While thousands of young Maltese have taken part in the EU’s Erasmus+ student exchange programme, interest in a sister programme – the European Solidarity Corps – still needs to catch up according to the head of the European Union Programmes Agency.
EUPA CEO Joseph Schembri was speaking during a seminar focusing on the two programmes, in which various NGOs and youth groups had the opportunity to demonstrate the outcomes of their projects.
Interest in Erasmus+ has remained as strong as ever, with thousands of Maltese students ending up living and studying in another country for a time.
But more awareness may be needed about the European Solidarity Corps, the successor of the European Voluntary Service.
Through the ESC, young Europeans can spend a few months volunteering, either in their own country or elsewhere in Europe. EU funds cover travel costs, accommodation and food, with participants also receiving a modest allowance to cover other personal expenses.
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted these initiatives, as most projects have been temporarily suspended, but they are expected to resume in the coming months.
At the seminar, Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi emphasised that the programmes provided youths with the possibility to gain different experiences, leaving a positive impact not just on participants but also on the communities they form part of.