Besides the very popular ERASMUS-exchange program, only few of us know about the numerous programs and prospects the European Union has to offer. Especially during the last years the EU made a lot of effort to provide information on opportunities for young people across Europe, supporting them in their career, promoting intercultural dialogue and allowing them to actively participate in European institutions. These efforts culminated in the creation of the European Youth Portal.
The European Youth Portal (https://europa.eu/youth/EU_en) is dedicated to pupils, students and young professionals and offers a broad range of information about EU institutions, how to get support from the EU and opportunities on how to take part – locally, globally or even online. A small excerpt of these offers is presented in the following:
European solidarity corps (ESC)
The dedicated mission of the ESC is to “build a more inclusive society, supporting vulnerable people and responding to societal challenges.” Participants can be employed as volunteers, trainees or actual full-time employees while taking part in different kinds of projects such as providing help after natural disasters, assisting in centres for asylum seekers or addressing different social issues in communities. These projects are usually taking place within the European Union Member States and can range from two up to 12 months.
More information: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en
When it comes to volunteering , the only limit is your own imagination. The offer ranges from volunteering at a festival and participating at the United Nations to working in a refugee camp or in areas of crisis around the world. Even working online from your home is possible. Although these programs are mostly unpaid, the contributed time and energy can benefit others and society as a whole.
More Information: https://europa.eu/youth/EU/volunteering/becoming-a-volunteer_en
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)
The MSCA tries to support researchers (no matter doctoral candidates or senior scientists) in their careers by providing grants and funding for projects across all disciplines. Additionally, the MSCA also “supports cooperation between industry and academia and innovative training to enhance employability and career development.” All requirements and details on the application process can be found on the corresponding website.
More Information: https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/node_en
IAESTE exchange programme
In case the subjects at university are too theoretical for you and you wonder where to apply your gained knowledge, a paid traineeship abroad might be just the right thing for you. With the IASTE exchange program you can gain technical experience in the field you are studying while still being enrolled at your university. Thus, not only can you gain experience in a science or engineering related field but also get to know another culture and become part of the pan-European IASTE-community.
More Information: https://europa.eu/youth/node/21_en