"The project, realized in partnership with associations and medical vocational schools from Serbia, Germany and France, consists of three activities - two youth exchanges and a training course. It aims at exploring relations between the formal education system and non-formal learning, as well as the mobility of young people. The project deals with the gap between competences acquired in formal educational institutions and competences that are actually demanded on the labour market, targeting complementary of formal and non-formal education for the benefit of vocational students.
The first activity – the youth exchange – gathering 40 young people from Serbia, Germany and France took place in Novi Sad from October 18 until October 24, 2015. During this week the participants, exchanged and compared their skills and knowledge and explored what it means to put their profession in the context of intercultural learning.
French and German participants practiced different techniques of providing care to patients with their Serbian colleagues. They additionally visited the world-renowned healthcare institute “Sremska Kamenica”. Many of them admitted coming with considerable prejudices against the level of professionalism, equipment and cleanliness. A substantial part of the week was dedicated to the culture and history of the Vojvodina, particularly the city of Novi Sad. In tri-national groups, participants explored the city, interacted with locals, tasted traditional food and drinks. Discussions about prejudice and stereotypes contributed to raising cultural awareness and widened the horizons of these young people, which is especially important in their medical vocation because in the future they will provide healthcare to patients regardless of their nationality, religion, personal life etc.
The highlight of the week was public action “Red Nose Day". The idea behind this was to draw attention to the great work of a Serbian association, specially trained clowns, called "clown doctors", who visit children in hospitals. They help them adapt to hospital surroundings and distract them from painful or frightening procedures through creating an atmosphere of fun. Unfortunately, there are only 4 Clown Doctors in the whole of Serbia and no organized support for their work.
The participants in the exchange and around 1000 other students from the Medical Vocational School “7. April”, that VCV's partner school in this project dressed as clown doctors and paraded from Dunavski Park, through Dunavska and Zmaj Jovina Street, to the Hotel Vojvodina, in front of where we had a stage. The programme ended with a flash mob, where the participants with the students from the dance school “Groove” danced to the song “Go” by the Chemical Brothers.
The participants in this exchange left full of positive impressions. According to their evaluation, they learnt a lot about the culture of this region and enjoyed our hospitality, broke stereotypes and prejudices they had, became more self-aware, boosted theirconfidence, improved language skills and made new friendships. So far, we achieved the project goals and are on the right track!"
- Report by Tatjana Janković, Volonterski Centar Vojvodine
Youth Exchange paticipants take part in the "Red Nose Day" public action, Novi Sad, Serbia (2015) photo by: Tatjana Janković