Dedicated college students: they made Europe their vocation

Candice, Arthur and Lucas are convinced of this: defending Europe has become a matter of state. More than citizenship and the institutional side, it is the cultural, historical aspect and the sharing of values ​​that seduced them. On the eve of the French presidency of the Council of the European Union, they share their vision of Europe.

2022 will be the European Year of Youth. Candice, 22, Arthur, 23, and Lucas, 19, however, didn’t wait to commit to Europe. Everyone began to be interested in her, not in school or studies, but in her involvement in associations. A happy coincidence that took them to become aware of their European citizenship and that drives them every day to value, raise awareness and learn more about this four million km² area.

Young people committed to Europe

“I was in my first year of high school when young members of the European Parliament came to tell us about a national event organized in Limoges. They needed young people to participate. it was a revelation“, says Candice. After attending the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon and Sciences po Toulouse, the student recently worked full-time for the Article 1 association. European Youth ParliamentCandice never stopped investing in the association.

It also started in high school for Lucas, a student at Sciences Po Paris, on the Nancy campus. In the first, the Strasbourgian participates in a simulation of the European Parliament organized by the association of Young Europeans. A few months later, he joined the local section, became vice-president of the Young Europeans of Lorraine and recently joined the national team.

As for Arthur, it is from Brittany that the young graduate of a Swiss engineering school develops his various associative commitments. “I dedicate all my time to this for a year, but I had already started to get involved during my studies, since I was 16 years old.“, he explains. The young man leads artistic and musical projects and was involved in 2020 with theAssociation for Europe. Last spring Arthur is therefore spent three months in different European countries to promote ecology. “I had the opportunity to travel to the Amazon during my studies and when I came back it was a cultural shock: I wanted to get involved and I discovered Up for Europe where the objective was to meet young people to carry out projects, that’s all that interested me.”

Lucas, Candice and Arthur are committed to associations that promote European citizenship and values. // © Photos provided by witnesses

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Europe, a cultural enrichment above all

Everyone had to learn to rediscover Europe. A Europe that is not studied in books, where it is not just a question of European construction. “This is what we learn from history in high school, but we are not told what the European Union brings us daily, Lucas believes. Personally, I associate European citizenship with peace, open-mindedness, the awareness of having the same interests. We share a common culture with the whole of Europe and not just between French and Germans as we usually hear. A Franco-German himself, based in Strasbourg, Lucas has always “bathed in this environment” and is interested in it. The association is an opportunity for him to leave the theoretical side of his studies, see Europe more concretely.

This is what Arthur also seeks on his journey across Europe. The small team is due to leave next April in Scandinavia, Spain, Poland, Slovenia to raise awareness among high school students through creative workshops or theater. “The other part of our time, we dedicate to getting to know the people involved in the country, this also allows us to understand their problems, their logics that sometimes completely differ from those in France“, emphasizes Arthur.

For three months, members of the Up for Europe association travel to the four corners of the continent to talk about ecology.
For three months, members of the Up for Europe association travel to the four corners of the continent to talk about ecology. // © Photos provided by Up for Europe

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Commitment to the European Union awakens vocations

Candice also goes to meet the younger ones to “educate for active citizenship”. “We discuss current issues, organize debates: the aim is to raise awareness of this European citizenship, to show that the stakes are high, that there is a political aspect, but also a cultural aspect in Europe. ” Today, the young woman is part of the association’s national office. Six years after starting, she is still flourishing there. ” It took me a long time to understand that we could make associations is her job, but I didn’t understand want to be an employee of the European Youth Parliament . I don’t want to mix my work and volunteering even if I don’t count my hours!“, she exclaims.

Exceeding oneself, self-confidence, organization, public speaking… These are qualities and skills that the three participants were able to acquire. “The association allowed me to train but above all to have friends, strong relationships. For me it’s a space of freedom, the association makes you grow“, adds Arthur.

An opinion shared by Lucas who intends to use all his knowledge to exercise his profession as a journalist. “I would like to specialize in European affairs because I think the European Union is treated very badly in the media. And if it’s not journalism, it will be European affairs or the institutional part.” In the meantime, the student hopes that the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union it will be a good excuse to talk about Europe and strengthen actions between different countries.

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