Virtual exchanges projects consist of online people-to-people activities that promote intercultural dialogue and soft skills development. They make it possible for every young person to access high-quality international and cross-cultural education (both formal and non-formal) without physical mobility. While virtual debating or training does not fully replace the benefits of physical mobility, participants in virtual exchanges ought to reap some of the benefits of international educational experiences. Digital platforms represent a valuable tool in partially answering the global constraints on mobility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual exchanges also help spreading European values. Moreover, in some cases they can prepare, deepen and extend physical exchanges, as well as fuel new demand for them.
Virtual exchanges take place in small groups and are always moderated by a trained facilitator. They should be easily integrated into youth (non-formal education) projects or higher education courses. Virtual exchanges can draw participants from both sectors, even if, depending on specific projects, they could involve participants from either only one of them or from both. All projects under this call will involve organisations and participants coming from both EU Member States and third countries associated to the Programme, and third countries not associated to the Programme in eligible regions.
The action will aim to:
- encourage intercultural dialogue with third countries not associated to the Programme and increasing tolerance through online people-to-people interactions, building on digital, youth-friendly technologies;
- promote various types of virtual exchanges as a complement to Erasmus+ physical mobility, allowing more young people to benefit from intercultural and international experience;
- enhance critical thinking and media literacy, particularly in the use of internet and social media, such as to counter discrimination, indoctrination, polarization and violent radicalisation;
- foster the digital and soft skills development of students, young people and youth workers, including the practice of foreign languages and teamwork, notably to enhance employability;
- promote citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education;
- strengthen the youth dimension in the relations of the EU with third countries.
For detailed information on the thematic areas/objectives, activities supported by the Action, regulations for setting up a Virtual Exchange project, eligibility criteria, etc. check the Erasmus+ Programme Guide and a dedicated EACEA webpage.