International U3A Exchanges
The current situation concerning International U3A Exchanges by Surrey Network is described below. The Third Age Trust has been represented on the International Association of U3As (AIUTA) for more than twenty five years and members have been able to attend international conferences in different countries around the world. The numbers who attended have been small, but over the years other activities such as visits, exchanges and twinning have been developed by individuals or U3As. In 2015 the Trust set up its International Committee which intends to build on all these initiatives. On the national website under Resources there is a link to the International website.
U3As in Surrey have already been involved in exchanges with Japan, Poland, Sweden and Spain. The exchange with Poznan U3A in Poland started in 2013 and is an on-going relationship. In 2018 a group travelled to Poznan for four nights in May and a return visit will take place in 2019. Poznan U3A has about 1200 members and its English Language interest group has about 100 members. All our hosts have a working grasp of English and on previous exchanges we have been helped by having members of the Surrey party who were native Polish speakers.
As well as this Polish link I am aware that the exchange with Spain is likely to continue. In addition I was approached by the President of Mauritius U3A, Armoogum Parsuramen, who set up the link between Mauritius and the UK. Ten members were chosen for an exchange trip to Mauritius in February 2017; the UK members came from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Chester plus five members from Surrey U3As; Ashtead, Fetcham, Horley and Horsley. There will be an AIUTA conference in Mauritius in November 2019.
Ian Funnell – 01372 374236