Our seminars for young people incorporate the following elements:
- Every exchange has a thematic focal point dealing with specific aspects of the young peoples' reality (e.g. racist exclusion, violence, drug abuse, unemployment, political disempowerment, subcultures, gender relations, environment, consumer society). The topic is taken up in varying seminar activities and analysed from different angles.
- At the beginning of the seminar we give the young people a lot of space and time to make contact and to establish some trust. The activities in the initial phase help them to get used to the unfamiliar surroundings and to dismantle communication barriers. During warm-up games the national groups become acquainted with each other and start to exchange information and experiences.
- We apply active, explorative learning methods in order to enable the participants to work out not only the seminar topic step by step, but also to solve their problems increasingly on their own. This learning process incorporates all levels: not only do the young people think and talk, they also use all their senses, become active, and put their ideas into practice. This may happen during a town or museum rally, games involving all senses, or a survey among the participants.
- Also, the young people can work in groups of mixed nationalities and produce a team product. In a media, excursion or history workshop young people learn how they can achieve something - as different as they may be - as a group. The results of this workshop - a videoclip, posters, a radio show, the seminar newspaper, a photographic novel, theatre sketch, etc. are then presented at the end of the week during a big celebration and party.
The learning success of the week depends essentially on how well the young people were prepared for the exchange. One of our guiding principles is to link our short-term educational offers closely with our partners' long-term educational planning and practice. Our seminars are part of their daily work with young people and thus contribute to the implementation of their long-term educational goals.
The topics and programmes of every seminar are tailored to these requirements, and agreed upon during a joint preparatory meeting. The leaders of the youth groups continue their close collaboration with our educational workers during the seminar and support the individual creative working groups according to their respective interests. Every six months the outcome and the long-term effects of the seminars are evaluated during partner meetings or other evaluation sessions.
We attach great value to accurate and exact communication, which is ensured by professional interpreters. During the plenary and team sessions we use a simultaneous interpretation system. In addition, our educational staff is sufficiently fluent in foreign languages to ensure verbal communication between all groups.
Communication barriers between the young people are intentionally dismantled by applying methods for language awareness raising. Experiments with different work and communication methods reinforce this process.
The venue for our seminars and courses is usually a centre at the outskirts of Bonn, with which we have been co-operating since 1978: Haus Venusberg e.V. offers good accommodation and sufficient space both for young people and adults participating in the seminars. You can reach it easily from the city centre with public transport.