Travel report from Zahara Pérez Arribas

Event: E(U)volution: The Generation

Sted: Sofia, Bulgaria

Host: The National Student Confederation along with JEF and UEF-Bulgaria.

EUD Participants: Zahara Pérez Arribas, Uriah Oschlag-Michael

E(U)volution: The Generation 10–17 April 2016 SOFIA

The International seminar ‘E(U)volution: the generation’ was held in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. The conference lasted for 7 days during and had numerous speeches, debates and cultural exchanges.

The purpose of the seminar was to inform young people about how the European institutions work and educate them on the rights that pertain to European citizenship thus providing knowledge to enable the youth to actively participate in the democracy of the Union.

Regarding my personal motivation to apply, we talked about wanting a United Europe and an international community but this is only achievable if we really understand the way other people live. In order for me to truly appreciate this, I was inspired to attend this International Seminar in Sofia. There were only two members of JEF DK attending this event amongst many other representatives from different member states. I found this to be almost symbolic as each individual offers different views and opinions, in the same way that each country also has its own unique character and culture. Of course, there was also the fact that I wanted to go somewhere I’d never been before and see a culture that is so different to my own. I wanted to improve my communication skills and self-development as well as experience new places and activities, all of which pushed me to attend this seminar.

The primary structure of the seminar entailed the exchange of ideas and thoughts (achieved through simulation games and working groups) between all the participants combined with discussions with experts, politicians and representatives of EU institutions.

“We should stay United. We will prove that this is the right choice”, “Community of common values”, “The refugees are not the threat”, etc. were some of the most memorable quotes by the participants and politicians in attendance.

Moreover, the diverse social program enabled all the participants to explore the nightlife in Sofia and explore different tourist attractions such as the Rila Monastery, one of the most significant and picturesque monuments in the Balkans and featured in the UNESCO book of world heritage.

Visiting the capital of Bulgaria has given me an entirely new perspective. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by its culture. Even though their dancing is perhaps not comparable to the salsa, I still managed to find a way to move to their rhythms and understand a little more about the way that they live. Conclusively, it was a really intense week during which 25 young people, from different cultural backgrounds had to learn to adapt to foreign ideologies and alternate ways of life. Though challenging, I believe that this strengthened my personal development and broadened my mind further to more diverse perspectives. The seminar was truly unique ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.