Breaking bubbles

 I usually try to be in touch with the things that are happening in Spain, but sometimes Erasmus and its “bubble effect” makes it hard. New friends, languages, bed, time to wake up, flavours, even politic or social problems… doesn’t really leave much place for all the old ones.

 However, a few days ago something happened, connecting somehow these two worlds in which I feel part of now. It all was extremely quick and surprising… and it began on the Internet. In fact, I could find it out, just by checking my Facebook.

 What I saw was that some friends published that the Spanish Minister of Education had cancelled the money of the scholarship for a lot of Erasmus students. It was hard to believe: I would still receive money from the European Union, but nothing from the Spanish Government. Just at the middle of the semester! I tried to find any information in the media, but there was absolutely nothing.

 Then, Spanish students all around Europe started to react. A petition against Ministry’s decision was created on-line to collect signatures. When I signed, more than 2000 people had done it before, but at this moment the website has collected over 200.000 signatures. At the same time, several Facebook pages were created, in order to organize ourselves and discuss which strategy for protesting we should choose. People recorded themselves protesting from their countries and uploaded the videos to Youtube. Simultaneous demonstrations in almost all the Erasmus places were convened for the 16th November in front of the Spanish embassies. “#ERASMUSRIP” was Trending Topic on Twitter. A huge number of medias began to interview students and published news about the incident. Other parties, the European Commission and even many politics from the Government party declared themselves against this Minister of Education’s decision.

Salvemos Erasmus

 And then, two days after the first reaction, the Minister decided again not to cancel the money for the Erasmus scholarship, only for this year. This meant a partial victory for us, because the problem was still there for a lot of students in the years to come. But we were so happy. At least, it was a real victory, which was not so usual and really increased our motivation to continue protesting. Internet is still ebullient, so we’ll see what’s happening soon.

 And what just happened before, I see it as a direct connection between two different realities which were more or less separated till now. Fortunately, I would have had to save some money for staying here in Budapest, but many people really though about the possibility of coming back to Spain in the middle of all this. The Minister broke the “Erasmus bubble” and tried to steal our new friends, languages, beds, times to wake up, flavours, even political or social problems… just while we were experiencing them.

 That’s why I think this connection, being not only anticipating but experimenting the injustice at the moment, was one of the reasons that made this first victory possible.

Pablo Vilas

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