Anna BellanIn May 2014, Anna Bellan joined Merseyside Expanding Horizons (MEH) for a 6 month staff exchange as part of the project “PRoMOTE  -New Perspectives through Mobility and Exchange” funded by the Youth in Action 4.3 Youth Support Systems, Support to Youth Workers’ Mobility. Anna tells us about her first impressions of Liverpool life and the general experience of MEH.

“For me it is the perfect opportunity to gain experience in an English speaking country while improving my management skills in European projects.

First and foremost, I have found MEH to be a really stimulating environment

I like the projects that MEH have and the manner in which they work. MEH supports disadvantaged and marginalised people in synergy with other local and international charity organisations. I received a wonderful welcome, all the staff are friendly and helpful, and the work environment is really inspiring.

I support the coordination and implementation of European and local projects (INSART, Bridging the Gap, Talent Match Access Enterprise…), I also develop projects proposals targeting young people from disadvantaged groups and I’m in charge of increasing the visibility of MEH and its projects in particular European funding opportunities to organisations active in the youth field

Furthermore Liverpool is a city rich in opportunities.

My social and cultural life is rich thanks to the many opportunities in Liverpool. All museums are free and every week there are musical and cultural events which you can participate in and where you can meet people. People here are particularly friendly, perhaps because just a few years ago Liverpool was a much poorer city and the inhabitants could develop solidarity amongst them and they weren’t so individualist as they maybe in a richer country. Thanks to three main Universities her in the city of Liverpool, many students come to study here, and this gives Liverpool a strong and diverse international community.

Also… I became sporty – which I have never been before, but now I utilise the many parks in my adopted city… by running once a week (I don’t know how long it will go on for!).

To be honest there is also something that I miss in my country. I come from Sicily, a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea… and we have hot temperatures. But I can manage this situation, with my new best and inseparable friend: my dear umbrella!

So, I take the most from this mobility experience. I learn a different culture, improve my English and my professional skills whilst changing my habits according to the opportunities  within my new environment. Also I contribute to the development of the company with whom I work and I can contribute to fight against some prejudices about my country. It’s a true and complete exchange! I feel so lucky for this opportunity.”

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