This summer, I traveled to Bellaria, Italy with four other American teens for a life-changing experience with our German partner movement, ZWST. We attended a two week summer program that was very unique in comparison to other BBYO summer experiences because it was led by ZWST. As BBYO delegates we were there to learn about ZWST, educate teens there about BBYO, discover new cultural traditions, and most importantly create amazing friendships.
From the moment we arrived at camp we were welcomed with open arms. Every camper and staff member constantly made sure we felt comfortable and went out of their way to translate the German programming into English for us. The German teens taught us on their culture and we were able to share about our own experiences in North America. I learned so much from the friends I made and I have continued to do so since returning home.
During our time with ZWST, we participated in many different types of educational programs about serious topics like Antisemitism, racism, sexism, cyber control, and more. The programs were very impactful because they challenged me to think about new perspectives on the world and society. At times, when we weren’t in formal programming, we were eating amazing meals made by an outstanding chef, making memories at the beach, or playing sports like basketball, soccer, krav maga, and yoga. Every second of the day was enjoyable!
We also had the opportunity to take two overnight trips. The first trip was to Milan, Italy where we spent a day at an amusement park and exploring the streets of the beautiful city. Every sight was beautiful, and we were able to get a real taste of Italian culture. Our second overnight trip was a 13-mile hike and camping excursion. This was an amazing trip because everywhere we looked there was a breathtaking view. We even set up a campfire and sang songs. When it got dark enough, we went up a hill and spent the night stargazing. This moment was truly unforgettable for me.
I learned more about myself and the world through this experience than I ever have before. Every day inspired me to make a change and explore past the United States. Every friendship I made will stay with me for years to come and I will never forget this life changing experience. I can’t wait to see my friends from ZWST in Dallas this February!
Sophie Baron is a BBG from North Texas Oklahoma Region who has a passion for video production.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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