By Hanna Polishchuk
One more long train journey directly from Warsaw to the capital of Hungary was ahead of us. However, with Interrail trains it was comfortable and light. This time we decided to sleep in the train almost all the way to get more energy for the evening. Agi from AEGEE-Budapest met us in the train station, and we went to her home. Together with Mate they prepared a tasty traditional Hungarian dish.
The day after, we met other members of this wonderful local (Peti, Bernadett and Dorottya) who took us to the outdoor session. We were walking through the beautiful streets of Budapest, passing by architectural masterpieces, green parks and astonishing university, which made us exclaim “Wooooow!”
The Corvinus University opened its doors for us to reveal the secret of why this local has so many active members. Every place we passed had a poster of the Summer University project, it was literally everywhere, we felt like in the AEGEE headquarters!
During the next couple of hours we were watching a Hungarian movie that raised the questions and problems young people are facing in their lives, ‘For Some Inexplicable Reason’. We highly recommend it to those who have not watched it yet!
The day after, we had the workshop at the same university. This time we concentrated on the debating part. Participants were divided into two groups from which one is in favour of borderless Europe, and another one is against. Their task was to persuade their opponents with facts. Both teams had well-structured arguments, and both sides were quite convincing.
Those debates could be going on forever, but at some point we needed to stop them in order to make a decision. Even though both teams were fighting to defend their side, later the task was changed and they had to express their own opinion. As a result, most of them voted in favour of abolishing borders. We all agreed that it was not easy to make decisions, and this is what politicians in the EU are doing every day, affecting the life of each of us. Our views over some questions, such as borders split up, probably because it was an international meeting that included not only Hungarians but also participants from Turkey, Serbia, Ukraine and Italy. It seems that Budapest is indeed an international city.
During the interviews and discussions, young Hungarians expressed their concerns about the problems such as xenophobia, bureaucracy, corruption and nationalism. There is not enough information about refugees; people complain about them but in fact, almost no one of them has ever met any.
Another problem is that not many people are aware about youth mobility opportunities and they miss them because of the poor information they have. Hungarians believe that if youth is more aware of them, more people will participate in cultural exchange projects and the cooperation between countries will be better. However, we didn’t hear only problems, but also solutions such as better institutions, no prejudices, acceptance of different cultures, breaking stereotypes, supporting national minorities, and being more efficient in implementing the basic idea of the EU. These solutions are not hard to implement but if we do it, it will bring more peace to the society.
We want to thank AEGEE-Budapest, and especially Peter Sczigel, for the opportunity to participate in this event and learn about the opinion of the Hungarian (and not only) youth about very important issues like borders, Shengen, refugees and the EU in general. I personally have to admit that I was astonished by the answers and debates during the event. I am sure if we had such politicians, the world would be better!
Please keep changing the future, don’t be afraid to express your opinion and fight for a better reality.
Thanks for welcoming us, the city tour, sessions, food, accommodation, and all sort of help you gave us! We were lucky to take part in this event organized by the AEGEE-Budapest!