Youth on the move? Not in these parts…

The European Commission recently released this slick video to promote it’s Youth on the Move initiative which promotes opportunities available for young people in the EU. Citizens are free to live, work, study, train and set up businesses in any of the twenty-seven member states. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well it is.

I studied for my master’s degree in Belgium and paid the same fees as the local students, around €560 for the year. There was nothing inferior about the teaching or the university, as some back home scoffed, it was simply the case that funding for higher education in Belgium is different – better – than it is in Britain. However, despite all these great opportunities few young Brits seem to be taking them up. Reactions have ranged from astonishment and surprise to excitement when I tell people that they can receive higher education abroad in English at a fraction of what they would pay here, but few are seizing those opportunities.

The UK government has a responsibility to work smarter with the EU and really promote the opportunities for young people in the Union, particularly when so many are put off by rising tuition fees at home. What’s next? A generation of people that could have gone to university but simply didn’t because they were terrified by crippling amounts of debt? The concern is completely understandable but it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Relocation, relocation

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Thankfully I passed my exams, assignments and my thesis so have now graduated from my master’s programme. I am officially a Master of European Studies.

I left Flanders in July and moved back to the UK. There are some things I miss about Belgium – my friends, the Speculoos, the beer, the beautiful architecture and the lovely Flemish people – but it is great to be home.

Sad as it may sound, I really missed our 24 hour consumer culture – Marks and Spencer,Tesco’s, the opportunity to go shopping on a Sunday. I even missed Channel 4 and BBC Iplayer (Belgian TV can be pretty awful – repeats of Silent Witness dubbed, anyone?) Not to mention my family and friends, of course.

However, Europe is small, and even smaller with the magic of Skype and budget airlines (but no budget Eurostar – that thing seems to get more expensive by the week!). I’ll go back to Belgium soon but for now it’s nice to reacquaint myself with good old Blighty.