Dóra Dömötör-Nagy: "Focus on common ground"

#DAADalumni4EU – Ideas for Europe – Dora Dömötör-Nagy, Hungary

#DAADalumni4EU – Ideas for Europe – Dora Dömötör-Nagy, Hungary
#DAADalumni4EU – Ideas for Europe – Dora Dömötör-Nagy, Hungary ©

Dóra Dömötör-Nagy, 22, is in her 5th semester studying theatre and media studies at the University of Bayreuth. The Hungarian went to the Deutsches Nationalitätengymnasium school in Budapest and is a scholarship holder on the DAAD’s 'German Schools Abroad' programme, which is funded by the Federal Foreign Office.

Through student exchange projects I came into contact with young people from other European countries at an early age. In 2017 I took part in the final of the German-language debating competition "Jugend debattiert international" for Central and Eastern Europe in Tallinn. That was when I realised that I had developed a European identity. When someone asks me where I come from, my initial response is to say I’m European. National origins are secondary to me. I think in Europe we should focus on what we have in common rather than on the differences.

I go to Budapest several times a year and I like travelling around Europe. Whenever possible I take the train, because it’s the most environment-friendly mode of transport after cycling. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy however. The other day for instance, I wanted to go from Bayreuth to Vilnius – that would have meant a 35-hour train ride, which is absurd! So in the end I booked a flight. In Central and Eastern Europe, most trains still run relatively slowly: there are hardly any high-speed lines. What is more, connections are only harmonised within the individual countries – there’s barely any international coordination. On top of that, you can’t usually book cross-border journeys on the websites of the national railway companies.

The other means of transport that compete with rail travel have their own advantages, of course: flying is fast, bus travel is cheap, and going by car is flexible and convenient. Rail travel seems complicated and expensive by comparison.

The EU should make sure that people can travel quickly and easily by rail throughout Europe, not least by means of price subsidies and network expansion. Above all, we need a central ticket booking system and trains that are coordinated internationally so we can explore Europe’s diversity in an environment-friendly way.

What I particular liked about the alumni event was the Mentimeter: it allowed us to feel connected with other DAAD scholarship holders and alumni even though we were not in the same room physically. The speeches by Dr Andreas Görgen and Dr Dorothea Rüland made it clear to me once again how important universities are in a democracy and what a privilege it is to be funded by the DAAD in Germany. Perhaps one day I can use the knowledge I have gained to the benefit of the EU – and in particular for the further development of democracy.'

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