Erwan Podevin

Fonction : High school student

Organisation : Lycée Michel Rodange Luxembourg

Témoignage : So what is my connection with the Erasmus+ Programme ?

To put it short, the Erasmus+ Programme funded the YEL project, short for Young European Leaders, which was a project in six different schools all across Europe.
Our school is part of a new project, the HOPE Project, which stands for Human Opportunities and Peace in Europe, also funded by Erasmus+.
I was/am member of both projects.

The Erasmus+ Programme has given me the opportunity to see Sweden and Slovakia, two countries which have created a lot of fond memories. I am very grateful that this programme exists, as I doubt I would have remotely considered visiting Sweden or Slovakia if there had been no YEL project.

The YEL club always held their meetings on Friday afternoon after classes. To be honest, in the past I remember myself as being someone not very into politics. I didn't have any notion of political parties.

I joined, however, after my history teacher invited our class to take a glimpse at the YEL club. Out of boredom, I went to the meeting. The club had two very nice teachers I am very fond of. They are now responsible for the new HOPE project as well.
I joined and soon enough, I got involved in activities such as discussing current political affairs and debating and socializing with the other members. We’d discuss and debate a new topic every month, - the climate conference and the election in the US, for example.

The turning point for me was the school exchange between our school and a partner school in Slovakia. The two teachers asked the club members if anyone would be ready to host a Slovak student for two months and then go to Slovakia for two months.
Yet, no one seemed to be keen on hosting a stranger for two months and then travel to a faraway country for two months.

After a long silence in the room, I told myself, why - after all -, shouldn’t I give it a go? I had always been kind of curious about Eastern European countries and it would be the last time I could participate in a school exchange, as next year would be my final year in high school. So I hosted a Slovak student, Julia, from September to November, to whom I slowly grew close to. It was time-consuming to manage my studies and at the same time take care of her, but eventually the two months just flew by and I had a lot of fun with her.

In January, both teachers informed us about a Model United Nations conference held in Sweden. A Model United Nations conference, in short MUN, is where students simulate a UN conference and try to find solutions to problems with the help of diplomacy. Never having participated in something similar before, I thought it could be an opportunity to improve my English skills and to visit a Scandinavian country. As a result, I immediately signed up for it.

We went to Örebro in Sweden for a week and our delegations, the countries we represented (France, UK and China), had great success during the conference and I enjoyed meeting new people and learning about Swedish customs. Our Swedish hosts were lovely, too.

In late April, I departed for Slovakia where I was hosted by Bianka, to whom I became very close after having passed so much time with her and her family.
I consider them to be something like a second family. They have done so much for me and I am very grateful. I also met a lot of new people who became friends and with whom I started to hang out.

I genuinely enjoyed learning about the Slovak culture, - their customs, traditions, history and of course their language, too. I visited a lot of places in Slovakia and I fell in love with their landscapes, with the mountains and forests.
Slovakia also had an YEL club and having participated in their club activities before, I could see their dedication and commitment. The president of the Slovak YEL club even organised a little private MUN between the club members and the students from the school.

In retrospect, I am glad that a programme such as Erasmus+ exists. It has given me the possibility to join a club, attend international events and visit Sweden and Slovakia. This has without doubt changed my life completely.

In the past, I never used to be interested in politics. Nowadays, I vividly follow new political developments; my exchanges have completely changed my view on voting. As a Frenchman, I am not obliged to vote, but the YEL showed me the importance of it, which in turn made me vote in the French elections.
The club, the visit in Sweden and my exchange in Slovakia helped me to develop my English skills and my social skills; both essential for my future.

I met a lot of people, be it in the YEL club, in Sweden or in Slovakia. I learned more about other people’s life, their personal struggles and their goals.

With the help of Erasmus+, I was able to visit Sweden and Slovakia and this also made me aware of my love of travelling the world. I hope that I can soon visit these countries again.

I want to express my gratitude to both competent teachers who were responsible for the YEL club, namely Ms. Droste (my former English teacher) and Ms. Galli (my former history teacher), who supported me a lot.

Finally, I want to thank the Erasmus+Programme, which has made everything just mentioned possible in the first place.


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