The choice to be a European

In her second piece for sCOOL Media Marina Petkova from club “Young journalist” at “D-r Ivan Bogorov” Foreign Language School in Dimitrovgrad talks to Niya Neykova – soon to be a college student, who graduated from the same high school. Niya speaks about her experience during a couple of  exchange programs in Europe. 


Let’s meet Niya Neykova. She graduated “D-r Ivan Bogorov” Foreign Language School a few days ago and she has already been preparing for the Netherlands where she is going to continue her higher education. But what she is especially excited about are her memories of the two journeys around Europe which she managed to attend only within this school year. These journeys changed her and made her realize how colorful, interesting and challenging the world can be for one young person.


Niya took her first journey in September 2018 thanks to Discover EU. She admits that she just saw the suggestion in Facebook and she applied even without hoping for approval. The procedure was not complicated and it required the girl to prove, that she is familiar with  the European union by answering interesting and accessible questions. And the miracle happened – while she was travelling around Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam she was thinking how lucky she is to be both Bulgarian and European. That is what she shares:


“I love travelling. I saw more than I expected! The train I was travelling by was full of  young people from the same program, there   were a lot of other Bulgarians, foreigners who we were talking to in English. What I had learned at our school helped me a lot. I was constantly in euphoria. Exceptionally interesting was the exchange of cultures. What I learned travelling around Europe was that we should be more open to each other. Because people are very different – you can feel one way in Germany, but in the Balkans we communicate other way, France obsesses you with its unpretentiousness… I love the difference! At the time of that travelling I also learned how we should be worthy citizens of  the  European  union   and why it is our home in which every room can be different, but the yard is the same.”


Niya can’t forget the beautiful nature of the European countries which she visited. This made her want to repeat her unusual adventure. And the miracle happened again! This time during the program European youth week thanks to which she visited  the   European parliament in Brussels. The main goal of the visit was to show the young people how this institution works   and   what  it means   to   be   a   worthy   citizen  of the European    union. Two days  in which the travel and meal costs were covered and  the program was full of attractive meetings, activities and lectures. Niya shares her impressions again:


“The thing that I liked the most about those meetings was the chance to have a discussion about actual problems and harmful conflicts of the present of the European union. Our voice can be heard! We  had the chance to make our own suggestions about solving complicated ecological problems, the problems with migration, the future and education of young people… There were a lot of funny games … It was clean  everywhere  and the people there thought of it as a civil obligation. It impresses how the people listen to each other at the Parliament. You understand how important it is to work as a team, to express your own opinion.”


Niya paused for a while and then continued:


“I felt the change should start from us. We always wait for the government to make it, but we need to start on our own. We need to work together, not to wait for the things get better by their own. We shouldn’t be afraid – to make a change, we should work hard for it… otherwise we will always stick to Aleko’s words: “We are Europeans, but not still there…”


Niya already knows how. She continues her education – in the Netherlands, in the area of “Creative business”. She already has her ideas. With the lessons, learned in the language school in her hometown and the things she learned from her wonderful journeys around Europe, she already has a choice and a chance to use it. She has chosen to be a Bulgarian and a European, because this is the future.