Do you know an 18-year-old up for an adventure? DiscoverEU is back – giving them the chance to travel across Europe!
If you’re unfamiliar with this European Union initiative, it offers young people aged 18 the opportunity to discover Europe by providing them with a free travel pass. They can travel by themselves or with a group of up to four friends.
The next round of applications takes place from 12 to 26 March 2020 and 30,000 travel passes are available.
Do you work with young people? Inform them about DiscoverEU and learn more about the initiative as we speak with Eva, from Eurodesk UK.
What is DiscoverEU?
Created in 2018, and with two rounds of applications each year, the initiative was created to give 18-year-olds the opportunity to learn and build their confidence by travelling independently. The only requirement: they need to be aged 18, be from an EU Member State or the UK, and have a valid adult passport.
If they are successfully awarded a pass, they can explore Europe. Travel is predominantly by low-carbon rail, bus or ferry. For those who live on islands or in remote areas there are exceptions to allow travel by plane.
The DiscoverEU pass is flexible and user-friendly. Recipients can travel for as little as one day up to a maximum of 30 days. Watch our video below, where Eva explains more about the initiative:
Unique travelling experience
Whilst they explore and visit European countries, young people will gain experience of Europe’s rich diversity and cultural heritage. It will also be a chance to broaden their language skills.
In addition, their time abroad can enable them to develop new experiences and learn skills, whilst building their independence and self-confidence. If they are planning to study, work or volunteer abroad in the future, whether that’s under Erasmus+ or the European Solidarity Corps, DiscoverEU gives them an exciting first glimpse of international experiences.
I would recommend going abroad for everyone as it is an amazing learning curve. It gave me experience that I will carry through my life, and a great head-start before going to uni.
Mariam Sohail, who received a DiscoverEU pass in 2018, experienced many benefits when she used her pass to travel across 11 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. She said:
“The highlight of my experience was definitely the people I've met while travelling. I've made friends in every place I visited!
"I would recommend going abroad for everyone as it is an amazing learning curve. It gave me experience that I will carry through my life, and a great head-start before going to uni."
In addition, young people with a DiscoverEU pass can join the initiative’s dedicated Facebook group. This online community can be useful to those who don’t feel confident or need support. Participants can share tips, plan meet-ups and look for travel buddies.
What are the next steps?
If you’re planning to spread the word about DiscoverEU to your young people, direct them to the European Youth Portal, which has a dedicated webpage for the initiative.
From there, they can apply for a pass by completing a short application form and a multiple-choice quiz on European culture and diversity.
The next round opens on 12 March – make sure you spread the word and encourage your young people to apply for Discover EU, their next big adventure!