Erwan Podevin

How the YEL changed my life


by Podevin Erwan


Before I joined the YEL club, I remember being someone not interested in politics at all: I didn’t know for example the difference between the different political parties.

During the last trimester of my 1st high school year, my history teacher, Mrs. Galli was recruiting members and asked our class if they would be interested to see the club.

Out of boredom, I went to the meeting to see how it is. The YEL club consisted of two teachers (Mrs.Droste and Ms.Galli) and around thirty students. Soon I joined and became a member and got involved in activities such as discussing current political affairs, debating and socializing with the other members. We’d discuss every month about a new topic, for example, the climate conference or the election in the US.

The turning point for me was the school exchange between the LMRL and GBZA. Both teachers asked the club members if anyone would be ready to host a Slovak student for two months and then go to Slovakia for two months.

However, no one seemed to be keen on hosting someone for two months and then be in a distant country for two months either. After a long silence in the room, I told myself, after all, why shouldn’t I try it? I was always kind of curious about eastern European countries and it’d be the last time I could participate in a school exchange, as next year would be my last year in high school. So I hosted a Slovak student, Julia, from September to November, to whom I grew slowly close to. It was time-consuming to manage my studies and at the same time to take care of Julia, but eventually, the two months just flew by and I had a lot of fun with her.

In January, both teachers informed us about two Model United Conferences, one being held in Sweden. Never having participated at one, I thought it could be an opportunity to better my English skills and to visit a Scandinavian country, so I immediately asked to participate. We went with Ms.Galli and five other male students to Örebro in Sweden for one week. Our delegations (France, UK, China) had great success during the conference and I had a lot of fun meeting new people and learning about Swedish customs. Our Swedish Hosts were also lovely. Back in Luxembourg, the YEL meeting continued as usual.

In late April, I departed for Slovakia, where I was hosted by a young girl, Bianka, to who I became very close to. Having passed so much time with Bianka and her family, I also consider them to be kind of a second family. I also met again Julia and Samir, the two students who came to Luxembourg previously and I also made some new close friends. During my stay I studied English, French, Slovak (which is a very difficult language) and the rest of the time I did some self-study. I also participated in the YEL club of Slovakia, and although it has fewer members than we in Luxembourg, I could see their dedication and engagement to the project. The president of the Slovak YEL Club even organised a small private MUN conference. I learned a lot about the Slovakian culture, its tradition and I fell in love with the beautiful landscapes.

In retrospect, I am glad to have joined the YEL Club. It was just on a wimp that I decided to take a look at the club, but that moment changed my life completely.

In the past, I was never politically interested. Nowadays I follow vividly new political developments, it completely changed my view on voting. As a Frenchman, I am not obliged to vote, but the YEL showed me the importance of the vote, which in turn made me go vote in the French election for my candidate. The YEL Club helped me to develop my English skills, with the debates and the MUN conference. It gave me the opportunity to visit two countries I might have never seen if I’d never have joined the club: Sweden and Slovakia.

I met a lot of people, be it in our YEL club, in Sweden or in Slovakia. I learned more about other people’s lives, their personal struggles and their life goals.

Finally, I want to thank all the people I’ve met thanks to the YEL. I have now precious experiences and memories.

But more importantly, I want to express my gratitude to both competent teachers who were responsible for the YEL club, Mrs.Droste (my former English teacher) and Ms.Galli (my former history teacher). Both are amazing personalities and teachers I admire. They supported me in different ways.

Mrs. Galli supported me during the trip to Sweden by giving precious advice. I could also see in a different light, she wasn’t just a teacher, but a wise person with strong convictions.

Mrs. Droste supported me for my Slovak exchange program, by organizing everything for me, always having an open ear when I needed her, even if I knew she was a very busy teacher and mother.

When I think about it, I am only a YEL member for one year, but I think it made an important impact on my life. For the moment, I am aspiring to become a teacher, though it could still change. The YEL club made me also aware of my love to travel the world, it made me realise that you have to concern yourself with politics, the power of the vote and that we live surrounded by different individuals.

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