Polish-German exchanges have been organized by the Mikuszewo International Youth Meeting Center for over 20 years. It is done in cooperation with schools and in partnership with HochDrei e.V. Association running the twin house in Potsdam.
The Youth Meetings are organized both in summertime and schoolyear and they usually last about a week. The school exchanges take exactly 5 working days from Monday to Friday. The meetings have a wide variety of topics and activities tailored for the participants’ age, abilities, and interests.
The Mikuszewo International Youth Meeting Center is a non-formal and non-public educational institution run by an NGO. It is independent from any political influence and free to set its own program. We specialize in organizing student exchanges and the mansion has proven its utility as a meeting center. We provide accommodation, meals, working space, and teaching staff qualified to implement any educational and cultural program.
The main goal of the International Meeting Center is to support the development of young people by raising key social, civic, and linguistic competences. We get young people ready for responsible and conscious existence in the modern world and communication in an international context.
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No matter what the chosen theme is there are always common values at the heart of each meeting
All of our actions are deeply rooted in democratic values. Each meeting involves active engagement based on participation. The youth create the rules, thus they make sure everybody follows. The participants discuss their ideas openly and make informed decisions. Each and single opinion is heard and respected.
We believe that each person is able to shape the surrounding world. That's why we make a lot of effort to foster civic participation. We teach young people to take responsibility for common resources and to step out if needed. What's more, we instill a belief that a single person can spark change.
The Mikuszewo International Youth Meeting Center is the place where we promote tolerance and equity. We are open to all sorts of participants regardless of their gender, place of origin, religion, level of wealth, physical shape, or sexual orientation. We believe that variety is the spice of life in modern society. Equity is not made a taboo in Mikuszewo. It is made the subject of our anti-discrimination education. During meetings, young people learn how to open up to others and what it means to respect each other.
International Youth Meetings in Mikuszewo go beyond the conventional framework of school education. Youth participation is the core of non-formal education there. Pre-designed programs are flexible enough to accommodate the individual needs and interests of young people. The goals and a path are set together with the participants. Their skills, attitudes, and knowledge develop along the process. The role of the leaders is to facilitate and accompany young people in action. The relationship of these two agents is always of a partnership nature.
Outside the seminar room, there are also circumstances for informal education to thrive. For instance, the time spent on meal preparation or games in mixed international groups can bring better educational outcomes than structured learning. Not mentioning a possibility to make friends for life. Thanks to the unique informal atmosphere of the meetings, participants can easily gain skills such as cooperation, multicultural communication, conflict resolution, and other soft competencies usually overlooked in formal education.
Finally, the key element of the student meetings is self-organization. The leaders create a safe space for participants to plan and prepare meals, manage the budget, organize free-time activities. Students cooperate, solve emerging problems and share responsibility.
During the International Youth Meetings, participants are immersed in a foreign language, not only during structured activities but also in their free time or kitchen duty. Students can count on linguistic mediators who translate both spoken and written communication. Mediators make sure that everyone can participate regardless of their language level. Language games and animations break down communication barriers and serve as tools to get to know each other better.