What is Euroweek?
It is an annual meeting of students and teachers from member countries of the European Union. Although the idea came from a small team of schools it gradually spread all over Europe. The meeting, which takes place every year at the end of September, is hosted alternately by each member of this network.
Aim of Euroweek
The main aim is the realization of the vision of a United Europe. Young people experience the spirit of unified Europe by debating about and working together on Europe related issues. It brings together school pupils from throughout Europe to share their experiences, and thus promote awareness of and respect for each other´s cultures and values.
Pupils and professors have the opportunity to communicate, get acquainted with each other´s educational systems as well as get in touch with cultural elements from different European countries.
During this week pupils are hosted by families and in this way they get to know the daily life and habits in other countries. Furthermore, they can improve their speaking skills in foreign languages. The friendships that are created are so strong that they usually last for years and are reinforced by visiting each other during holidays.
The main emphasis is put on pupils debating, socializing or working together on various projects. Other elements are presenting their country through traditional dance or musical performances, sketches or dramatizations and preparing traditional food. Pupils do sports together, debate about subjects related to the European Union and attend classes. Of course there are social gatherings and a farewell party. In this way students and teachers have the opportunity to enjoy themselves, raise their intercultural competence, increase their knowledge of other countries and deepen the awareness of their own culture.
In 1992 the treaty of Maastricht was signed. It introduced new forms of cooperation between the governments of the, in those days, twelve countries of the European Community. This cooperation will be concentrated on many areas such as Defence, Justice and Home affairs. The Treaty of Maastricht creates the European Union by uniting the aforesaid cooperation between national authorities with the spheres of activities that had been ratified in the European Community.
In the same year a Belgian teacher, Jean-Pierre van Wijnsberghe, took the first steps towards the realization of a project, named ‘Euroweek’. He was convinced that by bringing young people together, this would result in more understanding and tolerance in Europe. He invited one school from each member state of the European Economic Community and organised the first Euroweek in Belgium in 1992.