For ten months, Anna David, a German volunteer at the Franco-German Youth Office (Ofaj), has been confronted with the daily reality of cross-border cooperation between universities. Between enthusiasm and student indifference, the journey of a young European across the borders.
On 23 June, Anna David of Hamburg will leave the University of Strasbourg, with the feeling of leaving a job well done. For ten months, this young German student has worked for Eucor - The European Campus and the Future Space, within the framework of the Franco-German Voluntary Programme in Higher Education of the Ofaj.
Taking stock of her time, Anna returns to the highlights of her experience. She had a primary mission: to promote cross-border mobility to Germany with students, both to follow courses and to fulfil an internship. "I often took part in lectures to introduce students to training opportunities in German or Swiss universities in the Rhine area or to explain to them the various financial grants they could claim. Meetings went very well: as I am also a student, they were at ease when asking me questions. At the 'Future Space', I supported my tutor, Agnès Bousset, in charge of the Franco-German professional integration mission, to help students find an internship or a first job in Germany. I helped them find contacts or I corrected their CVs."
In addition, Anna has worked hard in the Eucor, European Campus, student council, in order to boost its dynamism. "With Calin Sas, the Chairman, we went around the various campuses to find delegates to sit on the board. As a result, two delegates from Strasbourg, two from Karlsruhe, two from Freiburg and two from Basel now sit on the student council, the first general assembly of which took place on 12 May in Strasbourg." And it was with them and with her sidekick from Anjou, Lauriane Wolf, an Ofaj volunteer in Karlsruhe, that she launched the Eucor Festival. Organised on 10th June, it will terminate the 20th edition of the Eucor cycling tour with a musical flourish: seven rock bands, indie rock, jazz, folk and punk artists will perform on the Roter Platz of the Karlsruhe campus. "We needed to mobilise groups in each of the five Eucor universities, find funding, organise bus transport, arrange foodtrucks, and ensure advertising ... This is where I really became aware of the difficulty of cross-border work, due to working habits, laws and regulations that change from one country to another. It is really not easy to think of all the details in a tri-national context. But despite all that, all this complexity has culminated in a project as concrete and enthusiastic as the Eucor Festival."
A long drawn out job
In the next school year, Anna will join another French university: Rennes, where she has already spent an Erasmus year and where she will do a master's degree in sociology. She will retain some of the things she has learned during her ten months of cross-border experience: "It's impressive to see how projects move forward and come about. Eucor-The European Campus, it is one of the best strong points of the University of Strasbourg." And she appeals to both teachers and students: "Make the most of it!" Even though she does not hide the complexity: "It's not so easy to talk to students about this. It will be a long drawn out job." Work that continues with the distribution of flyer on Eucor - The European Campus, created by Anna and her other tutor, Aurelle Garnier, coordinator of Eucor - The European Campus at Unistra, in the Welcome packs for new Strasbourg students, starting in September.
Before her departure towards the great West, Anna has time to praise Strasbourg: "It's a big city that has nothing of the stress of big cities. People here are relaxed. I especially enjoyed its diversity and the bicycles. I also loved the Strasbourg europtimism. It's really cool." And with just a tiny hint of a German accent and in impeccable French: "C'était chouette!" (It was brill!) Bis bald, Anna!
Jean de Miscault