On Youth Day we want to emphasize the key role that students have in EELISA. They are the future of engineering and responsible for making Europe more sustainable, inclusive and diverse. In order to raise awareness about this among students, we focus on mobility programs as they are the perfect opportunity to open their minds, exchange ideas and have a global vision of the meaning of belonging to Europe.
After two years of virtual work, last March it took place the inaugural session of the European Student Assembly, where 275 student representatives from the European University Alliances met in Strasbourg to talk about the challenges that Europe is going to face in the nearly future.
EELISA students who travelled to Strasbourg to represent the alliance at the Assambly – Asya Coşkun (ITU), Julie Kleinhans (ENPC), İmran Semanur Arpacı (ITU) and Paulus Guter (FAU) – share their mobility experience in this interview.
Q. Why did you decide to participate in this activity?
Asya Coşkun. I decided to become a part of this assembly because I wanted to meet and have a debate with people from different countries and become inspired.
Julie Kleinhans. This was the first major event related to European alliances that I could attend. So, I really wanted to represent EELISA to make it better known. Furthermore, it was an exceptional occasion to discuss of important subjects with students from all around Europe, I couldn’t miss it!
İmran Semanur. First of all, me and my panel mates focused on climate refugees in this event. I am working on Polar Research, and polar areas are affected by climate changes much more compared to other places. Therefore, we see the consequences of climate change firstly in these areas. As a physicist, my first aim is to focus on the scientific side. However; awareness-raising is as important as doing scientific research. Because science exists for humanity and its future. I participated in this event to be the voice of people who have been displaced from their homes due to the climate crisis.
Paulus Guter. Because I wanted to contribute to a better europe and getting to know other students of european universities, creating networks and talking about solutions to todays and future challenges.
Q. What was the most valuable learning from this experience?
Asya Coşkun. The thing that I take back home with me was that even though we all grew up in vastly different environment, yet we had common things that we were very much passionate about. It was also eye opening that bigger authorities are caring about the voice of the youth, because we’ve got a lot to say about our future.
Julie Kleinhans. Even though it was difficult to come up with concrete solutions in only two months of “virtual work” and two days of “face-to-face work” with the other students, we all managed to come up with realistic and workable solutions, which I hope will be carefully considered by the European Union.
İmran Semanur. Tomorrow starts today and the future becomes livable when we cooperate…
Paulus Guter. That together we can build a better and more sustainable world and that there is a huge need in exchange of ideas within european students which was cut the last two years.
Q. How has this activity helped you as a student?
Asya Coşkun. As a student I felt heard and got inspiration from lots of different people and made amazing connections with fellow students of the EU. I believe this activity, for most of the participants, has sprouted many lifelong friendships that will then be the source of greater corporations and creative processes.
Julie Kleinhans. I think this activity helped me to make my voice heard on another level than my school. After this event, I felt more confident to talk about difficult issues.
İmran Semanur. It was a great experience for me. I met lots of friends from different universities, fields. We exchanged opinions during the time we worked together, and benefited from our experience. It was also very exciting to visit the European Parliament and establish relations with the parliamentarians.
Paulus Guter. I broadened my view by working in international and interdisciplinary teams on new topics. You always get new knowledge and views.
Q. Regarding the Assambly in general, what did you like the most?
Asya Coşkun. I really enjoyed getting to know people from lots of different backgrounds and being able to spend quality time working and exploring together. Such a wonderful experience that everyone should take part in at least once in their lifetime.
Julie Kleinhans. Meeting new people from different cultures, sharing stories from our daily lives, talking to inspiring and committed students… I spoke English, French and Spanish all day, it was so rewarding.
İmran Semanur. I would like to answer this question from a different point of view than the purpose of the event. Because I liked the most to be together with students from all around Europe. Thanks to events like these, I think people can see that being in unity and togetherness is not a difficult thing. There is something we need to know: living together. Like Atatürk says: “Peace at home, peace in the world!”
Paulus Guter. The visit of the European Parliament was the highlight of the European Assembly. Seeing the heart of European democracy gives hope that democracy is stronger than hate and dictatorship.