International Youth Gathering Croatia August 2019 – A thank you from Abbie Condon

I want to thank the IPA for giving me the wonderful opportunity to participate and represent Ireland alongside my friend Robyn Lynch at The International Youth Gathering this year in Croatia. We were selected along with fifty other teenagers from as far away as New Zealand and Canada and some closer to home from the UK, Spain, Germany and many more countries. We set of at the start of August for a two week adventure in Dubrovnik with no clue on how much this trip would mean to us. When we arrived in Dubrovnik we were greeted with open arms by the Croatian IPA section. As we arrived at our hotel with girls from Australia and Finland we were greeted by our fantastic tour guide Victor. We traveled from Dubrovnik in the South of Croatia to Zagreb in the North within the two weeks. It was the trip of a lifetime. Everyday was packed with hiking, kayaking, historic old city tours and of course some shopping! We enjoyed many boat trips and visits to some of the countries largest islands where of course we swam in the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea as Victor had told us everyday. We learned new languages and words I probably shouldn’t mention here. We met people from countries we never thought we’d meet such as Israel, Estonia and Romania. Played cards every night and learned how the Europeans cheat ! Stayed up all night talking with people from half way across the world. Got opportunities to chat to the locals and learn the deep unknown history of Croatia. A hidden gem. We made friends for life. We enjoyed 35°c heats in Dubrovnik and a little closer to home heats of 25° in Rijeka. We were also gifted the wonderful opportunity to stay in the Zagreb Police Academy for four days too. This was really cool. In the police academy they provided us with breakfast and use of the gym and sports hall where we had fun every night watching the guys all trying to play soccer together like a mixed global team! It was hilarious. Everyone we met here was so lovely and the police that had come along with us day to day were so helpful it really was spectacular. They provide us with the utmost support in a foreign country on our last few days together. This trip meant the world to me and will never be forgotten. Hopefully our European family will come visit us soon.

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