The 2018 Team
Once again this year 20 students from 11 European countries – the Europamobil team - met at Genshagen Castle and travelled to 11 schools in Brandenburg. Here they report about Europamobil and draw a personal conclusion:
Kinga Budzyn from Poland (21 years):
„It was definitely a project that enriched me, but ultimately, it wasn’t about me. It was about those students, and about experiencing the current situation yourself, and being happy to find out it’s not what you expected- in the best way. It was a month that made me very hopeful about the future of Europe.“
Gesine Reichel from Germany (22 years):
„In my eyes, Europamobil is exactly the kind of project Europe, and the European Union, needs: A group of young people that personifies the “EU” and “European Values”, demonstrating them in their everyday life together, who go to schools and spread love for the EU, explaining to the pupils how the EU and their institutions work, what Migration is, what European Diversity means to them and why we should value our Democracies. This work on the grass roots can bring the far away construction that is the “European Union” to the local level, to show the connection between every pupil, every citizen, and the EU, and what the EU can do for them, what intertwines both and why both should value each other more. If we want the European Project to succeed, this kind of basic work is needed, so that every European citizen not only knows and understands the functioning of the Union, but also to build a basis of wide acceptance for more integration. Young people are our future, along with the European Union, let us bring them together more often!“
Luca Schombert from Italy (25 years):
„Europamobil, for me, was an utterly mesmerizing experience that has profoundly penetrated my spirit. The chance of meeting such extremely
engaged and astonishing people has inspired my mind and soul to ever greater heights. Europamobil is a challenging journey that helped me to better comprehend myself, experience the wonders of diversity, and has left an indubitable mark on my life journey. My desire is that we managed to transmit a shade of knowledge, motivation and aspiration to the many pupils we encountered during the project.“
Laure Delignon from France (19 years):
„If you ever doubt the capacity of 20 students coming from all over Europe, with their own languages, habits, and beliefs, and their ability to produce something incredible together, you should come to Genshagen in September. There, you will find a wonderful group of young, talented, and motivated people trying to find a balance between preparing workshops, improving in both jungle speed and badminton, eating every three hours of the day, and trying to find the perfect duration of a power nap. But by seeing the joy and happiness they bring to every school they visited, you will, for sure, understand they managed it pretty well.”
Luisa Kern from Germany (21 years):
„In the first week of this project, sitting in the big hall in a circle, we were each asked to say with a few words about what Europe means to us. At that time, I, a little overzealous, answered with “United in Diversity”. Little did I know that I would spend the next days preparing a workshop on this exact topic, and then discussing it in 11 schools, twice each day, with more than 300 students in total. So now, almost three weeks (and countless hours in the bus) later, feeling a little exhausted but also quite accomplished, it might be time to think again about what Europe means to me. Maybe I’d answer the same way, with the difference, that I feel like I only now begin to understand what both “Cultural Diversity” and “Unity” truly mean. After the last weeks though, with the school visits and official program, but especially with the time spent with my 19 co-participants, I’d probably think first about other points. So, after this Europamobil time, if you were to ask me again, what Europe means to me now, I’d add: wonderful new friends and a lot of fun.“
Alexander Maros from Greece (30 years):
„I feel unequivocally elated and privileged to be a participant of the Europamobil program 2018. Besides my living experience at a lavish and imposing castle, and the access to the cosmopolitan Berlin, I am more than thrilled to meet and befriend inspirational personalities; I have been enthralled by their altruism and sensitivity towards the others, their thirst to progress, and their fervent desire to fight and change the shape of the current “eroded” status quo. This program has additionally made me realize my love to teach and implant ideas to students. I feel richer and wiser thanks to the people I have met, and esp. my new and real friends. I am grateful to Stephen and the trainers giving me the opportunity to share a seat in the Europamobil bus once again!“
Marine Epiney from Switzerland (20 years):
„Europamobil gave me the opportunity to live the European Union concretely. As a Swiss, I have never felt so European than in this project. Together, with 16 other students from all over Europe, we shared our experiences, our knowledge, our jokes and humanity for a month. Bringing the EU to schools was a big challenge. How to make the EU-institutions an appealing subject for pupils? However, by thinking together, we managed to set up both an informative and entertaining workshop. We saw sparkles in
some pupils' eyes: interest, curiousity had arisen during the one activity or the other. This made me feel great and full of hope for the future of Europe. Begin with curiosity, then attention will come naturally, and together we'll be able to make a change.“
Jonathan Arlaud from Great Britain (22 years):
„Europe. Europamobil. When leaving to come to this project, I was completely unsure of what to anticipate. I had no clue what the people would be like, how much work was required, and what the result would be. Now, as I am preparing to leave, I can answer all these questions- the people are a fantastic, diverse bunch who I have learnt a great deal from, I can only hope that I have managed to return the favour. The work is hard, often seeming like an insurmountable task- how do you engage a group of 16-year olds in democracy, especially when there is a language barrier in the way? Fortunately, the motto of the EU “United in diversity” proved itself to be accurate, for whatever task I couldn’t accomplish, there was someone with a different set of skills on my team who could. And the result? The experience has been absolutely fantastic, and as much as the focus was on us teaching pupils, I feel like I can walk away learning more about Europe and myself than I would ever dared imagine.“
Maria Pia Napoletano from Italy (20 years):
„If I had to choose two words to describe Europamobil, I would say "continuous” and “discovery". Every day has been different, inspiring, complex, sometimes difficult, but enriching and constructive. I feel like I have given a lot, but I received much more.”
Josef Mayr from Germany (19 years):
„To be honest: participating in Europamobil was one of the greatest experiences I have made so far. When I am thinking about the last September I get this special feeling, wishing I could relive this month.
I do not know if it is the joy I felt when I could give a pupil a new perspective, the amazing and inspiring people I met in Genshagen or living for one month in a castle in the middle of nowhere with late summer weather.
Probably all of this together makes me smile when I think back. I have very nice memories from this time and can truly recommend Europamobil to anyone who enjoys engaging in debates and is willing to meet new friends. It is a very intense but outstanding experience!“
Alina Demel from Germany (26 years):
„When I started this project, I thought I could teach the pupils much about Europe, because I have learned much about it in university. But to be honest, in the last couple of weeks, my fellows in the castle and the pupils in the schools taught me more about myself and what it means to work together. And I think this is what Europe is all about: Get in contact with each other, and learn from each other. I want to say thank you for that!“
Nicolas Hubert from Belgium (25 years):
„What does the European Union mean to me? I truly believe there is no better place to be born on earth. As European citizen, I benefit every day from the opportunities the European Union has to offer to its young people. I belong to this “Erasmus Generation” that had the chance to study abroad. Living in Belgium but studying in the Netherlands, I crossed a border every day without being bothered by border controls. I could cite many other things but it would take too long.
However, I am just lucky to be born here and to benefit from all those things. We often take this chance for legitimate and granted. We forget how privileged we are to live on a peaceful continent, free of persecution and with high living standards compared to other places in the world. It leads politicians to use the European Union as a scapegoat, to blame it for everything. Of course, the European Union is not perfect. Of course, it should be more democratic, more transparent, more solidary. However, as a famous British prime minister would have said: the European Union is the worst form of organization, except for all the others. It is the best idea we had so far and we should work together to improve it.
At the beginning of our workshop “How does the EU work?” we used to ask the pupils what is the first thing that comes to their mind when they think about the European Union. Many of them did not have any idea. That’s why I think projects such as Europamobil are what the EU needs the most right now. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. It is a pity that people, and in particular the youth, know so few about it, considering that the EU is their future and they have the power to decide what kind of EU they want.
Europamobil brought me a lot. After each workshop, I had the feeling I taught something meaningful to these pupils and gave back to the European Union for what it has done for me. On the feedback sheets, pupils could now write what the European Union is for them. There is no better thing for me that they knew more after than before our visit.“
Vendula Šípková from Czech Republic (25 years):
„The everyday struggle with an alarm clock, lack of sleep, hard work of developing our workshops, and performing Macarena more than twenty times in eleven schools in Brandenburg, was one (challenging) side of an almost one-month stay in Genshagen Castle. Meeting new, wonderful friends, discussing with excited students about European issues and having a lot of fun together, was the other side! Every life experience is about people you meet - thank you Europamobil- Team 2018 for making this time a wonderful chapter in my life!“
Clara Seeber from Germany (20 years):
„You might ask, what does Europamobil mean to me? - Sleepy mornings in the bus, a lot of potatoes, lakes, energetic flag waving to Macarena, “How do we turn on this Smart Board?”, more lakes around Brandenburg, likewise, long competitive game nights in the castle, crappy WiFi, cultural diversity in all its forms, fancy excursions to Edeka, Eichhörnchen, Badminton tournaments, motivated students and all the lovely global citizens, who made this experience so unique and unforgettable. I never felt so European before.“
Raul Dumitrascu from Romania (27 years):
„In these tumultuous years, the European Union needs more solutions and support from its citizens and believers in order to overcome the challenges it faces and to preserve the Union unity and legacy. In difficult times is easy to criticize, and in sunny days it’s easy to enjoy the good conditions, but it is essential that all of us takes the fair share of making the European Union work, regardless of the challenges, environment or conditions. Europamobil is an initiative that represents a solution for the European Union needs both in its difficult periods, but also in the better days it will follow. Europamobil is a promoter of the European way of being with almost all its flavours, so let’s
keep alive! And, please, enjoy it!“