I had the chance to have my say

Valentina and AEBR Secretary General Martín Guillermo Ramírez at the European Week of Regions and Cities

My name is Valentina and I am an IVY Interreg Project Partner at Eurodistrict PAMINA, at the border between Germany and France. I come from Italy, but I was living in Spain when I was contacted by AEBR to start my IVY adventure: I suddenly moved to Karlsruhe, Germany, but I am deployed in Lauterbourg, France, and I cross the border every day. My office is in the former Customs office at the border between the two countries!

In PAMINA I support the implementation of the Interreg Project ‘Le Passe-Partout/Der Weltenbummler’, a bilingual online game for French and German kids in order to playfully discover the border region they live in and look beyond the border. Aim of the project is to promote tolerance, mutual knowledge and boost the children’s language skills and knowledge about the region while developing a sense of belonging to Europe.

What Valentina teaches (by playing) German and French children

The exchange is not only virtual: the school classes who will get most points in the online game will be awarded with a cultural exchange with their peers of a class in the neighboring country.

I started my IVY one month and half ago and up to now I have been meeting project partners, teachers and stakeholders, have been inventing challenges for the online game, travelling around the region to discover it myself and produce material for the game (photos, videos, audios…), have been beta-testing the game and now I am working on a big training course for teachers to learn how to use the online game in their classes: students and teachers can play as a group and even create their own challenges.

In the next months I will be going to German and French schools in order to promote the game among Children as the project’s ambassador and I am looking forward to meet the kids I’m working for.

In my office I work in French and German all the time and sometimes it can get overwhelming, but IVY is not just about working!

Valentina in the former Custom's office between France and Germany

In my first month as an IVY I was travelling a lot, both for my project and during my free time. I hiked up to Fleckenstein Castle to interview a local guide on a legend about the castle, I found myself visiting an Interreg Project on the Rhine having explained differences between fishes to create a challenge about it for kids, I climbed in the Black Forest, walked long the Deutsche Weinstrasse, discovered Alsace’s fairytale cities, I could experience real autumn and photograph amazing foliage, I saw the battlefields to remind me the symbolic importance of doing cross-border cooperation exactly in this part of the world…

I had the great opportunity to travel to Brussels for the European Week of Regions and Cities, where I met other enthusiast IVY volunteers from all over Europe, exchanging a lot about our common experience, I attended a workshop and I was even invited to be a speaker at IVY’s workshop ‘Solidarity wanted: better call an Interreg Volunteer’ to share my experience at PAMINA and bring the perspective of a young European volunteer: I had the chance to have my say on the importance of education for Europe’s future.

I came back from Brussels inspired, with a lot of energy and looking forward to the months to come: I now can feel that I belong to the IVY family.

What are you waiting for? Join the European Solidarity Corps and become an IVY volunteer too!

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