Last month we had our first Youth Exchange as part of our Wholesome Living – Substance Abuse is Self Abuse Erasmus Plus funded project.

As part of the project us and our 6 partners met in Cluj-Napoca, Romania to gain and insight into some of the challenges young people face in Romania that push them towards substance use and abuse.

Throughout the week we engaged in a range of activities and events organised by our Romania partner in addition to have the opportunity to explore local landmarks and sites.

Here is a blog entry from one of our participants Michael about the trip.

Michael preparing for his kings speech at the Town Hall in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Wednesday in Romania started with the longest coach journey we have had so far. Fortunately, this allowed me to embrace the beautiful Romanian landscape from the mountains to the newly developed building surrounded by plenty greenery. 

We visited one of the oldest Citadel in Europe it is known as Dracula’s land in the middle of Transylvania. Vlad impaler a ruler well known for the concept of Dracula. He was a mayor of Transylvania protecting the city against invaders during war periods.

We visited his town and headquarters called the clock tower (muse de istorie). I was informed by one of the Romanian students Alex that this area has more ethnic people from countries like Germany and Hungary more than anywhere else in Romania. The town has a real medieval essence with a traditional vibe, the buildings and people seeming very family and community oriented.

We visited historic lab inside the clock tower, where scientist experimented on humans during the war, whilst also exploring the historical resources from Vlad impaler reign which ranged from gold to historic vases. At the top of the clock tower was an amazing view of the Transylvanian city. Nicknamed the city with 1000 eyes due the German rooftop architecture on the buildings that resemble cat’s eyes.

We walked around well-known and were stopped by local students that had never seen black people before. One girl from a large group asked us to take a photo this was a photo interesting experience which enabled me to question the representation of black people in Romania. I realized that representation and diversity is very important factors in the world.

We learnt a lot about the first capital of Romania and understanding the history behind a well-respected figure in this country who lived for his people and their future. You can still see how past events still have a huge implication on the way of living in Romania today.

My thoughts of the whole trip is that I learnt about the history of Romania during the war period and understood how important the history of the Dracula term is to Romanians and their heritage.

I learnt that healthy living is ultimately a choice that everyone has the power to embark on. I feel the presentation allowed me to see the range of healthy alternative available and that healthy food can be creative and tasteful. Health is vital to your longevity in life so eating right is a must.

I feel the use of weekly cooking classes within schools or community based project that educates individuals on health alternative and allow them to practical engage and eat the food they create will provide alternative for substance abuser and make wholesome living appealing to the youth globally.

Culture, community, and choices are important factors in everything we do in life. You reflect what you put into your body from the food you eat to the substances and knowledge you absorb. Lastly, the importance of Erasmus for students to learn and grow by engaging in meaningful projects and stepping out of their comfort zones at an early age is vital to future prosperity.

I learnt Romania is a very cultured country and proud of their history.

About Shine Aloud

We are a youth led social enterprise that aims to provide creative solutions to address sexual health inequalities among marginalised groups!