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Bridge to Europe: An Erasmus+ Project

An Erasmus+ funded training course held in the breath-taking Caribbean Island of Aruba last April 2024, 'Bridge To Europe' aimed to facilitate the process of reflecting on European Citizenship and European Identity among youth workers and to explore their underlying values and concepts. This included a focus on human rights, responsibilities, participation in democracy, and respect for cultural diversity. 

This project brought together different Youth Leaders and Workers from 8 different countries across the EU and Dutch overseas territories in the Caribbean. TDM 2000 Malta was present in this project with Davinia Agius, Nicholas Aquilina and Duncan Muscat, who also presented the Maltese organization and culture to the other participants.  The project was run in the island of Aruba, hosted by CEDE Aruba and included members of the International 2000 Network. 

Aruba is bursting with different cultures and charm. Despite being a Dutch overseas territory, it is also home to thousands of immigrants from Asia, Europe, North and South America. The locals speak Papiamento, which is Latin derived, however the prevalent language is Spanish even though English is spoken perfectly by many locals.

This sun kissed island is also home to hundreds of tropical species; both marine and land bound, as well as providing a worthy base to thousands of migratory birds who are omnipresent and provide incessant song.

The island boasts dozens of sandy beaches, which are the natural breeding ground of 4 different types of Caribbean marine turtles who lay their eggs at the beginning of spring. 

The famous Dividivi (Watapana) tree is Aruba's natural compass, always pointing in a southwestern direction due to the trade winds that blow across the island from the north-east.

Other species include the black pelican, iguanas, wild donkeys, and rattle snakes which roam the island but are mainly concentrated in the Arikok Natural Park. Although, local flora and fauna is not all that the Caribbean Island has to offer. Aruba’s nightlife attracts many holidaymakers to the central Palm beach, where tourists can indulge in different cuisines and drink and dance the night away in this beaming leisure hub.

The project aimed to explore the concept of citizenship across the EU and active participation in society. It also looked at the different realities of the participants coming from their respective countries and experiencing the local context first hand. 

Moreover, the project explored different methods of how to work with youth and different tools which can be used to facilitate integration and learning. The participants had the opportunity to share tools via non-formal learning methods related to different aspects of citizenship. 

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