Europe House in Skopje is already known as ‘the centre of the new generation’. On 2 February it also turned into a TV studio that will (with all health protocols in place) until September host weekly debates involving young people on topics that matter to them. This initiative reflects the high priority the EU gives to youth, both as an investment in the future of the region and also as a way to address the challenge of the brain drain affecting all Western Balkan countries. These discussions, launched by the Delegation, will put a spotlight on young people: their views, experience and concerns. In doing so we hope to encourage fresh perspectives on and innovative solutions to the common challenges we all face.
Erasmus+ was the topic of the first debate. This involved the participation of three high school students from Skopje, two young European ambassadors and the director of the National Agency for European Educational Programmes and Mobility.
The students presented their first-hand experience of Erasmus+ - participation in a seminar on renewable sources of energy in Finland - while greeting their Portuguese friend they had met there and who was watching the streaming of the event on Facebook. Making new friends and meeting new cultures was the main advantage of Erasmus – the teenagers agreed, as they explained to the moderator, actor Gorast Cvetkovski, how they had become part of the seminar under the guidance of the professors in charge of Erasmus in their school. Through a video, high school students from the small town of Sveti Nikole also shared their experience of Erasmus, describing it as formative both in terms of their social skills and when it came to acquiring valuable knowledge on the topics they had chosen.
Part of the episode was a video with practical tips for university students on how to apply for Erasmus + (which the moderator concluded was not that difficult), as well as a survey in which most of the interviewed students had either already participated in the programme or were in the process of applying (with some of them being prevented to reach their Erasmus destination due to the Covid-19 pandemic).
Young European ambassadors, Sara and Aleksandar, elaborated on how their professional skills had benefitted from their rich Erasmus experience, which eventually helped them gain the prestigious title. Sara summed up her experience of the programme by paraphrasing the words of the Dutch philosopher after whom it was named (Erasmus of Rotterdam): ‘It made me become a citizen of the world’.
The debates - the next one on volunteering - take place every Tuesday at 17h45. Follow them live on MTV1 or on the Facebook pages of the EU Delegation and Europe House.