Gary Diderich – 37 – Luxembourg
Youth – Spain, 2008-09
‘The Erasmus+ experience has deepened my understanding of all kinds of people from different backgrounds. This has continued to help me in my work, as I deal with lots of people every day.’
For Gary, the Erasmus+ experience was transformative on both a personal and professional level, helping him develop as an educational and social actor for change.
After co-founding a social enterprise in 2002, Gary was working and studying part-time in Luxembourg. This meant he wasn’t advancing as fast as he would have liked in his undergraduate studies. To accelerate his progress, Gary decided to take advantage of Erasmus+ and enrol for 2 semesters at the University of Barcelona, Spain, where he studied Philosophy while improving his Spanish.
Initially, he was moved by the sub-standard living conditions of the young people in Barcelona. Troubled by the lack of affordable housing for locals, Gary ended up becoming active in various student movements. ‘It was inspiring to see students refuse to accept what was happening and become politically engaged in society,’ he says.
Upon his return to Luxembourg, Gary resumed his work at 4motion with a renewed vision on training citizens to take part in their communities. Under the slogan ‘Education for social change’, the non-profit organisation encourages inclusion, active civic participation and employment assistance. Through tailored training sessions and forums, 4motion ‘train[s] all kinds of teachers, childcare agents, youngsters, and public servants to raise awareness about these issues.’
Since 2009, he has continued to innovate education through his role as an elected city councillor in his town