This Maltese Initiative Is Helping Youths Travel To Awesome Places And Live Their Dreams
Everywhere from Spain to Japan, with an added twist
It was a normal day when Bruce Micallef Eynaud received an email that would send him on an adventure of a lifetime.
"It all started when I received an email from the Aġenzija Żgħażagħ," said Bruce. "They often send emails with interesting opportunities and events for young people, but this one in particular caught my eye. It offered those with the European Youth Card the opportunity to become a jury member at a film festival in Spain. Being a big film lover, I followed it up, and sent in my application - and I had an amazing time there, it was like I'd died and gone to heaven."
Bruce is just one of many Maltese youths that have been sent abroad on a personality-building trip as part of services offered by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ. He formed part of the jury at Sitges Film Festival, "where I got to see any movie for free, got vouchers to gorge on a lot of seafood, tapas, and paella in many different restaurants, and got to do the work I love."
Similar to Bruce, Sarah Maria Scicluna got to intern for one month in Tokyo, taking part in an exhibition in the Youkobo Art Space, after she participated in Divergent Thinkers 2016.
She spent a month in Tokyo doing things she had only dreamt off, and kept everyone up to date in her SarahGoesToTokyo blog.
"It was amazing, honestly I can’t think of a different word to explain it," she told Lovin Malta. "It’s a completely different world which led to many new works inspired by the place itself."
Making use of services like YIOSS - the Youth Information One-Stop-Shop - Maltese youths like Bruce and Sarah get unique chances to partake in activities both useful to their careers as well as personally interesting to them.
"YIOSS works with young people to enable them to access information and advice in a safe and friendly environment," Sarah Spiteri, a youth worker from Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, explains to Lovin Malta.
"The centre's aim is to help young people find answers to questions about education, work, housing, health, relationships, money, leisure and cultural activities among others. It offers a drop-in service to all young people between the ages of 13 and 30 and strives to use modern technologies in order to facilitate access. All of the services are free of charge," she says.
YIOSS promotes and co-ordinates three European networks which empower learning mobility for young people and youth workers; ERYICA, Eurodesk and EYCA. By working with these three networks - all of which offers different opportunities - young people and youth workers are given the chance to access unique opportunities and information from all over Europe.
Whether you would like to study, work, volunteer, be an intern abroad or just travel, Eurodesk is the key. All you need to do is contact YIOSS, let them know what you are interested in, tell them about your interests and YIOSS will make contact with the Eurodesk representatives in EU countries to gather the opportunities relevant to your interests.
EYCA grants young people discounts on culture, accommodation, travel, shopping and more, not just in Malta, but in all of the European Union. It allows young people to discover Europe, get useful information and participate in projects. EYCA is the initiative that allowed Bruce to form part of a jury in a Spanish film festival.
You can apply for the card online here.
ERYICA aims to uphold the right of young people to full and reliable information, which helps them make the choices they face in their lives, and which promotes their autonomy, ability to think critically, and active participation in society.
It is composed of national and regional youth information co-ordination bodies and networks. It works to intensify European and international cooperation in the field of youth information work and services