On the 1st and 2nd of April, I had a chance to participate in the Erasmus+ Students as Intercultural Ambassadors – Strengthening European Values through Cross-sectoral Initiatives conference in Frankfurt and it was an absolutely fantastic experience. My Frankfurt adventure started on Sunday, 31st of March when I was flying from Edinburgh to Germany. Everything was organised so perfectly. We were accommodated in a beautiful Hotel Savigny, which was located in Frankfurt’s business centre. The venue of the conference was the Westend Campus of Goethe University.
The conference started at 10:30 am on the 1st of April, with the welcome and introduction speech of Beate Korner, who was representing the National Agency for EU Higher Education Cooperation Erasmus+ and also organising the whole event. The next speaker was Dr. Christina Norwig from EU Educational Programmes, International Cooperation and German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, who talked about creating and recreating Europe from below. She also mentioned that Europe needs people that identify themselves as Europeans because we have the power to shape Europe.
I also really enjoyed listening to Wim Gabriels from Erasmus Student Network, who was telling the story about his Erasmus exchange in Turkey. He used a quote from “L’Auberge Espagnole”, which says “I’m French, Spanish, English, Danish. I’m not one, but many. I’m like Europe, I’m all that.” This speech was one of my favourites, because it made me realise that my perspective is exactly the same. I am Polish because I was born and raised in this country. I am Scottish because I have been studying and living there for last four years, but at the same time, I am Italian, French, Spanish and Swedish, because of all of my amazing friends that have such an impact on my life. I can confirm that my Motherland is in Europe. I feel so privileged and lucky to be European. I believe that it is very important to all of us, especially students, to strengthen these European values. Hans Leifgen from DAAD, mentioned how significant it is, to create different projects in the future in order to maintain the networking and sustainability within our continent. Moreover, Renilde Knevels that was representing the Flanders Knowledge Area, highlighted that we should also focus on supporting internationalisation and contributing to the global community.
During the workshops, we were talking about social commitment, active citizenship, and European values. The participants were sharing their stories and we established our most important European values, which are freedom, solidarity, commitment, and mobility. Everyone agreed that being European means having our voices heard.
The European conference in Frankfurt was a life-changing experience. It hasn’t only changed my perspective on being European, but also made me realise that we should all start working TOGETHER towards the same goals.