by Nathan Hamer

From 30th August – 6th September this year, 42 young people from 15 different countries came together at Stephenson College, in Durham as part of the ‘International Futures’ Erasmus+ funded KA3 international training course. Organised by CILL UK and Momentum World in partnership with Durham University.

The premise of the project was to promote the principles, value and impact of giving young people international opportunities, discuss the thematic priorities for this work, and explore how this can be organised, funded and accredited in the future. As a group of young people, we achieved these aims by organising a conference, building our project management and intercultural skills in sessions throughout the week, and then creating our own ideas for international projects that we will go on to implement in the coming weeks and months. 

I feel immensely privileged and proud to be part of the project as a whole, but especially the conference. CILL/Momentum World, the organisers of the project, gave us the ‘bones’ of the conference – the venue, the guests, the topic of discussion. Then we had the task of bringing it to life and facilitating the day. We managed this in around 8 hours, having only just come together as a group the day before! Unbelievably, and maybe I’m biassed, but it was extremely successful. The guests were energised, the discussions weighty, and the talks inspiring. For me, it was a perfect example of what is achievable when you get a group of stimulated individuals together, and successfully facilitate their cooperation in reaching a common goal. I am extremely optimistic that this cooperation will continue in the future once we begin work on our own international projects. Some themes discussed were; Opportunities for young people in rural areas, Mental health, Reducing plastic, Raising awareness of disabilities, Support for young Ukrainians. Personally I will be working on a project supported by the ‘Time for Tea’ programme. Essentially it is a method to engage groups in social action, creatively, through the use of tea. To find out more visit 

Aside from all of the amazing work and development of participants that went on throughout the week, we naturally came together as a group. Sharing many great moments, hearing each other’s experiences and viewpoints. To summarise learning and understanding new people, places and cultures. “So many different people from different cultures but with the same values and understandings, willing to make a positive change.  we barely knew each other but we created beautiful things together” – Paola, Bulgaria. 

“Intercultural exchange programs are an opportunity to find and discover ourselves, they are an opportunity to make our existence a real interesting life”. – Amal, Morocco. 

This project wasn’t my first experience of international mobility. Infact, for the past 4 years they have been a huge part of my life. I had hoped to pursue a career in the facilitation or coordination of international projects, although nowadays this isn’t an impossible goal, it is a substantial amount more difficult. I have also recently left a long-distance relationship with a woman from Spain, because there isn’t a clear or easy path for us to be together anymore, since the UK leaving the EU. Politically I am disheartened by the way things have gone these past few years, and personally I feel bitter and cheated by some of the decisions being made, without the interest of a lot of my generation, and others, being taken into account. I sincerely hope that we will see this change in the future, and to anyone out there playing their part in this change – Thank you. 

On behalf of all the benefactors of this project, I would like to thank CILL UK, Momentum World, Durham University, everyone who attended the conference, and the Erasmus+ programme for making it possible.