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The primary intention of ESOP is to provide migrants with the necessary information and skills to orientate themselves in the new environment and make possible social and professional participation. The program enables young migrants to actively shape their lives instead of being kept in a passive role. To implement this objective, every six months a new group of 15-20 migrants will start the program, with one half studying Italian and the other half studying German depending on their future visions and language skills. Thanks to their participation the participants will receive the necessary skills and information to participate in socio cultural and economic activities within the welcoming society and hence, constructively shape its diversity. You can only make conscious decisions and then put them into practice if you have the necessary knowledge and tools to do so!
The Italian-German space is one of the most important for refugees with most asylum seekers reaching Europe by the Mediterranean Sea in Italy, the then responsible country, but wishing to build up their life in Germany, where the access to the labour market and professional chances in general are often higher than in Italy. Despite this evidence, so far, no transnational network exists, which reacts to this migration reality and could ensure an ongoing accompaniment of this very vulnerable group. With the support of our cooperation partners we will find concrete apprenticeship or job offers for the participants of the program and with that be able to trigger legal intra-European migration possibilities through the visa procedure for professional or educational purposes. Thanks to the construction of a transnational network ensuring an ongoing accompaniment and involvement of migrants during their ongoing migration movement, get part of their new environment will be facilitated. All participants – migrants, employers, national states – could benefit of such opportunities and help to balance the European job market in general.
In the role of interns young Europeans as representatives of the welcoming society will implement ESOP together with the migrant participants and provide them with the necessary knowledge for a self- determined life in Europe. As “ experts” of their societies, the European interns have the knowledge to do so. At the same time, they need to be trained and orientated for this task, too, and be sensitized for certain cultural patterns and patterns of behaviour. Thanks to the accompaniment of Universo’s intercultural mediator in the preparation of the sessions and in their implementation, the interns will be formed in the transfer of knowledge. In the awareness that the promotion of diversity in our European societies requests an intense preparation of the welcoming society, too, the interns as its representatives will participate in intercultural trainings preparing them for this living together. These trainings and the internship by itself will not only prepare them for this but as well equip them with the necessary knowledge to train others for this challenge. Thanks to ESOP’s approach to work with interns from other local contexts, the dissemination will be remarkably facilitated. Forming the ESOP interns as ambassadors makes the project even more relevant and allows us to reach an ever-growing number of people with this approach by implementing ESOP in new contexts. Through the participation in ESOP, young European shall get the opportunity to contribute to the shaping of “their” Europe. The common work in a project with a clearly European approach will strengthen their European identity and the awareness of the need for European solutions.
Even though diversity can only be achieved and promoted if both sides actively get involved as equal partners in the process of its shaping, nowadays integration politics often solely focus on the need for the guest population to integrate and to adapt to their host environment. ESOP acts on the assumption that both migrant and autochthonous population need to be prepared and trained for an enriching living together in societies being able to appreciate the diversity of its members. Exchange between locals and newcomers are already implemented in very different ways in all European local contexts but there is a need for change as most of these exchange programs start from the position that migrants need help and support. With ESOP being at first implemented in Bologna on the ground, the elaboration of intercultural exchange activities will concretely put into practice ESOP’s approach bringing an important change of perspective. They will lay the foundation for unity in diversity by focusing on mutual exchange and its enrichment. The accompaniment of these activities by Universo’s intercultural mediator and the interculturally sensitized interns will ensure such an approach and make possible an immediate reaction to stereotypes existing on both sides and ensure to constructively tackle them in an open and comprehensive way. This accompaniment is crucial and will help to create unity between the two groups by upholding at the same time their members’ diversity. ESOP follows a peer-to-peer approach with both sides contributing as equal partners to the shaping of modern European societies.