Bee COINs in Ommen: Anna’s Best Erasmus+ Experience So Far

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.

I had the great opportunity to participate in an Erasmus+ youth exchange that took place in Ommen, the Netherlands between the 24th of April and 5th of May. For two weeks we shared a house ”Olde Vechte” with participants from Italy, Greece, Romania, the Czech Republic and Lithuania.

I initially applied to the project because I’m not that great with saving money or managing my finance well in any way so once I saw the project I knew that it was just for me. I went with no expectations at all and once the project came to an end I realized it was one of the best projects I have been to.

SO where it all began?

We arrived at the Olde Vechte house and were welcomed warmly by the organizers- Ilyana Panteleeva and Plamena Todorova. We then went to search for a room and to make sure that we’re not share it with someone that’s from our nationality so we can interact with people from other countries and for it be a real intercultural exchange. Once we got all settled in we went downstairs to the common area where we had dinner and get to know the other participants.

The sessions started the next day with energizers, ice breakers and we started to dive in the topic itself. We had sessions on what’s Finance, what it is for us and how can we manage it. One session I particularly liked is the one where we needed to describe what the costs of living will be if a foreigner decides to live in your country. This showed us, the locals, what the average costs are and it was interesting to see what the situation in the other countries was (if we wanted to relocate there or start a business :D)

We also brainstormed about different ways that people manage their finance and we found out that there are people that have a notebook in which they write their credits and debits and others use an app so they can keep track on what they spend and earn. In the end we reachgtred a mutual conclusion that Moneylover is one of the best apps that we can use and I actually do use it to this day.

One of the other interesting  activities that we had was on King’s day where we had the chance to take a walk around Ommen and ask the locals how are they celebrating it and how much they spend for the day. This was useful because we managed to see the atmosphere of this holiday and to interact with the citizens even if we asked them questions about money and how they manage it.

We also had two trips organized so we can experience the Netherlands while we’re there. And what better way to do so than renting a bicycle and experience the great roads and their vello alleys. We travelled all the way from Ommen to Zwolle where we managed to get around the city and eat their local food.

The second trip was like a project – we split into groups, think about a topic and then present it to the Team Leaders so that they can approve if we can visit that city and implement our project. My group decided that we want to go to Amsterdam and we breainstormed about the idea of the project and how are we going to present it. Luckily the Team Leaders approved it and we were on our way to Amsterdam.

But the Youth Exchange wasn’t all about that – we had some fun dancing, cleaning the house and we even had a mini theater organized and you can check some of the photos below

 

 

 

 

 

 

To sum up the experience it was one great project where we managed to learn more about financial education, non-formal education and how it feels to live in an intercultural environment. I can personally recommend the Erasmus+ experience as it’s a great way to travel, learn new things and meet new people. I won’t hesitate to apply to another youth exchange and I’d definitely visit the Netherlands again.

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