Alex Ispoglou’s takeaways from Bee COINs: Financial Education Debunked

Bee COINs: Financial Education Debunked was a 10-day youth exchange that took place in The Netherlands from 24 April till 5 May 2017. It gathered 42 participants from 7 different countries and empowered them to learn from each other about financial education. The project is funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU.

The BeeCOINs adventure started for me with a phone call from the Greek leader Elena. I was really excited when she told me that I was selected to participate after evaluating my application form. From this point, I started to imagine what we would do during the two weeks of the project. I had already participated in plenty of Erasmus+ projects, but I had a special feeling for the upcoming one.
The time passed quickly and finally I was in Ommen. The location of the Olde Vechte foundation was absolutely unique, inspiring and beautiful. However, what is a place without people? So slowly slowly I started to get in touch firstly with the coordinators and afterwards with the participants.
As I always say, a group of multicultural people is like a garden with different types of flowers, the more diversity it has the more beautiful the garden will be.
After getting to know with each other, we started the first activities. We had to split into multicultural groups and make a presentation about some basic statistics and facts about the economy of one of the participating countries. This was from my point view the best non-formal way to learn about the financial status quo of the countries from the other participants. Especially, the discussions after these were totally productive and helped us to find out the strengths and the weaknesses of each national economy.
In the next days, we did plenty of other activities but I would like to highlight two of them. Firstly, the day when we visited Leer Werk Centrum Vechtdal – a foundation for people with special needs that aimed to their social inclusion. This was a once in a life experience for me since it proved once again that faith and desire to develop yourself makes nothing impossible. The second one, was the whole preparation of the excursion when we had to propose a survey topic and had to convince the coordinators for the destination that we chose the survey to be held. Because of that, we had really productive time in Rotterdam where we tried to find out the relationship of social and national background and employment in the Dutch society.
Generally speaking, the BeeCOINs project provided to participants challenges which helped them to get out of their comfort zones and learn through interaction. To be clearer, I want to mention that the project had plenty of problems at the first days due to the existence of different personalities, organisational issues etc. but the way we treated the upper was exemplary for me and taught us how to become also better European Citizens and humans. In other words, it was a participators’ based project and that is a success that should be counted to the coordinators.
I feel totally blessed that I had the chance to share my thoughts and my ideas but also that I got influenced by people who are really remarkable. For me, this is also the most important outcome of this Erasmus+ project because only if we cooperate we will be able to stop the moral decline of the old continent and build a brighter future for our and the upcoming generations. 

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