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SOS!Editor-In-Chief: Hannah Bieber (2020-2021)

Have you ever wondered what being part of The Euroculturer is like? In this mini-series, former editors-in-chief will reiterate upon their experiences as a Euroculture student and the impact that being part of the Euroculturer has had on their professional career! In this third edition, Hannah Bieber (2019/2021, Uppsala and Göttingen) will tell you all about her experiences!

The Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Out of the universities you have attended, which one did you enjoy the most (and why)?

Hannah Bieber (HB): Uppsala because I had the best two semester I could have possibly wished for. I learned a lot about myself there and I made wonderful friends who made me grow immensely, so I am forever grateful to have chosen this university. Also, Sweden is breath-taking: it has a lot to offer if you like nature and winter wonderland-like landscapes.

EM: What did you do in your third semester? What is the most valuable thing you learned during your research/professional track?

HB: I did a professional track, an internship at EUNIC (European Union National Insitutes for Culture) Brussels. The most valuable thing I learned was definitely how to make international cultural projects happen, from the idea to the implementation. It was a very comprehensive experience which has taught me a lot of useful project management skills.

EM: Why did you decide to become part of The Euroculturer team, and how long were you active?

HB: I’m passionate about writing and I’ve always been interested in the media. So, when I learned there was a student magazine handled by Euroculture students, I immediately applied to join the team. I started as an editor from October 2019 until August 2020, and then became editor in chief until August 2021.

EM: About what did you write your Master thesis?

 HB: My thesis is titled: The impossible homecoming? A Study of the Evolution of the French Government’s Discourses on French ISIS returnees between 2017 and can be placed in the field of Broad field: Counter-terrorism/Counter-extremism studies.

EM: What did you do the year after graduating Euroculture, and could you tell us more about your experiences during this period fresh out of university?

HB: After graduating, I did a short three-months internship at the University of Leiden where I worked as a research assistant for a program a Horizon 2020 project called Drive – Resisting Radicalisation through Social Inclusion. Afterwards, I did a bluebook traineeship at the European Commission in the Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

EM: What are you currently doing?

HB: I am currently working at the French Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. I’m working half-time at the Cultural Action and Cooperation Service and half-time at the Alliance française of Islamabad, where I am course coordinator.

EM: In hindsight, how has your experience of working with The Euroculturer been helpful for your post-graduate career?

HB: It has been extremely useful! I tried to use this experience the best that I could on my CV and in my motivation letters to show my writing, communication, project management and leadership skills. In my job interviews, I always got asked questions about the magazine, what it was and the role that I played in it. I am convinced that this experience was a great asset in my internship/job-hunting processes.

EM: Based on your experiences, why would it be useful for current Euroculture students to become involved in the Euroculturer?

HB: First of all, becoming involved in the Euroculturer gives you the opportunity to meet so many Euroculture students and alumni, which makes you feel like you are part of an amazing community. It also taught me teamwork and how to be creative and organized. On top of that, it was my very first experience in managing a team, which was sometimes challenging, but I feel like I learned a lot from it. In fact, I have always considered my time at the Euroculturer as a true professional experience, even though it was in a university context.

The Euroculturer also gives you the opportunity to try things that you might have been interested in for a long time but which you never got the chance to do – creating content for social media, writing and proofreading articles, organizing events, doing interviews, etc. So it’s a great way of learning more about yourself and what you like/don’t like to do.

And finally, the reason why I would recommend students to get involved with the Euroculturer is because it is first and foremost a media by and for the Euroculture students, who can turn it into whatever they want it to be. It has taken so many shapes and forms over the years depending on the various editors in chief and teams, which is the proof that it is really up to the students to take it in the direction that they want. I can only recommend embarking on that adventure! 


For the full Euroculturer 10th Anniversary Special: Click here!

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SOS!Editor-in-Chief: Guilherme Becker (2019-2020)

Have you ever wondered what being part of The Euroculturer is like? In this mini-series, former editors-in-chief will reiterate upon their experiences as a Euroculture student and the impact that being part of the Euroculturer has had on their professional career! In this second edition, Guilherme Becker (2018/2020, Göttingen and Groningen) will tell you about his experiences.

The Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Out of the universities you have attended, which one did you enjoy the most (and why)?

Guilherme Becker (GB): I honestly liked – and could improve my knowledge in – both of them. What I perceive now is how good Göttingen had at that time prepared me in the first semester to go to Groningen, for example. The learnings of both of them have some different paths, I would say, along with their peculiarities and deadlines, but it seemed worthwhile to me having had a very good introduction in Göttingen and then going to a quite different system in Groningen, where I was able to improve especially my theoretical perception.

EM: What did you do in your third semester? What is the most valuable thing you learned during your research/professional track?

GB: I did two different internships. The first one at Deutsche Welle, in Bonn, Germany, from October to December 2019, and the second one at a newspaper called Thüringer Allgemeine, in Erfurt, also in Germany, from January to March 2020 – and then the world went upside down because of the pandemics…

Well, as a journalist, the most valuable thing I learnt was the fact that I could put some experiences into practice and, at the same time, work in a German newsroom – or a German journalistic environment, which is simultaneously quite similar and quite different compared to the experiences I previously had in Brazil. I mean, the fact that I could write my thoughts in German for the first time and, while in Erfurt, witnessing the Thüringen state election of 2020, when moderate parties sealed an alliance with a far-right party for the first time in German history since the Second World War was something intense. You can read what I wrote about it here.

EM: Why did you decide to become part of The Euroculturer team, and how long were you active?

GB: Because I am a journalist and I love writing and editing, and I thought I would be able to help the team in some way, bringing interesting ideas and talking to classmates to write about issues and analysis from their countries, regions, backgrounds, experiences, which in the end I think I could accomplish somehow. I worked as editor from October 2018 until July 2019, when I became editor-in-chief until the end of Euroculture, in August 2020.

EM: About what did you write your Master thesis?

GB: My thesis is titled: Back in Germany: identity and cultural perspectives of German-Brazilians in their ancestors’ land. As the title already tells, I tried to explore the identity and cultural perspectives of Brazilians who hold German citizenship because of their ancestors, based on German citizenship laws. I interviewed five German-Brazilians (qualitatively) who had been living in Germany at least for a year (at that time) and then crossed those information with identity, culture and migration theories. So, basically, these people are doing the reverse way their ancestors once did. Anyway, they immigrated. They are officially Germans, but they are actually Brazilians. They are both. They are Brazilians who live in Germany, but hold the local citizenship. Do they feel completely at home? Are they seen as foreigners? Do they carry the cultural boundaries their ancestors once brought to Brazil? Because regarding papers and documents, they are officially Germans living in Germany. But are they really? Do they feel completely at home or there’s a lack of sense of belonging, identity and culture, in regard to their immigration background? Those are some of the questions I asked and tried to answer after comparing their answers with theories aforementioned.

Continue reading “SOS!Editor-in-Chief: Guilherme Becker (2019-2020)”
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SOS!Editor-In-Chief: Maeva Berghmans (2018-2019)

Have you ever wondered what being part of The Euroculturer is like? In this new mini-series, former editors-in-chief will reiterate upon their experiences as a Euroculture student and the impact that being part of the Euroculturer has had on their professional career! In this first edition, Maeva Berghmans (2017/2019, Olomouc and Kraków) will tell you all about her experiences!

The Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Out of the universities you have attended, which one did you enjoy the most (and why)?

Maeva Berghmans (MB): I have wonderful memories in both cities and at both universities, to be honest. Yes, I might have preferred Olomouc because it was closer to the type of cities I enjoy living in, but my favourite place to study for hours was Krakow. I miss the latter regularly, especially in Spring – which is perhaps the best season to visit this part of Poland. However, by the end of the first semester, Olomouc truly felt like home. 

EM: What did you do in your third semester? What is the most valuable thing you learned during your research/professional track?

MB: I did a research track! It might seem slightly boring, but: that all your teachers are part of your professional network. I picked classes that would widen my network, as well as give me the chance to see more teaching styles – a sort of preparation for what was coming next for me, since I was orienting myself towards an academic career. Also, that medieval history is probably the least well taught subject in secondary school in France, but that’s another story…! 

EM: Why did you decide to become part of The Euroculturer team, and how long were you active?

MB: To be honest, I am used to doing multiple things at the same time. Back in September 2017, I decided that for once, I would focus solely on one thing: my master studies. By the end of the 1st year, I had taken part in one election observation mission, chaired two MEU simulations, and I became The Euroculturer’s editor-in-chief. I just saw it as a nice opportunity to give back to the Euroculture community while making good use of my skills in online PR and digital communications! I became editor-in-chief around May 2018 until somewhere in summer 2019.

EM: About what did you write your Master thesis?

MB: My thesis is titled: ‘Pravda vítězí’: The Czech Victimisation Narrative and the Creation of the First Czechoslovak Republic in the Beginning of the Twentieth Century and it can be placed in the field of Czech History and Nationalism (First World War).

EM: What did you do the year after graduating Euroculture, and could you tell us more about your experiences during this period fresh out of university?

GB: First, I flew back home and helped with the last preparations for my sister’s wedding, then took some ‘time off’ heading back to Olomouc to attend their summer school in Slavonic studies (intensive Czech classes). Then, I started a PhD in History at Palacký University, so I very much stayed in Olomouc – not exactly out of university, though definitely a different ‘angle’ of university life. 

Continue reading “SOS!Editor-In-Chief: Maeva Berghmans (2018-2019)”
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SOS!IP: Becky Emrick (2017/2019, Uppsala/Kraków)

Interview by Laura de Boer

In this edition of SOS!IP, Becky Emrick (2017/2019) will tell you more about her experiences at her Intensive Program in 2018 titled “Where is Europe? Replacing and re-ordering Europe.” Becky spent her first semester at Uppsala University (SW) and her second semester at Jagiellonian University Kraków (PL). For her third semester, Becky returned to Uppsala for a research internship at the RESPOND research project, to return to Kraków once again for her final semester. Her Euroculture experience included many hurdles which made her experience all the more rewarding overall.

Continue reading “SOS!IP: Becky Emrick (2017/2019, Uppsala/Kraków)”
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SOS!IP: The IP in perspective – Maeva Berghmans (2017-2019, Olomouc – Krakow)

Interview conducted by Carolina Reyes Chávez

January 2022, Maeva with Statue of Archduke Charles, Heldenplatz, Vienna 

Maeva Berghmans went through the IP process almost 4 years ago. Currently studying her 3rd year of Ph.D. at Palacký University, she speaks about the IP and the IP paper writing experience. Maeva comes from France and studied a BA in Nordic Studies at the University of Caen, France, with an Erasmus in Tartu, Estonia. After completing the Euroculture programme (2017-2019, Olomouc – Krakow), she is currently specializing in Czech History of the 19th and 20th centuries. She also carries out mentorship sessions for Euroculture students at Palacký University.

Continue reading “SOS!IP: The IP in perspective – Maeva Berghmans (2017-2019, Olomouc – Krakow)”
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Modern Slavery in the Council of Europe’s Member States

By Anna Oliwia Wierzbicka

The phenomenon of slavery has accompanied humanity since the times of great civilizations and perhaps even longer. Its history on the European continent can be traced back to the cradle of European values – Ancient Greece and Rome. Nowadays, slavery is primarily associated with colonial powers or with thousands of people from East Africa being transported to cotton plantations in the United States of America. The 19th century marked the abolition of slavery in many countries. Does this mean that slavery has ceased to exist? In 2017, it was estimated that 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern forms of slavery, which include debt bondage, forced labour, human trafficking and forced marriage

Continue reading “Modern Slavery in the Council of Europe’s Member States”
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Why Urban Planning is Awesome! (and Why We Should Get Rid of Cars)

By Laura de Boer

What makes a city great to live in? Is it the size? The people? Or the number of pubs, clubs, and bars there are for partying? While these things are undoubtedly important, they are not what makes a city truly stand out. Surprisingly, what really turns a place to live into one where you never want to leave is infrastructure. The way we are connected to the world around us does not exist through sheer coincidence, but it is thought out and designed to serve a particular purpose. In this article, Laura de Boer (cohort 2021/2023, Uppsala/Olomouc) will provide some concrete examples (no pun intended) of how road design influences our day-to-day life and to lead you on the path (pun very much intended) to urban planning enthusiasm. Through a concise history of 20th century urban planning in both North America and Europe, this article will provide insight into how they dealt with the rise of the car as the preferred mode of transportation for many. Therefore, think of this article as a simple introduction into understanding the role of urban planning in the structuring of society. But before we do that, let’s take a look at what the term ‘urban planning’ actually entails.

Continue reading “Why Urban Planning is Awesome! (and Why We Should Get Rid of Cars)”
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City Lifestyle: Uppsala’s Amazing Libraries

By Carolina Reyes Chávez

I’ve never been that good when it comes to focusing on studying at home – maybe because I have everything at hand to procrastinate epically. Given that, some time ago I realized that it really helps for me to go to a place where there are more people working. Libraries happen to be the best for that -and also they have a pretty nice vibe! So, when I found that Uppsala has more than 10 libraries, I decided to go out and collect them all. Although I’ve not achieved that goal yet,  I hereby present some of my absolute favorite ones, as well as useful tips on where to heat up your lunch box or have cheap coffee for a really nice study time!

Continue reading “City Lifestyle: Uppsala’s Amazing Libraries”
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SOSJobs! Alumni4Students: Felicitas Rabiger’s Experience as an International in the Swedish Labour Market

Felicitas comes originally from Nuremberg, Germany, but she has always been a real globetrotter eager to explore her surroundings. When she was 15, she spent a few months in Limerick, Ireland and that set the start to wanting to move abroad and trying out different things. Since then, she has lived in Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and since 2010, Sweden. She joined the Euroculture programme in 2009 starting off in Groningen. After graduating in 2011, she started a career in the education management business in Sweden, but has worked for both Swedish and American employers. Felicitas lives together with Saga (2.5 years), her partner Linus and her dog Mio.

Interview by Carolina Reyes Chávez

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): How long ago did you graduate from Euroculture and what are you working with now?

Felicitas Rabiger

Felicitas Rabiger (FR): I graduated 10 years ago and now I work at Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan. It’s a very Swedish organization. In Scandinavia there’s a long tradition of enabling people – normal people, with no education, to get more knowledge. The concept is called Folkbildning, it comes from the civil society and it’s built on associations. So a lot of people in Sweden, almost everyone is basically part of a group focused on some kind of topic, like football for example, or if I have a sickness, for example cancer, I can go and join the cancer association, or if I’m interested in painting I can go and join my local painting association, you know? That’s how they establish a lot of small associations that are part of the democratic tradition in Sweden. 

So Studieförbundet is basically here for this small associations to give them structure and to help them with administrative processes, also we organize all kinds of activities together with them, we can give them access to free education… It’s like a consultant, but not for business but for organizations in order to help them to get the work better and to get more organized. We also help them to get more members, with branding for example, also they can use our space and get money from us for materials.

My position is called Organizational developer and it’s about having contact with a certain amount of associations and helping them with all kinds of stuff, like finding ways for them to get funding for new projects. We also provide courses to the general public, like languages, painting, astronomics, anything that’s not university education. So it’s a really broad job.

EM: What do you see as your role or contribution as a non-Swede in this very Swedish organization?

FR: Well, actually we are discussing right now that I’ll have more focus on integration in general, because that’s my focus. Not being a Swede, I have been working a lot with people like me that need to get into the Swedish job market, and I’ve been trying to provide educational programs for them, to help them also to get better Swedish for example, to finding funds… So it’s a very creative and outgoing job, I have to talk to people all the time. I’m teaching some courses and I actually held a seminar in Swedish Work Culture for the Uppsala International Hub.

EM: Is this Studieförbundet an organization funded by the State?

FR: Yes, and that’s super interesting, you know? You could say that the Studieförbundet is the Swedish biggest cultural organization. And there are different goals with this Folkbildning concept, that’s actually to secure democracy so that people can meet, discuss and get more ideas and knowledge. The goal is also to integrate people that don’t have a voice into the society, for instance we focus a lot on handicapped people, or I work a lot with women that don’t have a job nor speak Swedish, or that are analphabetic. We want to give them a chance to get into the Swedish job market, so to give these groups a voice.

EM: That’s awesome

FR: Yes! And it’s something very, very Swedish. I don’t know anything like that in any other country. It’s like the education system in the university here which is about this concept of having your own power, seeking knowledge on your own, and that’s not only for the elite but is part of this idea that everybody should have access, even if you are handicapped, or if you come from a very distant country, you still should be able to take part in the society. So being State funded…it’s basically a way to enhance democratic processes, supporting the people and actually helping them to get power.  

Continue reading “SOSJobs! Alumni4Students: Felicitas Rabiger’s Experience as an International in the Swedish Labour Market”
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From a Friendly Gesture to a Dependable Platform: Bart Swinkels’ Dutch Covid-19 News

By Bart Swinkels

Starting as a friendly gesture to fellow students, when Bart Swinkels (Dutch, Groningen/Uppsala, cohort 2021/2023) started translating and sharing news about Covid-19 restrictions in the Netherlands, he never imagined the societal need that this initiative appears to fulfil. In this article, Swinkels reflects on the year 2021 and the journey of establishing his platform: Dutch Covid-19 News!

Continue reading “From a Friendly Gesture to a Dependable Platform: Bart Swinkels’ Dutch Covid-19 News”
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Cultivating Consent Culture: Shifting Attitudes in Public and Politics

By Loura Kruger-Zwart

This article is the third of a short publication series in which articles written by the new editorial team will be showcased. This article is written by Loura Kruger-Zwart (from Australia and New Zealand, cohort 2021/2023), currently doing her first semester at the University of Groningen.

Content Note: this article discusses rape, assault and violence; reader discretion is advised.

Continue reading “Cultivating Consent Culture: Shifting Attitudes in Public and Politics”
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The World Post-Brexit: Where do EU-UK Relations Stand After Their Break-up?

By Laura de Boer

This article is the first of a short publication series in which articles written by the new editorial team will be showcased. This first article is written by Laura de Boer (Dutch, cohort 2021/2023), currently doing her first semester at the University of Uppsala.

Ever since the United Kingdom European Union Membership Referendum in 2016, Brexit has been a prominent topic in media and public discourses. Since the UK officially is no longer an EU member state, however, news reports on the topic have seemingly died down. National news agencies in Europe have largely refrained from writing about the situation, apart from the occasional articles on supply chains or the situation in Northern Ireland.  As the eleven month anniversary of the end of the transition period is approaching, this article will discuss the most noteworthy developments and current standings of EU-UK relations. 

Continue reading “The World Post-Brexit: Where do EU-UK Relations Stand After Their Break-up?”
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City Guide – Uppsala

In this addition of the Euroculture City Guides, Bryan Bayne (American/Brazilian), who spent his first semester at Palacky University Olomouc, will give you an insight into life in the Swedish city of Uppsala, where he attended Uppsala Universitet during his second semester.

The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers.

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city?

Bryan Bayne (BB):I love Sweden and wanted to spend a full semester there. I chose Uppsala due to its proximity to Stockholm and its reputable university.

EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less?

BB: Uppsala has its charms. Its quaint center is charming and its river Fyris is quite romantic. The city is unique in that it feels like a small town, but has a strong international vibe—you can find anything and anyone here. Its inhabitants are very diverse and this is the city’s greatest strength. 

What I disliked most about Uppsala was the suburban feel of the city. Apart from the charming-but-small center, most of the city is comprised of generic suburban landscapes.

Continue reading “City Guide – Uppsala”
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City Guide – Olomouc

In this edition of the Euroculture City Guides, Hui-Yu (Joyce) Weng (Taiwanese), who recently finished her second semester at the University of Göttingen, will tell you all about her experiences while living in Olomouc, Czech Republic, where she attended Palacký University during her first semester.

The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city?

Hui-Yu Weng (HW): Olomouc seemed like a perfect choice for me. The cost of living is low, and although it is a small student city, it has everything one needs and is particularly rich in history and culture. In 2019, The New York Times described Olomouc as a great alternative to Prague because of its similar abundance of historical sites, vibrant student life, and yet, relatively few tourists! As someone on a budget but still wanting to make the most of studying abroad, I knew I would certainly enjoy living and studying in Olomouc. 

EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less?

HW: I like the ubiquity of Gothic and Baroque architecture in the city of Olomouc. As an ecclesiastical metropolis and former capital city of Moravia (one of the three historical Czech lands), a chapel, church, or cathedral can be found almost everywhere in the city. Besides numerous historical sites, Olomouc also offers artistic vibes with its wide variety of street art. From large murals overlooking pedestrians to small graffiti drawings filling up a mini-tunnel called Lomená Gallery, the city’s creative arts never fail to bring a smile to my face. It is also important to mention that Olomouc is very well connected to other major cities. It only takes about 1 hour by bus to Brno, 2 hours by train to Prague, 3.5 hours by train to Vienna or Bratislava, and 4.5 hours by train to Kraków.

Continue reading “City Guide – Olomouc”
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City Guide – Indianapolis

In this edition of the Euroculture City Guides, Hannah Vos (American), who recently finished her second semester at the university of Olomouc, will give you an insight into life in the American city of Indianapolis – state capital of Indiana – where she studied her undergraduate degree before Euroculture.

The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers.

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city?

Hannah Vos (HV): Although I did not study in Indianapolis (also called “Indy”) for the Euroculture Master’s programme, I spent two years working on my undergraduate degree there. I chose Indy because, although it is the capital of Indiana, it has a great blend of small-town vs city life.

EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less? 

HV: One of my favorite things was hanging out in Broad Ripple, a small village north of downtown, on nice fall days. There are plenty of coffee shops, bars, and restaurants down there which are great. Possibly my least favorite part is the lack of public transportation, but right at the beginning of the coronavirus a new bus line opened, and I believe they are planning on building more in the future. So, although you have to be a little creative if you don’t have a car, all-in-all it’s a great place to be.

Continue reading “City Guide – Indianapolis”
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Europe’s response to Belarus after a year of protest and repression

By Bryan T. Bayne. Special thanks to Euroculture alumna Ala Sivets, from Politzek.me, who provided valuable commentary and insight.

Ever since Alexander Lukashenka rigged the results of the Belarusian elections on August 9, 2020, his country has been mired in turmoil. The state has doggedly persecuted activists and protestors and increasingly committed grotesque Human Rights abuses, culminating in the hijacking of a Ryanair plane bound to Lithuania to arrest an exiled journalist last May. Predictably, these actions have led to harsh condemnation from Western powers and some action, chiefly imposing sanctions against leading figures in Minsk. But to what degree have powers such as the European Union (EU) confronted Lukashenka’s regime? 

Continue reading “Europe’s response to Belarus after a year of protest and repression”
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IP 2021: Concordat versus laïcité – the case of Alsace-Moselle

This article is part of the IP 2021 series, in which we publish abridged, general-public versions of the academic papers presented in the Euroculture Intensive Programme. This year’s topic was Religion.

Anna Wierzbicka is a Polish student who spent her first semester in Strasbourg and her second one in Groningen.

By Anna Oliwia Wierzbicka

On ne touche pas aux choses d’Alsace.

“Do not change anything in Alsace.” These words, attributed to the king Louis XIV, may never have been expressed by him, but they can be seen as  evidence of the specific attitude of the French crown towards Alsace over the centuries. This attitude has lasted to this day, to the times of the French Fifth Republic. And one of its manifestations is the Concordat of 1801, which regulates the relationship between the state and four religious denominations in Alsace-Moselle (a region that consists of three departments: Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin and Moselle) until this day. It is still in force despite the adoption of the State secularism in France in 1905 by the French Law on the Separation of the Churches and State (Loi du 9 décembre 1905 concernant la séparation des Églises et de l’État), prohibiting any influence of the State on religious matters and vice versa. 

Continue reading “IP 2021: Concordat versus laïcité – the case of Alsace-Moselle”
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City Guide – Groningen

In this edition of the Euroculturer City Guides, Luca Gentile (Luxembourgish) shares his experiences of Groningen, where he did both his BA and his first semester of the Euroculture MA at the University of Groningen. After this, he moved to Bilbao to study at the University of Deusto.

The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers.

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city? 

Luca Gentile (LG): Having initially completed my bachelor’s in Groningen I was already used to living in the Netherlands, but the choice of staying in ‘Grunn’ for another semester was made easy by the city itself. It is one of the biggest student cities in the Netherlands and you will most certainly feel welcome here. It is quite small and boasts an even smaller city centre but I assure you it has everything you need! From bars to clubs, the RUG library to Forum, music venues and theatre places, and parks such as Noorderplantsoen which gets filled with Dutch students as soon as a ray of sun comes out. Generally, Groningen has a lot to offer, and the student vibe is definitely worth experiencing. 

EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less?

LG: The fact that it is a small city is quite a great aspect, as everyone uses their bikes as their main means of transport. Therefore, you are most likely to be only a short bike ride away from your friend’s place. Biking in general is quite a Dutch thing, but in Groningen they take it to another level as the city quite literally belongs to cyclists. Another great aspect is ACLO, a huge student sports organisation that offers access to a variety of sports for a relatively low price! Bars, clubs, and nightlife in general are an obvious positive aspect of the city.

On the other hand, if you are looking for sunny weather, this city might not offer that much of it over the year, but as soon as there is sun the city really bustles with life! Also, the city is quite isolated from the rest of the Netherlands so a trip to Amsterdam will still take 2h by train for example. 

Continue reading “City Guide – Groningen”
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City Guide – Göttingen

In this edition of the Euroculture City Guides, Maike Mewes (German), who recently finished her second semester at the university of Uppsala, will give you an insight into life in the German city of Göttingen, where she studied at the University of Göttingen during her first semester.

The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers.

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city?

Maike Mewes (MM): I already completed my Bachelor’s degree in Göttingen – more by chance – and got to know about the Euroculture Master’s programme. Göttingen is a very beautiful city with a high percentage of students (almost 25% of the inhabitants). Located in the middle of Germany, Göttingen also offers the possibility to visit many other interesting places – either with the regional trains which are for free as a student (at least in Lower Saxony and some neighboring cities) or with the ICE which connects you to Berlin, Munich, or Cologne within only a few hours.

EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less?

MM: In my opinion, Göttingen is the perfect city to study! It is quite small which helps a lot to find one’s way around after a short time and not to feel lost. One can easily walk or go everywhere by bike or use the bus for free, and there are several green areas like parks and the forest around the city. The Kiessee, a small lake, is the perfect place to go for a picnic during a nice sunny afternoon with some friends.  Göttingen is also a city with a large number of students and therefore offers many possibilities to meet friends in cafés and bars and to do cultural activities, which are included in the Kultursemesterticket, like going to the theatre or concerts of the symphony orchestra (depending on the theatre/concert either for free or almost for free!). Tip: have a look at the long list of activities one can attend with the student card!

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City Guide – Udine

In this edition of the Euroculture City Guides, Christina Huemmer (German), who did her first semester at the University of Groningen, will give you an insight into life in the Italian city of Udine, where she studies at the University of Udine for her second semester.

The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers.

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city? (what inspired you about the city?)

Christina Huemmer (CH): I chose Udine not just for the excellent food and the weather, but mainly the people, the language, and the whole history of this place. Before starting Euroculture and selecting the second-semester university, I never really thought about moving to Udine one day, but when looking it up, I saw the unique location in the very heart of Europe. I was always interested in cross-border studies and communication, and there is no better place than here to explore it further. Udine is really a meeting point of different worlds and cultures (Austria, Slovenia, Croatia are nearby and easily reached by public transport) and you can also feel that in the city. 

The city has a historic centre with everything you need. Something that really inspires me is that even during these strange times, I still feel like I really have the chance to be part of this city and the culture. Udine gives you the opportunity to have a real “Italian/Friulian” experience and be part of a rich culture. It seems like the people really know each other, and this also gives it a specific charm. I also found the region very interesting. Living between the mountains and beaches and close to three different other countries — no other second-semester university can offer that!

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City Guide – Bilbao

In this edition of the Euroculture City Guide, Chingyz Jumakeyev (Kazakhstani) tells you all about life in the city of Bilbao, where he spent his second semester at the University of Deusto as part of the Euroculture programme, after his first semester in Göttingen.

The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city?

Chingyz Jumakeyev (CJ): I have always dreamed of living at least for a short period of time in Spain and even when searching for MA programmes, I always kept that idea in mind. Because of this, it was very easy for me to put the University of Deusto on the list of my preferred study destinations for three simple reasons. First, when applying for the Euroculture programme, I had already acquired a decent level of the Spanish language. Second, I really did not want to lose a chance to live and study next to the ocean (I think Deusto is the only university in the Euroculture programme that can give you that opportunity). Third, Spanish football! Being a fan of  Spanish football  I was eager to experience Spanish football culture and Bilbao is the perfect destination for that. You can literally feel how Bilbao’s identity is merged with its football club and players. Fun fact: Athletic Bilbao is the only Spanish team that is loyal to its local talents, which means every player of Athletic is required to have Basque heritage!

EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less?

CJ: Despite being a relatively small city, Bilbao offers a variety of activities. The best thing about it is that you have mountains for hiking, a river for paddling, an ocean for surfing, amazing weather, and of course you have a huge variety of bars and local food. Also, I would highlight the city’s well-developed infrastructure that allows you to travel not only Bilbao but the whole Biscay region very easily. Besides all of that, the city has much culture as well, which can be found in its famous Guggenheim Museum, the cultural area of the San Francisco neighborhood, Casco Viejo (Old town), and the renovated parts of the city like Moyua and Abando. The only thing that I appreciated less are the high prices which are typical for the Basque Country.

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City Guide – Krakow

In this edition of the Euroculture City Guides, Rachele de Felice (Italian) will tell you about her experiences and recommendations for her current homebase, Kraków, where she has just finished studying at the Jagiellonian University for her second semester, after finishing her first semester at the University of Groningen.

The City Guide Project is led by Paola Gosio and Felix Lengers

Euroculturer Magazine (EM): Why did you choose to study and live in this particular city?

Rachele de Felice (RF): I guess the two most focal points that motivated me to go to Kraków were firstly, the fact that I have travelled and lived in several Western/Southern European countries but have never made it to the East. In terms of experience, I thought Eastern Europe would definitely be the place that would challenge me the most to come out of my comfort zone. As Kraków has a reputation of being very international as well, I thought it would be a great option for me to gain a first-hand experience of life in Central Eastern Europe. Secondly, the focus of the IES at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków really caught my attention. I wanted to broaden my horizon in terms of learning about this region and the courses they offered for the 2nd semester also sounded the most interesting to me. Looking at my current situation, I feel I made the right choice.

EM: What are the aspects you appreciate the most about the city and which ones are those that you like less?

RF: What I love about the city is that its looks and architecture are just super beautiful and in my opinion, it is the perfect size as well. I enjoy wandering through the city centre and even though Kraków is the 2nd biggest city in Poland, everything is fairly closely located, and you can easily walk to all the hotspots, especially when you live close to the Rynek, which is the main square in Kraków. There is a lot of history to this city and I feel like you discover something new each time when you go exploring. It also has a lot of very hipstercafés and restaurants, which hits close to home for me. I’m a big coffeeholic and I can guarantee that any coffee lover and foodie will get their money’s worth in this city. There is a « Bar Mleczny » almost on every corner where you can buy Pierogis and other Polish dishes for very little money, I don’t think I have to add more right?

Something I don’t like as much about the city are the doves. I do not think I have ever seen a city that has more doves than here and they leave their marks everywhere as you can imagine. I also notice a lot of police everywhere. I am not sure whether that is due to the pandemic or just in general, but it definitely leaves an impression on you. So far, weatherwise, I must say I wasn’t very lucky either. Although spring has sprung, the weather is still quite bad and some days/nights it gets very cold, plus it can rain a lot, which has been hard on my Southern European soul.

EM: Was it easy to communicate with the locals or did you encounter any issues ? Do you have any tips on how to deal with the language barrier?

RF: In and around the city centre most people will be able to communicate in English with you, which definitely helps. However, once you go a bit outside the main square and try to communicate with people above a certain age, English is not very commonly used and known anymore, and you will have to rely on any gestures you can imagine in order to bridge the language barrier. For me, knowing a Slavic language has definitely helped a little bit in certain situations, as well as using Google Translate in certain situations, of course. It definitely helps to get familiar with some basic phrases in Polish. Another tip I can give you is to get to know international students with Polish roots or local “Krakowians”. It will increase your own experience in the city and it’s always handy to know someone who can help you out with the local language sometimes, when really needed.

EM: If you were in the city for 1 day as a tourist, what would you certainly do?

RF: I would suggest to go and visit the Rynek and walk around there, visit a Milk Bar for some Pierogia and Polish salads or soups. After I would suggest exploring the ulica Florianska, which is Krakow’s main shopping street and just a stunner to walk down. I would also suggest visiting Stary Kleparz, a really nice market in the north of the city, where you get to mingle with locals and experience the perks of a globalized world, hence trying dierent foods and groceries from all sorts of dierent cultures and countries. I would then continue to the Wawel Castle by the river, have a look around that area, which is super beautiful especially on a sunny day. After that I would definitely continue to Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter, get some local food, a coee to go, maybe a « Good Lood », which is a local ice cream chain that Polish people go crazy for (and I must say as half-Italian, the ice cream is really not bad at all and worth a try). Have a look at all the beautiful synagogues in Kazimierz, walk to Plac Nowy for a Zapiekanka, and admire all the beautiful gratis on the way. Enjoy the sunshine and architecture and as a culmination of the day in Kraków, I would recommend having a walk around the « green circle » that surrounds the city centre, where you can also easily stop and admire the dierent sights and views of the city. At the end of the daytrip, I would recommend checking out the southern part of the city and to have some food and beers at Hala Forum. There you can enjoy the sunset and views of the city next to the river and after you can check out Kraków from above by taking the hot air balloon that is right next to Forum.

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City Lifestyle: Sporting in Bilbao

By Laila Lange (2021-23, Groningen and Bilbao)

City Lifestyle: Sporting in Bilbao

For many students, sports are an essential part of student life. Besides the positive effect on the overall health and wellbeing of the students, participation in sports activities has been researched to positively affect the academic performance of students, as well as broaden the social ties to fellow students. Whereas some studies concluded that there is a relationship between violence, alcohol consumption and sports participation, the overall importance of university sports should not be underestimated.

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The Utopic State of the Union concerning European Covid-19 Management 

By Laila M. Lange

In this opinion piece, Laila Lange (Groningen/Bilbao, cohort 2021/2023) scrutinises the 2021 State of the Union speech and argues that Von der Leyen self-aggrandises Europe’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is argued that she, thereby, disconnects her description of the state of the Union from reality and harms European credibility.

The seemingly everlasting Covid-19 pandemic has changed and dominated the life of everybody from March 2020 onwards. Despite the high percentage of vaccinations in European countries and one and a half years of experience with the virus, the situation in winter 2021 shows that Covid-19 is far from being conquered. Uncountable infection waves are followed by stricter Covid-19 measures. Not to mention that the regulations differ per member state and that Covid-19, once more, pinpoints the dominance of national power in the European structure. So to say, Covid is a major contributor to and factor of the current state of the European Union.

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SOS IP! Jodie van ’t Hoff (2020-22, Groningen – Olomouc – Göttingen)

Interview conducted by Loura Kruger-Zwart

The Intensive Programme can seem daunting to new Euroculture students, but it doesn’t have to! Jodie van ‘t Hoff talks us through the IP preparation phase, paper writing process, and how the (online) IP in 2021 went for her. While Jodie’s Euroculture experience has been almost entirely online due to the ongoing pandemic, she is making full use of the programme’s mobility. Having started in Groningen then attending Olomouc online, Jodie moved to Göttingen for her third semester and is currently preparing to spend her fourth semester in Olomouc (in person this time!).

Euroculture Magazine: Would you mind giving us a small introduction about yourself? Where are you from, what are your universities, and how did you find out about the Euroculture programme?

Jodie van ’t Hoff: I’m Jodie van ’t Hoff, I’m half Dutch/half German, and I am currently in my third Euroculture semester doing a research track at the University of Göttingen. My first semester was in Groningen, my second in the Czech Republic. During my Bachelor’s programme, which I also completed in Groningen, I learned about the Euroculture master. In the end, I applied because the subjects seemed a great continuation of my Bachelor and the mobility aspect to me was a real selling point.

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