Sarah Gangl is from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna. Currently she is pursuing a master’s degree in Natural Resources Management and Ecological Engineering. She joined the EPICUR Student board last December. She talks about her experience within EPICUR
How did you hear about EPICUR?
The first time I learnt about EPICUR was through the ÖH BOKU (the Student Union). They were looking for interested students to become part of the EPICUR Student Board as representatives of BOKU.
What motivated you to take an active part in the EPICUR project?
I found, and still find, the aspect of interculturality, of connection, of the strive to better higher education in Europe incredibly fascinating. Being able to take part in a project that is trying to improve education and learning for the students of the future is simply marvelous.
You are part of the student board, what is its role?
Ultimately EPICUR is a project for students. So, from the get-go it is of great importance to bring in the voice of students in all areas of the project, from start to finish. We are the ones who will be able to gain the most out of EPICUR, be it through the lectures, the research and/or the internships. And bringing in that voice, the student voice, into discussions, ideas as well as projects, that is the role of the Student Board (SB).
Members of the Student Board also participate in meetings all across the board, from Project Management meetings to Interculturality meetings and more, ensuring that students and their needs are considered
In concrete terms, what activities do you carry out?
We have a monthly meet-up where we talk about everything that is going on in EPICUR. Members of the Student Board also participate in meetings all across the board, from Project Management meetings to Interculturality meetings and more, ensuring that students and their needs are considered. SB members also help with social media, distribution of information and bringing EPICUR and all that it offers closer to students.
Do you think that your involvement in EPICUR represents an added value for your academic curriculum and maybe even your future career?
I certainly think so. EPICUR allows you to meet so many people from all across Europe, to build connections, work on your intercultural intelligence, gain experience in organizing, speaking, honing your language skills and so much more. All of these can be of vital import for your future career and for your current studies. Life skills that will serve you well.In your opinion, what are the strengths of EPICUR? How is it an innovative project?
EPICUR is innovative because of the way it tries to better the future of tertiary education across Europe. There are eight universities in the alliance, from various regions and different cultures. Spanning from the East to the West, from Greece to France and the Netherlands. Each and every one of these universities has so much to offer and bringing all that knowledge, that spirit and energy together allows for the creation and realization of incredible ideas. I believe that working together, sharing knowledge, learning from each other and with each other are just a few of the strengths of EPICUR. This is a project that shows that despite cultural differences, despite different languages being spoken, maybe even because of that, working together on a common goal breaks through possible barriers and leads to great outcomes.
If you were to recommend EPICUR to other students, what would you tell them?
I would tell other students to use the offers of EPICUR, not only for their CV, but also to foster relationships across Europe, to learn from lecturers sitting in France, Germany, Greece etc., to go abroad and do an internship outside of your home country, to increase their language skills or learn a new language entirely. We live in a global world, a multi-cultural society and we will encounter people from all walks of life, from different cultures, speaking different languages throughout our lifetime. Why not use the opportunity to actively seek out such encounters? To learn from each other. And while this may mean stepping out of one’s comfort zone it is also a great opportunity to grow. Growth lies outside of the comfort zone after all.
Have you yourself, as a student of the alliance, participated in EPICUR courses or activities?
I have not because of scheduling conflicts but if I get the opportunity in the future I would love to. There are so many wonderful courses being offered, interesting internships and more to come.
What has EPICUR taught you so far?
EPICUR has definitely helped me with my time management and taught me a lot about going out of my comfort zone. I also learned how complicated it can be to create something with so many cultures/universities involved but how wanting to work together and having the energy and strive can overcome such challenges. The team spirit is incredible, and I really am looking forward to seeing what the future will bring for EPICUR.