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My name is Shane Blaylock, I’m 18 years old and I’m from a small town in the North East of England called Haltwhistle. I currently study outdoor adventure sport at Newton Rigg college and in my first year of studying I was granted the chance to apply and be interviewed for a winter sports project in Sweden. My initial thoughts were this sounds amazing as Sweden is a place I’d never thought I’d look into travelling to and or take part in winter sports such as cross country skiing.

Once I was interviewed my excitement grew and 2 weeks later I was told I was going to Sweden for free! Which is amazing being from a low income family and the fact I’d never been abroad before.

Whilst studying outdoor adventure sport, I took part in kayaking, canoeing, caving, climbing and hill walking which fuelled my interest to become an outdoor instructor.

To be a good instructor you need to be able to be confident and adaptable, which are 2 things I was able to develop when in Sweden.

During the project, I spoke in front of school pupils and delivered a presentation of live in England and then got into small groups and compared the differences between England and Sweden. I learned that Sweden is much more environmentally friendly such as returning plastics to supermarkets for money. I had to adapt between different groups as there was age differences and different abilities of speaking English, through this I was also able to learn a little bit of Swedish as well.

When we weren’t in classrooms, we would either be on the slopes, on an ice rink, driving snow mobiles or being pulled on a sledge by huskies! There was always something to do, one of my favourite activities was ice fishing. A memorable moment is sitting on a frozen lake at -12 degrees looking at the Northern lights!

We also become good friends with a sámi family and worked on their reindeer farm for a day. I’m still in contact with them today!

Since coming back from Sweden, (apart from wanting to go back) I have gained relevant Outdoor Adventure qualifications which will help me get jobs in the outdoor industry.

I have become much more competent in trying new things since partaking in winter sports and the want to develop new skills has increased dramatically. The project has made me enthusiastic to travel to different countries and learn about different cultures and hopefully work abroad too.

The project has made me become more independent and taught me important life skills such as having to cook for myself and the group has made me a lot more confident in my own cooking and has allowed me to cook at home more frequently which I love. Budgeting was also a key part when shopping which has helped me be more careful with my own money.

With all the skills I have learned from the project, I felt confident enough to further my education and apply to university which will help me develop my skills learned in Sweden even more, making me an all round better outdoor instructor.


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Project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union – The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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