Why did Europe become so mobile?

European youth mobility is usually associated with the idea of unemployment. The so-called brain drain affects indeed many countries belonging to the EU and people of the best educated generation in history are unable to find jobs in their homeland and need to forcibly try their luck in a different land, either inside or outside their own continent.

But this is not the only case. Many others chose to go abroad, to study or work beyond their national borders, because they are aware of the opportunities it involves.

Brussels, London or Amsterdam are amongst the most internationally-oriented European cities. They are home to thousands of youngsters from all over the Union who are not only skilled but also hungry to expand their horizons.

This ability to leave one’s comfort zone, to develop communication skills and to behave according to different cultural environments are assets of undefinable value.

Most employers in Europe look for this mobile segment of our population: those who can speak several languages, are fast-learners and do not fear change. Many believe that we could find a first seed of this growing trend in the Erasmus programme.

Allowing 25,000 students across the European Union to participate in an exchange with other countries every year, it certainly fosters both interest for the unknown and utter internationalisation of people’s professional careers. Why is it so?

Because of the same reason not all students are eager to go back to their home towns after completing university education in their student city, many do not feel the need to go back to their home countries after experiencing life abroad.

Avoiding going back to the nest and flying forward instead needs to start having the positive social value it deserves: sad cases of forced migration should not be praised, but they must not impede us to see the greatness of growing internationally for one’s self-development either.

European youth has learnt to be multicultural, to look for new adventures tirelessly, and to put their potential to the limit. As opposed to older generations, finding a stable and comfortable life may not be a top priority to our youngsters. They are not happy without new adventures ahead.

Mobility means growth, learning and consuming new experiences. It allows young students and professionals to maximise their potential in a challenging and fully motivating environment where they can shine.

In the words of the philosopher Augustine of Hippo, “the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page”.


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