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Mobility for motivation


A foreign work-placement programme in Germany is giving young people motivation and opportunities

For the first time in his life, Emre was on his own – working in an Italian construction-industry warehouse, sleeping in a dormitory and deciding how to spend 100 euros of pocket money a week. The young German from Cologne was taking part in the ESF programme ‘Integration through Exchange’ (IdA) which sends young people abroad to broaden their horizons while introducing them to a new language and culture while gaining work experience. “The total horror for me was that I had to wash my own clothes," says the 20 year old, “although I learned a lot,” he admits. But this successful nationwide programme does not send young participants abroad unprepared: eight weeks of language and intercultural training beforehand convinced some 100 young people from Cologne to take part and improve their skills and motivation. Emre is now back in Cologne and has already completed an internship and received praise from his employer for his time abroad: “They told me that such a foreign placement shows you are motivated,” he says. He is now looking forward to new job opportunities.