11 July 2017

YE "Bee Coins – Financial Education Debunked", Ommen, The Netherlands

Bee Coins – Financial Education Debunked project took place in a nice small and peaceful city in the Netherlands, more precisely in Ommen. The project was organized by Bees Empowered and was funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.

The topics of the project were numerous, some of them being: spending habits, saving money, being a cool consumer, bank accounts & financial products for youth, how to make a budget, how to use money to solve social problems and many others.

In this project, we had participants from 7 different countries: Romania, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands and Greece. The project was based on informal education and contained different types of activities, both indoor and outdoor.

One of the many interesting activities in which we have participated was interviewing people, not only from Ommen, but also from other cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Zwolle, Dalfsen or Rotterdam. We asked them about their spending habits and about their saving behaviors, but we also asked about other topics like job opportunities in the Netherlands or new business opportunities. The locals were very sociable and friendly and willing to talk and each of us learned things that were of personal interest.

Another thing we have learned in this exchange was about the tools we can use to help us save money, by keeping track of our expenses. With the technology today, there are plenty of apps that we can have on our phones and that are really easy to use: PocketGuard, MoneyLover, Wally, Level Money, Spendee, Mint etc. With MoneyLover someone can input the earnings, the expenses by category and the budget established for the next month. The app will let us know when we are approaching the budget and when we have exceeded it. At the end of the month, we are given a really great overview of the money we have spent and earned. This tool can help us realize that we spend money on things we don’t really need and this is just a great motivator in order to spend more wisely and save money.

The intercultural night was an amazing experience where we learned a lot about the people around us and we had a lot of fun by dancing on traditional songs specific to each country.

During this project, we also had an amazing journey in ‘dutch’ style, with the bicycles. We went almost 60 km during that day and we visited 2 cities where we interviewed a lot of people. Even though we could not feel our legs for 2 days after, it was worth it.

Participants' thoughts:

Florin Gherasim – Iasi

“For me it was the first time participating in a project like this one, and I can truly say it was interesting. The main thing that I’ve enjoyed was meeting new persons from different cultures and seeing how they think, what problem they encounter and also how they manage to pass over them. It was a nice break from my real life, and I’ve enjoyed it.

What can I say I’ve learned, is the way other people manage their money, either being by an app on their phone or by an excel table or just plain writing on a piece of paper. It was cool to see how their culture influenced them on their decisions. Overall, the Bee Coins project, was a great experience, in a wonderful country with amazing people. Kudos to the organizers for knowing how to combine fun activities with a learning twist to them.”

Alina Popa – Iasi 

“Bee Coins project taught me a lot of interesting things on different levels. I have learned how to mix the learning process with the fun activities in order to make an informal interactive learning environment. Some of the participants shared their experiences about saving money, about investing in different companies or even about how they opened their own businesses. All of these were really useful to me and made me more determined to never give up and keep on learning. Long story short, I have learned new things, I have made new friends and I have visited amazing places with landscapes that made me feel like in a fairytale. All of these made this project an experience that I will never forget!”

Andrei Colac – Iasi

“For me it was the first time participating in a project like this one, and it was very interesting. During this exchange I have made new friends and I have learned a lot of new things. I learned how others can save more money and new methods of doing that. The participants shared their point of view in the savings ability. Some of them always kept track of their expenses. 

One of the method used by them was an excel table where they put every money they give or take and how much are able to spend per day or per week. Others kept track of their money with a bank account and an application that showed them all of the transactions. Furthermore I visited new places and learned some things about other people cultures and how is the living in their own country. The organizing team was very fun and knew how to organize the activities so people will not get bored.”

Alina Maxim - Bucharest

“The youth exchange from Ommen was a completely new experience for me. It was the first time I got in touch with non-formal education, which can be so beneficial for young people like me and which proved to be better than the formal education. Besides finding out about the financial tools to save money, this experience made me realize how important and in need is to do that and gave me motivation in applying what I learned. I also met great people from several different countries and learned more about their culture, their economy, the cost of living and how each country spends its money. The youth exchange in Ommen was definitely an experience of a lifetime!”

Andreea Puzdere - Bucharest

“The first thing that comes into my mind when I'm thinking about what I've learned in The "Bee coins" project is how to use different tools to build my budget and how to keep tracking my expenses. The best part of this project which I enjoyed most was to meet so many people from different countries and learn from them a lot of new things. Our trip to Amsterdam and Giethoorn was unforgettable and was a pleasure to visit those places that are marvelous. I would sincerely recommend to everyone Erasmus + projects.”

In the end, we returned home sad that the project was over, but also happy that we had the chance to learn so many things, meet nice people and make new friends.

Thank you, GEYC, and thank you, ERASMUS +, for this amazing opportunity!'

In March 2013 we celebrated GEYC13 Anniversary