By Bryan Trannin Bayne
Choosing, starting, and managing a project often are daunting tasks. The Euroculturer conducted a series of short interviews to showcase some of the many projects Euroculture students came up with in the Eurocompetence II course. These interviews were designed to give current and future students an idea of what has already been done and to learn from previous experience.
We asked each student the same three questions: What was your Eurocompetence II project? Did you put it into practice? How was your experience? Here are their testimonials:
Arianna Rizzi – Groningen – 2018 – EU4Groningen
My Eurocompetence II project was named EU4Groningen, an initiative aimed at spreading EU literacy and raising awareness on what the EU does for the residents of Groningen, with the final aim of motivating the locals to go and vote in the European Parliament’s elections of 2019.
The project, which received funding from Europe Direct, mainly consisted of a digital communication campaign – on Instagram and Facebook – and a physical event in the context of Groningen’s European Village during the Liberation Day Festival.
EU4Groningen was my first, true project management experience – little did I know that I would end up working in this domain! Anyways, from planning through implementation to evaluation, the teamwork experience I had within EU4Groningen taught me that negotiation is fundamental to make an idea come true in a reasonable (and feasible) way: project management is indeed a very democratic process.
Thinking back at Eurocompetence II at my second university, I am glad that our teachers invested so much time in detailing every step of how to kickstart, manage and evaluate a project. I have quite a lot of lessons-learned that I still bear in mind and try to apply in my job as a soon-to-be Project Manager.
Tomas de Jong – Olomouc 2019 – Olomouc City Guide
We created a student guide for Olomouc. This mainly revolved around practical city information but also included photography and editing. In our case, the tasks were separately assigned to the students and together we decided on the final product.
Originally we had planned to set up an entire project with meetings, readings, and a city tour. Unfortunately, this was not possible due to the corona crisis, so we had to reconsider our plan. It is for that reason that we decided on creating a comprehensive guide for students, which we share with ESN Olomouc.
Overall, the experience was quite pleasant. I was lucky enough to be part of a group of driven and motivated students. Everyone knew their tasks and did what was expected from them. I think this has been one of the most successful group projects I have ever been a part of because we got along quite well as a group.
Valentina Musso – Strasbourg 2018 – Traduire l’Europe
We organized an event about literary translation called “Traduire l’Europe”, which gathered 40 people in the biggest bookstore in Strasbourg.
The idea came to our mind since we were all — we are all — passionate about Europe, and literary translation can connect people across the EU, breaking down cultural barriers. In the beginning, we thought that finding a venue was the most difficult part, in the end, it was the easiest one. Librairie Kléber enthusiastically welcomed us by providing their conference hall: a large room overlooking one of the most beautiful squares in Strasbourg. Regarding guest speakers, we wanted four different translators, namely four different people able to translate from and to different language pairs. We managed to find them online, but it was challenging because Strasbourg is not such a big city, so there were not so many translators. Nevertheless, the greatest challenge was, of course, the budget. Luckily, Librairie Kléber hosted our event for free, otherwise, this would have been a problem. The university did not want to give us any money, however, we raised our voices and we managed to get some funds from the faculty — enough to offer our guest speakers some water and a thank you gift.
My suggestion for my fellow Euroculture peers is to “dream big”. Never think it is not possible. In the end, you will be surprised by the final outcome!
Isabel Sánchez – Udine 2017 – Experience Master Euroculture Udine.
We created a promotional video for the Euroculture programme in Udine. While studying our second semester there, we realized that few people knew the area and everything it has to offer, so we decided to produce something to show other (prospective) students what is to study Euroculture, and, especially, what is to study Euroculture in Udine, hopefully increasing the desirability to come to study at this University. During the making of the video, we went around taking pictures and clips of our daily lives at Uni, our free time activities, the surrounding areas and we interviewed classmates and teachers so that they could tell us about their experiences. Along with the video, we also gave a white paper to the Euroculture team with suggestions on how our video could be used for marketing purposes, and, eventually, we showed it on the IP to the rest of our Euroculture fellows.
In general, my experience was fantastic. I had never done a project like that before and this was challenging. Despite having done group work previously, this felt different as you get enough freedom to put your ideas into practice, and you really need to collaborate with your team to make it work. Before we made the video we went through a lot of meetings trying to organise our ideas and decide what and how we were going to do it: some days we would get so many ideas, we had to narrow them down to make it feasible — What pictures should we choose? Should we focus more on international students or Euroculture students? Will we conduct interviews? How many people will participate in the video? —, and some others we would just get stuck without knowing how to move forward. However, I like to think that we coped well with our differences and managed to divide the work according to our skills and preferences with no fuss. This definitely makes the journey more enjoyable regardless of the obstacles you might encounter — disagreements, delays, lack of money —, and we were quite happy with the outcome. Eurocompetence II project is definitely a great opportunity to learn more about everything that project management involves – time management, group work, risk assessment -, and especially to train your problem-solving skills!
Ana Alhoud – Deusto 2018 – Bridging Bilbao
My Eurocompetence II project intended to bridge the gap between locals and international students in Bilbao. My team noticed that there was a significant disconnect between the groups, especially when it came to leisure time. We planned to create a venue where all residents, local and international, could come together for themed activities such as cooking and dancing.
We didn’t end up putting this idea into practice because the University didn’t require us to implement it and the required timeframe would exceed our semester there, but working together to imagine how it would look and the effects this venue might have on the community was exciting! My team and I worked well together because we recognized the potential this idea had to really address the need for interaction between international students and Bilbao residents. I still think this is a great idea and hope it gets implemented somehow!
Catlin Seibel-Kamel – Groningen 2014 – GoPro Groningen
My Eurocompetence II project was to design and implement a project based around our group’s exploration and experience of the city of Groningen. The sky was the limit in terms of creativity. We decided to create “GoPro Groningen,” in which each member biked through Groningen with a GoPro camera attached to their chest to capture their own personal experience and viewpoint of the city. Our stories were told in our mother tongue (Dutch, Italian, Chinese, and English), which were then subtitled. After scouring the entire city, we managed to screen the film at the Groninger Museum, as well as at the IP in Olomouc. A Dutch newspaper picked up our video and wrote an article about it too, which was quite a pleasant surprise.
This project pushed me into a deep dive into film theory, tested my laptop’s editing limits, made me laugh and cry simultaneously, and is one of my fondest memories of Euroculture. It also gave me a newfound appreciation for subtitlers (it sure isn’t easy!) By the way, the film still lives on YouTube if anyone is interested!
Picture Credits: Pexels, Traduire l’Europe, Olomouc City Guide