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Did you know that 2013 is the European Year of Citizens? Read more ...

 
A whole new chapter

Your last year of school will be here sooner than you think! Are you ready to turn the page and start a whole new chapter?

When you uproot and leave home, where are you planning to go? What are you planning to do? Have you thought about how your interests and skills can be matched with all the options open to you?

Continuing your education, either at university or in vocational school, may seem like a drag now, but you’ll probably find it will create more – and better – opportunities down the road.

Fancy a change of scene? As an EU citizen, you have the right to study in another Member State, and there are plenty of programmes to help you on your way – no matter how far-fetched the idea sounds! Spending some time abroad could help you improve your foreign language skills while you get to know another culture and gain valuable experience.

Whether you’re still at school, in vocational training or about to head off to university, the EU has an exchange programme for you. Learning is a lifelong process, so while it may have started at home and then at school, it doesn’t end there. What’s your next learning step going to be?

You could visit a partner school!

If your school participates in the Comenius programme, you might be able to visit a partner school or to welcome foreign pupils or teachers to your school. Ask your teacher to look into the options.

And if a real life exchange isn’t possible, the ‘eTwinning’ portal gives you the chance to meet pupils from other countries online at www.etwinning.net.

You could study abroad while at university!

Over two million university students have taken the opportunity to study in another country for a term or two or to do a traineeship since the Erasmus exchange programme began almost 25 years ago. As an Erasmus student, you don’t have to pay fees at the foreign university and you can take home the course credits that you earn while abroad.

You could do a traineeship abroad!

If you are an apprentice or you attend vocational school, there is an exchange programme that’s just the job for you too! The Leonardo da Vinci programme gives you the possibility to do a traineeship or to gain practical skills at a technical school in another EU country, giving you additional skills which will be very useful when it comes to finding a job!

Now you’re talking my language!

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The European Union has 23 official languages, from French to Finnish to Maltese. Whilst German has the most native speakers, English is the most widely spoken, either as a first or second language.

By mastering one or more foreign languages, you open up doors to study and work in another country, which allows you to not only communicate with new people and bring ideas from one part of Europe but also to access opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be open to you. As a lifelong learner, you never know which languages may be useful to you in the future – so time spent in learning a language now will help you develop the skills you’ll need to pick up others later.

But how are you going to master all 23 languages to take advantage of everything Europe has to offer? Don’t worry – everyone else is out there learning languages too, including yours! There are also many opportunities to study and work abroad, even if you can’t speak the local language.

Youth in Action

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Through the Youth in Action programme, you may be able to join an exchange with a youth group or an initiative from another country – not just in Europe, but around the world! Are you interested in finding a different way of learning more about different cultures? Volunteering abroad might be just the ticket! It’s a great way to gain some experience, help others and learn more about yourself as well as the country you’re working in. If you commit to a full time volunteer position abroad, the European Voluntary Service – just one part of the Youth in Action programme – will cover your expenses.

To find out more: