French youngsters: Young people are realising about their European identity

The most difficult task awaited team Red already at their first stop in Orléans – to bring mobility opportunities closer to high school students, counting only with their few traveling experiences and difficulty to express themselves in English. The event was held at the Regional centre for young people in Orléans (CRIJ) which is also the territorial base of Europe Direct. One of the highlights of the event was the inter-generational shift which young French feel regarding youth mobility and was not present in their countries several decades ago. Young participants expressed that they consider very important to obtain any international experience more than their parents wished in past.

Curiosity of participants focused mostly on the European mobility programmes which provides young people with professional formation. Erasmus work placements as well as Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs give the opportunity to young people to gain know- how and managerial skills abroad. Young people were enthusiast about the vision of widening their expertise abroad while improving also their language skills.

Language is the greatest motivation which pushes young people to participate in mobility programmes. Young French are realising that their educational system does not allow them to be proficient in foreign languages as much as they desire. Many participants asked team Red which mobility programmes include the language preparation too. Others however expressed that they prefer to improve their language skills in France.

Participants claimed that young French are keen on traveling nowadays. All of them agreed that professional experience abroad would increase their possibilities for obtaining a quality job in their country in future. More than a half was convinced that such opportunities contribute to their feeling of European citizens as they not only open them borders of foreign country, but provide equal chances for learning for all young people across Europe.

France belongs to European leaders in providing young people with information and assistance with relevant information about their studies and future. The decentralised structure of regional and local information centres for youth informs about youth mobility programmes in every region in the country. On the other hand, young participants were yet convinced that they lack of information presented by the travellers.

Foremost, effective communication between the programmes representations and young people must be improved to make sure that young people have a chance to make a wise decision about their experience abroad. Why young French become mobile?

The presentation of youth mobility was supported by three European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteers from Hungary, Lithuania and Czech Republic. They shared with the insights from their own projects across France and presented how EVS increase their independence and proficiency in community work. Coming all from post-soviet countries, participants asked if the well-being of their home country was among the reasons to volunteer abroad. “Not at all!“ claimed Sky, a Lithuanian volunteer in Tours. “My own curiosity to explore other cultures and lifestyle is why I want to join also many others mobility programmes after my EVS.” None of three volunteers is planning to return to their home country after their EVS.

Highschoolers were pleased to participate in the pilot event held by team Red during their journey. “Europe on Track 2 and similar project is what young people in France need as a kick-off to participate in mobility programmes abroad,” said young Maili. The event followed by several interviews with participants giving their opinion on what the European decision makers should consider when deciding about the priorities for mobility programmes.EVS volunteers in France


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