We were discussing many questions about volunteering in the workshop : “Don’t ask what Europe can do for you – What can you do for Europe?” Basically, the questions were about how to promote volunteering, as many reported, the experience they gained through volunteering helped them in their character development and learning for example a new language. When we were asked to define volunteering, one important criteria mentioned in the group has been, to work for someone unpaid. I could somehow relate to their attitude about money but I was skeptical. The motivation should surely be first, that one can help others in a project and learn about oneself. Still, when doing an internship or going for a volunteer project, one needs to be aware that it is not just about replacing someone else’s job, being unpaid and for traveling you need money aswell.
A young woman from Greece raised her voice to say that in her country volunteering is associated with “she would do any job without asking for money” so this would be the reason to be hired when it is on her CV.
It is a big issue in some countries like Spain, that there aren’t any jobs, so young people decide to go volunteering. The experience they make should help them to learn and grow but to also finally find a way out of unemployment. I think it is important for us to find meaning in our life when we are young but also to experience that we can have a positive impact and contribute to society.
In one workshop about Social entrepreneurship a young man, who is researching to become an entrepreneur said that, he doesn’t distinguish between an entrepreneurship and a social entrepreneurship, as every entrepreneurship should be social.
I could learn much from people I had the chance to see and exchange ideas with, because there are just open minded like me and I felt, the urge to change something in our environment, country or in Europe is really contagious.
What matters to Europeans?
The program EYE 2014 not only allowed me to be more aware about the need to adress issues on the European level but also made me meet wonderful people. As we met many people involved in many different NGOs, I especially came to question myself deeper about my motivations as well as my projects. Will the projects I want to run really help major issues or will they just interest a minority? In short, are my future projects worth running?
I also understood the need to survey/watch European institutions in order to tackle the issues in which UPF vision can be relevant and help. Rest of the time, ground work will be more fruitful as more needed.
On European Values
Anja found that the ideas-lab on European values was too superficial:
We ended up talking about challenges and institutions rather than underpinning values. I cannot tell you now what European values means. The purpose behind the EU is connecting and unifying Europe. Americans see us as Europeans, but not we ourselves. I think it would be nice to have greater European unity.
“Tolerance, respect towards each other as a main value” as it was put forward by a representative of the EPs Press Agency cannot is not a lasting solution. You may ‘over eat’ on differences.
Agreeing with Anja, Bogdan adds that what we are aiming at is “learning to live together”:
This again hinges on questions of values. “Tolerance, respect towards each other as a main value” can only be the very surface. What has priority? I think that working families are the best place were we learn to live together and help each other despite differences and despite my burning individual needs. In putting this emphasize on family or not is where we encounter questions of value.