Since 2018, Search has been leading the consortium in charge of Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange, an innovative project established by the European Union as part of the Erasmus+ programme. Gathering young people aged 18 to 30 from Europe and the Middle East and North Africa, this initiative uses a facilitated online dialogue—with participants connecting via video—to spur intercultural learning and growth.. Since its inception, the project has engaged 27,000 youth, professors, and social workers from 44 countries, partnering with over 250 universities and youth organisations.
By providing youth with a safe space to connect with peers abroad, Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange enables them to build strong relationships across borders and develop new skills and attitudes: 91% described that what they learned about people from other cultures was positive or very positive. 71% agreed that they built positive/meaningful relationships with peers from different countries/regions through their participation in a project activity. 88% agreed that virtual exchange had a positive impact on their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment. 76% agreed that the exchange helped them to improve teamwork and collaborative problem-solving.
Exposed to different perspectives in an environment where they feel heard and respected, young people think critically about their own perspectives, develop curiosity and empathy, and increase self-esteem. As a result, Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange empowers young people to play an active role as global citizens. Established under a contract with the Education, Audiovisual, and Culture Executive Agency, Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange is financed by the European Union’s budget. The project is implemented by a consortium of eight organisations, which is led by Search and includes our affiliate organisation Soliya, the Anna Lindh Foundation, UNIMED, Sharing Perspectives Foundation, UNICollaboration, Kiron Open Higher Education, and Migration Matters.