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Ecological experience: MSU students took part in youth exchange in Spain

From October 14 to October 22, the students of Mariupol State University were taking part in the youth exchange "Triple R for social inclusion: reduce, reuse and recycle". The project is implemented within the framework of the Erasmus + credit mobility programme.

The international exchange brought together young people from Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, Georgia, Spain and Ukraine in Jerez de La Frontera (Spain). The following MSU students took part in the project: Lev Kaverda, Oleksandra Fedotova, Halyna Syzonenko, Alina Degermendzhi and Natalia Kudrya.

The participants of the programme discussed inefficient use of resources, human ecological footprint, the impact of waste on the environment, recycling and reuse of recyclables as well as social inclusion, stereotypes and their impact on public opinion.

The youth reported about environmental-friendly practices that are used in their cities and countries as well as shared their own environmental-friendly habits. In particular, during the exchange, MSU students adhered to the zero waste strategy: they did not use disposable cups, plastic bags and invited other participants to put their purchases in hand-made bags that they brought with them.

We talked about the situation in our city, that people in Mariupol are starting to use less plastic, sort garbage and are very bothered about the environmental situation,

– Oleksandra Fedotova. 


Speaking about the environmental-friendly habits, we shared the experience of many cafes in Mariupol, when visitors who come with their own cup get a discount on the drink. Many participants were surprised, because not all EU countries and cities have such a system,

– Alina Degermendzhi. 

The exchange program also included workshops, trainings and interesting topic-related tasks. The participants made products from recycled materials: bird-feeders, mailboxes, VR-glasses. During one of the tasks, the participants were presented with an opportunity to get acquainted with Jerez de La Frontera.

One of the tasks in the first days was to go out into the city and take photos of good and bad environmental and inclusive practices. So we explored the city and had the opportunity not just to walk and look at the architecture, but be productive as well,

– Halyna Syzonenko. 

In their spare time, the students visited the ancient city of Cadiz, where they saw the Atlantic ocean and tried Spanish street food.

Also during their stay in Spain, the participants held intercultural evenings, where they presented the culture and customs of their countries. Young people from Ukraine familiarized foreigners with the national cuisine and folk dances.

On completing the programme, the participants received the Youthpass certificates with the information about participation in the Erasmus+ project, and results and competencies achieved.


In November, the participants of the exchange are planning to share their knowledge concerning ecology with other university students and citizens of Mariupol. In the meantime, they told why they decided to take part in the youth exchange, what experience they received and how they are planning to apply their knowledge.

First, I filled out an application, because cerrently I am very interested in ecology and various ecological practices. But when, while preparing for the project, we learned that we were going to touch upon such topics as social inclusion, equality and tolerance, I got no regrets left whatsoever as for participation in the project. Youth exchange gave me, first of all, a huge experience of working in a team with different people as well as the opportunity to learn about the environmental situation in different countries, what other people think, and which environmental-friendly habits they follow.

This is an unforgettable time, because together with useful and very active tasks, we met wonderful and very talented people from different parts of the planet. I think this is the most priceless thing. As for the application of knowledge in the future, I already control my purchases, plastic consumption and use of water and electricity. I am planning to promote the zero waste strategy throughout my social circle and may continue to take part in such events,

– Oleksandra Fedotova. 


As a future ecologist, this topic is close to me, so I wanted to expand my knowledge and skills, learn about current problems in the field of the environment in other countries, and get acquainted with foreign experience of innovation in technological processes. This exchange gave me a number of new useful acquaintances. I received everything I wanted from the programme as well as improved my English skills. I am planning to apply this knowledge in my future scientific work and in my future profession,

– Lev Kaverda. 


I decided to take part in this project because the topic of environmental situation is relevant for our city and bothered me a lot. During the project, I gained new knowledge about recycling, social inclusion and exclusion. As part of the exchange, we visited the water treatment plant in Jerez de La Frontera where we saw how the water from all the city's drains is completely purified and reused in agricultural production in just 4 hours. Moreover, thanks to special equipment and pumps, this water helps produce ecological fuel and electricity.

This is the experience that, in my opinion, should be adopted in Mariupol as well because our city lacks such an environmentally friendly plant built for environment's sake. This project helped me to take a fresh look at many things from a completely different perspective. Now I would like to share my knowledge with the residents of Mariupol in order to improve the environmental situation in our city,

– Alina Degermendzhi. 


I really hope this is not the last such project for me. After all, it was a very interesting experience, not only in the field of ecology, but also in the field of interaction with people from different countries. Of course, after the exchange, I think even more about ways to minimize the use of plastic in my home and tell my friends and acquaintances about it,

– Halyna Syzonenko. 


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