During the aftermath of Brexit I began thinking very hard about what it really meant for me to be a European and what I could do to show my citizenship. I began researching and that is when I came across Erasmus Plus. My first Eramsus Plus activity was a study visit to Lithuania and it really changed me and my direction in life for the better. It was not only the first time I was able to experience an intercultural dialogue but I also witnessed for the first time what it was like to be in a room full of diverse people, who collectively were celebrating different cultures and countries. I had never seen such a thing on such a scale and to say I was overwhelmed by such ideas is an understatement.

Since then I have benefited from many projects; youth exchanges on ‘Project Management’, ‘Inclusion for Migrants and Refugees’ to training courses on’Youth Worker Toolkits’ and ‘Glocal Transformation’. I have had the privilege to meet so many interesting and diverse individuals from around the world and having these opportunities has really increased my confidence, changed my perspective on global issues, improved my unbiased understanding of the world as well as developed me both professionally and personally.

In a time of local and global uncertainty where differences are being used to divide humans, programs such as Erasmus Plus are needed more than ever. It truly highlights commonalities around the world to promote acceptance, puts the idea of globalisation into practice, fosters better understanding and celebration of different cultures and religions and increases the idea of individual activism and the role of a global citizen.

I credit and thank these opportunities for making me a better person, igniting the activist in me and showing me the world and it’s stories. Not only have these opportunities given me a chance but they have also prompted me to dedicate myself to give others a chance, and work within the youth sector to contribute to a better future. The importance of such programs for the UK as well as the rest of the world is underrated and I hope many young people and countries are able to continue benefiting from such irreplaceable life and world changing experiences as I have for many years to come.

Maniba Zariat