Ten young universities throughout Europe work together to offer students an opportunity that goes beyond their degree. This way, they develop professional skills, learn new languages and grow on a personal level. All this in a cross-border programme they can shape themselves. Beatrice Carniato was part of the group that took part in the first YUFE-pilot. She hopes to continue reaping the benefits of the YUFE student journey for years to come.
Beatrice is from Italy. She is no stranger to studying in an international context. In fact, she spent her last year of high school in Oregon in the United States. Then, she moved back to Europe to study at University of Essex, Great Britain. She is currently in the final year of her bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics, and economics and has big plans for the future. “For me, it all started with an email from my economics department, back in 2020. I now hope to do as many YUFE-activities as I can, possibly even a PhD in the future,” she says. She is clear about the biggest upside YUFE offers: “The professional skills you obtain are a big plus; you simply don’t get that from your regular degree.”
Probably the first to join
Beatrice read about the possibilities YUFE could offer and signed up as quickly as possible. “Studying at different universities, a broader choice of courses, working on skills: all for free! Back when I joined, there were only ten spots per university for students who wanted to participate. I was constantly hitting the refresh button on the website when the application opened. I must have been the first to join.” One of the reasons she was so eager to join, was that she could do something with the broad interests she has outside of her degree. “I am fascinated by entrepreneurship and legislation. One of the courses I took was about decolonization. We had amazing guest speakers from all over the world. I talk about those classes to this day. It’s probably the best experience of my time at university so far.”
The application process was surprisingly easy, she says: “It just took one form to go abroad for a semester. Getting in touch with people from YUFE is really easy. If you need to make changes to your programme, they are quick to help.”
Crazy good for your resume
For the coming years, Beatrice hopes to enjoy even more aspects of the programme. “I will definitely continue the YUFE Student Journey. I hope to be able to study in Maastricht or Antwerp. Thinking even further ahead, I’d love to do a PhD through YUFE and be able to do more research on European identity and community.” She urges other students to follow her lead and join the program. “Recently, I told a friend that she simply has to apply. The upsides are incredible: gaining skills, picking courses from other universities, and going abroad if you want to. It’s valuable for future employment as well, as it is crazy good for your resume.” To Beatrice, it’s not just about showing employers she has developed certain skills. She is most excited about having opportunities a regular degree doesn’t offer. “It’s work experience without it necessarily being work. Taking part in think tanks, having an advisory role, or creating focus groups. Things you don’t do in a regular degree but are of incredible value to my development.
She concludes by highlighting the value of being in touch with students and professors from all over Europe. “I’d like to keep in touch with both students and professors. Not just professionally, but on a human level as well.”