A. How to come – Where to stay
Planning of logistics related to transport of participants can sometimes be a very demanding task. Some of them may travel by plane, some by train or by bus, some may arrive one day earlier and some may come just a half an hour before the opening of the event! This is how to keep everything under control:
- ask participants about their traveling arrangements in advance, so you can avoid any last-minute unpleasant surprises.
- organize a reception for the participants at the station or the airport. Assign a team member or a volunteer to wait for them holding a sign with your organization’s name or the project’s title. Keep in mind that most of them will be arriving in a foreign country, where the unknown environment might cause some stress or inconvenience.
- arrange their transport to the location of the event.
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Pay attention to possible specific conditions for organizing youth exchange between particular societies (e.g. between Serbia and Kosovo): do participants need visasor other documentation, are there any complicated procedures regarding circulation of the money etc.
On the other hand, accommodationarrangements can also be quite challenging. Thirty or more participants, all strangers to each other and the limited -in most cases- budget it makes it a hard task to complete the puzzle. However, this process should be split in two main tasks:
- where are you going to host them? A convention center or your organization’s premises might be appropriate for hosting your youth exchange agenda, though this means you shall find a hotel, hostel or other place to cover your participants’ accommodation. If so, make sure that there is easy and often transportation to and from the venue, that it is in the close distance and that you inform participants in advance for these details, so they come prepared to spend the whole day at the venue. On the other hand, if your event takes place inside the hotel, life gets much easier!
- how are you going to split them into the rooms? Dividing participants in the limited number of available rooms can be a challenge as well. Unless you have invited more than one participant from the same organizations, they are probably strangers to each other and sleeping together is always a risk! Make sure you respect gender -wouldn’t advise you to mix and match genders!-, while age can also be an indicative criterion. However, keep in mind that having a plan B -like a spare room or an extra place for one- is always wise, in order to fix unpredicted situations and roommates’ complaints! By the way…snoring is the number one enemy of cohabitation!
Time to welcome your participants and prepare for your first day at your youth exchange project!