Today is my last day at Eurodistrict PAMINA and I have mixed feelings: it was a challenging experience, sometimes things weren’t going the way I wanted, but I can’t help but advising young Europeans to embrace this opportunity and join IVY. My six months were a rollercoaster of emotions, with good times and bad times, but I will bring only the good memories with me.
I was supporting the INTERREG V project Passepartout/Weltenbummler, of which I already spoke in my previous blog post, a French-German online game for primary school children to playfully discover the border region they live in and their neighbor’s language.
I was deployed in Lauterbourg, a tiny village in Alsace at the border with Germany, and the first part of my mission as Interreg Project Partner mainly involved project management activities in office. During the last two months, though, I could see the concrete effects of my actions and efforts.
After months working hard ‘in the backstage’, creating challenges for the online game in French and German, neither of which is my mother tongue, and making sure every aspect of the game and the project worked well, I started going in schools and after-schools centers to directly present the project to children, by playfully explaining to them what a border is, what a border region is, and by playing with the online game. It was my chance to make an impact on little future Europeans, and I fully took advantage of it.
What I bring with me after this experience is the memory of the smiley, enthusiast faces of children staring at my maps of Europe, or understanding how easy it is for them to cross the border, the memory of the warm surprise party my colleagues organized for me before my departure, their goodbye card with Alsatian recipes not to forget them, a goodbye card from a group of French kids , where a little boy wrote ‘Bonjurno’ in an attempt of writing something in Italian for me.
Now something is clearer than ever to me: INTERREG is made of the people behind it, produces bottom-up changes, acts locally while thinking big, and has an amazing impact on the life of people at the border.
I have experienced ‘life at the border’ myself, living in Germany and working in France, facing all the difficulties of the case, limited in time for me, but a daily issue for many. I deepened my knowledge of cross-border cooperation between Germany and France and experienced three cultures at a time.
6 months working with schools, school principals, teachers and students helped me clear my mind on my vocation and shape my path in the field of education, figuring out I can combine my passions for Europe and Education: I will keep trying to have a strong impact on future Europeans, this time as a Teacher and Educator.