What are coffee breaks?
This thing seems quite prosaic, and even banal simple. However, our experience is quite different. Coffee breaks are first of all a VERY important matter for the participants, and secondly – a quite complicated thing.
For the uninitiated: coffee breaks are on the one hand a term for a time (often no more than 30 minutes) free from activities conducted during the project, on the other hand, the very fact of using all kinds of snacks and drinks between meals is a coffee break. If you want to learn more and your center does not offer a coffee break between meals, be sure to look below.
What should be found during coffee breaks?
As previously stated, coffee breaks are a specially defined free time periods during which participants are provided with snacks and drinks. If your center has not offered you the organization of such a form of food, it is worth taking care of it yourself – it is the standard of international exchanges to provide participants with at least tea and coffee apart from basic meals. Therefore, it is worth remembering to include time for coffee breaks in the program (e.g. two a day – one before dinner, the other at tea time). Moreover, before the exchange, as organizers, you should prepare some kind of strategy for the coffee breaks. Together with the co-organizers and group leaders, you should think about what can be on those coffee breaks, what your participants are counting on and – what is very important – who will be responsible for preparing it every day. It is worth considering to use the information sent to you by participants about their food preferences (see: PREPARING THE PROJECT). This information may be necessary to prepare a good coffee break.
How to organize a coffee break well?
What should you keep in mind?
allocate a special (permanent, if possible) space where the snacks will be located,
make sure that nothing is missing (e.g. sugar, milk),
appoint people (permanent / rotating) who will take care of the cleanliness of the place – this is very important, because when it is used by several dozen people during the day, it should be cleaned quite often,
be guided by the nutritional preferences of the participants, gathered before the exchange begins,
ask participants for opinions on what you managed to prepare,
react as much as possible to the suggestions made by participants,
if possible, remember about our planet (try to give up a lot of unnecessary plastic – e.g. ask participants to bring their own cups),
be enterprising and don’t spend too much (although we know it’s not that easy),
most importantly, remember to do groceries regularly!