The EU programs like Erasmus+ or the European Solidarity Corps are an amazing opportunity for young people to meet new cultures and places. They are unique in providing equal chances to all, regardless of their social background, thus providing enriching experience for the volunteers and students taking part. They are open not only to EU Member States, but also to accession and other partner countries, fostering solidarity between all European nations.
In 2015, 678 000 Europeans went on a university exchange, started an internship, or volunteered abroad.
Freedom of movement is among the most frequently cited advantages of joining the EU, and particularly so in Poland, where not so long ago our opportunities to visit foreign countries were very limited due to the political climate. In the 30 years leading up to 2017, as many as 180 000 young Poles took advantage of various EU programs. Our volunteer Jana is one of the 100 000 young Europeans who decided to visit Poland. Let’s hear her EU experience:
As an Erasmus+ volunteer I gained so much. I got to know people from all around the world because EU made this possible. On an everyday basis, I get to know something about other cultures. I also have the chance to talk about my home country and my culture to Polish people and kids in many schools (that is part of my project in the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation, where I am a volunteer). In that way, we share tolerance and understanding between countries.
I think that programs like Erasmus are very important for young people like me because they give you more opportunities to live abroad and study at different universities. With freedom of movement, Poland gains a lot because there is an opportunity for exchanging knowledge and experiences. Another good side of EU that I would like to mention is that accession process means rule of law, democracy, fighting against corruption. From my experience of living in an EU country, I think Serbia should also be part of the EU.
Jana Maletić and Marta Jurczak, Polish Robert Schuman Foundation