The 23rd International Camp on Communication and Computers (ICC) took place in Leuven, Belgium over 10 action packed days in July. With VICTA being the UK representative, it is a very important date in our annual diary, providing eight young people from the UK with an exciting new opportunity to travel, meet international students and gain new skills. All of the participants in our group were new to ICC and eager discover all the camp has to offer.

This year’s ICC was unique, in the sense that it was planned, organised and orchestrated by past participants from Belgium who were all visually impaired themselves. With countries from all over Europe (and Japan) present it was definitely an excellent opportunity for our participants to meet and socialise with other young people with a visual impairment from around the world.

As it has been in previous years, ICC is centred around computers, using them as a tool to teach and educate the participants on various assistive technologies but also hosts a selection of educational and social workshops. ICC is more than just computers, it is a chance for visually impaired youth from a range of countries to come together, make friends and grow in knowledge and confidence. It is a chance to share and enjoy cultural differences and similarities, as well as finding out what life is like for others in different countries with a similar condition.

The highlight of the week was the trip to Brussels and to the European Parliament, where we were given a talk from a British MEP who helped to explain how the process of parliament worked. We were given a tour around the main building and the hemisphere where all the elected MEPs sit when in parliament. Following this, we ventured out around Brussels to go to various places of interest including a chocolate museum and a toy museum, then we travelled back to Leuven and had a barbecue dinner.

In addition to the computer workshops there were also some helpful workshops on CV writing and interview skills, presentation skills, and first aid. As well as some more personal interest workshops, such as gentlemen’s etiquette, fossil moulding, the ‘Great ICC Bake Off’, self-defence and even a workshop on echolocation.

Following the days of educational workshops, we then ventured out to different evening leisure activities, there was cycling, bowling, jam sessions and improvisational performances. Others ventured to the sports centre to have a go at torball, jujitsu and karate. The final night was brought to a fantastic conclusion with the traditional group performances up on stage at ICC talent show.

Everyone on ICC with VICTA had a great time, from picking up new skills to use on their computers to meeting lots of new people and making life-long friends in the process.