This international youth exchange was organised by a young and ambitious Italian Mirko Montecchiani. It was going on in Italy in a village named Apiro (about 70 kilometres on the West from Ancona). It lasted from 6 until 15 July 2008. It is important to note that this was the exchange between blind and sighted people.
At the exchange 30 youngsters from the following six countries were taking part: Slovenia, Italy, Spain, France, Latvia and Hungary. In slovenian group there were five participants: Aleksandra Surla, Jana Kirn, Maja Jakovljevič, Urška Kovačič and Anton Jakša.
We were living in a village Apiro, in mini-apartments, where we were put together people with different nationalities. This way we had an opportunity to get to know youngsters of our age from other countries. The countryside was mediteranian, but from the distance we could also see the mountains, from which the wind was blowing almost all the time. It was very quiet because there was no houses or shops.
Although the programme was quite colourful, we still had a lot of time for ourselves and for joining together. Each group prepared a forum. Slovenians prepared a forum about blind people and career, Hungarians prepared a debate about blind people and sport, Latvians about blind people and travelling, etc. At these forums we had the opportunity to express our points of view, obstacles that we try to overcome and come to the conclusions. Each group also had its national evening where we tried their national culinary specialties, got to know their music.
We visited Phrasassi’s caves which are the most beautiful caves in Italy. We walked through 5 different rooms and were told about the history of the caves. The room of the Candles was very interesting.
We also visited the centre where perfumes are being made. We were smelling different smells and at the end each of us could create a customised perfume.
In Ancona we visited the museum where it is possible to touch all the exhibits. We saw many historical personalities, gods, buildings. The Romean cathedral and Athenian acropolis were particularly interesting. After the visit followed the press conference.
I think that for each of us this was an unforgetable experience. We got to know many magnificent people, their culture, language. We got to know italian culture, we were enjoying their specialties and even learned some italian words. Without a doubt we can say that they prooved to be excellent hosts!