Youth Exchange

EU-LAC-MUSEUMS Bi-Regional Youth Exchange

EU to LAC Youth Exchange

One of the main ways in which we are fostering bi-regional cross-cultural understanding is through an exciting Bi-Regional Youth Exchange.

EU-LAC-MUSEUMS is facilitating an empowering bi-regional youth exchange between Latin America and Europe. 24 young people: 12 from Costa Rica, 6 from Portugal and 6 from Scotland.

Each month, these 24 young people have been taking part in workshops discussing their rural community, identity, heritage, culture whilst building their self-confidence. In between workshops, the young people are encouraged to visit their local community museums as well as document their journey through an online blog and Instagram. The main language of the exchange is English, but each young person are encouraged to share their own language: Spanish, Portuguese, Gaelic or Borucan to interact with the local community.

In summer 2017, the Scottish and Portuguese young people travelled to Costa Rica taking part in an international exchange. Offering the young people an opportunity to compare their own community, identity, heritage and culture with indigenous communities of Boruca, Rey Curré and San Vincente. In Summer 2018, the Costa Rican young people visited Europe; visiting the rural island of the Isle of Skye in the north west of Scotland, and the rural communities of Barcelos, Penafiel and São João da Madeira.


With high numbers of young people wanting to take part, EU-LAC-MUSEUMS Researchers developed a rigorous application process involving producing a video, taking part in assessed group work, and completing a comprehensive written application.  This process ensures the right committed candidates to take part. In particular, the process was an opportunity for young people to display their skills and personality out with their education. Below Jonathan Smith from the Isle of Skye, Scotland tells us why he would like to part of this unique Youth Exchange Programme;

The EU-LAC-MUSEUMS Youth Exchange Programme is committed to being an equal opportunities project, promoting fairness and diversity. The young people will be empowered to develop their own code of conduct and rules whilst being part of this programme. When travelling for the Youth Exchange, young people will seek to be discreet and sensitive in communities and to show respect for the way of life of those who accept them into their communities. The young people and Researchers have much to learn from each other’s cultures and, as a representative for your own community and a guest in theirs, it is important to understand local traditions and behaviours and be sensitive to them at all times.


The Scottish Youth Exchange Programme operates within the rural island of the Isle of Skye in the north west of Scotland. Monthly workshops will be facilitated by the University of St Andrews’s Youth Programme Worker, working in partnership with the Staffin Community Trust, The Skye Ecomuseum, Aros Centre Portree and Portree High School. The young people taking part are representatives from across the island, bi-lingual speaking both Scottish Gaelic and English. Scotland’s young people will be accredited through the Scottish Government’s Saltire Award volunteering certification. In November 2017, the young people took part in an award ceremony at the University of St Andrews. Each young person will be awarded a certificate that can be used towards university, college and apprenticeship applications for their future careers.


Overseen by MNA/DGPC consultancy, the Portuguese Youth Exchange Programme operates within the rural communities of Barcelos, Penafiel and São João da Madeira near Portugal’s second major city Porto. Monthly workshops will be facilitated by the Universidade do Porto Master students working in partnership with Barcelos Pottery Museum, Penafiel Municipal Museum and S. João da Madeira Hat Museum.  


The Costa Rican Youth Exchange Programme operates within the indigenous village communities of Boruca, Rey Curré and San Vincente. Monthly workshops are facilitated by the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica working in partnership with Red de Museos Comunitarios de América and the local community museums of each village. The young people taking part are representatives from across the villages. 



Jamie Allan Brown, School of Art History, University of St Andrews, Scotland, is the EU-LAC-MUSEUMS Youth Programme Worker and is responsible for the overall programme, safety and wellbeing of the young people.

The following EU-LAC-MUSEUMS Researchers have also been working with the young people in their countries:

Dr Karen Brown, University of St Andrews, Scotland
Paula Menino Homem, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Ronald Martínez Villarreal, Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, Costa Rica



Based on the Experiences from the Bi-Regional Youth Exchange between Europe and Latin America, a museum education pack has been collaboratively developed by researchers from Europe and Latin America. The Education Pack is designed to be used by a Youth Worker/Community Facilitator for young people aged 14 to 18 years in rural communities.