Two days ago I was Gonostofea. I was playing a role of a Greek student who came to Berlin for her master degree. Three days ago I was the representative of digital ministry in the European Commission, and just four days ago I was a model from South Africa. Almost 1 week, every day I had a new position. Being to these different positions was hard for me but funny as well. And finally two days ago I was the person, who sees Europe from different parts of the world, from different positions of society and with different perspectives.
Last week I took part in one youth exchange, that was organized by Europe4Youth organization. In the frame of «Pillars of Europe» about 30 participants came from different countries to exchange their views about European Union, to share their opinions about the collaboration and to connect their countries and the European Union. I am not going to say what we did, or which kind of tools or exercises we got to know. I just want to say, that in 5 days we took the responsibilities as a part of European or non European community, to figure out what is our role in the formation of the EU. So to be clear I will share with some situations and positions that we had during this YE.
Before participating in this exchange I had no idea what «Pillars of Europe» is about and what we were going to do. Then for the first days I got to know the different perspectives of the different countries about the EU, as well as the attitude of the EU for my peers in different countries. Of course you could have knowledge or imagination what a German student can think about the European Union. But it’s more interesting when you listen to it in the environment where people have different backgrounds, and their opinions can occur many controversial points, or can just push your brain to analyze what’s going on. So I was in that situation. By listening different points of views, at the same time I started to analyze my situation.
I am a volunteer from Armenia in Europe. I am not a Greek student whose country is within the EU. So in that case she can compare the advantages and disadvantages of EU. But for me European Union is a box of capabilities, because I saw only one sides of this institute. From the point of my peers, I mean for the majority, the European Union provides many opportunities to get to know new knowledge, to have a social development while being in different countries, at least by participating in such kind of youth exchanges. But this project gave me the opportunity to see the other side of this institution. It helped me to have more constructive knowledge about the European Union.
So there are some countries like Poland and North Macedonia, that basically have a positive attitude for the Eu, but at the same time the economical situation and migrant issues don’t let to admit all of the condition of the EU. And it was interesting to listen to the point of view of my peers about it. Or the position of German students about the EU, which is mostly positive. Although they is a huge net contribution for the EU, which means that every year they give more than they receive, but still in that case they are standing firm in this institute. At the same time it was really interesting to listen to the position of Italy as one of the founder countries, or the position of Greece, where the society is also divided in 2 sides: ` pro europeans and eurosceptics.
So at the same time I got to know this perspective which made me think and analyze the role of the European Union in Armenia. Armenia is being in geographically unfavorable conditions convinced, that the collaboration with the European Union can develop mostly in positive sides by contributing economical and social development in country. So that’s the topic that you can always debate. I had this opportunity to express my opinion as well, which I think is one step forward.
That’s not all. I learned some skills and got knowledge from my position, that I had during the project, And the most inspirational part of all this process was my character during the EduLarp(this is one of the tool that we used). Gonostofea, who comes from Greece has a positive attitude about the European Union, she is pro european, tolerant, multilingual and studied European studies. She imagines her future in Europe. So my task was to play this character. But I didn’t only play it, I really lived it, because we have a lot of similarities, but at the same time we had some crushes as well. She imagines her future in Europe, she doesn’t want to back to Thessaloniki. She is an atheist. But I would love to say, that this position was inspirational for me with her multilingual skills, ambitious character and open minded parents.
Of course I had some frustration as well, but that was because of the less constructive knowledge, misunderstandings. But this youth exchange helped me to analyze my omissions, and to work on it. Also I had an opportunity to have my copyright podcast, that will be published soon. There I am speaking about my routine life as an international student in Europe. I am sharing my friend my fears, achievements, and the most ridiculous moment that I practiced my language skills by using Greek, German, English. That was really stimulative for me to have a nice podcast.
And of course due to this exchange now I know many nice people from different countries. One whole week we were together, we were one team, we were agreeing and disagreeing with each other and with our opinions, but we had one common thing: intercultural communication which will be remembered only by good memories!!! That’s what non-formal education and volunteering means.