Maryia Vidzevich – 24 – Belarus
Erasmus Mundus – Spain, 2013-14
‘Only by participation and engagement a true change may occur. Thanks to EU funded projects our young people learn about democracy, get to know their neighbours, become more tolerant and open minded.’
Maryia was studying tourism, but everything changed in 2013 when she received an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to go to the University of Deusto in Bilbao.
Amazed by the opportunities her European peers had, Maryia became a true Erasmus+ enthusiast. Once she returned to Belarus, she changed her focus from tourism and started an internship at the Office for Initiatives Promotion, an NGO running some of the Erasmus+ funded programs relating to education, culture and social development.
Soon she became a full-time EVS project manager. She now works with youngsters aged 11 to 17 and adults by organising forums, conferences and training courses 'to promote democratic values of active citizenship, tolerance [and] diversity'. She’s also behind the Minsk International Model of United Nations - a simulation of United Nations where students can discuss world problems, get to know the international decision making process and feel part of the global community.
Maryia says: ‘Programmes such as Erasmus+ really bring a change to our country by spreading democratic values, business know how and creating new development opportunities.’ After all, 'being European is not about the country you live in, it's about the values, your beliefs [and] your actions'.