Servas Youth Language Experience

Servas Youth Language Experience (SYLE) is a program designed for young Servas members to learn a language through a Servas cultural exchange during one month in a foreign country.

This experience includes language classes (formal or informal) and other activities – cultural, recreational, sportive, touristic, etc.- in an environment of fraternal daily life that ensures a rich experience of language learning and cultural exchange between the young traveller and the Servas Hosts.

Based on this intent, the host country will plan an Agenda, indicating dates and locations of: the Servas Host Families, the activities and their points of contact, as well as allocated spare time for the traveller.

To view the SYLE blog, click here.

To apply for SYLE, click here

To view the Servas Youth Newsletter, click here

Objectives

  • To learn a language.
  • To provide a rich cultural exchange experience to the traveller and to the Servas Hosts.

Through SYLE we also hope to strengthen the integration of national local groups, as well as to promote the participation of young people in Servas.

Participants

  • Young Traveller
  • Youth Contact (YC) and National Secretary (NS) of both the Local and the Host Country of the traveller.
  • Convenors team in the Host Country.
  • Servas Hosts, including day hosts.
  • Non-Servas family members and friends.
  • International Servas Youth team.

Procedure

  1. Application: Applicant for traveller and applicant for organizing team must communicate interest in participating in the SYLE to the Youth Contact / National Secretary of their countries.
  2. Enrolment: Applicant must complete an application form and Letter of Agreement and send both to the Youth Contact / NS who will arrange an interview.
  3. Initiating SYLE: Once an application is approved, the Servas Letter of Introduction (LOI) is sent. Communication between the traveller and the organizing team of the host country begins, in order to create a program customized to the expectations and interests of both parties.
  4. SYLE’s development: A four week stay in the host country will follow, based on the accepted Agenda. During this time, it is important to keep communication open among all participants of the SYLE experience and to be flexible if changes are needed.
  5. SYLE’s Conclusion: Once the SYLE experience has ended, both participants must send an evaluation report to the Youth Contacts or NS in their respective countries. The traveller must advise the YC/NS of his return home and must arrange to make a presentation about his SYLE experience to his National Group.

Young traveller’s profile

  • Between 18 and 35 years old.
  • Active participation in Servas. If Servas is non-existent or fragile in his country, his potentiality as a future Servas Member will be considered.
  • Necessary skills to communicate in the host country’s language.
  • Empathetic, open-minded attitude toward different cultural experiences.
  • Willingness and ability to interact constantly with a large number of people for a month.

Host country’s Convenor Team’s Profile

  • Interest in being involved in Servas Youth
  • Responsibility to:
    • Coordinate and confirm the stay of the traveller with all hosts.
    • Organize and guarantee the development of the activities proposed in the SYLE Agenda.
    • Keep continuous communication with all SYLE participants (hosts, traveller, language facilitators, activities organizers, etc.)
  • Experience as a Servas Host or Traveller.
  • Dynamism, patience, commitment, capacity and ability to communicate with all SYLE participants (via e-mail or phone).

Conditions

  • Valid Servas Letter of Introduction (LOI).
  • Ability to afford all financial aspects of travelling, paperwork, visas, transportation and personal expenses.
  • SYLE commitment Letter of Agreement.
  • Travel insurance.

Funding

There is no funding from Servas International to cover any SYLE costs of any participants.

The traveller must be able to afford all travelling expenses, visas, transportation and personal expenses. The cost of all activities proposed in his/her program must be discussed and agreed upon by the traveller and the convenors team prior to travel.

The same criteria apply as for Servas Hosting. Therefore, hosts will provide hospitality and breakfast. The National Group and its hosts need to establish and agree amongst themselves how other important amenities, such as meals, public transportation expenses, entrance fees, language courses and costs for other activities will be provided. Likewise, the National Group of the traveller’s home country should agree on how it will assist the traveller with economic help.

Agenda

The Agenda is the most important tool for the development of the SYLE experience. The organizing team prepares an Agenda based on the traveller’s interests and the available resources.

The Agenda must include any formal or informal language classes. It is suggested to plan the language classes according to the actual level of the traveller. The frequency, modality and provided material for the classes depend on both resources and considerations of the organizing team.

Classes can be given by volunteers or through an institution. It is equally important that the hosts collaborate in the learning process of the traveller (e.g.: correcting most frequent errors).

The Agenda can also include touristic, cultural, recreational, sports or any other activities aimed at enriching the learning-teaching experience and cultural exchange of both traveller and hosts. It is suggested the Agenda contain a rich variety of activities and also provide ample free time for the traveller.

Suggestions

IMPORTANT for everyone: To clarify and agree upon expectations and policies for sharing the household during the traveller’s visit (such as house rules for being in/out, when shared activities will take place, use of appliances and facilities, etc.) immediately upon arrival at the home.

  • For the organizing team:
    • To appreciate the good will of the hosts and confirm they understand what is expected of them, especially regarding time and interest in sharing experiences with the traveller.
    • To provide basic information about: weather, transportation, cultural activities and places of interest in their community/country.
  • For the traveler:
    • To read SYLE experiences of other travellers on the Servas Youth website and to communicate any concerns or queries.
    • To be well-informed about: customs, traditions, weather, climate, clothing and places of interest in the host country.
    • To be prepared with information on how to consult the embassy or consulate of their home country in case of an unexpected event.
    • To bring information to share about their home country and its culture, traditions, festivals, history, geographical data, and music along with photos or friends and family, etc.
    • To bring souvenirs, such as traditional and/or homemade items as gifts for Servas Hosts and/or others in appreciation for hospitality and kindness.
    • To send letters of thanks and appreciation to all the Servas hosts, YC/NS of both host and local country and any other people who helped to make the SYLE experience possible.

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