Sunday, October 14, 2012

SOS for the Erasmus program!!

Recently it came to my attention that the EU's Erasmus program, available for all EU students is running out of funds and is in danger. The program is named after the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus, who lived and worked in many places in Europe to expand his knowledge and gain new insights. At the same time, ERASMUS stands for European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. (source Wikipedia).

Currently we read in the EU Commission website: "The European Commission is keeping in regular touch with the National Agencies to try to minimize the impact of the current shortage. In the meantime, the European Commission is working with the Budgetary Authority (the European Parliament and national Governments) to make sure it recognizes the importance of the Erasmus program and rapidly agrees to additional funding for this highly valuable and popular European student mobility program." (http://ec.europa.eu/education/news/20121005b_en.htm).

They advise the public that they are doing whatever they can to safeguard the continuation of this project and they encourage the students to keep applying for it.

Well I really hope that they do not abandon this great project and allow any fund cuts to be passed on to it. In my opinion it is one of the greatest achievements that this continent managed to achieve, after the creation of the EU itself of course.  And it is not just good for education or accumulation of knowledge, or even to have some fun while studying in another country.

To me the Erasmus program is a great opportunity to create more "Newropeans" in our continent, young people with a more broad knowledge and conscience. With a more "European" mind frame. For many of the students this opportunity is perhaps the first or the only one they could get to travel and live abroad. And as with Erasmus himself, that gives them an opportunity to gain new insights and knowledge first of all, but mainly to come in contact with many other students from all over Europe. Exchange ideas, knowledge, get in touch with other cultures. Perhaps learn a new language and a new way of life.

By living in another country you get to know how the people of this country live and think. And by living together with many other students from other European nations you automatically become a cosmopolitan person. You stop having a narrow, national only and perhaps conservative way of thinking and of course you take all the experience you gain back in your own country. And if we really want to create a European community and a multicultural society, that is the best tool and way of doing it.

What better way to give this opportunity to our young generations, to be not more cosmopolitan, educated, experienced, multilingual and progressive, but also have a love for Europe as whole. If we are going to change our continent we need to start from the young generation and invest in them, they are the future. They hold the key for a new kind of society in our continent. We need to give them the tools and the stimulus to be this new generation of Europeans.

So why are we giving all our tax money to the Banks, and wasting our resources in maintaining the current economic and political status quo? While we should be investing in our young people and provide them with all the tools necessary for a new Europe. Why are we bowing to the orders of the Banks and the Markets, giving more money and power to the rich elites, while it is our youth who need our attention and they are by far a better investment for the future?

Because with an educated, creative, experienced, multilingual and with a more European frame of mind or open minded future workforce, we have a chance to gain an advantage against our competitors form other regions. That is how you conquer the global markets, not by bailing out your banks! We do not want to live in a Banker's world. We want to provide our youth the tools to spread their wings and fly, and with them, Europe will fly too!

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