ContentsPreface . ............................................................................................................................................4What are EuroPeers?...........................................................................................5EuroPeers – Experiencing Europe at first hand . ...........................................................5The role of JUGEND für Europa . .............................................................................................7Opinions Why are you a EuroPeer?........................................................................................8Becoming a EuroPeer..........................................................................................9Training for EuroPeers................................................................................................................9‘In the mood to change the world’ after a EuroPeer training session................ 10Statistics How happy were you with your EuroPeer training?.............................. 13The EuroPeer network ............................................................................................................ 14Statistics How long have you been a EuroPeer? ......................................................... 16Being a EuroPeer.................................................................................................... 17Where else can you meet and work with this many people? ................................ 17EuroPeer team leaders: Once a EuroPeer, always a EuroPeer? ............................. 18A EuroPeer on stage with Barroso . ................................................................................... 20Feedback How have you benefited from being a EuroPeer? . ................................ 22EuroPeer events ..................................................................................................... 23Past events................................................................................................................................... 24Statistics What types of event are organised most frequently? ......................... 25A commitment to Europe....................................................................................................... 26The living library stops off in Hamburg .......................................................................... 28Statistics Who uses EuroPeers?........................................................................................... 30Outlook................................................................................................................................. 31Looking ahead............................................................................................................................. 31 Get in touch‘Of course we want to spread the project across Europe. What else?’............... 32 Do you want to invite a EuroPeer?Feedback What’s changed for you? .................................................................................. 35 Turn to page 23.Feedback What’s your advice to your peers? ............................................................... 35
4 What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK How about some Europe? ‘EuroPeers’ is an exciting and powerful peer-to-peer project run by JUGEND für Europa, the German Agency for the EU’s Youth in Action programme that involves young people sharing their thoughts on Europe. The premise is simple. Who could share the European experience better than those who have already been there? That’s right: no one. EuroPeers are young people who have crossed both on Europe isn’t dry or abstract. Rather, they paint a lively, personal and national borders together with the EU’s Youth a ctive picture of Europe and demonstrate how Europe in Action programme to spend some time living abroad. can become a reality for everyone. EuroPeer events can They have made a difference by setting up and running range from school lessons lasting just a couple of hours their own projects. They want to share their experiences to internships that extend to several months. EuroPeers and stories with their peers — other young Europeans. don’t just encourage others to get up and do something — They organise events where they talk about their thoughts they also inspire themselves to go out and gather new on Europe, and they inspire others to follow them in seizing e xperiences time and again. And 99% of them feel that all the opportunities that Europe has to offer. their involvement with the EuroPeers project is rewarding, both personally and professionally. Some facts and figures Over a period of six years, JUGEND für Europa has Since its establishment the EuroPeers project has undergone p rovided training to some five hundred EuroPeers. constant development. Today, it plays a vital role in translating Around one hundred events involving EuroPeers take the European Youth Programme into practice in Germany. place every year — and that’s just in Germany. Most events are organised by the EuroPeers themselves on a This publication is an introduction to the Euro- voluntary basis. Some EuroPeers have been involved with Peers roject and to the young EuroPeers themselves, p the programme for more than five years. some of whom have shared their stories with us. In fu- ture, the EuroPeers want to become even more inter- EuroPeers bring Europe to life. They are enuine g national and spread the word in other countries, too. E uropeans who work or study abroad and have a Preparations for this are already under way. d ifferentiated view of the developments taking place a cross the European Union. The information they share EuroPeers are always on the move.
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 5EuroPeers – ExperiencingEurope at first handEuroPeers are young people who have taken part in the EU’sYouth in Action programme. They share the experiences theyhave gained as volunteers, as participants in a youth initiativeor during a youth exchange with other young people.They visit schools and youth clubs or set up stalls in pedestrian zones to tell their In just five years EuroPeerspeers about the way they have experienced Europe. They talk about Youth in have organised more thanA ction as well as other mobility programmes and organise workshops, school 600 events on youth and Europe.lessons and exhibitions all about Europe. EuroPeers know that it’s possible toexperience Europe at first hand and bring it to life.The EuroPeers project was launched in 2005 by JUGEND für Europa, theG erman Agency for the EU programme Youth in Action. 134 EuroPeer eventstook place in Germany in 2011 alone. EuroPeers demonstrate that learning aboutEurope doesn’t have to be a dry, dull affair.
6 What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK EuroPeers want to … _ raise awareness among young people of European issues and activities, _ emonstrate courage, tolerance and entrepreneurial d spirit, _ ake their peers aware of the importance of social m commitment, _ hare their experiences of Europe and being s E uropean citizens, _ show how cultural diversity can be brought to life, and _ encourage their peers to reflect critically on EU policyEuroPeers know howbring Europe to life.
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 7EuroPeers either organise their own events or are invited as speakers. On average, EuroPeers organise events at formal and non-formaleach EuroPeer is involved in 4.6 events. Over one third of EuroPeers participate education institutions suchin the project for up to three years; 12.8% even remain active for up to five years. as schools, youth clubs and career centres.By organising and attending these events, EuroPeers continue to shape andd evelop their skills. 94% of active EuroPeers claim that their involvement in thep oject has benefited their personal development. 72% say that it’s been valuable rto their professional development.A study by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education andCulture refers to the EuroPeer project as a Best Practice. The underlying con-cept — sharing personal experiences with other young people, raising awarenessof non-formal education and motivating one’s peers to reflect on the European The role ofUnion in general — is considered to be a particularly successful approach. JUGEND für Europa EuroPeers is an initiative by JUGEND für Europa, the German Agency for the EU programme Youth in Action. As one of 35 Agencies across Europe, JUGEND für Europa is responsible for im- plementing the Youth in Action programme in Germany. JUGEND für Europa has ma- naged the EuroPeers project since 2005. The Agency provides training for EuroPeers, assists them in organising their events, and offers them a range of other support services. JUGEND für Europa works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Se- nior Citizens, Women and Youth and the European Commission. For more information, go to www.jugendfuereuropa.de
Why are youa EuroPeer I want to meet other motivated people who want to manage projects together. EuroPeers are ideal partners in that Many young people don’t r espect. know what Youth in Action can offer them, so I want to tell them. And I want to share my experiences with Europe to demonstrate I want to give something that the EU is not a remote back to the society e ntity. I live in! I just want to share my enthusiasm! Of course it’s hard to leave your f amiliar surroundings and go … because being a broad. But the adventures you a EuroPeer has will have there are something g enuine benefits: you’ll never forget. That’s what I want to tell people.
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 9EuroPeers trainingThe conceptTwice a year JUGEND für Europa organises a EuroPeer training session that isaimed at all young people who took part in the EU‘s Youth in Action programmein the previous years. These five-day sessions prepare participants for organisingtheir own events and projects. Here, they acquire the skills they need to sharetheir European experiences effectively with their peers.During the training session participants attend workshops on:_ Basic information on Europe_ Project management_ Chairing and presentation techniques_ PR activities_ Mobility programmes in Europe_ Teaching others about EuropeThe workshops cover the various aspects that are relevant to EuroPeers when theyorganise and hold their own events. The five-day training session is also a greatopportunity for EuroPeers to create their own networks and plan their events andprojects.In line with the peer-to-peer principle, experienced EuroPeers are invited to thetraining sessions as team leaders.Around 75 new EuroPeers are trained in Germany every year. Participants areasked to make a small contribution to the cost of training; the remainder is paidfor by JUGEND für Europa.The first training session outside of Germany was held in Luxembourg inMarch 2012.
10 What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK ‘In the mood to change the world’ after EuroPeers training What happens during these training sessions? Wiebke Knäpper, Caroline Reiter and Anke Weiß share their diaries. Day 1 have come up with a kind of treasure hunt for us. ere we go! — Thoughts before the session H We’re now off into the woods in groups of three. ( Caroline) I’m with two girls who also spent time in Norway ‘Oh wow, another training session!’ Before my and Denmark. We’re already fast friends. v olunteer placement I would not have dreamt of looking forward to training. But now I’m excited Day 2 to meet some new and interesting people. I’m exci- orkshop: ‘Time out in Europe’ (Anke) W ted about feeling like a real volunteer and the pos- We’re asked to think about what it would be like sibility of actually making a difference — because to spend three months doing whatever we want in I haven’t felt much of that in recent months. I need a European country of our choice — basically, our to get back into the mood to change the world. dream project in our dream country. Spain sounds I want to take a break from thinking about the really good to me, but what would I do there?Caroline Reiter real world, all that talk about choosing a degree After the introductory session comes group course and finding a flat. I want to spend more work. How can we advise young people who time remembering what I learnt during my year are interested in spending time in a European abroad and sharing those experiences with others. country? What programmes and initiatives can we recommend? Each group’s results are group gets together (Anke) The p resented in role play. Later we’re told what Here we go. They’re introducing the team, who people can really do abroad. The range of choices seem nice. Two people from the Agency, Heike is really quite amazing! The workshop’s been and Andreas, and three EuroPeers — Lisa, Olivia very helpful, not just for EuroPeers, but for me and Sarah. personally, too. Then everyone introduces themselves. We’re 60 people so it’s a challenge, especially for me with orkshop: ‘Teaching others about Europe’ W my bad memory for names. Apart from the usual (Wiebke) getting-to-know-you games, the three EuroPeers What methods are there for teaching people
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 11e ffectively about Europe? The workshop kicks off photographs are a good illustration of the oppor-with a Runaround-style game on Europe, just to tunities on offer. They’ve also provided a numberget things going, relax the atmosphere and learn of event reports for us to read. This session reallysome new facts — because that’s what the work- worked, and many of us have already started to de-shop is all about. Then comes a discussion about velop our own ideas. I have to say, I’m impressed.Europe in the form of a silent written debate. It’sinteresting to read what the others are writing, Day 3because every one of us has been to different parts orkshop: ‘Presentation techniques’ Wof Europe. (Anke) I’m surprised to find that my answers don’t flow Finally I get to hear from a professional how toeasily. I need some time to compare the German present myself and my project effectively.to the Moldovan perspective. This workshop is The workshop instructor’s very laid back, very Anke Weißunlike school in that we’re very focused on results. spontaneous and she’s Swedish! There’s real — The contributions are shorter, and we manage to energy in the room. We’re given lots of facts andprogress faster. figure and useful tips on various types of presen- tation styles. Body language is the most important ‘EuroPeers live’ session (Caroline) The aspect, which I would never have expected. AndTonight the EuroPeers go ‘live’, with Lisa, Olivia of course we’re asked to get up and practise. We’reand Sarah reporting on their stays abroad. The asked to prepare an introduction to a EuroPeerlighting is down, and blankets and pillows are presentation.scattered around the room. This is clearly not a I don’t actually get to present myself, but it’s de-formal presentation; the atmosphere is very re- finitely been useful. I think I’ve conquered my fearlaxed. We enjoy some snacks and drinks while of flip charts! I can’t wait to try out my new presthey tell us about their personal experiences as entation skills. Can someone throw me a topic,EuroPeers and all the highs and lows that their please?stays involved. Like when almost no one came toSarah’s first information event, or when a stand orkshop: ‘PR skills’ (Caroline) Wthey set up at a local library failed completely The EuroPeers-in-training start trickling in to thebecause nobody stopped to listen. But then they workshop on PR, which is led by a journalist. Looksreport on a major successful event they organised like most people have preferred to stay in bed ratherin Munich. There were also a number of school- than attend a 9 am session! Soon we all realise thatbased events, some more successful than others. what we’re learning here is going to be very valuable We’re slowly starting to realise what being a for our future projects. We learn to use journalisticEuroPeer actually entails. Their stories, films and style and find the right headlines for our documents,
12 What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK and also what media to use to communicate our The group unanimously decides to start off by projects most effectively. t hinking small. Still, now I know that none of this is Finally, we learn how to write our own press releases. impossible. I just need a bit more experience. It’s been a while since I was in school and had to pro duce a text straight away! It’s not easy to write a convin- Project market (Anke) cing article with so little preparation time. In the end Finally we get to plan an actual project —it’s what we’re all glad we had this opportunity to practise. we’ve all been waiting for. We write down our After the workshop I’m relieved. None of this ideas, and everyone signs up for the groups whose is as complicated and difficult to understand as I ideas they want to put into practice. The trouble thought. I’m sure I am now confident enough to is, there’s so much choice. I’m not sure what to do. contact the press. Even people like us can get an Ideally I’d like to learn a bit about everything.Wiebke Knäpper article published in a newspaper. I start getting to know the new EuroPeers from my region a bit better. We get to work lanning our proj p Day 4 ects. All this creativity in one place is very inspiring! Workshop: ‘Event management’ (Caroline) Cake and cycling along the Weser river? Fantastic idea. Event management. What a subject to have to So we start to write everything down and delegate jobs. think about in the morning! We’re all yawning, but by the end of the session we’ve had some ex- Talent show (Wiebke) citing discussions. I wanted to know if my dream I’ve been wondering all week what exactly this ‘Euro- event — organising an exchange for people with Peers talent show’ is supposed to be all about. Now I disabilities — can be put into practice. know! The dance performance was brilliant. The at- We have to start by defining our objectives. For mosphere could not have been any better. We danced that it’s helpful to use the ‘five Ws’ that are part of the all night until … actually, I don’t even remember. guidelines we‘re given on project development. Then comes the planning phase. Day 5 We form small groups and design our own per- Time to leave (Anke) sonal events at least, we pretend to. There’s — The time has come to leave — the training session is loads of good ideas, ranging from music and art over. More than 50 young people make their way in tax projects and hiking and cycling tours to my pre- is to Bielefeld station. It’s been an exciting, informative ferred subject, integrative youth projects. and enjoyable week, but we’re all exhausted. As I fill in Imagine, an ‘integrative youth project’ — that my feedback sheet I realise I have nothing egative to n sounds so much better! We soon realise that an say. So it’s been a full success. I leave ielefeld with a B integrative international youth exchange is a really good feeling and lots of good vibes. It’s definitely pretty big project to manage. been worth my while coming here.
How happy were youwith your EuroPeers training?I thought it was … … very helpful … helpful … neither/nor … … not very helpful … not helpful no answer
14 What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK The EuroPeer network As a EuroPeer you share your own experiences with others, but you also stay in touch with people who have been through very similar things as you. That creates a bond. One of the main sources of motivation for EuroPeers is that they can stay in touch after their projects and continue to feel part of the network. If that wasn’t possible, all the experiences they gather while abroad may be forgot- ten in the general confusion of daily life.EuroPeers attend annual To promote this exchange, every spring JUGEND für Europa invites all activemeetings where they discussimportant developments and E P uro eers to attend an annual meeting. During these meetings EuroPeers cangain inspiration. undergo raining, learn new information and plan new projects. This is a vital t part of the continued development of the network. At the meetings EuroPeers tell each other about the projects they want to put into practice with other EuroPeers. And they discuss how the EuroPeer network can be improved. Once a month all EuroPeers are sent a newsletter with current events, news, t raining courses, vacancies, internships and scholarships, plus a summary of
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 15E uroPeers activities from the previous month. There’s also a Facebook pageto keep people up to speed. Other than that, the EuroPeers stay in touch on ap ersonal level, which often creates valuable synergies. EuroPeers should under-go regular training but also have plenty of space to create their own Europeanprojects.Many EuroPeers remain involved with the project for several years. Some of them The network inspiresare regularly requested to come and speak at information events in schools, foun- new activities all the time.dations or career centres. Others plan larger-scale events such as youth exchangesor initiatives. EuroPeers can become EuroPeer team leaders and help train upthe new generation. Finally, EuroPeers have access to the international trainingcourses offered under the Youth in Action programme. Some former EuroPeersdecide to enter a related profession at the European level.Being a EuroPeer is entirely voluntary on principle, but of course volunteering Voluntary work that really pays off.has some valuable benefits. For instance, EuroPeers maintain a strong link withEurope. And they are part of a long-term learning process that allows them toacquire precious personal and professional skills for the future. EuroPeers meetings offer a creative space for planning and discussing new projects or simply for having a good time!
How long have youbeen a EuroPeer? I just started Up to 1 year Up to 3 years Up to 5 years12.8% 23.1% 38.5% 12.8%
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 17Where else can you meet andwork with this many people?The EuroPeers project has become a fixture for Markus Heinze from Berlin. ‘Europe is part of myeveryday life,’ he says. ‘I want to show other young people how this can become true for them,too.’ Markus, who works as a social assistant, is currently training to become an educator.How did you hear about EuroPeers? where all the kids were from immigrant families.By coincidence. Two volunteers from Turkey I also had time to develop my own projects.had come to work for the kids’ club I am involvedin. JUGEND für Europa invited them to attend How did your friends react to your placementa uroPeers training session in Hanover that E in Luxembourg?was designed specifically for young people from They wanted to know all about it. I talked aboutimmigrant families. Our two volunteers didn’t my work a lot and showed them photos, and nowfeel like going there alone because their German they want to do the same. It’s not that easy, though. Markus Heinzewasn’t strong enough, so I went with them. What Many of my friends don’t speak English, and thenI learned there opened the door to a new world there’s a lot of organisations who refer to work pfor me. with students or young people who lready have a some relevant experience. One of my friends hasIn what way? been trying to find an EVS placement for a year,Well, JUGEND für Europa is the German but he‘s had no success. But I try to help whereverA gency for for the EU’s Youth in Action pro- I can. The National Agency has also been helpful.gramme so this was the first time I heard aboutthe European Voluntary Service, for instance. All Do you want to remain involved in the Eurothese pportunities just sounded amazing. So I o Peers project?decided to attend the next EuroPeer annual meet- Definitely. Where else can you meet and working. Once I’d listened to other young people talk with this many people and have enough space toabout the experiences they had gained abroad, I develop plans for the future? I can honestly saycouldn’t wait to join the EVS myself. My place- that the EuroPeers annual meeting has becomement took me to a kindergarten in Luxembourg the most important weekend of the year for me.
18 What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOKEuroPeer team leaders:Once a EuroPeer, always a EuroPeer? Sabrina Apitz | If I hadn’t opted for an EuroPeers project and held a number of events in EVS placement I would probably not be a schools during European Youth Week. In 2006 EuroPeer team leader today. In 2001 I spent eight I organised a photography exhibition entitled months in Italy working in a kindergarten and ‘In the middle’. Then came ‘Living differently’, with people with disabilities, and I also planned a joint project with two other EuroPeers. Just a multilateral youth exchange. These were expe- one year later I attended a training session as an riences I desperately wanted to share with other i nstructor and led my first workshop, which was young people. about public relations. In 2005 the National Agency wrote to invite The EuroPeers project has constantly evolved me to attend the first EuroPeer training session over time. It’s an important part of my life. The in Thuringia in eastern Germany. I joined the peer-to-peer approach works really well here. Anne Schley | What I like so much about all the projects I’ve been involved in have taught EuroPeers is that it gives you room to me that it’s fun to get involved in Europe. I spent grow. There’s support from the National Agen- six months working for the EVS in Siena in Italy cy but no pressure at all. No one tells you what before switching to the European Commission in to do. After I was trained as a EuroPeer in 2006 Brussels, where I was an intern in the Directorate- I visited various schools and manned info stalls General for Education and Culture, in the Youth in edestrian zones where I talked to people p in Action division. I was there for five months. I about how to go abroad to work. I think it would was surprised at how relaxed everything was — be elpful for EuroPeers if they could apply h not a grey suit in sight! There was no sign of civil for maller amounts of funding without all the s servant formality either, at least not in that office. red tape. There are not really enough funding Actually, I think that‘s a good thing. Maintaining options at the moment. If you only need 30 euros a EuroPeer-style atmosphere is good for that kind o bviously there’s no need to make the effort to of work. fundraise; that would be over the top. That said,
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 19Every EuroPeer training session is attended by experienced EuroPeers as team leaders. They’reinvolved in planning and organising the sessions, lead workshops, and share their EuroPeers activities with the participants in line with the peer-to-peer principle. Anne Schley, Carolina Sachs, Franziska Stölzel and Sabrina Apitz were the EuroPeer team leaders in September 2009. They tell us what they like about the EuroPeers project and why they want to stay involved. Carolina Sachs | I wish EuroPeers I worked in a German-Polish youth centre outh s had existed when I left school. It would of Poznan where I was allowed to practise beinghave made it easier for me to work out what what an instructor even before I had finished myI wanted to do. At the time I had no idea what placement. I just attended the EuroPeers trainingsubject to study at university. So I decided to session in Einschlingen for the first time as a teamvolunteer first and went to Poland in eptember S leader. I like the fact that EuroPeers is not an elite2005. It was the best decision I could have taken. organisation. Everyone can get involved. Franziska Stölzel | How did I ecome b the EuroPeer concept to the local level and built a EuroPeer? Not via a training session, up our own pool of team leaders. Today, 20 youngand not via the European Voluntary Service. It speakers visit schools in the Chemnitz area to talkall started with a youth initiative in Chemnitz in about Europe, encourage students to get involved,2005. It was an art project that we called ‘What and show them why they should leave home for adrives us —Where we are going’. Then came longer period of time. Personally I’m glad that Ithe 2008 annual meeting. Two major things can now share my knowledge in the workshopshappe ed as a result of that meeting. One, I was n during the EuroPeer training sessions. The Euro-admitted directly to the EuroPeer pool of trainers; Peers project has become very important to me,two, we came up with an idea for a new youth and I now work closely with the National Agency.i nitiative, the Youth Changes office in Chemnitz, It would be fantastic if we could manage to raisewhich opened in May 2009. We simply translated more public awareness of the EuroPeers project.
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK Bild: EU-Commission, DG EMPLA EuroPeer on stage with BarrosoEuroPeers don’t just appear before classrooms full of students or youth groups.S ometimes their audience comes dressed in suits and evening dresses, like in Antwerp,where European Commission President José Manuel Barroso came to the 2011 EuropeanAwards Ceremony to honour outstanding European Voluntary Service projects.The event was hosted by a EuroPeer, Melih Özkardeş.
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 21Melih Özkardeş will probably be proud of these photographs for years to come —they show him on the same stage as one of the most important statesmen in Europe, Helping to build aJosé Manuel Barroso. Androulla Vassiliou, the EU’s Youth ommissioner, came C Europe-wide networktoo. was by far the most important experienceHow did this come about? Melih laughs.‘I met loads of people through the Euro- of my life as a Euro-Peer project and I’ve stayed in touch with many of them. One of my EuroPeers Peer. Without Youth infriends made it possible for me to announce Commission President Barroso Action there is no wayon stage that night. That was one of the highlights of my EuroPeer career,’ he I would have ever metremembers. so many Europeans. My life would be beenMelih was the evening’s master of ceremonies and held the attention of the very different.’presenters of the awards, Mr Barroso and Ms Vassiliou, along with his co-presenter, Melih ÖzkardeşDominika Rutkowska from Poland. ‘Barroso said he was very touched by theceremony,’ Melih says.Asked how he kept his nerve on stage, Melih said he just enjoyed himself, spokewithout notes, and held eye contact with the award-winners. ‘I wanted them to re-alise straight away how amazing non-formal education can be,’ he laughs. ‘Thereis already enough theoretical research to prove its effects.’Melih came to Germany from Turkey in 2005. His EVS placement first tookhim to an association for people with disabilities in Erfurt, then to a childcarecentre in Würzburg — eleven months in total. From then on he was a die-hardEurope fan. In 2006 he attended a EuroPeers training session and began tor eport on his European experiences and organise youth exchanges and initia-tives while studying for a sports degree in Cologne. Street football in the nameof tolerance, or in other words, Europe expressed through sports — that’s hispreferred topic.MC-ing this event has been the highlight of his EuroPeer career to date. He isnow embarking on his career, where he will continue to plan European projects,including EVS projects, for his new employer, a large sports club.
How have you I’ve learned a lot about myself, forbenefited instance how I feel about speaking before a group of people. I’ve noticedfrom being that I have become more confident, which is also helping me at university. a EuroPeer All projects, whether big or small, are made up of many tasks: prepara- tion, PR, implementation, debriefing I have learned to work and so on. I have definitely acquired in groups, because being the skills I need to to handle these part of a 60-strong group challenges. is uite a challenge. I’ve q also learned to speak c onfidently in front of p eople and motivate them. Finally, I’ve developed a feel for how to respond to the a tmosphere in a group.
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 23EuroPeer eventsAuthentic experiences of EuropeEvery year many EuroPeer events take place across the whole of Germany, inschools, universities, youth centres, job centres, cafés and bars, pedestrian zones...EuroPeers are everywhere you look.The range of events they organise is enormous. They include ‘classic’ informationevents as well as larger projects such as photo exhibitions, Europe picnics, streetcampaigns, sports events and panel discussions. What all of these activities havein common is that they are all about youth and Europe — and about sharing theEuroPeer experience with one’s peers.By communicating their personal experiences, EuroPeers can also reach out to Getting in touch:young people who may otherwise not come into contact with Europe and Eu-ropean issues. Their activities are the best possible proof that it makes complete EuroPeers can be contacted andsense to become actively involved in Europe. invited to events via www.europeers.de Was wollen EuroPeers? A map shows the EuroPeersEuroPeers plan their own events and may also be invited to events as speakers. Schools, who are based nearby, alonguniversities and youth centres are particularly interested in making use of the Euro with their e-mail addresses.Peers’ services, as are career centres, political education centres and foundations.I loved hearing the EuroPeers’ They are very enthusiastic young people who havepersonal stories and enjoyed some amazing stories to tell. Maybe they went throughthe personal way they talked. d ifficult times, but as time passed they were able to putIt was great. They were very things into perspective and see the hard times as part ofeasy to listen to.’ the overall experience. And they are very willing to share their knowledge and develop their own project ideas. I think that’s very useful to our own work.’
24 What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK Past events In Marburg, EuroPeers organised an EuroPeers held a workshop on Europe in event entitled ‘ways to go abroad’ for a centre for children, young people and grade 13 students. They introduced them to the families. It was a colourful mix of information, European Voluntary Service, explained what fun and critical debate about all things related to other foreign exchange services there are, and the European Union. What is the EU, what are its were on hand to answer any questions. fundamental principles, objectives, strengths and weaknesses? How does it work? What benefits A foundation requested EuroPeers to does the EU have for young people? Where is hold an interactive workshop to teach the EU headed? The EuroPeers reported on their 20 students at a comprehensive school all about e xperiences and gave the audience some insight E urope and active citizenship. The students into the topic. formed groups and prepared presentations on youth initiatives, youth exchanges and the In Munich, EuroPeers invited passers-by EVS. Afterwards they had plenty of time to ask to dress up at their stand and demonstrate questions and get an impression of the EuroPeers’ their ‘European face’ before the camera. Besides own experiences in these areas. this photo campaign, everyone was invited to participate in a quiz to test their knowledge on EuroPeers organised an i nteractive Europe and win small prizes. All participants rea ure hunt for young adults at t s went away with some free Youth in Action infor- v ocational college that was all about working mation.There are many abroad.d ifferent kinds ofEuroPeer events. EuroPeers were invited by the Young EuroPeers joined forces with EVS Greens in Mannheim to attend a meeting v olunteers to set up a stall at a Europe and introduce the EuroPeers project and the EU’s estival in Freiburg. They organised fancy-dress f Youth in Action programme. This was followed activities, a quiz and a cake buffet, made lapel by a debate and a QA session. pins, told personal stories, shared information about working abroad, showed photographs and EuroPeers attended a career orientation much more. day in a Scharmbeck school to inform students about ways to study and train in Europe.
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOKWhat types of eventsare organised most frequently? 33.5 % School event 20 % Information event 14.1 % Workshop/seminar 13.5 % Trade fair stand 12.9 % Cultural event 6% MiscellaneousHow many events does 1–5each EuroPeer organise? 44.6% none yet 6–10 none more than 10 no answer 5.4% 10.9% 16.3% 9.8% 13%
26 EUROPEER EVENTSA commitment to EuropeDuring the 2011 European Youth Week, EuroPeers launched a campaign to promotethe continuation of a European youth programme and within just three weeksorganised as many as 60 events across the whole of Germany. In Mannheim, OliviaMetzendorf teamed up with four fellow EuroPeers to organise a panel discussionfollowed by a band performance. One of the panellists was Franziska Brantner,Member of the European Parliament. Franziska Brantner understands the language of the young generation. S peaking as a panellist in the courtyard of cafga im jungbusch, a café near the port of Mannheim, the MEP (The Greens) is definitely on form. Compared to what the EU is paying out in agricultural subsidies, explains Brantner, the EU’s Youth in Action programme is still underfunded — comparison, ‘it by gets peanuts. The EU gives more money to Europe’s cows than to its young people.’ The audience agrees, especially Olivia Metzendorf, who organised this event together with four fellow EuroPeers from southwestern Germany as part of the 2011 European Youth Week. Their aim was to create enthusiasm and raise awareness for the European Voluntary Service and other mobility pro- grammes. Olivia, a social work student, convincingly reports on what a chal- lenge it was as a young volunteer to persuade young people in a tiny village in Portugal not to emigrate to the coast. Franziska Brantner shares this kind of attitude. During her school years at the German-French grammar school in Freiburg, Brantner, who is an economist
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 27and holds a Ph.D. in political science, campaigned to establish a youth council and a cultural centre. Since then her career has taken her all the way from hermembership of the Green Party’s youth organisation to Brussels. Tonight,too, Brantner is in a combative state of mind. She’s quite vocal about the factthat she would like to see more generous and longer-term funding for Youth inAction as a stand-alone programme.She also considers the European Youth Strategy to be an effective tool, a lthough she does have concerns that it’s soo strongly focused on the labour market.‘Participation is and will remain a key aspect of the Strategy,’ she says. Besideher on the panel is Mannheim councillor Gerhard Fontagnier. He would alsolike to encourage more youth participation in the city, he says. ‘The city doesn’tdo enough in that field. For instance, there’s no youth parliament,’ he explainsand appeals to the local politicians to ‘reach out to young people via the media Top: Olivia opens the event.that they actually use.’ Below: Panel debate with Franziska Brantner in a Mannheim café.After just under an hour the panel discussion is over. Among the guests wholinger is Alicia Geugelin, a music student who organises charity concerts andwho has ‘once again seen how important it is just to get going with one’s ownprojects.’Lena Przibylla also feels that the long journey from Freiburg has been worthit. ‘We’re planning to open an art and culture centre in Freiburg. An office forE uropean affairs is also in the pipeline, so it’s great to see all the things youcan do with EuroPeers,’ she says. Lena doesn’t feel that young people are tooapathetic to get involved in European and political issues; rather, she says,politicians seem to have a general lack of confidence in the younger generation.The successful evening is rounded off by a performance by Mannheim-basedindie rock and hip-hop band Luis Laserpower, who get everyone up off theirfeet and onto the dancefloor. Although Franziska Brantner didn’t make it to thedancefloor tonight, she definitely contributed towards the great atmosphere.Seems like Europe is still a very cool issue to talk about, especially for Oliviawho, now she’s gained her degree, has started to work as a volunteer coordina-tor and supports citizenship projects run by the inhabitants of Maintal.
28 EUROPEER EVENTS The living library stops off in Hamburg What does it feel like to be a library book? Anna Aurich, Simone Braun and Valerie Witt wanted to find out, so they participated in the Europamarkt on Gänsemarkt square in Hamburg. The three EuroPeers persevered despite the horrible weather. But then again, they said, being an EVS volunteer is usually an adventure, too. JUGEND für Europa: Where did the What were your main concerns idea for this project come from? b efore the event? Valerie: We just wanted to do Anna: We weren’t just represented s omething new. So when we met for at the Europamarkt in Hamburg; in the first time with the European volun- the runup to the actual event we also teers from BHH Sozialkontor and the held workshops on mobility in various e uropean play work association (e.p.a.) comprehensive schools. And you know we came up with the idea of the living what it can be like in some schools. The l ibrary. We had to make it clear what equipment doesn’t always work. The we were supposed to be, so we asked for kids sometimes just sit there because and were given free recycled cardboard they can’t be bothered with lessons. sheets. We then met in the e.p.a.’s offices And then someone overenthusiastic to cut out and glue together our book like me comes along and wants to doFull to bursting with European experien- outfits. a bit of an introductory warm-up withces—the EuroPeers’ living library.
EUROPEER EVENTS 29them (involving physical exercise, no though, I also respond to spontaneous mood to present our programme andless!), and that’s the last thing they questions. spread some good vibes. And we evenwant to hear. So then your day in Hamburg started. had a small but curious audience.Apart from that, though, there was just Were you nervous? What did it feel like to be up onone more challenge for me, which was Valerie: I arrived on Gänsemarkt a stage?to travel in the early morning from Kiel little later that afternoon, so I had Anna: All I wanted was to make a goodto a place that I’d never heard of in my all orning to slowly but surely get m impression despite the pouring rain.life and then to appear enthusiastic and n ervous. I wasn’t just one of the books After all, we didn’t want to lose thespirited enough to get things moving. in the living library Irakli, our — small audience that actually decided What’s so special about the living Georgian colleague, and I were also to stick around. Thankfully I waslibrary? the hosts of our show. Once I was up prepared for the questions I was asked.Simone: You just don‘t know what — on stage I was surprised to see how But I wasn’t worried that things wouldor who—is walking towards you. We excited everyone else in the group was. go wrong. After all, I’d delivered soput on our disguises, basically painted And of course things didn’t go exactly many presentations before schoolkidscardboard boxes shaped like books as planned. But still, it was loads of fun. already.with words like ‘European oluntary V And then, just before you went on What’s your message to all theService’, or ‘Together for Europe’, stage, the skies opened … young people out there?or ‘Sharing experiences’ painted Simone: … and I just thought, oh Simone: Seize the opportunity to goon them, and we wander about the no. Not that too. I had to rescue my abroad. Get involved in a good cause.square. It akes people look up and m c ostume because it was made out of It’s not just good for others, it’s good forw onder what’s going on. Once they cardboard. Five minutes before we you, too. Since I went to Denmark as anhave nderstood what’s happening u were scheduled to go on stage it started EVS volunteer I have been ddicted to apeople approach us and start talking, raining cats and dogs. It was really going abroad and meeting people fromwhich is really quite interesting. I’m bad timing. The entire square emptied all over Europe. The EVS was the besta book so I provide my reader with within seconds. Still, we didn’t lose thing that could ever have happened toinformation. Unlike a regular book, hope and just went out there in a good me. So go out and just do it!
Foundations Job centres 3% 4%Other7% 8% Sending organisationsEurodesk,the European Politicalyouth information institutionsnetwork14% 9% Youth centres and clubs 21% 34% Schools/ universitiesWho uses EuroPeers?
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 31Looking aheadSince its establishment and the first training session in September 2005the EuroPeers project has developed very rapidly. This has only beenpossible because all the major milestones were discussed and decidedby the EuroPeers themselves. A series of smaller projects is planned forthe future, but EuroPeers is now set to undergo some changes:_ InternationalisationFrom the very beginning the EuroPeer training sessions have been attended byyoung people from outside of Germany who want to be EuroPeers in their homecountries. This, however, can be a major challenge because there is currently a lackof adequate structures. Efforts are already under way to set up ndependent Euro iPeer networks in Austria, Luxembourg and Poland, amongst others. The aim is tocreate an international EuroPeer project with support structures in all participatingcountries, so that EuroPeer events can be organised across the whole of Europe andEuroPeers can become active in other countries and learn from their peers there._ Setup of a pool of trainersIn line with the peer-to-peer principle the EuroPeer training sessions are alwaysa ttended by experienced EuroPeers. In view of the aim to expand the EuroPeer project( internationally, too), the plan is to set up a pool of experienced EuroPeer trainers whowill be able to play a stronger role in managing the training sessions._ Peer mentoringTo date EuroPeers have mainly been a source of information and to some extent, alsoadvisory services. In future, their responsibilities are to be extended to include peerm entoring for EVS volunteers and peer coaching in connection with youth initiatives.Many EuroPeers are aware how valuable it is for EVS volunteers to establish contact withlocal young people, so they are on hand as advisors and points of contact. The same is truefor EuroPeers who have already managed a youth initiative of their own and are willingto help others to put their own projects together. All EuroPeers can use the uroPeer Ewebsite to communicate what kind of assistance they can provide and what experiencethey have.
32 What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK‘Of course we want to spread the projectacross Europe. What else?’The EuroPeers project is about to go international. At the latest since the first non-German trainingsession was held in March 2012 in Bad Mondorf in Luxembourg, which was attended by formervolunteers from Luxembourg, Germany, Austria and Poland, it’s been quite clear that the networkaims to raise awareness of its work in other countries, too.Let’s hear some European voices from Luxembourg. Three questions for Flora Cammerlander Why are you a EuroPeer? Flora: I want to raise awareness. Most young people don’t even know about all the programmes that are out there. It’s easier than you think to work it all out. Learn languages for free, discover new cultures, meet like-minded people from other countries—there’s so many things I could tell them. That’s why I’m excited about the projects I am running in schools and youth clubs. As for my aims, I want to make people curious about going abroad and get them to develop a sense of adventure. Should the EuroPeers project become more international? Flora: Definitely. We’ve already started. The network is set to gradually spread across Europe. The idea is that EuroPeers from Germany, Luxembourg, ustria A and Poland invite former volunteers from their respective neighbouring countriesFlora Cammerlander to present the project. To strengthen the network I think that more EuroPeers(21, from Austria) should work as team leaders. Basically, there needs to be more peer-to-peer training. s tudies Internationalè D evelopment in Vienna What don’t you like about the media coverage on Europe? spent nine monthsè v olunteering in Balteni, Flora: There’s far too much focus on the economy. Of course the EU started out as Romania (09/10–06/11) an economic community, but it’s so much more than that now. I think that’s oneè development project: her of the reasons why young people today are losing touch with the EU. It’s almost working with young people in rural areas impossible to see past the complexity of the economy and the economic crisis.
What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK 33 Three questions for Ilona KuzakWhy should we look towards Eastern Europe?Ilona: That’s easy: the Eastern European countries will be a valuable addition tothe EuroPeer team. But we have to be patient. Sometimes cooperation takes time.It took some time for me to work up the courage to go the UK as an EVS volunteerafter I gained my BA. Volunteering is still viewed with some suspicion in Poland.What else would you like to learn as a EuroPeer? Ilona KuzakIlona: Honestly? We’ve already been given so many skills to work with. But to help (26, from Poland)me prepare for organising my own training sessions I’d like to know more about c omes from the Krakow è how to handle conflicts, group dynamics and managing youth projects. Mediation area and now lives in Berlinin Europe, too, could be an exciting new topic. g ained a Master’s è d egree in ntercultural I C ommunication atWhat’s on your wish list for a new youth programme? V iadrina University inIlona: More attention needs to be paid to socially disadvanted young people. Frankfurt/OderSchool dropouts, for instance. Who’s looking out for them? Their families are è an EVS volunteer in as London, she worked withoften not in a position to help them. The planned Erasmus for All programme children with physical andsounds great, but I have my doubts as to whether it can reach out to those young mental disabilitiespeople who truly need to learn more about the opportunities Europe has to offer. Three questions for Stéphane SchmitzHow do you feel now your training is over? Stéphane SchmitzStéphane: It’s like I’m on a high. I want to use all this energy and start planning (20, rom Luxembourg) fmy first project straight away. Unfortunately, public awareness of volunteering is s tudies educational è still very weak in Luxembourg, which is a real shame. Together with two other s cience in CologneEuroPeers I want to do something to show young people that volunteering is a s pent nine months with è the EVS in Santiago degenuine alternative to going straight to university or learning a trade. Compostela (Spain) p lans to organise è What does being a EuroPeer mean to you? i nformation events on Youth in Action inStéphane: I guess it‘s the possibility to never stop learning. Of course you acquire L uxembourgexperience if you attend training sessions. But what really counts is practical
34 What are EuroPeers? BECOMING A EUROPEER BEING A EUROPEER EUROPEER EVENTS OUTLOOK experience. You have to try things out. I think that new EuroPeers should be able to plan and organise as many events as they can from the very beginning. That will hopefully give them the confidence they need. What about the media coverage of Europe? Stéphane: I think it’s interesting to see how media coverage concerning Europe has skyrocketed in recent months. Hardly a day goes by when there’s no news on Europe or the Euro. As a regular citizen, though, it’s hard to genuinely under- stand the context of what’s going on.Stéphane Three questions for Nora Schröder What have you got planned as your next EuroPeer project? Nora: On Europe Day on 5 May I am going to organise a game on European i dentity in a school. The Euro crisis has meant that we’ve almost lost sight of the fact that Europe is a community of values. And of course I’m going to help raise awareness of the EuroPeers project in other countries. I am going to be working with other former volunteers to set up an international youth initiative. What skills do you still want to acquire? Nora: That’s easy: help with filling in applications. The bureaucracy involved in our new project is going to be tough. What documents do we have to submit? How can we increase our chances of funding? These things are on my mind a lot right now. But I’m not the only EuroPeer involved in the project. Together, we’reNora Schröder going to make it work.(22, from Germany) studies applied culturalè When you listen to the news right now ...? studies and politics in Lüneburg Nora: … I get frustrated at people’s fears that national cultures are in danger of s pent six months with theè d isappearing due to ‘Europeanisation’. The fact that the Member States are grow EVS in a cultural centre in ing closer doesn’t necessarily mean that cultural specifics will be obliterated. Cadouin near Bordeaux Rather, it’s going to produce a more effective cultural dialogue that helps us to comes from Ulmè recognise what unites us, but also what makes us different.
What’s changed I’ve come a long way personally. It’s greatfor to see how everything has fallen into place. you? It’s easier now to meet people and be more tolerant. We’ve developed so many ideas together with the EuroPeers network. I would never have engaged in these activities without it. What’s Seize the opportunities you’ve been given toyour advice go abroad. Get to know other countries and cultures. Make up your own mind about them to your peers and keep an open mind! There’s no ayback p w ithout nvestment. i Be adventurous and broaden your h orizons!
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