The Heart of the European Union: Studying in Strasbourg

By Clara Weber

Clara did her first semester in Groningen before attending the University of Strasbourg in the second semester. She just arrived in Osaka, Japan, for her research track. In the following article, she describes the academic lifestyle in Strasbourg, based on her and other Euroculture students’ experiences.

Strasbourg is a very vibrant student city with over 55.000 students, 20 percent of whom are coming from foreign countries. Situated at the historically symbolic French-German border, it hosts several European institutions and organisations. The Université de Strasbourg was first founded in 1621 and it emerges among Europe’s foremost research universities. What does studying in Strasbourg look like? To give Euroculture students an idea of what they can expect from academic life in France, this article concentrates on the teaching style, the courses offered for Euroculture students and the studying culture at the university in Strasbourg.

Continue reading “The Heart of the European Union: Studying in Strasbourg”

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Refugees at the European Borders

By Atiena Abed Nia

Atiena Abed Nia completed her Bachelor in Iranian Studies and Economics in Göttingen, before she started the Master programme Euroculture at the Universities of Göttingen and Uppsala. Currently, she is working on her Master thesis with the topic “Europe’s role from the Afghan perspective.” Next to her studies, Atiena is engaged in migration topics and the corresponding sectors: she works as an interpreter in therapies for traumatized refugees in Farsi and has established a post-migrant youth organization called Ayande.

A few months ago, 2,000 people from Morocco tried to reach the Spanish exclave of Melilla. While  trying to cross the six-meter high border fence, the Moroccan security forces brutally cracked down on migrants and asylum seekers. According to human rights organisations, 37 people died and hundreds suffered serious injuries. As claimed by the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH), paramedics were prevented from treating the injured. 500 migrants have successfully entered the enclave. Many were immediately driven back by force. Unfortunately, such “pushbacks,” although controversial and illegal, rather illustrate the rule than the exception at EU borders. Let’s go a little further and ask ourselves: what is the main cause of such tragedies?

Continue reading “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Refugees at the European Borders”

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!

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)”

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)”

The Euroculturer 10th Anniversary Special!

Dear Euroculturer readers,

We have the great pleasure to welcome you to this special edition of our beloved magazine! In celebration of our 10th anniversary, The Euroculturer proudly presents a full- length online publication including a variety of content that highlights the best of what The Euroculturer has to offer!

During its existence, The Euroculturer has grown from being a place for students to engage with each other’s writing to an active platform facilitating intellectual context and dialogue between different generations of Euroculture students. Therefore, we are ecstatic to see what The Euroculturer will look like in another ten years from now and what the future generations of Euroculture students will accomplish!

Continue reading “The Euroculturer 10th Anniversary Special!”

Feminism Around The Globe: A Cooperation Between Artists, Experts, and Students from Strasbourg

Written by Eva Guillot & Ennio Mos

Strasbourg is known for its vibrant cultural life, and MA Euroculture students have had the opportunity to contribute to it by organizing a cultural event during their second semester. 

This is the case for Clara, Eliisa, Emma, Ennio and Eva, who put in place an art exhibition at the Librarie Le Tigre on “feminist movements around the globe.” The event seeks to reflect the cultural differences that mark various feminist movements, particularly in contrast to the French feminist movement, which is better known to the people of Strasbourg. To arouse the curiosity of the public and to make them aware of the transnational character of feminist struggles, this exhibition showcases the work of three local artists from Strasbourg: Leontine Soulier, Manon Saumand and Wonderbabette.

About the Artists 

Leontine Soulier is an illustrator and speaks of her history and the world around her. We see life, bodies, nature, and things that revolt or disturb her. With poetry and ever-present metaphor, she tries to finely instil ideas: to say a little, but not too much, to leave the reader free to read these images according to their own feelings, their experience, and their identity. For the exhibition, Leontine presented two illustrations in which she placed naked women’s bodies in curious positions, embedded in beautiful landscapes that remind us of the world abroad; without knowing exactly where this scenery takes place. It is hard to tell if those women are uncomfortable or peaceful: the artist wants to bring attention to the way that women need to constantly adapt to the world around them, wherever they go, keeping in mind their challenging position in a patriarchal society.

Manon Saumande is an artist and Master’s student in Plastic Arts at the University of Strasbourg. Her research subject is largely focused on the tensioning of the female body, as well as its strangeness. Particularly, Manon’s photographic work highlights the female nude through the self-portrait, using an intimate camera: the Polaroid. This kind of art can be considered controversial in some cultures as it challenges the boundaries of prudishness, and it exemplifies the variety of perceptions of and reactions to the female body in different cultural settings. It was the first time Manon participated in an art exhibition with her art, making this event a valuable opportunity for her to experience how it is to present self-made art to an audience, and an honour for the audience to experience her art for the first time.

Babette Rezicinier, aka Wonderbabette, is a multi-talented contemporary artist who conveys her candour and bubbly energy through her productions. She varies her modes of creations and never fails to surprise the public with her tender and witty way of interpreting the world and femininity. One of her installations is currently exhibited at the Librairie Le Tigre. In a tiny suitcase, you can find a screen that displays the injunctions of “good conduct” that used to shape women’s behaviour in relation to men. Whether the absurdity of those rules makes us laugh or leaves us sour, it is a relief to see that they have disappeared today; much credit and thanks to the work of feminist movements over the years.

The Exhibition Launch

On Friday June 3rd, 2022, two speakers were invited to the opening event of this exhibition and shared their expertise on the theme of transnational feminism with the public. The first speaker of the evening was Claudia Lam, a representative of the Council of Europe. With her experience as Deputy to the Director at the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, she talked about the approach of the Council of Europe in terms of safeguarding women’s rights and promoting gender equality. By explaining complex concepts, such as the Istanbul Convention in rather general terms, she made her speech accessible for a wide audience to absorb and share. Lam concluded her talk by stressing the importance of intersectionality: the recognition that each individual has unique life experiences, and that the intersections of race and class, for example, with sex and gender must be taken into account when discussing discrimination and feminism. 

The second speaker at the exhibition opening was Yvette Marcela Garcia. This expert is a cultural worker in the associative sector, has a doctorate in sociology without a post, is a lecturer at the University of Strasbourg, and a researcher associated with the Lincs Laboratory. Her research focuses on the sociology of social relations, feminist studies and the sociology of migrations. As a Franco-Chilean child of exile, she is interested in feminism in Latin America, especially in Chile. During the opening evening, Garcia gave an inspiring overview of the evolution of feminist movements in Chile, how they influenced and were influenced by other movements in Latin America. The point was to explore connecting cultures, and it was interesting to see that while feminism all over the world struggles with the same issues,  there are still regional or cultural differences. 

This event has shown to be a mixture of two worlds where art and expertise came together. Even though both disciplines do not per definition have the same target group as audience, their combination has been proven a valuable opportunity to increase the number of interested people. Whether a message is conferred through paint, photos, installations, or speeches, at the end of the day it is about reaching people the best way we can – and a multidisciplinary approach can help us do so. Therefore, we encourage everyone to think about how art, music, theatre, literature, speech, and all other sorts of cultural activities can be combined to strengthen any message worth spreading.  

This exhibition on feminism around the globe was on display from June 3rd until June 17th, 2022 at Librarie Le Tigre.

Pictures credit: Costanza Bossi

My Third Semester: Internship at The Festival Academy

Interview by Leonie Glaser

In this interview, you can read about the internship experience of Mari Ordonez (2020/2022), an Ecuadorian Euroculture student who studied her first semester at Jagiellonian University, Kraków and her second at Università degli Studi di Udine. She conducted her internship at The Festival Academy, which made her realise that she is not done with academia just yet. 

Continue reading “My Third Semester: Internship at The Festival Academy”

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)”

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)”