< SWITCH ME >
What do you believe in? That was the question posed to us today early in the morning. In principle this question can draw our thoughts to the idea of religion (if we have one); however, as was explained with Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa quotes, it was more than that. At the beginning I thought, "oops, this is going to take me time to figure out." Luckily it wasn't too bad! Surprisingly, in just a manner of seconds I knew exactly what I wanted to write: "I believe in love and trust, because I think they are the key to happiness." The reasons why this came to my mind would take me another article. I just have to say that my beliefs come from my life experiences, that is what life has taught me.
"I believe in love and trust, because I think they are the key to happiness."
"Are you hungry? – Are you European?" The inventors of EuropeAndMeal presented their idea of a multinational sandwich. They had entered the competition to find "The future European snack", the next big thing in Europe's food industry. And, somehow they managed to convince a very harsh jury of well-known cooks, food critiques and experts for European identity from the University of Leiden.
Today, the "Do you Speak European?" workshop was all about food and traditions in Europe. When it comes to birthdays though, we should almost hope that not all national practices will make their way into a common European culture - they can be quite disturbing! In Poland you get hit with a belt on your 18th birthday, in Germany you get publicly humiliated if you are not married at 30 and in Spain people might pull you by the ears. Marriages can be challenging as well: In some regions of Romania people dance with chickens on their heads and in Slovenia men debate about the price they would pay for the bride… if you are really unlucky, it is just around 400 Euros.
We're debating efficient ways of changing the future of young people across Europe today with half of us sitting on tables, attentively following the course of the discussion. Well, most of us that is. The white cable thrown across the floor of the conference room leads to a girl with curly hair who is sitting underneath a table. She grabs the cable and connects it to her computer, takes a breath of relief, and gazes at the screen.
Kristi, a 19 year old Slovenian, studies graphic design at the Slovenian Academy of Arts in Ljubljana. I suppose you are wondering what she's doing under the table? Well, she's cutting and pasting footage for a video presentation. During the afternoon, some of us have heatedly debated the pros and cons of occupying public squares, philosophised about contemporary European literature and even written a pan-european poem.
In the couple of hours we had, we also explored songs from different European countries and created a unique music video of our own. The group members taught each other to sing in a different European language: be it Romanian for a Pole or Turkish for a Slovenian. Matt, Editor of Sixth Sense, apparently speaks Romanian with a Moldavian accent! After a few tongue-twisting hours, everything was taped and it then was up to Kristi to make the final edit. (The result will be published in our special workshop edition, coming soon!) Later on, we caught her for an interview:
Nine o’clock and the reception of the Sunflower Hostel was buzzing with excitement. The newly formed group of 24 young Europeans was ready to go.
Awakened by the cold, and after a short journey through the maze of Berlin’s streets, we arrived at the Hertie School of Governance – our location for the E&M workshop.
We paired up after the introduction speech. It was time to turn into noisy ‘journalists’ for five minutes and find out as much as possible about the person sitting next to us. Some shared the nostalgia of a city they both loved and visited. Others found different meanings for similar words.
With a flair for details, everyone managed to unravel at least one particular thing about their interviewee. The person sitting next to us was no longer a name from a country, but a friend with whom you share passions and know personal things about. Someone was ‘afraid of spiders and the dark’, others liked ‘The Butterfly Effect’ and ‘Love actually’, many felt more comfortable among foreigners than in their own countries and many study or have already studied abroad.