The International Sessions are the flagship events of the EYP. The very first International Session of the European Youth Parliament was held in Fontainebleau, France in 1988. Since then, more than 80 International Sessions have been held all over Europe. Currently, the EYP organizes three International Sessions every year. Each of them brings together about 300 young people from around 40 European countries for 9 days each. Participating in an International Session is surely a once in a lifetime experience, which is why people tend to remember and reflect on them long after they are over. Today, we would like to share with you experiences of Ena Bogut, Patricia Čorić and Noa Čemeljić, some of our IS alumni, since nobody can tell you what an International Session is better than the ones who participated in them.
Which International Session did you attend?
Ena Bogut: the 85th International Session in Brno, Czech Republic
Patricia Čorić: the 84th International Session in Trondheim&Roros, Norway
Noa Čemeljić: the 83rd International Session in Laax, Switzerland
When and how did you first start EYP?
Ena: A year ago, people from my school held a presentation on EYP so I decided to apply for a session. It was one of the best decisions of my life since EYP is something that changed me.
Patricia: My EYP story is not that different than the others. Exactly a year and three months ago a friend of mine dropped a copied email into our Facebook group. I still remember reading the first line and automatically applying.
Noa: There was an email circulating high schools in Rijeka, looking for students who would like to join sessions as delegates. Our sociology teacher picked three of us from the class and made us go. To be honest, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the session as I didn’t have a slightest idea of what EYP is, but in the end I decided to go. Three years later, I’m still an active member.
What were your duties as a delegate?
Ena: My chair told me that I am the small leader for our committee, so my main task was to motivate others. I was selected for the last speech and I gave my everything to make it the best I could.
Patricia: My duties weren’t that different from the ones at Regional and National Sessions. It actually depends on an individual whether they’ll choose to fully get involved into all assignments and activities or not. The only thing that was evidently different was the work ethic and the responsibility you have while making conclusions.
Noa: My duties were not very much different from the regular duties a delegate has on a Regional or a National Session. But as we had more time on the IS, the teambuilding games were more complicated and longer, and there was more time for debating during committee work. On the GA, I had a Response to the attack speech, and our committee was the first one out of 15. So, I was the first person that delivered an improvised answer from the floor on the GA, in front of 200 people. Needless to say I was incredibly nervous when I stood up to give my response, but after I successfully survived it, other public appearances are not a problem to me anymore.
What is the main difference between a National and an International Session?
Ena: International Session is so much bigger and you can meet many people from all over the Europe. It is harder and I did not sleep for days. One reason is that you have so much stuff to do and the other is that there are parties happening every night. It is something that I would recommend to everyone in EYP.
Patricia: The main difference is most definitely people and surrounding. While participating on an international session you get the chance to exchange ideas and represent yourself in the way you never had before. You truly soak up more useful information in non formal way than ever before. Also, the atmosphere is incomparably more relaxing due to having much more time to polish everything into perfection.
Noa: One of the main differences is that an IS lasts for 10 days, so there is more time for the teambuilding and committee work. The resolution is therefore more detailed and academically polished, and the bonding between the committee members is brought to a whole new level. The GA also lasts for two days, which is very exhausting: the first day of the GA in Laax started at 9 in the morning, and ended at 8 in the evening: that was 11 hours of debating the resolutions! Our chair allowed us to go away and take naps if we couldn’t listen to the GA anymore at some point. In most cases, there is a great difference in the glamour of the session, and that was especially true for Laax. The venues tend to be fancier, from accommodation, committee work venue to the GA venue (hotels, theatres, parliaments, etc.). The opening and closing ceremony, as well as the Euroconcert are also more glamorous. In Laax, I tend to joke, I had better living conditions than I have had at home. Te national diversity is also a great difference. On the IS, there are delegates from almost every European country. The amount of diverse people and cultures is incredible. As well as the amount of food on the Eurovillage 😉
What did you take home from your experience as an International Session delegate?
Ena: You do not need to sleep. Period.
Patricia: If only I had the time to mention everything I brought home from an IS experience… Is it enough to say that I still dream about it and hope to reunite with all the people? Norway has been too good to us, from locals and weather to cuisine and nature. Everything was unreal and magnificent. And how do I know it? Because I’m still enjoying EYP and planning next sessions so that others will experience it too.
Noa: I took an unbelievable amount of memories which will be with me for the rest of my life. I’ll never forget the people I met on the IS and the amazing time we had in the almost unbelievable surrounding of Swiss Alps. One of the most emotional moments of my life was the closing ceremony of Laax which took place on the mountain peak on the height of more than 2000 meters; standing literally above the clouds, surrounded with the beautiful people with whom I spent the unbelievable pst ten days, as the session is coming to a close, is a memory which will always make me extremely emotional.
Tell us the funniest anecdote of the session!
Ena: When almost every person from my committee was so tired at the GA and it was really funny to watch. They were half asleep, half listening. Another one would be when we played a game of truth and dare and this one French girl needed to do a lap dance on my Croatian friend. It was hilarious!
Patricia: Ooh, trust me, you don’t want me to retell you those. It’s too cringy, your ears would bleed.
Noa: The Croatian delegation in Laax consisted of only two people, my friend and me, so for the delegation dinner we shared the table with the Slovenian delegation, which had three delegates. This dinner took place at some fancy restaurant, with some regular guests of the Laax resort sitting around. At some point we found out that we have a big package of Cedevita in one of our bags from Eurovillage. We were all delighted and decided to make Cedevita out of the water we got (buying juices in Swiss restaurants is quite expensive), by pouring this huge Cedevita package into a big jug of water. Needles to say that some older Swiss people by the table next to us couldn’t believe what they had seen and started looking at us very judgmentally. This made us laugh very hard, and the result was spilling Cedevita powder all over the table and even more judgmental looks from the guests and the waiter. It is interesting how only one package of Cedevita is enough for Balkan spirit to awake, even in the surrounding of a fancy Swiss restaurant.
After all of this, what else can be said other then – if you ever have an opportunity to participate in an International Session, do not miss it. Not only could it be the best ten days of your life, but the experience is something that will stay with you forever, as well as the memories you’ll gather.
- Answers have been edited for length and clarity.