2 Bulgarians Share Their Experience in Sicily during the Youth Exchange ‘CulturART’

Last year, in June 2018, a few Bulgarian youngsters went to Sicily to take part of a Youth Exchange, ‘CulturART’, organised by Associazione InformaGiovani which was about migration and art as a way of mutual understanding.

I asked the participants some questions. Here is how they feel about this incredible experience!

Hey guys! Could you please introduce yourself with few words – What’s your name, how old are you, what do you do?

Seta: Hello everyone, my name is Seta Raynova. I’m 18 years old and I’m a student at Liceo Italiano in Sofia.

Nenko: Hello, I’m Nenko Manolov, 23 years old. I’m in my 4th year of University, I work as a tour guide and I run a few musical projects in my spare time.

Nice to meet you! Can you explain us a bit how you learned about the youth exchange and why you decided to apply? Was it the first project like this in which you participate?

Seta: I learnt about the project from my aunt who told me in details what was it all about which actually helped a lot in making the decision of whether or not to participate. I also decided to apply because of the idea of meeting new people and discussing globally important topics. Yeah, that was the first youth exchange in which I have participated.

Nenko: I found out through mutual contacts (an ex-girlfriend) and decided to apply, seeing myself in the description of applicants. It was not my first project, so I knew what to expect.

As it was the principal topic of the YE, did you learn something new about migration during the project? Do you think young people can actually use art and culture to create a more inclusive society and how?

Nenko: I think art can be a method to find and discover similarities already inherent in people. It gives individuals the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings from a deeper level, surpassing otherwise-relevant barriers of language and culture.

Seta: I didn’t hear something that new about migration but I had the chance to talk to people who have been through a lot while they changed the place they used to live in. Not only young people but everyone should use art and culture to communicate with others. They are the easiest tool for inclusion because more or less they do not require much speaking.

Mmh, it is very interesting. Now about Sicily and its culture! Did you learn a lot about it, and what?

Seta: Oh yes, definitely. When I talked to some locals they shared their insight of what it is to live there or to grow up in Palermo. It was fascinating. And I’m really glad that the housekeeper was willing to even tell me the legend of the statue there was in the yard.

Nenko: I have experienced firsthand the amazing food that they have, as well as the pristine natural beauty. Also, I strongly appreciated the continuous link between old and new in the architecture of Palermo city.

And now, more about you. Did you learn something new about yourself during the project? And if yes – what?

Nenko: I have strengthened the belief that I don’t have to change myself to communicate with people different from me. I can simply be myself, and they will appreciate the authenticity more than me catering to an image that I had assumed that they would expect.

Seta: I learnt that I like fussball and that I can actually use the Italian I’ve studied.

And what are your plans from now on? Do you want to take part in other similar projects?

Nenko: I plan to graduate University and get started with the next stage of my life. I would participate in projects if I have time, such as between semesters or after graduation.

Seta: My plans from now on are to concentrate on my studies but if I have the possibility to attend some similar project I will be glad to do so.

Thank you a lot for your answers and see you soon for another project together!