National and European Exchange Platforms meet in Zurich

On 16t October EFIL and EEE-YFU met Intermundo (Switzerland) and AJA (Germany), two of the national exchange organisation platforms existing in Europe. This kind of meetings are taking place since autumn 2011 and are precious to build links, exchange information and become more aware of trends in our sector.

EFIL and EEE-YFU shared their latest advocacy efforts linked to the revision of visa regulations at EU level. AJA and Intermundo shared their initiatives:

AJA in this last year:

-          Made a study on the on impact of exchanges on host families with the support of the Ministry of Youth.

-          Organised a Parliamentary evening members of the Parliament on the topic of host families and their contribution and impact on Germany as a welcoming society.

-          Launched of online platform on ‘welcoming culture’. Famous people as testimonials.

-          Changed the quality catalogue adding that host families can be compensated. Before a key quality criteria was that host families are not paied.

AJA is also representing its members in fairs about student exchanges, which are very popular in Germany, though there is a dilemma between being an advocacy or an ‘advocacy+marketing platform’.

In the meantime in Intermundo in this last year is:

-          further developing Boostbox, a tool to identify competences learned through mobility which will be launched in February 2015. Three workshops have been done to set up the tool;

-          conducting a study on youth mobility in Switzerland;

-          focusing on changing the rules for exchanges and apprenticeship so that young people following an apprentiship can go abroad without breaking the apperntiship contract;

-          planning to gather studies on the impact of youth mobility and organise the outcome of the studies on the basis of values (quality/impact).

In general, discussions made evident the pressure of the for profit organisations organising pupil exchanges and also volunteering abroad programmes. Only the quality of our exchange programmes and the civil society nature of our organisations which are also partners of governments and public sector for creating an impact on society can be winning cards for the non profit organisations which are mission driven. Alsothe demand for English speaking destinations is increasing and host family payment becomes a more urgent issue to tackle. Pupil exchange numbers are stagnating: young people might prefer to go abroad when they are older through university exchange and volunteering.

NEEP

For further information, please contact elisa.briga@afs.org