15 April 2022

Youth Ecopreneurs Lab

We spent the last 8 days of March in a Youth Exchange that took place in paradise, surrounded by amazing people coming from many different backgrounds. Le Moule, in Guadeloupe was our home and our space to learn, to practice, to grow and to connect. 'Youth Eco-preneurs lab' was the place for us to learn new methods that can help us put in practice our ecological solutions for today's issues. We were 5 people representing the Romanian team, and together with people coming from Bulgaria, Greece, France, Latvia, Poland and Guadelopue we had the chance to work and to learn together, to brainstorm, to understand each other's reality and the issues our local communities are facing, especially in terms of ecology, to finally come up with new ideas of how we could help our communities in a sustainable way.

During the week, we worked on our business plans for the solutions we came up with. How we did it? Using a super interesting method that for me personally was something new I didn't know anything about before: design thinking. This is a solution-based approach, that allows us to start from observing the reality, in order to notice the existing problems, and after that find a solution that is tailored to answer that specific problem. Basically, this approach helps you think differently - instead of assuming the problems of a community and coming with what you think would be a good solution, you actually take the time to understand those you want to help, see which are the real problems for them, and then find a solution that actually answers their needs. My favorite part about design thinking is that it is a method that you can apply in any area of your life, not only for your business plan - it is a new way of thinking that we were exposed to, that we can extrapolate to all our fields of interest and that for sure will bring a new perspective in our life. I think we had the chance to learn something that will help us in a much wider way than we can see at the first sight!

But an Erasmus+ project is not only about what we learn. It is also about the people we meet, about the cultures we discover, the connections we make and the enriching perspectives that such a diverse group can give us as a present. During the week we also had team building activities, game nights, role-plays, an intercultural night, where we all presented with an open heart our traditions, food and customs, we laughed, we had fun, we got to know each other deeper and we got to have the luck to call each other friends.

And of course, being in such a magical place, we also had the chance to feel the soft sand of the Caribbean beaches, to see the most stunning sunsets, to drink coconut water in the shadow of a palm tree, to taste different fruits and be amazed by the beauties the nature never stops surprising us with!

It was definitely an enriching week, filled with so many different things. And, as you might imagine, gathering the contribution and the experience of such a diverse group, the outcomes were pretty amazing in all the aspects - from learning, to business plans, to fun and everything in between!

Cristina Leasa