The ‘Install Youth’ Local Challenge was facilitated by two dedicated trainers who organized activities and provided language support. All the activities implemented during the local challenge were selected from one of the primary project outcomes, the ‘Install Youth Handbook For Digital Citizenship And Science Literacy Education,’ with the aim of equipping participants with essential knowledge and skills in the areas of digital citizenship and science literacy.