Are you interested to know more about the experiences of our DiscoverEU travellers? Read some of the stories here below!
“I’m afraid that future generations won’t have the same chance to observe Alpine glaciers”
For Czech traveller Dan Voznak, DiscoverEU provided an opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors. Travelling to Mont Blanc in the Alps, Dan wanted to tick a key ambition off his bucket list. “I love mountains, so I wanted to see the highest mountain in the European Union,” he said.
Trekking through the mountains meant that Dan could experience the freedom that comes with sleeping under the stars. “It’s good when you have your own tent. You don’t have to sleep in hotels or hostels, so it’s more flexible,” he said. In the process, he learned some key practical skills. “I now know how pick a campsite and build a tent on my own. We also bought a lot of local food – in France there was a lot of cheese I liked. I think eating new food helps you discover the country.”
But Dan’s trip also served as a stark reminder of the importance of protecting our environment. “We went hiking on a glacier in Chamonix,” he explained. “30 years ago it was all over the valley, but now it’s just on top of the mountain. I could see global warming in action.”
“My DiscoverEU trip changed my view on global warming,” continued Dan. “We hear about this topic every day, but it is completely different to see it with your own eyes. I think everyone should visit areas with Alpine glaciers to see how serious this topic is.”
Dan Voznak von: Tschechische Republik
How DiscoverEU helped one traveller unleash her inner filmmaker
Prior to her DiscoverEU journey, Irish traveller Rosa Geoghegan hadn’t considered making videos to record her life. But in trying to find an authentic, fun and engaging way to document her trip, Rosa began filming her experiences abroad – gaining new skills along the way. “My friend suggested that instead of taking photos, why don’t I make something that people can watch and enjoy,” she explained. “I thought this would give a more realistic insight into what the trip was actually like.”
To successfully complete her film , Rosa needed to learn new digital skills – including how to edit the videos while on the go. “There was so much footage that it was hard to break it down, so I had to keep on top of it while I was travelling,” she said. “But it was actually really easy to do – there was an app I downloaded on my phone which made it 10 times easier.”
DiscoverEU ignited a passion for filmmaking that Rosa would like to pursue. “I hope to continue making videos – I’m looking into getting a nicer camera. I really enjoyed travelling and taking videos of it.”
Alongside her new digital skills, Rosa felt that her DiscoverEU journey gave her a better idea of what it means to live in Europe. “Being European means I can be Irish, but also part of something bigger,” she said. “Europe is so much more than just a political or economic grouping of countries. People my age can really capitalise on getting to know Europe and becoming more integrated.”
Rosa Geoghegan von: Irland
Down on the farm: How DiscoverEU gave one traveller the social confidence she needed
When Estonian traveller Karolin Eks found out she had been awarded a DiscoverEU pass, the thought of travelling across Europe terrified her. “I was so scared – even though I knew it would only be a month,” she said. But after volunteering to work on an Italian farm during her trip, Karolin’s nerves soon faded and she gained both confidence and valuable social skills.
“We mostly did forest clearing because they wanted to build a camping site there. When it was raining, we did some house chores,” explained Karolin. “For that, we got to eat 3 times per day, plus fresh snacks – fruit and veggies – because they grew as much food as they could.”
Through her experience, Karolin found that she could relate to people more easily. “It taught me that when you find the right people, it doesn’t matter where you come from, living together and working towards the same cause will make you a family very quickly,” she said. “It was amazing for me to understand that I don’t have a barrier – I can connect with people closely.”
For Karolin, the experience has had a lasting impact. “I brought that confidence in myself back home. I feel like I can handle things now – every kind of situation.” She is currently planning to live and work in Australia and credits DiscoverEU for transforming her outlook. “I feel super confident – I’m at peace with everything. DiscoverEU helped me a lot.”
Karolin Eks von: Estland
Changing tune: How one traveller’s DiscoverEU experience transformed her view of music
As a music student, Croatian traveller Maja Milas thought she knew the great composers inside out. But after volunteering at the George Enescu classical music festival in Romania as part of her DiscoverEU journey, Maja learnt that music is about more than just markings on a page.
“I thought music was just sheet music – books that someone wrote and you have to stick to them. But if you’re just reading the music and reproducing it over and over again, what’s the point?” she said. “Music is supposed to be some kind of emotional outlet – something you can express yourself through. Going to this festival, it was a wonderful thing to see how music can impact an individual.”
For Maja, volunteering at the festival allowed her to see a new side of the subject. “We got to see the whole process of a really good quality festival being put together. This was super exciting for me because I’ve never even been close to experiencing that.”
Maja’s time at the George Enescu festival encouraged her to be more inquisitive and make the most of similar opportunities. “The world is your friend and you’re here to learn. Answers will lead to more questions, but that’s the beauty of it. There isn’t a more perfect time to start doing the things you love and the things you want to try.”
Maja Milas von: Kroatien
"The more people you meet, the more you will enrich yourself"
Making friends with people from across Europe was a new experience for Maltese traveller Ryan Sammut. However, his DiscoverEU journey taught him that not only is communication between people important, but communication between nations too.
“The concept of being European nowadays encompasses meeting other Europeans, diversifying your cultural knowledge and seeing different ways of life around the continent,” said Ryan, who travelled through the UK, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Czechia. “I think that’s the most striking thing – the idea of communication between European cultures.”
A key stop on Ryan’s journey was Brussels, Belgium, where he learnt about the importance of his own country’s cooperation with other European Member States. “I visited the House of European History and saw the original letter from Malta to the European Coal and Steel Community asking to join the partnership. Seeing the Maltese flag along with the other nations – it was incredible to see the different pieces of Europe altogether under one roof.”
This feeling of European solidarity was confirmed during a visit to Auschwitz in Poland. “It really reminded me of why it’s so important to defend the communication aspect of the European Union,” he said. “It was a reminder of how things used to be and how we don’t want to return to that.”
Ryan Sammut von: Malta
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