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.

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Pushbacks in Poland – putting Human Rights enforcement in the EU in focus

By Leonie Glaser

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

This year, Poland experienced a large influx of refugees arriving over the border of Belarus. Poland claims that they are not able to host all the refugees, so they pursue controversial and illegal “pushbacks”. The refugees, most of whom claim to be from Afghanistan and Iraq, cannot ask for asylum. What might be more striking than the illegal pushbacks, is the openness that the Polish government talks about this policy. There is no effort made to conceal the pushbacks of refugees to Belarus. The refugees find themselves now stuck between the armies of the two countries without help – eight refugees have already died of hypothermia. They are victims of a geopolitical struggle, which does not seem to end soon. The EU, self-proclaimed promotor of Human Rights, now sees violations of these rights on its own territory. What is the EU’s role in this conflict and with the new geopolitical tensions? 

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City Lifestyle: Student Nations

By Leonie Glaser

Besides having a high-ranking university, beautiful old buildings, and being surrounded by nature, Uppsala has a vibrant student life, unlike any other Euroculture City. The reason? Student Nations! This article will tell you everything you need to know about these Swedish traditional clubs – from the stairs in front of Värmlands to the fancy Gasques – a membership at a nation will define your Uppsala student life!

So, what are these nations? Student Nations are old student associations with their own bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, which are entirely run by students. They organise activities and have clubs ranging from choirs to sports, and from theatre to orchestra. The nations in Uppsala date back to 1630 and the names of the nations (for example, Stockholms Nation, Göteborgs Nation, and Värmlands Nation) give away their origin. The clubs were for students from certain areas of Sweden to meet people from their own region and feel a bit like home again. Nowadays, coming from a certain district is not necessary for membership anymore and even international students can join whichever nation they like!

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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. 

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SOSEurocompetences II: Alessandra Pantanosas

First-semester students don’t have a lot of information yet about Eurocompetence II in the second semester. To give first-semester students insight into what they can expect from their second semester, the SOS Eurocompetence II series introduces students who have done the subject already. This interview is held with Alessandra Pantanosas (nickname: Sandi), a current third-semester Euroculture student. She did her first semester in Strasbourg, and her second semester – and with that Eurocompetence II – in Groningen. It has to be noted that the semester from January 2021 till June 2021 was fully online due to Corona.

Interview by Laila M. Lange.

What did you know about Eurocompetence II before starting the course in Groningen?

I only had a vague idea about it. I was aware that the course focuses on project management, but I didn’t know how it would be taught or approached, especially knowing that it would be held online. I couldn’t imagine implementing a project from behind a screen and being graded for it.

Could you shortly outline what Eurocompetence II entailed in your second semester?

Eurocompetence II wasn’t like our other classes or research seminars. We didn’t meet as a class often. It was more focused on meeting with our groupmates in our own time. There was, however, a class after every “milestone” (or big submission). These few classes were great opportunities to share ideas and gather input from our other classmates. However, these classes weren’t like typical sit-down lectures. They were more like sessions to give progress reports and peer reviews.

We didn’t have any exams. Instead, we had to submit a project plan and a few other group papers to show our progress every few weeks. All the deadlines were given at the beginning of the semester, so there were no surprises throughout the semester. As for workload, we had control over this, to an extent, because we defined the scope and limitations of our projects.

In addition, the deadlines for the papers were fairly spread throughout the semester. It’s completely manageable. Our groups also got to decide the implementation dates for our respective projects. The only condition was they fell within a range of dates, but the range was quite large. So, we pretty much made our own deadlines.

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Interview with Marcella Zandonai: The International Youth Conference in Krusevo

Interview conducted by Lina Mansour.

Marcella Zandonai is a Euroculture alumni (cohort 2015-2017) from Trento, Italy. She spent her first semester at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and continued her Euroculture studies in Bilbao, Spain. After doing some volunteering, travelling in New Zealand, and working for a local NGO in Trento, she joined Euroculture again in 2020 as the Assistant Coordinator at the University of Göttingen. You can read more about Marcella’s work here.

1. Tell us a little bit about the conference and its objective!

The International Youth Conference was created 19 years ago from a local Macedonian NGO called Youth Alliance Krusevo. Krusevo — the city where the conference is held — is one of the highest cities of the Balkan region (1350 meters) and is a very nice location, where nature and culture meet each other. The main objective of the conference is to gather “the most active young people from 16 countries to work together for the European future of the Western Balkans Region”. This year’s topic was “European values for the future for SEE region – Regional Transformation”. The main focus of the Conference was on the European integration of the Western Balkans and it had 5 thematic areas:

  1. Regional Transformation
  2. Securing the European future of the region
  3. Youth-led transformation of the integrative politics of the region
  4. Sustainable and digital transformation of the region
  5. How much does the future cost?

The Conference was divided into three days of frontal presentations on the five thematic areas and two days of group work and brainstorming to come up with concrete policies: one for each area.

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SOSJobs! Alumni4Students: Francesca Brandi (2015-2017)

Interview by Marcella Zandonai
Edited and published by Lina Mansour

From Cultural Studies to teaching in Latin America, to going back to Italy and building up new opportunities

Present yourself and your university career in a few words

I am Francesca Brandi, I am 29 years old and I am from Brescia, Italy. Since I was a teenager I had a passion for languages, traveling, and discovering new cultures. Therefore, I decided to study for a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Bergamo. The second year I applied for the Erasmus grant and I went to Spain where I studied for a whole year at the Complutense University of Madrid. Once I got my degree, I did an internship in Argentina, where I taught English to pupils and I collaborated in different activities with teenagers from disadvantaged areas. Before starting my MA, I took another year to get to know another country: a full year in New York City working as Au-pair. After that, I flew to Göttingen where I started my MA in Euroculture. My second university was Deusto, Spain, followed by a research track in Mexico City and then the final semester in Göttingen again. Once I completed my MA in Euroculture in 2017 I came back to Mexico where I lived until February 2020. Right now, I am living in Italy, I am working for an NGO and at the same time, I am studying for another MA in Translation and Publishing.

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Struggling for recognition: esports in the EU

By Anna Oliwia Wierzbicka. Anna Oliwia Wierzbicka comes from Poland. In 2020, she graduated with honours from the Beijing Language and Culture University with a BA in Chinese Language. Currently she is interning at the Centre for International Relations in Warsaw (Poland) as a part of her Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Euroculture at University of Strasbourg (France) and University of Groningen (the Netherlands). LinkedIn.

What are esports? Are they a sport at all? It is just for fun, right? As video games become increasingly popular, a new profession has appeared: esports player. Nevertheless, they, like us, are ceaselessly confronted with these and many other questions. However, there is no doubt that esports are getting more and more visible. 11% of Europeans watch esports at least once per week. 50% of the European population between 6 and 64 years old play video games. Women constitute 47% of all players. The size of the European video game market increased by 22% in 2020 and reached €23.3bn. The numbers speak for themselves. And these figures translate into good moments to make our world a little better. Did you know that girls who play video games are 3x more likely to choose a STEM-related profession compared to girls that do not? The video games sector is constantly growing, creating new opportunities for Europeans. Esports could be the future of international sports competitions in Europe and beyond. So what is the stance towards esports in the European Union (EU)?

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Why the EU should pay more attention to video games

By Bryan T. Bayne

One hundred young men rent an old Neogothic castle in southern Poland for a weekend to dress like medieval noblemen and play games. It sounds like the plot of some B-list horror movie, but it was part of a video game competition in 2019. It is one among many examples of the growing influence of video games on European culture and youth.

Video games have become a huge industry in Europe. The EU market is estimated to be worth over €21 billion in 2020, having grown 55% since 2014. The EU is home to some of the biggest companies in the world. In 2020, CD Projekt Red briefly became the most valuable company in Poland and released a game that—despite much controversy—sold 13 million copies at a €60 price tag each. The continent’s second video games giant, the French Ubisoft, is worth some €8.6 billion, four times as much as AirFrance-KLM.

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IP 2020: Between Changing Europe and Collecting Miles

This article is part of the IP 2020 series, in which we publish abridged, general-public versions of the academic papers presented in the Euroculture Intensive Programme. This year’s topic was Sustainability.

Lea Marie Quilitz graduated from Euroculture in 2021 after spending semesters in Strasbourg, Uppsala and Göttingen. Since the IP 2020 sparked her interest in the topic of sustainability, she not only wrote her master’s thesis in this area, but also intends to dedicate her professional life to sustainable development.

By Lea Marie Quilitz

Between changing Europe and collecting miles: Students’ CO2 emissions resulting from air travel as an indicator for the environmental sustainability of the Euroculture program

Climate change is one of the world’s major concerns in the twenty-first century. Sustainability, or more precisely, environmental sustainability (ES), as a concept is widely considered as the solution to fight the dramatic effects of global warming that result from emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). The most prominent of these gases is probably carbon dioxide (CO2) which results inter alia from the use of internal combustion engines. Consequently, large amounts of CO2 can be associated with air travel which represents one of the means of transport most frequently used by students who participate in international mobility. The Master’s degree Euroculture is a program that offers an international study experience by allowing students to be enrolled in at least two European universities and to get into contact with students and staff from all over the world. However, the grand mobility of the program results in frequent relocation of students who often travel by plane to reach their next destination. As aviation is mostly considered an unsustainable way of traveling, the present study evaluates the ES of the Euroculture program measured by the calculated CO2 emissions caused by students’ study related air travel. Having said this, this study and its findings do not claim to be representative but present a case study to provide impulses for further examination on the subject. To give further insights on students’ travel habits and their opinions on the climate change debate, a survey additionally asked about the level of awareness and self-reflection regarding their mobile lifestyle.

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