I might be the lucky one to have friends in different countries and continents, but sometimes it could be so sad that we can’t just go for a walk together, drink a cup of cocoa, talk face to face… For some reason, the more far away your friend is residing – the more you missing him/her. The tickets cost quite a lot and to visit some countries you need a visa, to get which might take plenty of time and nervous. So you might postpone the idea of a reunion for the “better times”… when you will be an old granny/grandpa and forgot everything which was tying you together)))
So, there is always the way to achieve something you really want, and here I am sharing 5 tips on how to finally meet up with your old good friends from all over the world. All the tips were tested by my own and believe me – that works perfectly =)
1. Apply to a youth exchange together with your international friend.
Nowadays, we are so lucky to have many opportunities to travel and learn something new. Such platforms as Salto, Mladinfo are offering a lot of programs where you can apply with your friend to get selected and get paid for your transfer. Some programs could cover all the expenses for the selected participants. So, steps to do:
choose the preferred program (youth exchange, conference, forum, etc)
check if participants from your country and from the country of your friend are eligible to apply
fill the application form together via Skype. Usually they are looking for semi-minded participants, so if they will notice two more or less similar applications from different countries, you will have more chances to be selected together.
My experience: in 2014 together with my friend from Kazakhstan Altynay, we were participating in Peace Education for youth program in Istanbul. Organisation committee was surprised that we are friends and we got selected together, cos as they told us, there were quite a lot applications from both of our countries, but they choose only 2 of us. Well, we really wanted to meet up and we full-filled the application together via Skype.
2. Create your own project.
If you have enough skills or confidence that you can do it – organise your own youth gathering in your country or become a project partner abroad, where you would be able to invite your friend as a participant or may be as a facilitator of the activity.
There are plenty of available grants which could fund youth initiatives or art projects, where you can apply as a part of organisation and not only make a reunion with your international friends, but also make useful social intervention into youth sector of international community.
My experience: my idea was to create art project “W.E.Art” (Women Empowerment through Photography) the idea of which is to compare women who inspire from different backgrounds and to prove that regardless race, religion, cultural differences we all could do wonderful things and inspire others to do something great.
Currently, I’m on the way with my NGO to create international cultural exchange in Ukraine, where youth people from different countries could participate, and where I can invite as a speakers some of my international friends, who are professionals in working with youth.
3. Get married
Well, this is kind of manipulation, but as soon as it works to achieve a sweet reunion give it a try =D While planning the important event, milestone, special occasion in your life invite your international friends. You might be surprised to see how much they can do just to be together with you on a special day!
My experience: We had just a small party for my wedding, but friends from Kazakhstan and Morocco were present on it. That was a special long and a bit nervous story how I made the invitation to a Moroccan friend, but at the end it worked and he was in my city wearing two beautiful dresses: traditional Moroccan male dress for special occasions and fancy smoking. Also my friends from all parts of Ukraine came to share the happiness and magic of my special day.
Since 4 months, my friend from Kazakhstan, Altynay invited me to her weddings in Almaty, and regardless the high price of airfare, I can’t allow myself a thought that I could miss this special day. I pack a backpack as a cabin luggage(cos there were no baggage in my tickets) and went to Kazakhstan for 2 weeks =)
4. Apply for a travel grant
If you are an artist you could apply for travel grant to visit the country where your friends living and to make the art project. Here you will have 2 of motivations: making exclusive artistic initiative; 2) will finally make a reunion =) And of course your friends will help to implement your project in their country. I can share with you 2 of travel grants:
Step Beyond Grant by European Cultural Foundation (has limited number of countries who can participate, basically Europe, MENA region and Caucasus). The program has funds limits, which depends on the country you are travelling to, but from my experience it is more than enough. This grant could cover your travel, visa and other related expenses.
Prince Clause Foundation. You could go to any of the country and they will cover your tickets only.