Thursday, 22 December 2011 10:53

So, do you speak European?

Written by Suzy Duggan, Philip Wallmeier and Przemek Jóźwik

“Do you speak European?” At times one may think that there is an easy answer to this question: no, I speak German. But there are also times when one may wonder if this easy answer is right or even good: the “Do you speak European” workshop is one of these times. When different people come together from different places to experience being together with all senses – they act together, sing together, dance and cook together – there is certainly something, be it a common language or a just a common state of mind.

Tina (Germany - leader of the workshop)

Photo: Tina Gotthardt

Did this workshop fulfil your expectations?

I would say that it even exceeded my expectations. I was afraid that people might not be eager to work or to cooperate in multinational groups. But there were no objections. Everyone was really excited by the opportunity of working together in mixed groups. The only problem we had was punctuality, because some of the people got used to coming late. But in fact everyone was working very independently. And what makes me most satisfied is that everyone was enjoying their work.

What was the funniest moment of the workshop?

For me it was when people were presenting their ideas for a European Snack and the marketing strategy for it. They were doing it with real passion. And when it came to defending it in front of our judges it made me laugh so much that I couldn’t even take photos.

Aleksandra (Poland)

Photo: Tina Gotthardt

What expectations did you have at the beginning of the workshop, and were they fulfilled?

I wanted to learn the names of all the participants, make new friends, experience multiculturalism and cooperation, and find out about foreign literature. I didn’t quite manage to learn all the names, but I probably did manage to talk to everyone at the workshop. When it comes to making friends, only time will tell, but certainly I have met lots of people who I want to stay in touch with - there are many inspiring people here. Some of the multicultural topics were a bit simple perhaps, but I really enjoyed discussing civil society, as people offered a whole variety of opinions. I did find out more about foreign literature, and particularly liked reading the poetry of Jackie Kay.

What was the funniest moment of the workshop?

The “love afternoon”, when each person had to act out one side of a particular romance-orientated conversation in their own language, to a person who wouldn’t understand anything but their body language. The Polish people were really funny, especially Jack, who was actually talking about the food on their date giving him diarrhoea…


Photo: Przemysław Jóźwik

Cristina (Romania)

What was your favourite European dish?

I liked all of them, for example German potato salad. But I love desserts, so I enjoyed Turkish “Helva” most!

Leire (Spain)

Photo: Tina Gotthardt

What was the highlight of this workshop?

In general all of it was great. Discovering Berlin in multinational groups by ourselves was something new. We had time to ‘land’ in Berlin and get to know each other. And I really enjoyed writing articles about other participants. I really like interviewing people. It’s a great way of getting to know them.

Did this workshop help you to speak European?

Yes, because I think that speaking European doesn’t mean politics, economics and such like. Meeting people from different countries and cultures is something that makes you feel European.

Wiebke (Germany)

Photo: Tina Gotthardt

What was the most unexpected moment of the workshop?

When we went into a bar, and were asked about how many British men were with us – the barman said that if there were less than five it would be fine, but otherwise…he wasn’t sure…

What was the highlight of the workshop for you?

Oh that’s really difficult – probably the huge European meal, and then everyone breaking into a song afterwards with Pepe playing the guitar. That was really nice.

Do you feel that the workshop has taught you to speak European?

Not language-wise, but in terms of the metaphor yes, certainly – I have learnt a lot about other cultures, about their differences and similarities, and I’ve discovered that there are far more similarities.

Beyza (Turkey)

Photo: Tina Gotthardt

What expectations did you have at the beginning of the workshop, and were they fulfilled?

I expected to travel around Berlin, meet lots of people, and have a good time. I would not say that I travelled around Berlin very much, but I did see the TV tower, the parliament and the Brandenburg Gate, and also Berlin in the dark and the snow, which I was really glad about. And I did meet lots of people and have a great time.

What was your favourite European dish?

The Polish beetroot soup – Barszcz.

Do you feel that the workshop has taught you to speak European?

Yes I think so, because I learned lots of English phrases and expressions, which helps a lot when communicating with other European people. The workshop was really helpful and good for me.

Philip (Germany/UK)

Photo: Tina Gotthardt

Did this workshop help you to speak European?

I am not sure how far one can learn to speak European or whether one can be helped to speak it. Maybe there is no such thing as speaking European, or not yet. That does not mean that people in Europe do not understand each other, on the contrary: the amazing thing is that people don’t speak European and still understand each other.

Kristi (Slovenia)

Photo: Przemysław Jóźwik

What was the funniest moment of the workshop?

When we performed the drama about Silvio – the Italian Erasmus student. We really had fun! It was about his love affairs and the problems he had in his international relationship(s), and his many girls in different countries.








This workshop was organised in cooperation with: Kulturstiftung.Compressed
youth_in_action Jugend_fuer_Europa


This project is financed with support from the European Union through the program YOUTH IN ACTION. The content of this project does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union or the national agency JUGEND für Europa and they cannot be held responsible for them.

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 January 2012 07:43

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