A solidarity project aimed at boosting communication and cultural exchange between European youth has been given an expanded budget. The European Solidarity Corp (ESC) hopes that up to 100,000 young people aged 18-30 across the continent will participate in a range of sponsored programs – from helping the elderly or vulnerable children, to connecting with refugees and protecting the environment.
The European Parliament has agreed on a three year budget for the ESC running to 2020. Leaders hope the various programs will not only make a positive impact in local communities, but also help cement a common set of European values, such as collaboration, across nations.
Young people who participate in ESC activities will have the opportunity to cultivate their personal, professional and social skills while helping others and making lasting new connections. The program has been in the making for a long time. It is inspired by the European Voluntary Service and first debuted in late 2016. Since then more than 60,000 young people have signed up and 5,000 started projects. Now that a budget for 2018-2020 has been agreed, the ESC is expected to get properly up and running. If successful, then after 2020 there are plans to expand the project to 350,000 young people with a budget of more than €1.25 billion.
Those who are interested can sign up here.
Canada may soon eclipse the US as the destination of choice for Indian students, new figures show. In 2017 Indians accounted for more than one quarter of all international students granted visas by the Canadian authorities. The 83,410 visas issued to Indian students marked a huge 60% increase on the previous year. Analysts believe that growing uncertainty over the future direction of US immigration policies is making Indians think twice about paying enormous tuition fees with little faith that they will ultimately land their dream job in the country.
While visas granted by Canada shot up, the proportion of Indians studying STEM subjects at US universities has fallen by 19%. Meanwhile in the UK, the number of Indian students has fallen by a remarkable 50% in the past eight years.
In Canada the story is quite different. While attitudes to immigration have hardened in the US and many European countries, Canada offers a relatively simple pathway to citizenship for skilled workers and encourages applications from students with good English or French ability and demonstrated financial stability.
A British university has ignited controversy by setting up a LGBT-only section in the campus’ student accommodation. There are currently 12 rooms offered by Sheffield University for its LGTB student flats and plans to expand the unit next year.
University administrators say the section will open in September and provide a “safe space for students to be themselves”. The decision has the support of the student union, which voiced fears that transgender students, or those of a different sexual orientation, might be bullied or intimidated if they live in the standard accommodations provided. “By no means is this accommodation compulsory, nor do we wish to encourage segregation, but we feel it is extremely important that our students have the choice of living in LGBT+ only accommodation if they so desire”, the union said in a public statement.
Nevertheless, the decision has been criticised as a move towards segregation. The national director of Accommodation for Students, Simon Thompson, said: “University is about opening your horizons and meeting people from different cultures, different backgrounds, different sexualities, everything”.
Thompson said it seemed like “madness” to avoid socialising with people based on their sexuality. He also expressed concern that similar patterns were occurring across the UK at a racial level, with some universities having exclusively Chinese housing blocks.
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