Hello! I’m Molly, and I’m a participant on the Make Film, Make History project from Dunmow, UK. Here are my two cents about what I think it means to be young in Europe today.
For me, young people in Europe today are united largely by a willingness to embrace other cultures. It’s easier now than ever before to travel, study and work abroad from a relatively young age, which is actually what I’m doing at the moment: I study German at university and am currently on my year abroad working for a production company in Berlin.
Berlin is known for being a young, liberal and multicultural city, and since being here I’ve met people from all over Europe and the rest of the world. Finding out their motivations for moving abroad has been interesting. Sure, some of them come exclusively for the nightlife or the arts scene, but for many of them it seems they moved here because they had the chance to try life in a foreign city.
Young people today have countless opportunities across the continent — from study schemes to internships, volunteering to sports and arts programmes like Make Film, Make History — and these opportunities aren’t restricted to continental Europeans. Even in the UK, known for its uncertain relationship with all things European, many of my friends have either already lived or studied abroad or can see themselves living or working abroad in the future — something which I doubt our parents’ generation would have considered doing when they were our age.
The cultural exchange which our increased mobility allows obviously has a huge impact on identity. Personally I like to consider myself as being European rather than British — not because I’m particularly disillusioned with the UK, but because I think I share a wider, more modern and perhaps more open European attitude. The opportunities my generation has to go abroad, meet new people and embrace other cultures mean that our identity is less concrete and — in my opinion — the concept of nationality is becoming outdated. What should we use to define ourselves instead? I’m sure I’ll discover some alternatives through this project.
One object that reflects my thinking here is my travel wallet. Inside is my British passport, the official proof of my identity and the symbol of my mobility as an EU citizen; my EHIC card and proof of residence in Berlin, which represents my current situation. Also in my wallet are old boarding passes from visiting friends also living abroad. Perhaps it’s an obvious choice, but I feel it reflects my sentiment quite concisely and, like my identity, its contents are likely to change as time goes on.