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Students embark on Europe's first truly joint Bachelor's degree

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This week, more than 270 students from 35 countries begin the Una Europa Joint Bachelor of Arts in European Studies (BAES) – the first of its kind in Europe.

With a shared vision for a European University of the Future that holds high-quality international education and mobility at its core, eight Una Europa partner universities* have pooled their expertise to create a unique multidisciplinary and multilingual curriculum. BAES graduates will be jointly awarded a single European Studies diploma by all degree-awarding partners – a testament to their truly European student experience.

Here, four Graduates of the Future from the inaugural BAES cohort share their reflections as they begin their studies.

Emi Verdijeva: 'You know you're part of something big'

  • Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
  • BAES start university: Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Poland

When I saw the BAES programme, it really intrigued me. I thought, 'Wow, this is a new, very forward-looking initiative'. I’d never seen anything like it before. It’s going to give me experience in multiculturalism and an international background for my future work opportunities.

In a sense, we’re all connected to one another [through the BAES]. There are so many universities involved, and you might not meet some of the people doing your course, but you know that you’re part of something big and something new.

As the world streams towards globalism, the idea of connecting with other people is becoming more and more important every day. We need to be able to create a sense of community and a positive environment in which we can all work together and develop our ideas to solve modern problems. Starting with universities and with young people is so important. We are the leaders of the future.

Henrik Arhold: ‘The mobility dimension is unique in Europe’

  • Hometown: Berlin, Germany
  • BAES start university: KU Leuven, Belgium

As a Brussels-born French-German citizen, I have been able to get in touch with the European spirit since I was quite young. Due to my strong family ties in France and Germany and my family’s very different historical backgrounds, especially through the 20th century, I am fascinated by European history and European politics. In recent years, I’ve been involved in the youth-led global climate justice movement Fridays for Future by undertaking lobbying and campaigning efforts on the European level, as I am convinced that the challenges of the 21st century can only be tackled on an international level.

I chose the BAES as the programme’s combined multidisciplinary approach and mobility dimension is unique in Europe. Having the flexibility of choosing your specialisations and the opportunity of studying in up to three different countries lays an excellent academic foundation for students’ future professional and political lives in Europe and beyond.

Julian Kelly: ‘I love the cooperation that takes place in the EU between countries’

  • Hometown: Toronto, Canada
  • BAES start university: Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

I’ve had an interest in European studies, the institutions of the EU and European languages and culture since the beginning of high school. I grew up speaking Spanish and, of course, in Canadian schools we have to take French from grade four – age 10 or 11. I felt like this programme was a really great way for me to solidify my skills in those languages and actually interact with people in those languages on a daily basis.

I have never been to Spain in my life, so this is a huge leap into the unknown for me. Everybody I talk to says I’m going to love Spain, and I’m sure I will. I’m really excited I’m excited to live abroad, but it’s also a bit scary.

I have a lot of thoughts about what I would like to do in the future. I’ve been thinking about pursuing translation. Or, if I get European citizenship eventually, becoming a member of the European Parliament because I just love the cooperation that takes place in the EU between countries.

Anaïs Hensmans: ‘I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders’

  • Hometown: Mechelen, Belgium
  • BAES start university: KU Leuven, Belgium

I love history. But I didn’t want to study history by itself. It was just too narrow for me. I want to have more options. So when I was scrolling through the KU Leuven website and all of a sudden the BAES programme popped up, I thought, ‘This course is perfect for me’. I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I don’t have to choose one thing that leads to one job that I will do for the rest of my life. I can pursue different interests, study different disciplines.

What really drew me to the programme are the possibilities I have to go abroad. I love travelling. I think it started when I went to Germany [during high school]: I got to experience a really international environment because I was in an international school. Since then, I’ve always loved getting to know other people’s cultures.

It’s really great opportunity for young people to go abroad. I know, for example, there are people who don’t get a chance to go the place they want on their Erasmus year because they don’t get the grades. But with the BAES, we have the security that we can go abroad, several times. It’s amazing.

  • Emi Verdijeva

    Emi Verdijeva

  • Henrik Arhold

    Henrik Arhold

  • Julian Kelly

    Julian Kelly

  • Anaïs Hensmans

    Anaïs Hensmans

Want to learn more?

*The Una Europa Joint Bachelor of Arts in European Studies has been co-developed by Freie Universität Berlin, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, The University of Edinburgh, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, KU Leuven, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Uniwersytet Jagiellonski w Krakowie.

Find out more about the programme: visit the BAES website.

The Una Europa Joint Bachelor of Arts in European Studies has been initiated under the 1Europe project.