Mihajlo, Secondary School of Shipping, Shipbuilding and Hydrobuilding, Serbie
As an art teacher and guidance counsellor in Belgrade, I saw the Solidarity Tour as an opportunity to involve vocational school students – facing various professional challenges, opportunities and obstacles – in discussions about issues that concern or will concern them directly (labour market integration, mobility, the future of the EU, democratic participation, immigration, formal and informal education, etc.). The project gave the students an opportunity to improve their social and interpersonal skills and their understanding of different cultures by meeting young people from other countries and sharing their experiences, ideas and expectations with them, as well as with various associations and experts. After the very first seminar in Warsaw, my students told me that the experience had given them a greater sense of maturity. The seminar in Belgrade was also a powerful experience. A group of my students, aged from 15 to 19, discussed European integration with young people from six other countries. As a teacher, I was impressed by the strength of their feelings, their eagerness to share their personal experiences, discuss the position of Serbia between the EU and Russia, talk about the political environment, the media, the country’s past, present and future… and by how much it all means to them.
Alexandra, EUROPEUM, Czech Republic
I’m a 23-year-old student and I work for EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, one of the partners in the Solidarity Tour. I am Slovakian but I live in Prague in the Czech Republic, and I’m the leader of the group of Czech participants in the project. I really loved this project and the idea behind it. It gave the young people a fantastic opportunity to discuss the challenges facing Europe today. We were fortunate to be able to travel to different countries, meet new people, explore other cultures and make new friends. The Czech participants are delighted with the experience; they have improved their English considerably, and very much enjoyed the project. Personally, I thought it was a great initiative; it allowed young people of different nationalities to talk about pressing issues, share their views and travel to different countries.
Mateusz, NSZZ Solidarnosc, Poland
The Solidarity Tour is a unique, wonderful and ingenious project: visiting several European cities to discuss issues of great importance to the younger generation is a really interesting approach. NSZZ Solidarnosc did not hesitate for long before joining the adventure. We chose participants who were able to attend all the seminars because we thought it would have a positive effect not only on them, but also on Solidarnosc. We were right. The participants improved their knowledge and skills at every stage of the project. The Warsaw seminar, which I attended, was a big success. Primarily because the participants were young people from vocational schools who had not yet been confronted with employment and trade union issues. These young people told us they had learned a lot from the meeting and the debates. Participating in the project and working together to promote European solidarity was definitely a very worthwhile experience.