Team Red in Bergamo (May 12-14)

Welcome on board! Again on the fabulous Frecciarossa, Italy’s high-speed train. We are on our way from Napoli to Bergamo, but all three of us in our own cabin, if not our own train… Interrailing? A piece of cake. But only for some of us…

Totally immersed in the many activities and conversations of our stay in Napoli, we kind of forgot to remind ourselves that we are probably not the only people trying to get from point A to B. We also forgot to realize that some Interrail routes, especially high-speed ones, require a reservation… And with the tight schedule of Europe on Track, we could not afford to miss a connection. The first challenge: Get to the station ASAP (while not being run over by a car)(luckily we still had our guardian angel Nicola by our side). Second challenge: Buy your ticket. For the same train! Can’t be that hard, right?

Oh well. What a fiasco! I bought my ticket but there was only second class (oh no!)(joke) available, but then the train appeared as sold out for Brett and Pawel, so Brett bought a ticket for later train, but then a business class ticket for my train became available for Pawel (and he got cake)(life is unfair) and hence we all ended up by ourselves… No worries, we would wait for each other in Milano to go to Bergamo together, as TEAM RED. Right, Brett?

We must have left a great teamwork impression on our host Roby, who picked us up in Milano, when Pawel and I assured him that Brett probably boarded another part of the train and that we should look for him inside. Long story short: As I lost Pawel in Rome and Brett in Milano, my role as bad Mother Goose/Hen/Chicken was confirmed. Nonetheless, all is well that ends well, and we safely arrived in Bergamo at some point late in the evening, to be welcomed by…

Roby’s roommate

Enough Track of Europe on Track. Let’s talk about what we are supposed to talk about… Civic Education! Great guess. Or wait, since we are in the north of Italy anyway, let’s first recover from this journey (it was not that bad!) with a nice Aperol Spritz (and by the way, how big can a flag be?)

So Civic Education… Our first activity was a high school workshop at Liceo Mascheroni on FAKE NEWS, designed by Jorge from Team Blue. The workshop first addresses some case studies of fake news, some easier to detect than others, including a Twitter fight between two Dutch politicians, and the case of a woman who pretends to be different people protesting against the Ukranian Revolution. Then, we show a nice TED-Ed video on How to Choose Your News.

After the video, it is up to the participants to create their own fake news, by designing the front page of a newspaper, with different levels of ‘fakeness’. When they are done, the groups need to put the posters in order from most reliable to least reliable. Although we never got to reveal the correct answer…

Whereas time took on wide-ranging definitions during our stay in Napoli, we learned how high school students hold time in high regard in Bergamo: When the school bell rang at 1PM, EVERYBODY was GONE in less than 10 SECONDS. A badly needed wake-up call?

Nonetheless, we still think the workshop was very successful. The language barrier is always present, and we know that the students have so much to say but that they struggle to find the means to do so. However, with the high attendance of AEGEE-Bergamo members, who participated and contributed along (grazie mille!) many students still managed to bring something to the table.

AEGEE-Bergamo pulled out all the stops for the “Bergamo Chapter” of Europe on Track. After the high school workshop at Liceo Mascheroni, we went to GATE, a new community center open to everyone providing ‘a chance to meet’ and promoting youth empowerment and integration, located in the middle of a beautiful park. Like today, AEGEE-Bergamo regularly hosts events here. With the objective to help us gain a better understanding of the EU, Luisa Chiodi, the director of the Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT) gave a talk about the structure of the European Union.

After the talk, there was a roundtable session, with the aim to enforce the aim of Europe on Track on a local scale, while keeping in mind a comprehensive definition of the word COMMUNITY and its different orders of magnitude. At four different tables, decorated with some nice aperitives, the following topics related to Civic Education were discussed:

  1. How can we contribute to our community? – A conversation with different local NGOs including CSV Bergamo (Volunteering Service Center), FreeDem (promoting direct democratic participation) and Ragazzi on the Road (educating students on the road, on the road)
  2. EU Institutions – A follow-up of Luisa Chiodi’s talk by OBCT
  3. Active Citizenship and the gap between how much you CARE and how much you ACT by Europe on Track
  4. And last but not least… the ECI – read more about it here, then sign here, and watch this new cool video from Agora here:

We finished our stay in Bergamo with a nice evening tour in the beautiful upper town. We were very impressed by the efforts, professionalism and everlasting enthusiasm of AEGEE-Bergamo. Thank you for showing us around and for sharing your knowledge!

PS. After our visit to Napoli, Pawel and Ele did not dare to try a pizza elsewhere…


Written by Eleanor Denneman, Photos by Paweł Lenarczyk

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