Maria Morante- Italy

From the 16th to the 22nd of September, I had the opportunity to visit India thanks to the CulTY project (Cultural Tourism for Youth Initiatives) which involved four countries: India, Vietnam, Greece and Italy. The aim of this project is to promote the cooperation between Europe and Asia in order to improve the potential of youth workers as well as the insertion in the sector of alternative cultural tourism, which represents a great possibility of development.

Thanks to this experience, I had the possibility to visit unbelievable places of worship, such as the Sun Temple in Konark, to discover customs and traditions of natives, to discuss with them trying to find solutions in order to improve their conditions of life.
This was the last meeting of the project, so there had been moments of reflection about themes like cultural tourism and new strategies to improve tourism in unknown places, but also moments of icebreaking with little games and activities to get to know each other.

I have had the possibility to meet people from other countries and to have discussions with them in order to share ideas.
From the first day, my expectations about this experience were very high because this was my very first time in India and I did not know what could happen. Indeed, at the arrival in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, it was clear that I was going to be in contact with a suggestive country that has many faces and many things to give.

For me, the best moment of this entire journey has been the visit at the tribal village. On that day I ate with the villagers, I saw their houses, their animals, their children, I listened their music and danced with them. It really moved me because I learnt that anyone is happy in his own way. It is not fair to bring my kind of happiness there because these people, even if they are poor and isolated from the rest of the world, they are happy with their life. Maybe they do not even need to build roads or to have smartphones: all they need is to have water and to cultivate fields, which are their only way of sustenance.

This project taught me to have always an open mind looking at things from many perspectives and that it is important to share ideas and to discuss with other people in order to create better opportunities.

In closing, I can say that on the plan of relationships, I am happy to have met some special people from other countries, but most of all I have found new friends from my own delegation with whom I have shared many funny and happy moments.