The period of growing up is not only a preparation for adulthood as it used to be a “one-way phase« complete and finalized, but youth is becoming a kind of life style, the style that corresponds to the current position of today’s society. Formal education is not the only subject that plays a big role in growing up, non-formal learning and informal learning are becoming buidling sites for constructing young people’s lifestyles and identifying their career paths. Surroundings in which young people live today are changing at high speed and the young person is confronted with the everyday challenges that bring them to big decision making and risk taking. One of the first changes that young person encounters in early teenage years is the transition from elementary school to high school, representing a major event for the young people. Through non-formal and informal learning young people prepare easier and adapt to changes in life. These changes follow young people trough out life not only on the transition from primary school to secondary, but also the changes that come at the end of education and the challenges of finding employment. With the project “The Next Steps” we wanted to reinforce the importance of informal and non-formal learning as a tool that plays a big role in growing up and provided young people with a “smoother transition”. Enabled the acquisition of learning, life and work experiences which prepare them for easier encounters with early life changes. The project “Next steps” included 4 partners: Youth Center Trbovlje (MCT) as the coordinating organization, Primary School Ivan Cankar Trbovlje as hosting organization, Gymnasium and Economic High School Trbovlje (GESS) as hosting organization and VIA e.V. – Verein für Internationale und Interkulturelle Austausch as a sending organization. The aim of the project were: To reinforce the importance of informal learning in young adulthood as a tool for building a healthy lifestyle, establishing career paths also and to consolidate young people on preparedness of life changes. The project will lead to a general openness to life change based on intercultural understanding for all involved in the project.

Objectives of the project were:

1. Enable 2 foreign volunteers to carry out their European Voluntary Service in elementary school and secondary school and by helping out in classes strengthen the importance of informal learning in the education of young people.

2. To enable foreign volunteers to plan and carry out each one’s own project with a school or youth center, where the use of informal learning tools to build a healthy lifestyle, establishing career paths and consolidate young people in life changes.

3. Carry out 3 activities by encouraging intercultural understanding and have effects on all involved in the project.

Project activities were:

–  the implementation of one workshop for monitoring learning effects in non-formal education for coordinators in host organizations,

–  conducting one-day training for EVS mentors in order to familiarize themselves with the roles of mentoring and how the mentors can support the learning process,

–  Implementation of own European volunteer projects based on an informal approach to learning and acquiring “lifelong” competences.

–  Implementation of national days / evenings of German culture for primary and secondary school pupils (evening of German films, culinary German evening, debate round …)

–  Perform activities to promote interculturality, which is visible in the local environment (eg street action, workshop, documentary video, exhibition …) and carried out by the volunteer.

–  Conducting out-of-school activities (a debate circle, a circle of German …)