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On September 22nd Views Italia organized an on-line meeting on skype in order to introduce different study and work opportunities available abroad for Italian young visually impaired people. The meeting was held in Italian, except for the presentation of Views International activities held by Anca which was in English.

The webinar was introduced by our president Giulia Pagoni, who made a summary of different opportunities available for young people with disabilities in the EU. Then, Maria Laura, a member of Views Italy, talked about study abroad opportunities for blind and visually impaired teenagers attending secondary school and her experience with ASEF in Denmark, where she went for a year and had the opportunity to live with a Danish family and learning local language and culture.
After, it was Lucia’s turn, another Views Italy member, who told us about her experience within the Erasmus Programme for University and post graduate students, talking about her experience in Spain and how this programme is structured in general, such as its characteristics, funding’s and services provided by the EU and host universities.

Then, Anna Rita, our delegated administrator, talked about her four months experience in Liege as a volunteer within the European voluntary service project (now European Solidarity Corps) and explained how this service is structured in general: starting from volunteers and continuing with internship opportunities for people who are looking for a new job abroad. After her intervention, it was the occasion for Anca, the Director of our Executive Bureau, to introduce the members to Views International main activities and projects adapted to visually impaired people. After Anca’s presentation, Clara, a visually impaired volunteer, reported to the audience her 9 months experience at Views office.

Then it was Vanessa’s turn, who introduced the audience to Erasmus + exchange opportunities and practicalities. Then, Irid, (new ESC volunteer) had the opportunity to talk about the last Erasmus + exchange he has joined, organized by Views and its partners in Samsun, Turkey, from the 24th of February to the 1st of March of this year, which was about intercultural exchange between blind and sighted people from the following countries: Azerbaijan, Turkey, Ukraine, Palestine, Belgium and Italy.

Last but not least, he also had the opportunity to talk about his current voluntary service in Liege, that he has started at the beginning of September, as reported in the article talking about his and Jocelyn’s arrival. We also took the occasion to remember that there is still another place available, if another volunteer would like to join the European Solidarity Corps here in Liege.

In conclusion, this kind of initiative is very important for different reasons: first of all, those activities are not known so much and for this reason many young people do not try these wonderful experiences, even because they could think that as they are blind or visually impaired, so they could not receive the necessary support they need. For this reason, the participation of real testimonies, who have already tried this kind of experiences before, is a concrete demonstration that blind people can effectively join these opportunities like everyone else. Secondly, it was a great opportunity even for the parents who have joined the meeting, as they know that there is the possibility to send their children abroad for trying new study experiences, like every teenager. For those reasons and more, it is very important that those kinds of meetings can be replicate even in different languages and countries.
Last but not least, communication is a very important aspect and the dissemination of activities is one of most important aspects of this field, for our followers, partners and members.