January 21, 2017

One Wild and Precious Life as an EU Trainee: Are You Up For Europe?!

On the 18th January I took part in the Think Young. Think Europe. Act Now. Conference on Are You Up for Europe?!

It was a really good day. Let me tell you all about it :)

The opening speech was done by Luis Planas, SG of EESC, and Gon├žalo Lobo Xavier, VP of EESC. Following that was a very inspirational welcome speech by Madi Sharma. Do you know Madi? She is awesome, check out her twitter!

And then the awesomeness of Are You UP for Europe?! started.

We had the World Cafe. The first group discussion was based on the question "Based on your experience, what does engagement with the EU mean to you?" It was a very interesting brainstorming. My group came up with so many funny (and not so funny) propositions:

- We are EU people by default - we were born into it :P
- Information sharing: EU could do a better job with information sharing. Be more transparent. Breaking down the complexity.
- Ask the right question to the right people. Well, you might not always know the right people. Or the right questions. 
- As a normal human being is hard to engage with EU institutions or MEPs.
- Erasmus <3

The second part was "What is necessary for positive engagement?"

My group's brainstorming.

We exchanged ideas inside the group, and between the groups. It was super amazing what brainstorming can achieve. So many ideas. And then we put them all together and discussed them some more. 

The solutions we came up with were summarised in: 
More opportunities
-  Inclusion - Common vision, action
- Communication
- Attitude  
- Education
Ideas for positive engagement in the EU.

In the afternoon our fellow trainee Fabio Mauri presented his book Along the Danube. It's a story about Erasmus students based in 2031. Sounded more like a dystopia to me - which pure awesomeness. Review to come soon!

And then the best part happened. We were to come up with ideas for projects on how to engage youth with Europe. The idea the appealed the most to you, you could join the team. And let me tell you, there were many great ideas there. 

I joined the initiative to create a EU public holiday on the 9th of May. So that every member state could celebrate EU together on the same day. A symbol of unity. This would inspire a sense of citizenship, it would create a positive reputation for EU, there would be inter-cultural exchange

We won the 2nd place as best project!  

The project that won the first place was EU Trainee Ambassador at Home - the project is about trainees going home and spreading the knowledge and the experience gathered in the EU institutions. It's a really good project because its purpose is to raise awareness of EU, inform people about EU possibilities, trainees would share their knowledge and experience at high schools and universities, and ultimately have united Europe engaged citizens.

And I am sure we are going to keep working on it and make it a reality. This is a really good idea. Plus, we all love holidays. The follow ups have already been set in place, so I am looking forward to it!

As for the event on the whole, I have met so many great people there. You'd think that after 4 months we would know everyone, but.. No. Which great again, cause I could met more awesome people!

Overall the event was really inspiring, it was a wonderful experience, and I am so happy that I was part of it! 

Remember: Think young. Think Europe. We are EU!
With love,

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