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Young people are researching sustainable development: MSU students took part in an international exchange in Austria

The team of the public organization "Cultural and Educational Platform "Sense" consisting of lecturers, graduates and students of Mariupol State University took part in the international exchange "Youth Exploring Sustainability" under the Erasmus+ program.

From August 7 to 15, participants from Germany, Czech Republic, Portugal, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Austria and Ukraine visited the Austrian city of Lakenhof am Otscher. Associate Professor of the Department of Historical Disciplines Svitlana Arabadzhi, master of history and archeology Oleksandra Vorotilova, student of history and archeology Alina Tanasova and student of translation (Italian) Serhiy Rashevsky were sent from Mariupol State University to Central Europe.

The exchange brought young people together to discuss sustainable development, responsible consumption and reunion with nature.

The participants reviewed 17 global goals - key areas of development of the countries approved at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development, read the reports of their countries and discussed the results. Some global goals have an environmental focus: responsible consumption, combating climate change, conserving marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

During the introductory walk through the town of Lakenhof am Otscher, young people were looking for manifestations of a conscious attitude to the environment. They saw garbage bins next to each house and solar panels on the roofs.

Participants joined an educational session dedicated to architecture and construction from alternative materials that do not pose a threat to nature and people. During the workshop, young people shared ideas that can be used to improve the environmental situation in their cities. Attendees agreed that first of all you need to start with yourself - go to fabric shoppers and bags, sort garbage, tell the younger and older generation about the alternative to plastic bags and plastic.

The youth passed a test that helped to find out how many resources each of those present uses and how many planets the Earth would have to have to meet the needs of all mankind. Many participants were forced to think and reconsider their own consumption patterns.

In addition to environmental issues, participants discussed the topic of discrimination, overcoming which is one of the key areas of sustainable development. Young people discussed examples of gender inequality and violence in the participating countries, and MSU Associate Professor Svitlana Arabadzhi conducted an educational session on gender stereotypes.

We learned that people in Armenia and Georgia are afraid to talk about domestic violence and hide it. Most countries are now moving to talk not only about sexual violence, but also economic violence. In turn, we said that in Ukraine there are attempts at equality, but still there is a lot of harassment from gender, for example, in our society there is an opinion that only a woman should go on maternity leave,

– Alina Tanasova. 

In addition to lectures and discussions, the participants of the exchange had a real reunion with nature. In order for the day to be productive and active, they started the morning with meditation - listening to the sounds of nature, enjoying the beauty of the mountains. Under the exchange program, the young people went to the lake and climbed a mountain 1300 meters high, as well as played unique musical instruments of natural origin. 

Among other things, the participants shared with each other the experience of community service and planned activities that are going to be implemented upon arrival home. The team of the public organization "Cultural and Educational Platform "Sense" intends to hold workshops on the rational use of resources, blogging - garbage collection during a run, or a competition, after which the winners will receive eco-prizes.

At the end of the program, participants received Youthpass certificates, which contain information about participation in the project from Erasmus+, the results obtained and competencies. 

The Ukrainian team spent the last day in Austria in Vienna. Despite the capricious weather conditions, the young people managed to visit one of the main attractions of the city - the Belvedere Palace complex. MSU lecturers and students were able to see with their own eyes the works of prominent Austrian painters, including Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.

Wandering the quiet and atmospheric streets, you forget for a few seconds and do not know where to go, and the map leads you around. You feel like the hero of a movie or a book walking in the evening and inhaling the aroma of baking, listening to live music from a nearby cafe, and at the same time looking for a subway to get to your hostel and finally sit down after a long amazing journey,

– Svitlana Arabadzhi. 


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