Youth Exchange on Digital Storytelling in Amarante, Portugal

Our little team visited the picturesque town of Amarante, Portugal, in order to attend a unique and captivating youth exchange, that brought together participants from five different countries, each with their own stories to tell. The participants had a chance to delve into the world of Digital Storytelling, a journey that intertwined creativity, camaraderie, and cultural exploration.

The first day was all about the location and the participants. The warmth of Portugal marked the beginning of a new adventure. The day was dedicated to ice-breaking activities, helping the development of connections, and getting to know both the fellow participants and the enchanting surroundings.

As the sun rose for the second day, the names games continued just for a little longer. After the participants learnt all the names it was time to move on. The basic storytelling concepts were introduced, setting the stage for the rest of our journey ahead.

A bit of adventure took place on the third day. Participants went on a kayaking experience, navigating through the calming river of Amarante. This was a must to try since the town’s kayaking team is very well known and highly respected. After our physical endeavor, it was time to move to a more theoretical field. The afternoon started with a storytelling workshop, where participants learned the intricacies of crafting complex narratives.

The fourth day started with the embrace of the waves of the ocean. And while it became obvious that not all of us were born to be surf champions, we had fun and that’s what counts. The afternoon was dedicated to cultural activities in Porto, deepening their connection with the Portuguese culture and eating some Francesina.

Transitioning into the digital realm, the fifth day was all about storytelling in digital form. Participants learnt about the basics of editing, collected visual and auditory materials, and learned how to create an amazing trailer that represents the participants and their dreams. This was one of the key moments in the creation of the short videos.

The penultimate day was dedicated to working on the videos. Some were still collecting materials to work with, others had already started the editing, few were working with the sounds and music. With newly developed skills participants slowly started to piece together their short trailers that offered glimpses into their futures, their dreams, and desires. This process was a testament to their growth, not only as storytellers but as individuals who had found their voice.

The last day, as always, brought a mixed bag of emotions to the activities. The youth exchange had managed to transform a group of strangers into a team and managed to help build friendships (and in some cases even more than friendship…). The participants finished up their digital creations and reflected on the skills acquired and the beautiful memories that they made. Goodbyes were exchanged, and the air was filled with nostalgia even know the participants only met one week ago.