Euro Peers in Hannover was unexpected, I was often surprised and inspired by the stories of my fellow Peers, as well as by what we achieved in such a short time. The project lasted five days; we were to be trained and equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to promote Erasmus+ opportunities. This is our goal, not only to ensure that young people know what is available to them but to inspire them with our own experiences. I have volunteered a lot within the last few years, most notably in Colombia, Denmark, Nepal and now Germany. I come from a low-income family and am home educated, but these factors have never stopped me from contributing.
So do not be deterred, these adventures are open to all young people. Within a few short weeks, I was on my way to Germany to train to be a Euro Peer; part of a vast network of passionate young people based within Europe dedicated to raising awareness of exciting opportunities for youths. When I arrived I was greeted by individuals from Germany, Turkey, Finland, and Norway, each with unique stories and experiences to share. I recall an individual called Ennis who brought with him a book full of artwork, but the book didn’t belong to him. It was passed from artist to artist, and when it is full, it will return home to its owner full of the creative passion which saw it through Europe. The people who I stayed with all had amazing experiences and it was nice to share with people who understood my passion for travelling.
We would become closer as the days went by, we engaged in ice-breakers such as giving speeches and dancing; we received training workshops about problem solving and exploring life outside our comfort zone and attended presentations on EuroDesk. Within the training, I was positively overwhelmed by the amount of opportunities available to young people, and I feel that not enough people are aware of these opportunities. With this drive, and with what we had learnt, we were ready to deliver a EuroDesk session. We took to the community to share and our team presented a session within a school.
The school wasn’t far away from where we were staying, it was cosy and the students were more than willing to hear what we had to say. It was time out of everyday lessons to hear about free trips across Europe after all. We spoke about the opportunities available to them, such as European Voluntary Service (EVS) trips and Discover EU’s free interrail tickets. Our social action was complete, we had delivered a session and we felt like we made a difference in the lives of others. After we finished, my group spent some time exploring the city. While we were doing so, something unexpected happened. We were sat on some steps near the river when an individual approached us and invited us onto his floating island. He had made it from recycled objects and it also functioned as a garden that cleaned the water below it. We sat down and started having a tea party with cake and coffee onboard. He told us how his island was a part of a project, and that volunteers on their EVS had helped make it possible. It’s a small world. This was an amazing chance encounter with the community and it really showed me how much passion is involved in the projects promoted by EuroDesk.
I learnt a lot about the many opportunities available to young people, as well as the opportunities available to me. I would highly encourage any young person to get involved in this once in a lifetime adventure. It is a chance to be a part of something huge!
With help from Tyler Poulton, written by Bill Page