Every year, the beginning of December marks the beginning of a very exciting EFIL event – the ECTP Camp! ECTP – The European Citizenship Trimester Programme – has been taking place since 2009, making Europe Camp 2017 its 9th edition.

The programme was created as an intra-European trimester exchange focusing on European and Active Citizenship, which is run by AFS organisations, and coordinated by EFIL. These exchanges begin in August/September and are concluded by the Camp in Belgium, which is an important aspect of the exchange because of its powerful impact on the learning process.

The ECTP Europe Camp 2017 took place from 3 to 7 December, with more than 25 countries from Europe and overseas being represented by 289 participants and 54 volunteers in two venues – near Antwerp and Brussels – in Belgium.

This five-day camp gave the participants space and time to reflect upon their exchanges and to discuss the challenges and realities of living in a European country for three months, as well as to understand how European and Active Citizenship are related to their exchange programmes, and what they can do in the future to be the changemakers in their communities. These topics were discussed during various workshops, and an Active Citizenship and Changemaking module was used for the participants to create and develop a small community project to implement in their home countries upon their return.

A different and deeper perspective on Europe was presented during Brussels day, when the participants took part in visits to European institutions. This year, participants visited the European Parliament or the European Commission, where they had the chance to participate in interesting discussions with the speakers and to learn what they most wanted to about the EU. MEP Terry Reinke and MEP Brando Benifei met a group of students during the visits and talked about their work at the European parliament. Later that day, they had the chance to discover more of the European capital, allowing both venues to meet and spend time together.

This year, ECTP continued using Open Badges, which were introduced to the programme in 2016, to promote intercultural learning and reflection on experiences upon the exchange students. The Badges are an interactive online learning tool, which can be used to show their competences and can even be included on their CVs.

A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers, who worked tirelessly and relentlessly on creating the success of this Camp from coordinating logistics to creating educational workshops!

As fun as the 2017 edition of the ECTP Camp was, we are already looking forward to next year’s anniversary edition, when the ECTP Europe Camp will be taking place for the 10th time! See you there!