10 Postcards from DiscoverEU travels

DiscoverEU is an opportunity for 18-year old Europeans to discover more of Europe and themselves.

More than 165,000 young Europeans have travelled across Europe through this programme since its inception in 2018.

Travelling predominantly by rail, this is an opportunity to discover Europe’s stunning landscapes and its variety of cities and towns.

Each year, our DiscoverEU programme provides free Interrail travel passes to 18-year-old EU citizens. You can apply during the two application rounds which take place each year during autumn and spring.

For some, this was a train ride of a lifetime, for others an opportunity to enjoy the nature, discover different cultures, and learn to be more self-confident and patient and being part of the community.

Here are 10 DiscoverEU stories:

1. Rene, Germany

Travelled to: Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, the Netherlands.

“I met many other interrailers and people from the respective countries during my trip. This led to very interesting conversations that helped me to get to know the multitude of different cultures better. This would not have been possible otherwise.”

2. Lenka, Slovakia

Travelled to Austria, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Poland, Spain.

“The culture of Italy was a bit different from Slovakia, besides the history and architecture, the mentality of the people. From the natural phenomena I liked definitely the sea. By belonging to the EU and to the Eurozone it is the currency that links us with Slovakia and the opportunities for EU citizens and students. The common values that I noticed was a sense of security and belonging.”

3. Luca, Italy

Travelled to: Denmark, Sweden, Norway.

“I really enjoyed the nature of the Scandinavian countries, I was surprised to walk beside herds of deer, reindeer and many outdoor animals. Fortunately, many travellers from all over the world kept me company, and I was able to make a lot of friends. We were all bound together by a strong spirit of adventure and discovery of the world. Certainly being able to travel freely as a citizen of the European Union made things easier.”

4. Izabela, Poland

Travelled to: Austria, Czechia, Germany, Italy.

“I learnt to be more self-confident, patient and responsible. I have had the opportunity to see places and meet people I never dreamed of. This adventure also teaches you great planning and openness to the world around you. The most important thing is not to panic and to remember that not everything can be planned.”

5. Faez, Belgium

Travelled to: Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia.

“Interrailing allowed me to discover multiple countries in Central Europe, which I previously had never visited. It was really nice to see new things regularly and staying on the move. The train rides were one of my favorite parts!

I had already been exposed to European diversity at school, but here I really got to see it first-hand by going to different countries, immersing myself in different languages and cultures. This travel reasserted my identity as a European citizen, but also made me realize I am not as aware as I should be of the rest of Europe and made me want to learn more about my neighbours.”

6. Ivett, Romania

Travelled to: Italy.

“The mix of historical architectural styles on display in the Italian capital is what especially impressed me. It was quite amazing to see Ancient, Baroque, Renaissance and Modern architecture in a city like that. It was incredible to see so many historical periods mingling together!

Have you ever considered what you can learn about a city from its buildings? I learned that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I learned that even if I’m a young girl, I’m not as naïve as others think I am. I also learned that I really can travel abroad. It made me very secure about going away from my family before university.”

7. Dan, Czech Republic

Travelled to: Mont Blanc (Alps).

“I love mountains, so I wanted to see the highest mountain in the European Union.

Trekking through the mountains I could experience the freedom that comes with sleeping under the stars. My DiscoverEU trip changed my view on global warming. We hear about this topic every day, but it is completely different to see it with your own eyes. I think everyone should visit areas with Alpine glaciers to see how serious this topic is.”

8. Venise, France

Travelled to: Austria, Czech Republic, Germany.

As a music student, French traveller Venise wanted to use her DiscoverEU pass to visit some of the iconic locations in European musical history. This experience inspired her to immerse herself in music from other cultures.

“We met some girls from Poland and we realised that we liked the same music and TV series. They were just like us. It was only the names of our countries that were different. There was something linking us — the fact that we were all European. We really felt like a community.”

9. Maja, Croatia

Travelled to: Romania.

“I volunteered at a Classical Music festival. I got to see the whole process of a really good quality festival being put together. This was super exciting for me because I’ve never even been close to experiencing that.

The world is your friend and you’re here to learn. Answers will lead to more questions, but that’s the beauty of it. There isn’t a more perfect time to start doing the things you love and the things you want to try.”

10. Ryan, Malta

Travelled to: Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic.

“The concept of being European nowadays encompasses meeting other Europeans, diversifying your cultural knowledge and seeing different ways of life around the continent. This feeling of European solidarity was confirmed during a visit to Auschwitz in Poland.

It really reminded me of why it’s so important to defend the communication aspect of the European Union. It was a reminder of how things used to be and how we don’t want to return to that.”

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Official Medium account of @EU_Commission | Stories, posts & articles about our work. Our social media policy: https://ec.europa.eu/info/social-media-use