Following a bachelor’s at Bocconi, Martina Bo, 23, is currently in the second year of a double degree master’s program in European Affairs & International Policy and Politics run by Bocconi and Sciences Po, two members of CIVICA – The European University of Social Sciences. Her international outlook and enthusiasm for the European ideals made her a natural student ambassador for the CIVICA alliance. In this interview, Martina talks to us about her role, her experience as a truly European student and the benefits of cooperation across the continent.
How did you find this experience of a double degree? How are you benefiting from the collaboration between the two universities?
It is a great and enriching experience. You are exposed to such an open vision, and benefit from two differing approaches in teaching as well as an international network. I am convinced that the years I’ve spent at each of these top-class institutions will really boost my academic and personal growth.
Additionally, my background will certainly acquire a more diverse and specialized flavour, something that is definitely appreciated in the job market. To top it all up, I also had the opportunity to learn French, which is a teaching language alongside English.
How do you think the enhanced cooperation among the CIVICA universities will benefit students?
On a higher level, you are an active part of a real and concrete example of European unity and cooperation. On a more practical level, you have the opportunity to broaden your horizons as well as your network, both in terms of fellow students and professors. You can experience first-hand a truly European approach, and this will be appreciated by future employers.
You are also active in the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). Tell us about that.
Indeed, I am the Liaison Officer for Italy. ESN has a pan-European approach, similar to CIVICA, with over 500 sections spread across Europe. We are all volunteers who share the values and ideals of a united Europe, based on an open culture that embraces diversity and active citizenship, and promotes exchanges and mobility. Students can play an important role in promoting these values.
Among the most significant projects I’ve been working on are “Erasmus in Schools,” through which we promoted the Erasmus programme to high school students in Italy, and “Generation Without a Vote,” through which we raised awareness about the impossibility to vote when going abroad for an exchange, and managed to successfully change Italian law.
How about your role as a CIVICA student ambassador, what does it consist in?
I was extremely happy when I was selected, since I consider it a great opportunity and honour. My main role is to promote CIVICA by informing students about it and liaising between my university and the other member universities.
Personally, I chose to participate together with other CIVICA ambassadors in writing up a “Report on the Future of Europe,” which we will present at the Société des Membres de la Légion d’Honneur meeting in Rome in April 2021, and which will be shared with EU institutions. In the report, we will discuss what Europe means to younger generations and what is the best version of Europe for their future.
What advice would you give to future CIVICA ambassadors?
It is an amazing experience, make the most out of it!
If you identify yourself with the European ideals, such as unity in diversity, then the CIVICA ambassador role is a great chance to promote them in an active way. It is also a new role, so there is scope to fashion it yourself; you must simply be creative.
What does CIVICA mean to you?
I like to think that CIVICA stands for Cooperation, Innovation, Vision, Internationality, Campus, Action.
The fact that top-class European institutions have joined together to offer a program of excellence with a common vision is a great step towards a more integrated Europe, capable of exporting abroad an international and blended modality of learning. Moreover, it is important to forge future European citizens and leaders, and CIVICA can play an important and active role in this. On a personal level, it is a great opportunity to broaden your horizons and grow as a person.
Interview conducted by Tomaso Eridani (Bocconi University)