European opportunities: how the EU supports youth and education in Moldova (II)

29-03-2017

The European Union has been increasingly present in the life of young Moldovans through a variety of opportunities offered to school and university students but also to young professionals. We are presenting below some of the most important opportunities supported by the European Union for you to learn about and know how to use them. In the second part of the story we will report on the experience of a Moldovan school Euroclub and the achievements of the ‘Young European Neighbours’ network, implemented under the ‘EU Neighbours east’  project.

School Euroclubs: how students become the main promoters of European values

Moldova has a network of school Euroclubs that was set up with the European Union’s support. They are a form of cooperation between teachers and students, aimed at developing a European conscience. It was Portugal that came up with the school Euroclubs initiative back in the 1990s, which has been promoted through the Council of Europe. As the name suggests, the club is set up in the school, where the modelling of the idea of European ‘identity’ starts.

One such club is that of the Theoretical High School ‘Vasile Alecsandri’ in the town of Ungheni, which was set up in 2013.

Lidia Covali, high school director and initiator of the Euroclub: “The years 2014 and 2015 were very rich for us. We had beautiful relations and projects implemented together with other Euroclubs and would like this chain of Euroclubs not to break. We need common projects and initiatives, so that each of these students is also harnessed in aspects other than just academic.”

The club is coordinated by Olga Budac, the school’s English teacher: “We are glad that in our school we have students eager to study but also to participate in extracurricular activities. They make their best efforts and we jointly manage to do everything.”

The Euroclub has over 40 members.

Cristofor Penduș, 11th grade student: “The youth are those who can model the future and therefore we think that the Euroclub has special importance, since it aims to develop our intellectual capacities through participation in extracurricular activities.”

Cristiana Morcov, 11th grade student: “The Euroclub members are actively involved in promoting the European Union in the town of Ungheni. We are proud to have the opportunity to be part of this team.”

Among the most important projects of the Ungheni Euroclub is a project implemented in partnership with Poland for which they received a grant of $1,500 that they used to equip the school’s festivities room, and another project, ‘Youth Promotes European Union’, as part of which they carried out a number of activities, including film projections, painting exhibitions, conferences and study visits. Another achievement of the Euroclub members was their participation in an international contest in Slovakia, ‘the Odyssey of the Mind’, where they won the first prize, as well as their participation in the international eTwinning contest in Brussels where they attended various seminars on Moldova’s European path. In 2014, Euroclub members from the entire country met in a summer camp in Bălți. Their most recent activity has been their visit to the Embassy of Romania where the members spoke about our country’s cultural heritage.

Irina Cotici, 11th grade student: “Speaking about projects and achievements we speak about experience, about personal development but also about the development of the civic spirit.”

Cristina Lopatețchi: “We have had many successful activities together with my Euroclub colleagues. Moldova indeed has big perspectives for the future.”

Arcadie Stratulat: “I decided to become member of this organisation to contribute to the efficient development of the town of Ungheni, but also in order to broaden my horizon for success.”

Daniel Însurățelu: “For me, this experience has had a great impact on my development as a personality and has given me ideas for promoting Ungheni as a European town.”

More than 100 youth from the EU and Eastern Partnership countries are Young European Ambassadors

In June 2016, the ‘EU Neighbours east’ project launched the ‘Young European Neighbours’ network to promote cooperation among the youth and youth organisations from EU member states and neighbouring countries, including Moldova. To give life to this network, the project also created a Facebook group that is open to anyone interested in updates about EU opportunities, events and news about EU and Neighbourhood youth. More than 100 young people from the EU and Eastern Partnership countries have been designated as Young European Ambassadors based on an application process that will repeat itself each year. They are school and university students and young professionals.

Between 8 November and 2 December 2016, 12 young ambassadors from Moldova and from EU member states visited over 30 general education schools, vocational schools and universities in Moldova. This activity has been implemented by the EU Delegation to Moldova and the ‘EU Neighbours east’ project, in partnership with the Ministry of Education.

According to the ‘EU Neighbours east’ project, “the visits had a major impact on Moldovan youth. Over 3,500 young Moldovans learned useful information about the European Union in an entertaining and interactive manner. They found out about its origin, values, structure, and how they could benefit from European opportunities. We often receive messages from young people in Moldova who ask us various questions about opportunities or events in which they would like to participate.”

Looking ahead, the network coordinators say they are keeping in touch with the young people they met in Moldova and hope to repeat the visit’s experience in the autumn of 2017.

Author: Alina Girnet

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