A personal story about an unforgettable trip to France

Over the years, Association FOR YOU has organized dozens of youth exchanges. For some participants, they are a chance to get out of their homeland and to meet new cultures and different values. For some, it is the first time taking a flight, for others their first opportunity to communicate with foreigners, and for others – a chance to get involved in an international youth initiative. However, everyone is united by the inspiration to be active, purposeful, and engaged. Each participant has a personal story about how the exchange went. We give you the story of Yoanna-Preslava, who spent nine days in France under the Erasmus + Program. Four more young people took part in the Bulgarian team.

Yoanna-Preslava tells us about her trip:

“Being an active citizen is extremely important to me. I believe that the world is a much more connected and dynamic place than before and the opportunity to shape my future is entirely in my hands! That’s why I decided to apply in youth exchanges Future Empowered Youth: From Challenges to Opportunities. It took place in Vieux Boucau, France and was organized by MAISON DE L’EUROPE DES LANDES – WIPSEE. Its aim was to motivate young people to be active citizens and to draw their attention to topics such as social inclusion, stimulating the exchange of knowledge and skills of the participants. This exchange was one of my greatest experiences. I define it as an extremely useful experience, so I decided to tell you more about it.


It was Saturday, a gloomy and rainy day. The Bulgarian group gathered at the airport in Sofia, where we had some time to meet and get to know each other before the flight. It turned out that we are all very cool and in a positive mood for the adventure that awaited us. For me, this was the first time I left the country, which made me feel even more excited. We had two long flights from Sofia to Catania, Sicily, and from Sicily to Bordeaux, France. When we landed in Sicily, the weather was radically different – we went from the rain to the hot sun. We had a lot of time between flights and decided that we could take advantage of it by walking around the center of Catania. We got on the bus and got off at a small “square” where for the first time in my life I had the opportunity to see such old and remarkably beautiful buildings. After a short walk, we returned to the airport and at 20:00 we flew to Bordeaux. I slept the whole flight. Arriving at the airport in Bordeaux, we were warmly welcomed by the organizer of the project, who could not wait to see us and take us to the bus, where all six other teams of Romanians, Georgians, Jordanians, Egyptians, and French were waiting for us – the Bulgarians. After a long two-hour bus ride, we arrived in the resort town of Vieux Boucau, where we were accommodated in our home for the next 7 days.


After breakfast, we started with the activities. The day was dedicated to getting to know each other, the task was set for the Bulgarian team. We had to organize ice-breaking games and activities. Thanks to Valyo and Emo, who had solid experience in youth projects, we were able to complete the task and unite the participants at least a little with the help of different games. 

DAY 3 and 4

The activities during these two days were dedicated to opening our vision to the participants from other countries, overcoming the cultural borders between us, and becoming one big team that has a single cultural identity. The exercises were organized by the Egyptians and Romanians, the other participants were divided and mixed into teams so that our points of view could be combined to complete the tasks as fully as possible and create a constructive opinion in the end. For me, this was extremely useful because I was able to understand things that are important to me by discussing important issues with other participants.



It was a free day in which we had the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Bayonne. Bayonne with small streets and typical Basque architecture – houses with open beams on the white facade, concluded in geometric shapes and colored in red or green. There we had the opportunity to visit the Gothic church “Holy Mother of God” from the XIII century, to visit some museums, but also to try typical dishes of the region. 

Day 6, 7 and 8 

In addition to the great opportunity to expand and exchange knowledge about the various issues affecting young people in all seven participating countries, as well as the different types of volunteering organized there, we also had the opportunity to visit the Atlantic Ocean, which was literally just five minutes away from us. We had a lot of good times with all the participants, from all countries. Every night after dinner we got together, listened to music, told stories, and laughed. We tried traditional drinks and pastries from Jordan and Georgia. During the Bulgarian cultural evening, we managed to present our homeland with dignity– we played traditional Bulgarian dances (horo) and handed out a cake with honey. Perhaps, the only unpleasant part was the last ninth day – when we had to part with the other participants, who became good and faithful friends.

I would advise anyone who has the opportunity to participate in an exchange under the Erasmus + program, which Association FOR YOU offers, to do so without wondering. By participating, I had the opportunity to visit a foreign country, make friends, learn many useful things, and practice the two foreign languages ​​I know. The exchange upgraded and enriched me as a person and I would be happy to apply at the next opportunity! ”

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