THERE was no culture clash when Scandinavian youngsters visited Sunderland on an exchange trip as part of an EU programme promoting better understanding between young people.
Fourteen youngsters from Karlskrona, Sweden, are in the city along with three teachers, in the wake of a delegation from Sunderland making a similar visit.
The group will spend this week visiting schools, the university, community projects, youth advice service Connexions, the Stadium of Light and National Glass Centre.
During the EU-funded programme, which is run by the British Council, the youngsters will learn about local democracy at Sunderland Civic Centre
Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Pat Smith said: “Exchange visits can help develop a greater awareness of their respective cultural aspirations, and increase knowledge for young people in both countries.
“We are proud to support organisations such as Sunderland Youth Parliament, which involves our young in civic life and the decision-making process, and hope that lessons we have learned can help our Swedish counterparts.”
The relationship between Sunderland and Karlskrona, on the south-east coast of Sweden, began three years ago when a group from Sunderland was invited to share ideas on education, employment and training opportunities.
The visitors’ international co-ordinator, Ann-Christin Bohman, said: “The Sunderland team made a very good impression on us when they visited our city. We discovered that our two communities had a lot in common.
“We come with the wish to open up discussions about establishing a municipal partnership with Sunderland based on mutual needs and development. People in Sweden have a special feeling for the UK. We share a lot of culture and many visit your country for vacations, work and leisure.”