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Issue One: December 2013

About Us The Definite Article is Durham University’s Modern Languages and Cultures magazine. It was established in 2013 and is written and edited by students from the Modern Languages Department.

Editorial Team: Ellie Stefiuk, Hannah McIntyre, Alex Chiblis, Emma Bradding, Rebecca Kennaugh, Kat Thornley and Rachel White.

Front Cover Photography: Natasha Douglas Title Graphic: Alex Bennett

We are always delighted to receive contributions which can be sent to: contribute_thedefinitearticle@yahoo.co.uk Any further queries should be sent to: enquiries_thedefinitearticle@yahoo.co.uk


Editor’s Note Bienvenue, willkommen and welcome to the first edition of The Definite Article! If I am entirely honest, I cannot believe that we have managed to complete such a feat in such a short period of time. However, working together with the rest of The Definite Article team has been such an enjoyable and rewarding experience. It only seems like yesterday that I contacted Dr. Harrington to set the wheels in motion for what appears to have been (touch wood!) a rather successful venture.

It all started back in the midst of August when, confined to a desk in an office in the middle of nowhere, the monotony of filing and photocopying hit me and I yearned to be back in the bubble studying one of the most broad and interesting subjects ever. I was, of course, trying my hardest to plough through this year’s set texts, yet I craved some form of outlet for all the foreign films and literature I had come across independently. I needed a way to find other people in Durham as equally in love with their subject as I was. Then the idea to start a magazine came to me…

At first, I was quite flippant about it, but when my friends started to encourage me, a little voice in my head whispered pourquoi pas? So, I drafted and re-drafted an email, but horrified at my inability to express myself coherently (I am told this is something in which linguists should be proficient), I abandoned it to the deep dark depths of my hard drive. In any case, after a few weeks of deliberation, a nouvelle vague of confidence drove me to hit the send button.

Not much later, the anticipated reply popped up on my screen. The verdict? Not a bad idea. After the initial meeting, I set to work trying to gather a team to help me out. The response was incredibly positive (thank you all!) and the work with this amazingly dedicated and enthusiastic group began. After many meetings discussing the likes of DSU society applications, fonts, content and the much-deliberated name, The Definite Article was born.

As such, it is with great pleasure, and astonishment, that I present to you the first edition of The Definite Article, with a stunning front cover photo taken in Moscow by Natasha Douglas. I would like to thank the team (Hannah, Alex, Rachel, Rebecca, Emma and Kat); all our contributors; Alex Bennett for designing the front cover graphic; Dr. Marie-Claire Barnet and Rosa Rankin-Gee for allowing us to interview them; and Dr. Alex Harrington and Dr. Mike Thompson for their support with this project.

I hope you all enjoy the eclectic mix of articles we have to offer and that, in your post-summative delirium, it helps you to remember why you love (you know you do!) studying languages. Indeed, it is important for us to remember that so much exists in these cultures beyond the parameters of our course of study and it is up to us to go and explore them!*

Many thanks and merry Christmas,

Ellie Stefiuk e.j.stefiuk@durham.ac.uk

*If you subsequently decide you want to share your experiences with us, feel free to write an article and submit it

to contribute_thedefinitearticle@yahoo.co.uk!


Contents FEATURE: An Interview with Rosa Rankin-Gee p.5 FILM, MUSIC & BOOKS German Popular Music: ‘deine Augen machen bling bling und alles ist vergessen‘ p.6 Film Review: Blue is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d’Adèle) p.7 The Number One Problem with the UK Charts p.8 Land of Song: the Wonders of Welsh Music p.9 The Avignon Theatre Festival 2013 p.10 FEATURE: Une Interview avec Marie-Claire Barnet p.11 TRAVEL An Inspirational Place p.12 FEATURE: Japan ein Land zwischen Tradition und Moderne p.13 FEATURE: Belarus p.14 CUISINE La Cucina Vegeteriana Italiana p.15 The Unexplored Delights of Japanese Cuisine p.17 FEATURE: Untranslatable Words p.18 YEAR ABROAD The Year Abroad Agony Aunt p.19 Todo sobre una madre española p.20 Being an Erasmus Student in France p.21 FEATURE: The Rise of the Eurosceptic Right p.22 AEGEE in Durham p.23

Durham University EU Careers p.24


MLAC graduate and newly-published author Rosa Rankin-Gee talks to The Definite Article about inspiration, living in Paris and challenging word counts


t’s been a busy few years for Durham alumna Rosa Rankin-Gee. After leaving the bubble in 2010 with her degree in French and Spanish, she has successfully worked her way from secretary to advertising copywriter to debut novelist. The Definite Article caught up with her back in Durham on a cold November evening to discuss her book, ‘The Last Kings of Sark’, which has been described as “irresistible”, “exquisite” and “lyrical”. It describes the pains of youth in brilliantly observed detail. It’s a coming-of-age story filled with sun and laughter which also examines the mysterious emotions below the surface which pull the three young central characters towards each other one summer. The narrative returns to these characters some time (Photo: radiogorgeous.com) later, and unravels how time has treated each of them. Rosa finds it hard to identify her literary inspirations. Often getting put on the spot at events to do so, today she makes an effort to concentrate on female influences, citing Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith and her own mother. As far as foreign writers are concerned, she wholeheartedly recommends Cortázar, Borges and Proust, and whilst she wouldn’t say any of those were hugely influential, she adds: “I actually read Françoise Sagan's ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ after I'd written my book, but my reaction was: "You have done exactly what I wanted to do. And you've done it perfectly. The fact she wrote that book at 18 is staggering.” The real benefit of language study is opening yourself up to the possibility of living abroad. “Go and live abroad after you graduate. If you stay in England, you'll forget what you learnt. (It goes quickly, and it's scary.) You don't have to compete with French or Spanish or German people for the same jobs. It's OK to make the fact that you are English your USP. I do copywriting in English for Parisian ad agencies. I use French all the time, but that's not what they employ me for. It doesn't have to be a set-back; you can use the fact that you are not a native speaker (of their language) to your advantage.” Rosa now lives in Paris, splitting her time between writing fiction and the steady income of freelance copy-writing. She recalls a conversation with the sadly recently deceased Doris Lessing, who believed herself to have benefited as a writer from moving around a lot as a child, opening up her imagination and her ability to notice her surroundings, and retain a sense of child-like wonder at the world. In ‘The Last Kings of Sark’ the protagonist Jude is flung into a new landscape. As a tutor for a summer on the tiny channel island of Sark (where Rosa herself briefly worked after graduation), Jude is initially apprehensive. Is this, I wonder, a reflection of the familiar linguist’s experience of year abroad nerves? “Moving to a new place is always daunting - so writing about that is a good way to channel those feelings. I think being in a new place is an overwhelmingly positive experience though; it gives a jolt to your imagination. Your eyes stop taking the space you're in for granted.” Paris is home, but the world’s her oyster. Rosa is currently considering a move to Amsterdam, despite her love for Paris. In this day and age, she says, you can reinvent yourself, change career, move cities and countries. It’s important to take advantage of these opportunities whilst we’re still young and relatively carefree. The world is full of possibility. Being disciplined with writing is a challenge. Rosa recalls setting herself daily word count requirements, which started off at around 1000 and gradually dwindled. The book was initially conceived as a novella, winning the Paris Literary Prize in 2011 and then was later extended to the full 70,000-something word novel that we can buy today. The whole process took around three years. Back in the Channel Islands for a book festival this summer. This time as a published writer, Rosa found herself on Sark again and across a restaurant from Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clark. The evening ended with Duffy being transported across the island (where there are no cars), ever so slightly inebriated, on a sofa being towed by a tractor, regally waving at Rosa and her friend as they cycled. Perhaps such recognition from the poet laureate is a good sign for Rosa’s future, but then on the other hand, with one captivating novel under her belt and another on the cards, I don’t think Rosa is in need of luck anytime soon. Hannah McIntyre


Geman Popular Music: ‘deine Augen machen bling bling und alles ist vergessen’


hen you think about Germany, a reputation for making great music isn’t exactly the first characteristic that springs to mind. More often than not, Germany’s music is most closely linked to classical composers, like Bach or Beethoven, Bavarian Oom-pah bands or David Hasselhoff strutting in his flashing jacket on the Berlin Wall. With these stereotypes in mind, I was pleasantly surprised during my year abroad when I was introduced to a thriving and popular German music industry. German isn’t called the “Sprache der Dichter” (language of poets) for nothing, and there isn’t a powdered wig, a pair of Lederhosen or a terrible 80s haircut in sight. So here is a quick guide to 5 of my favourite German artists: 1. CRo a pop-rap musician who never appears in public without his trusty panda mask, released his first album Raop in 2012. The best song on the album is probably Einmal um die Welt (Once Around the World), but the whole record is packed full of fun, laid-back songs that were a perfect soundtrack to the summer.

(Photo: rapgenius.com)

2. Mia Diekow With an eccentric fashion sense and a fondness for quirky hair accessories, Mia Diekow’s music fits comfortably in the folky/kitschy pop genre. Her best song, Lieblingslied, an upbeat and bouncy track about lust turning into love was one of the contenders to represent Germany in this year’s Eurovision song contest.

3. Bosse, a guitarist singer-songwriter, is kind of like a German James Blunt. His songs are a little bit soppy, but his talented lyrics and catchy tunes mean you just can’t help but get them stuck in your head. The song Schönste Zeit (Nicest Time), taken from his first album released this year, fits this mould exactly, and wins its place as my favourite because it reminds me of my year abroad. Like I said, soppy.

4. Laing A bit cooler than my previous recommendation, Laing is an all-female band of the electro pop persuasion. Their debut album Naiv is a mixture of synthesisers, harmonies and clapping, combined particularly expertly to create their best song, Morgens Immer Müde.

5. Seeed have recently returned to the charts following a six year hiatus, and seem to have achieved the almost impossible feat of combining German lyrics with dancehall and reggae beats to make songs that are actually pretty great. With lyrics like “deine Augen machen bling bling und alles ist vergessen” (your eyes go bling bling and everything is forgotten), the song Augenbling is my favourite song on their most recent album and, it has to be said, probably my favourite German song in general. Rachel White (Photo: reggaeholland.com)


Review: Blue Is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2) (2013) by Abdellatif Kechich ‘It is beyond my control’ - Adèle, Blue Is the Warmest Colour Palme d'Or winner and l'enfant terrible of the 2013 Cannes Festival, Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a terrifyingly honest account of Adèle’s journey through self-discovery. Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) eagerly follows the discussion of Antigone in literature class; kisses boys and girls; smokes cigarettes with existential flair; falls in love with blue-haired tomboy Emma (Léa Seydoux); teaches children at nursery school; grows up, changes, and yet remains just as painfully alive at the end of the film as she was in the beginning. The film, however, has repeatedly been branded with a rather dubious and limiting label of brilliantly erotic lesbian romance. Considering the political acuteness of gay rights issues in 2013 and the severe lack of good-quality, stereotype-free LGBT-themed movies (none (Photo: themovieblog.com) of those lesbian shower scenes, please!), it is understandable. But, I think viewers often overlook the natural and humanistic beauty of the, undoubtedly, brilliantly erotic relationship between Adèle and Emma; their first kiss which takes place with blinding sunrays behind the lovers’ heads, making it look as though they are not trying to consume each other, but the sun itself; Léa Seydoux’s brilliant tone of anguish, regret, pride and tenderness all mixed together in Emma’s desperate ‘Get out of my life!’, which she throws over and over at Adèle in the climactic scene of the film; the way Adèle starts literally devouring Emma’s hand as she kisses it when they meet up several months after their break-up, simply because she missed her so much. In all these moments, there is no hint of melodrama or even political advocacy. All we see is two humans who are in love, hopelessly and irrationally, as people often are in real life.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour has been praised for its realistic depiction of emotions and feelings and condemned for its overrealistic depiction of lesbian sex. What all reviewers agree on, however, is the film’s outstanding capacity for honesty. Adèle’s (Photo: o.canada.com coming-of-age story is shot only from and through her perspective. First frame: Adèle opens her eyes, together with the camera lens. Her day begins - and so does the film. Near the end of her journey, Adèle, overwhelmed by her break-up with Emma, dives into the painfully blue sea. She lies on the water’s surface, rocking with the waves, trying to overcome the waves of emotion inside of her. The way the camera work here reminds one of Lars Von Trier’s ever-so-slightly nauseating camera shaking. It rocks together with Adèle, which makes you feel like you are sitting in a boat not far from her, rocking on the same waves, observing her with the diligence of a determined stalker. No 3D effects needed here; it is a state of total, to the point of shameful, immediacy.

‘It is beyond my control’, says Adèle of her love for Emma. This (Photo: en.wikipedia.org)

quote sums up the entire film. Perhaps this lack of control, its uncomfortably realistic nature, is what has terrified so many angry viewers. No safety shield of boring, yet comfortably familiar, melodramatic clichés here: only raw, unabridged emotions that are sometimes beyond the audience’s capacity to comprehend. Maria Zaikina



The Number 1 Problem with the UK Charts

n the 6th October 2012, PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ reached the summit of the UK charts. The song, propelled to fame by a viral video filled with now iconic dance moves, went on to become a UK million seller and is now engrained in modern popular culture. However, the most striking aspect of the song’s success is how it managed to become so successful while containing one of the biggest turn-offs to Anglophone radio networks: foreign language lyrics. Indeed, ‘Gangnam Style’ is only the fourth number one in the history of the UK chart not to be sung in English. But why is it that non-English (Photo: 10yetis.co.uk) music almost never finds a place on these shores? Of the top-selling singles globally in 2012, two are non-English: ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy and ‘Ai Se Eu Te Pego’ by Michel Telo. The latter is virtually unknown in the US and UK, yet took Europe by storm, reaching number one in the vast majority of countries on the Continent, amassing over five hundred million views on YouTube and becoming the biggest-selling digital single of all time in Germany. It has all the features for a true international smash: it’s very catchy, it’s sung by someone attractive, and even has a signature dance move – does the fact that it’s sung in Portuguese mean we shouldn’t listen to it? Radio is the main reason why foreign language songs aren’t successful here; UK stations are not prepared to play songs with foreign lyrics – even ‘Gangnam Style’ performed poorly on radio compared to (Photo: foxcrawl.com) its phenomenal sales. However in doing so, they prevent a whole nation of people from discovering some fantastic songs, just because they wouldn’t be able to understand the lyrics. In France, there is a set quota that says that at least forty percent of the songs that radio stations play must be in French; over here, we have an unspoken quota set at one hundred percent English. I believe that this needs to be changed. In an era where the majority of pop songs have choruses containing little more than ‘eh eh oh oh woah’, it’s baffling that foreign music is such a turn-off. There’s a whole world of music out there just waiting to be discovered: addictively catchy K-pop, tropical Latin dance and haunting Scandinavian melodies. The following songs are just a starting point in finding new music from across the globe. Let’s end the dominance of English language music in the charts and broaden our musical horizons! Maître Gims – ‘J’me tire’ – The French rapper turns retrospective in this superb number. A massive hit across Francophone Europe. 2NE1 – ‘I Love You’ – Despite its English name, this piece of fantastic dreamy pop is sung entirely in Korean by one of the country’s biggest girl bands. Mi Casa – ‘Jika’ – An indie dance song from a very promising South African band. Even though it’s in English, this would not necessarily guarantee it airtime on Radio 1. Kamil Bednarek – ‘Cisza’ – A relaxing tune from the Polish singer-songwriter. Stromae – ‘Papaoutai’ – Arguably the most successful foreign language release of 2013, Frenchspeaking Belgian Stromae returned this year with this chart stomper. Written by Matthew Burns, who hosts a foreign language radio show every Thursday from 9-10pm on Purple Radio.


Land of Song: The Wonders of Welsh Music


ales has always been renowned for its music. Upon discussion of Welsh music, the famous names of Katherine Jenkins, Tom Jones and Bryn Terfel immediately spring to mind, as well as the traditional choirs and folk singers that have embodied the back-bone of Welsh culture for centuries. Those from The Land of Song will forever be associated with the harp and the male-voice choirs, but what many are unaware of today, across Offa’s Dyke and beyond, is the thriving, modern, Welsh-medium music scene that is increasingly becoming the heartbeat of Wales’ youth. (Photo: metro.co.uk)

There has been many an Englishmedium Welsh rock band to rise to British and world-wide fame in the past decade or two, including ‘Stereophonics’ and ‘Feeder’, who have regularly appeared in the charts. However, few know that the similar ‘Super Furry Animals’ and Cerys Mathews are also famous for their Welsh-medium compositions. Indeed, the likes of the ‘Super Furries’ and the up-and-coming ‘Masters In France’ might not have secured contracts on the wealthier English record labels hadn’t they previously made their name in the Welsh-language music scene. (Photo: last.fm)

And what a hidden gem this exciting, effervescent scene is. From Anglesey to Cardiff, the youth of Wales attend gigs and festivals during what is proving to be a very lively time for Welshmedium popular music. Whilst demanding the attention of the Englishspeaking public from within and outside Wales, Welsh-medium music appears in as wide a variety as any other. From rock to rap, folk to techno and pop to classical, fans of each genre are drawn in their thousands to gigs in venues throughout the country, as well as popular summer festivals such as The National Eisteddfod’s Maes B.

Whilst singing in Welsh renders fame and stardom outside of Wales a greater challenge, the unity and pride Welsh music ignites within the Welsh com(Photo: eisteddford.org.uk) munity secures it a plentiful following. Songs are played continuously on Welsh radio stations such as BBC Radio Cymru and Heart FM, and bands and artists are given the chance to promote themselves on specialist TV programmes on the Welshmedium channel S4C. Talented teenagers across the country also participate in thriving Welshmedium ‘Battle of The Bands’ competitions, reflecting the support supplied by the Welsh Assembly to help promote the cause.

Wales’ unique tradition of choral and folk music will be forever embedded in its musical culture. However, the exciting youth of today promise to ensure that the new-look future of Welsh-medium music will be such that the outside world will eventually have no choice but to stop and listen. Siôn Withers


The Avignon Theatre Festival 2013


he Avignon Theatre Festival is unique, bringing together companies from every region of France and from all over the world for three to four weeks in July. With classic pieces from Molière, Racine and Sartre, to up-and-coming writers and directors, improvised comedy and interpretive dance, you can find anything and everything in Avignon. Around three hundred performances take place every year as part of the ‘In’ festival, financed by the Minister for Culture; however one thousand five hundred and eight shows were offered this year as part of the ‘OFF’ festival. At the end of a stiflingly hot July in France, I got to spend the day at the alternative ‘OFF’ festival, in which hundreds of independent theatre companies take part, and imaginatively transform over one hundred buildings and outdoor areas (Photo: avignonleoff.com) into performance spaces; the whole town really is taken over, and the creative atmosphere completely surrounds you in the ‘City of Popes’. Chosen randomly from the programme, the one man stand up comedy L’Odyssée de la Moustache, (The Moustache Odyssey), was the first performance I went to see. Ali Bougheraba, a Frenchman with North African origins, recounted his life and discussed issues surrounding identity in France through telling (Photo:chenenoir.fr) a bedtime story to his daughter. Described as an ‘urban fairytale’, this was a hilarious show, and it’s a great moment when you can understand and enjoy an hour long comedy in French and not feel lost! The second show we chose was a one woman act, ‘Moi, Diane Fossey’, in which Diane spoke for two hours about her work with monkeys, whilst a tree moved across the stage behind her. Maybe I just didn’t get it, but the man who fell asleep next to me clearly didn’t either. In a restaurant afterwards, we got speaking to a group of young actors who had come down to Paris, who explained that they weren’t being paid and had to fund the trip and their performance themselves, but that it was the perfect place to get recognition and to perform; the real spirit of the ‘OFF’ festival. The last show on the programme for the day was La putain de l’Ohio (The Ohioan Prostitute). A group of us met outside a café in the evening and were taken by minibus to an ice rink, which had been transformed into a theatre for the night. The plot: a homeless man decides to offer himself the services of a prostitute to celebrate his seventieth birthday, but is unable to make the most of it due to his erectile dysfunction. Simulated sex scenes and masturbation in front of around a hundred people. Opinions post -show were extremely divided; one woman I spoke to called it ‘excessively vulgar’, and was shocked that children under the age of eighteen had been allowed in. However, it was the performance which I remember the best. I would highly recommend trying out the festival for a day if you ever get the chance to stay near Avignon during July; just turn up and book a show an hour in advance, and enjoy one of the most celebrated contemporary performance arts events in the world. Rebecca Kennaugh


Interview avec Marie-Claire Barnet Quels sont vos intérêts académiques principaux?

Pour mon doctorat, j’ai étudié le surréalisme. J’ai étudié les femmes écrivains, artistes surréalistes, ainsi que les hommes surréalistes et je continue de m’y intéresser. Mais j’ai depuis étudié également dans deux autres domaines de recherche. Premièrement, l’écriture contemporaine, ce qu’on appelle l’hyper-contemporain: par exemple, j’ai beaucoup travaillé sur Marie Darrieussecq, Marie NDiaye, avec des liens aussi avec l’art contemporain. Comme j’ai eu aussi toute une formation en philosophie, j’ai aussi travail- Marie Darrieussecq (Photo: lemonde.fr) lé sur Jacques Derrida. Voici le deuxième axe de mes recherches contemporaines : les archives, l’autobiographie, et les rapports aux médias. Par exemple, Jacques Derrida a eu des rapports très difficiles avec les médias, il refusait de laisser publier sa photo ou parler à la télévision. Des années après, surtout après son arrestation à Prague très médiatisée, il a changé progressivement toute cette relation de manipulation des médias et il s’est mis à analyser lui -même les rapports avec les médias! Sur quoi travaillez-vous en ce moment ?

Je travaille sur le cinéma et l’art contemporain aussi. En ce moment, j’écris un livre sur Jacques Derrida et je dirige un volume sur Agnès Varda. J’ai eu la chance de faire venir cette réalisatrice l’automne dernier, et nous avons célébré les 50 ans d’un de ses films majeurs qui a profondément marqué le cinéma, Cléo de 5 à 7. Nous avons célébré cet anniversaire par l’organisation d’un festival au cinéma du Tyneside et une rencontre avec Agnès Varda à Newcastle et j’en suis très heureuse. Un très grand moment ! Je suis en train de diriger le volume collectif avec une interview de Varda, de l’actrice principale, et des spécialistes internationaux de la réalisatrice. Qu’est-ce que vous aimez lire à part vos recherches?

(Photo: movieposterdb.com)

La poésie. Ma grande passion c’est la poésie. Je vais souvent aux lectures de poésie et j’ai pu aller aux lectures du T.S. Eliot Prize au ‘Durham Literature Festival’. Je viens de finir la nouvelle biographie de Sylvia Plath par Andrew Wilson, Mad Girl’s Love Song et je vous recommande vivement d’interviewer pour votre prochain numéro mon collègue du départment d’anglais, Paul Batchelor, dont je suis en train de lire le dernier recueil The Sinking Road. Il est vraiment très intéressant de voir ce qui se passe dans les autres départements, tous les liens dans toute la communauté de notre université.

Est-ce que vous avez le temps de rentrer en France chaque année?

Oui, tout le temps. J’ai fait une partie de mes études en Californie du Nord, aux États-Unis, donc j’aime rentrer en Californie aussi. J’ai en fait perdu un peu la notion de racines, je me sens (comme on dit) une ‘citoyenne du monde’. Comme la plupart de mes collègues ici qui voyagent et ont habité ‘à l’étranger’, et en fait tous les étudiants aussi qui passent un an à l’étranger, les frontières deviennent plus floues et « fluides ». Je me sens très anglaise parfois quand je suis en France, et en Angleterre ce sont les autres qui me rappellent que je suis française ! Je ne me sens ni française ni anglaise, je me sens les deux, mais je me sens aussi bien américaine parce que j’ai passé tellement d’années là-bas et c’est ma spiritual home aussi (il n’y jamais de traduction facile!). Si vous deviez donner un conseil aux étudiants de langue française, qu’est-ce que vous diriez ?

Retrouver le plaisir de la langue, qui fait précisément qu’à un moment, vous aviez choisi d’étudier les langues pour être bilingue ; retrouver le goût, soit de lire, de regarder des films en français, ou d’écouter de la musique en français. Ce que vous aimez ! Je conseillerais aux étudiants de ne pas juste regarder les listes de bibliographie (il faut bien quand même), mais de retrouver le grand plaisir de regarder des films, écouter la radio, ou de lire, par curiosité. Un grand Merci à vous, et bonne chance avec votre nouveau journal qui fonde tout un forum de dialogues à l'université! Adam Dewhirst


An Inspirational Place Annecy Annecy is a beautiful French town in the Rhône-Alpes. A river, flowing from le Lac d’Annecy, runs through the historic heart of the town, alongside which lies an abundance of shops and restaurants. Frequently referred to as la Venise des Alpes, Annecy is a hugely popular tourist attraction and, somewhat unsurprisingly, it is one of the country’s most expensive towns in which to live. I visited the centre of Annecy for the first time this September, on a day Photo: alpes-seminaires.com when it was very cold and pouring with rain. While it was disappointing not to see the stunning mountain range, which frames the town, we could at least justify our rich lunch of la fondue au fromage in a cosy restaurant by the river! Naturally, this dish is a speciality of the region, as it really is the perfect plat on a chilly day. Annecy is not just aesthetically delightful, it is a town steeped in history. Therefore, it is well worth the trip, if only to visit Le Musée Châteaux or La Basilique de la Visitation. Emma Bradding

St Petersburg I stand on the bridge over Fontanka, an ice-cream in one hand, a book of poetry in the other. I watch the people strolling past and think about how Pushkin may well have stood in this exact spot, inspired by the magnificent buildings that surround me. I think of how many downtrodden bureaucrats or lofty noblemen, invented by the likes of Gogol and Dostoevsky, have hurried along the banks of this river, pulling plots toward their conclusions. I take my book to the summer garden and read in the shade, distracted every so often by the sound of the fountains and the birds. Later, I am sat in a seedy bar, an unidentified beer in my hand. A guy we just met is reciting all the English words he knows, and they almost all come from the menu at McDonald’s. Afterwards, he dances, a curious belly-dance, for the duration of which he raises his t-shirt so that we can admire his less-than-desirable physique. It’s a city of contradictions. It’s a city of experience. Here it’s not so much about what you see and do, it’s about the experience, the emotions. Embrace it, feel it, experience St Petersburg. Natasha Douglas

Lausanne Ayant passé une bonne partie de l’année passée à Lausanne et dans ses environs, je me sens vraiment affectueuse de cette ville dont j’avoue ne pas avoir entendu parler avant d’y aller pour être jeune fille au pair. C’est une ville de taille moyenne en Suisse Romande, à michemin de Genève et Montreux, et en comparaison, il est vrai que Lausanne est un peu moins prestigieuse et connue; mais c’est un peu de là que provient son charme. Lausanne n’est pas particulièrement touristique, mais elle possède une ambiance rassurante qui réfute certaines des idées préconçues de la Suisse. Une ville pleine d’étudiants, en plus d’être la capitale Olympique. On y trouve de nombreuses choses à faire; l’année dernière, Lausanne a été hôte de nombreux festivals de musique et de culture ouverts au public, ainsi que du Red Bull Crashed Ice, un évènement majeur du sport passionnant, appelé le ‘ice cross’. En ce qui concerne les attractions plus permanentes de la ville, pour moi les deux plus belles à visiter sont aux deux extrémités ; tout en bas il y a le vaste Lac Léman, qui se situe sur le fond éblouissant des Alpes, et si vous montez tout en haut, à travers des rues pavées sinueuses de la Vielle Ville, vous vous retrouverez à la cathédrale. Ce monument gothique est indéniablement impressionnant, et offre des vues formidables de la ville et du lac. Donc, si jamais vous passez en Suisse, cette jolie ville animée vaut bien la peine d’une visite. Sophie Harrop


Japan – ein Land zwischen Tradition und Moderne This is my little report on my 4 week trip to Japan in March 2013. I really enjoyed my time there and got to see so much of this fascinating, beautiful country. What struck me the most is how traditions and modernity are so close to each other and how true some of the clichés about Japanese people actually are. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend that you visit Japan – there's so much more to it than sushi and manga!


m März 2013 habe ich vier aufregende Wochen in Japan verbracht. Mit dem Japan Rail Pass kommt man relativ günstig und (mit dem berühmten Shinkansen) schnell von einem Ort zum anderen. Nachdem man im japanischen Zugsystem unterwegs war, wird man in anderen Ländern nie mehr zufriedener Zugfahrer sein! Pünktliche, saubere Züge, sehr sehr höfliches Personal und ein richtig gutes Streckennetz. So konnte ich viele der berühmten Großstädte Japans erkundigen, bin aber auch in viele kleinere Orte gefahren um Schneeaffen zu sehen, in Onsen (heißen Quellen) zu baden, Tempel auf Bergen zu besuchen und riesige Bambuswälder zu bestaunen. Ich erzähle meistens gerne, dass viele Klischees bezüglich Japaner zum einen stimmen und zum anderen dann oft tatsächlich noch ein bisschen extremer sind, als man denkt. Zum Beispiel das Klischee, dass Japan technisch so fortgeschritten sei. Wenn man durch die japanischen Großstädte läuft, merkt man es sofort. Viele auffällige Leuchtreklamen und laute Musik drängen sich einem auf. Außerdem spricht immer irgendetwas; die Rolltreppe, die Ampel, oder die Toilette, um nur ein paar Beispiele zu nennen. Dann die Höflichkeit – ich weiß, Engländer sind auch höflich, aber nicht im Vergleich zu Japanern! Eine kleine Verbeugung ist immer drin, oder dass Kellner hinknien, um Bestellungen aufzunehmen, ist gang und gäbe. Wenn man an Geschichte und Tradition interessiert ist, kann man in Japan viele alte Tempel und Kaiserpaläste finden. Auch die Friedensmonumente in Hiroshima sind sehr beeindruckend. Mich hat vor allem die wunderschöne Stadt Kyoto sehr beeindruckt: Auf der einen Seite gibt es die vorher ge-nannten Leuchtreklamen. Inmitten dieses technischen Tumults gibt es aber wunderschöne, traditionelle Tempel, in denen die Welt noch in Ordnung scheint, wie vor 100 Jahren oder mehr, fern von Technik und Fortschritt. Meiner Meinung nach, ist es sehr wichtig, solche Oasen der Ruhe zu haben, vor allem, weil Japan oft einfach total verrückt, laut und aufdringlich sein kann.

Um zurück zur Überschrift zu kommen: So kitschig es auch klingt, dieser Spruch fasst dieses faszinierende Land einfach perfekt zusammen. Tradition und Moderne existieren Seite an Seite. Und es funktio-niert! Und gerade das macht Japan so interessant. Wenn ihr einmal die Chance habt Japan zu besuchen, kann ich es wirklich nur wärmstens empfehlen. Es gibt in Japan mehr als nur Sushi und Manga! Mai-Lan Doan


BELARUS Часто нас нет, но мы все жё есть.

Обычно её называют маленькой страной в центре Европы... Однако по размерам она больше, чем три балтийские страны вместе взятые – Литва, Латвия и Эстония, превосходит Италию в два раза, не сравнима с Чехией и Румынией. Но она схоже по площади с Испанией, однако никто в Европе не считает, что эта южная страна маленькая. Это Беларусь – страна, которая почти сто лет была частью СССР, а ранее – Российской Империи. И мало уже кто-то помнит, что до этого мы были европейцами, разделяя уклад жизни с Литвой и Польшей в составе Великого Княжества Литовского и Речи Посполитой. Визитная карточка Беларуси глазами европейцев сегодня – это страшилки про последнюю диктатуру в Европе, про страну, в которой СССР распался по факту, но не по сути, про единственное государство, в котором по-прежнему существует и применяется смертная казнь. С этим трудно не согласиться, однако, это моя Родина, где я родился и которую я люблю не за авторитаризм и застой - хотя за это тоже в каком-то роде, но за её милую и провинциальную непосредственность, за грубых, но искренних тёток в магазине, которые швыряют в лицо кучу не имеющей никакой цены денег, последствия глубокого экономического кризиса, растущей инфляции и девальвации, и не говорят «спасибо».

Этот трэш, в котором застряли мы, беларусы, выглядит невписывающимся в представления о европейскости. Ведь по ГосТВ – пропаганда и идеология, где весь Запад бедствует, воюет и есть крыс на обед, а в центре всего хаоса есть островок стабильности и процветания, где хорошо несмотря ни на что, где самая лучшая в мире демократия, а люди самые счастливые. Возможно, вы испугаетесь, когда вас не поймут по-английски, в магазине не поблагодарят за покупку, а в метро, наступив на ногу, не извинятся. Но если вы сможете преодолеть некую общедоступную дистанцию, за которой прячется глубокая и добрая душу, переполненная слезами радости и горя, вам повезёт. Вы даже встретите людей, которые помогут устранить диссонанс европейской реальности и этих ворот в некогда могущий СССР. Будучи не в большинстве, они живут и работают для европейского будущего страны, говорят и пишут то, что думают, а затем страдают от идеологической машины, путешествуют и владеют иностранными языками. И вероятно, это не будет так интересно, как увидеть человека в штатском, работающего на КГБ, но такой диалог помог бы осознать путь Беларуси – западный, европейский, свободный. Путь, который близок мне и моим друзьям, жаждущим свобод и борющихся за своё место под солнцем, под европейскими звёздами. И это круто! Andrew Voitovich


La Cucina Vegeteriana Italiana Emma Bradding and Hannah McIntyre explore cooking Italian classics for the student kitchen Risotto al pomodoro (serves 2) An Italian classic with a tomato twist, served with garlic baguette You will need:

Risotto Sunflower oil for frying 1 large onion 150g closed cup mushrooms 1.5 garlic cloves 180g Arborio risotto rice 400g tin of chopped tomatoes Black pepper 1 stock cube

300ml water Handful of cherry tomatoes 5g butter 30g grated mature cheddar

Garlic baguette 1.5 garlic cloves 20g butter

Method:         

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Chop the onion, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and crush 3 garlic cloves. Fry the onion, mushrooms and half of the garlic in a large pan, on medium heat, until golden. Pour 200ml of water into a saucepan, add a sprinkle of black pepper, the stock cube and the chopped tomatoes. Heat on the hob until it reaches boiling point. Add the Arborio rice to the onion and mushroom mixture. Use a ladle to transfer the hot tomato stock into the frying pan. This should be done gradually; only add another ladle of stock when the rice has absorbed the previous ladleful. Stir the risotto constantly to avoid it sticking to the pan. Once it has been cooking for about 10 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes. Mix the remainder of the garlic with 20g of butter and spread it generously inside the baguette. Preheat the grill. Once all of the stock has been added to the risotto, taste the rice. If is fairly soft, turn the heat right down. If not, simply add boiling water to the risotto, until you are satisfied with the texture. When the risotto is almost ready to be served, grill the baguette. This should only take a few minutes. Be careful it does not burn! Add a teaspoon of butter to the risotto, along with the grated cheese, and stir well. Serve the risotto in bowls, accompanied by the garlic baguette.

Buon appetito!


Cannelloni (Serves 2-3) Classic Italian pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta You will need: Oil for frying One clove of garlic, crushed One large onion, finely chopped 8-10 cannelloni shells 300g ricotta or cream cheese One large handful spinach leaves One handful of grated cheese (cheddar will do or use parmesan for added authenticity!) Method    

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Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and grease a rectangular oven-proof dish. Using the oil, fry the garlic and onion in a deep frying pan on a medium heat until the onion softens. Split the mixture in two, putting half on one side to make the cannelloni filling later. Make the tomato sauce; add to the pan the fresh tomatoes, tinned tomatoes and tomato purée, season with pepper and herbs to taste. Turn the heat up, leaving the sauce to simmer for 10-15 minutes whilst you make the filling, stirring occasionally to check it’s not sticking. This is a basic sauce recipe, you could add red pepper, pesto or even some mince as a non-veggie alternative. Make the spinach filling. In a saucepan, with some more oil, heat the other half of the garlic and onion mixture. Add the cream cheese and heat thoroughly, but don’t allow the mixture to boil. Season with herbs and pepper to taste. Once heated thoroughly add the spinach and cook until wilted. This should only take 1-2 minutes. Remove the tomato sauce and spinach filling from the heat. Stuff the cannelloni shells. This is the tricky part; use the handle of a teaspoon or your hands to put the spinach-cheese mixture in the pasta shells. You want the filling to be densely packed in otherwise the pasta won’t cook properly. Line the filled pasta in the dish. Blend the tomato sauce (if you don’t have a blender, strain through a sieve or leave it chunky!) Pour the tomato sauce over the top of the pasta. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes. Once the cheese has melted and the pasta shells have softened, the cannelloni is ready. Serve with a side salad or bread.

Buon appetito!


Dona Ismaili describes the under-explored delights of Japanese cuisine


ince first coming to England, I have heard millions of times how much people love Japanese food. But this was always in regards to sushi. Ladies and gentlemen, I must point out that there is more to Japanese food than just sushi. You’ll have to trust me here; I have lived almost my entire life in Japan. Let me start with my favourite traditional Japanese dish: UDON (うどん). The texture of the noodles; a taste that can take you to wonderland – it is just oh so simple and delicate! But still, everything you need is here: the indescribable chewy and soft texture of the thick wheat noodles, the delicate taste of the soup and ingredients. (Photo:blessthisstuff.com) There are various Udons, from soupy ones to dry ones that only need soy sauce on top. But there is one thing that I can promise: you will experience the most delicate taste in the world of noodles. As you can probably tell, there are not many ingredients involved here; the quality of Udon is mainly decided by the quality of the noodles. Don’t even dare compare them with cup noodles! Udon’s on another level entirely – cup noodles might as well be from another world. I hope this is making you drool, whether or not you are a fan of Japanese culture. Of course, if you are, you should be quite excited about this. According to Entabe (a website with all sorts of articles about food and restaurants), a very popular Japanese Udon brand, Marukame-Seimen, is going to open their very first Udon Restaurant in London in around March 2014. Not only that, they are planning to extend their business to the entirety of the country, establishing about 30 branches all over the UK. (http:// entabe.jp/news/article/2843) Fingers crossed for their arrival in Durham...or at least somewhere nearby! Finally, I would like to mention the movie, ‘UDON’, a must watch if you want to know more about the dish. It is a Japanese movie that is about Udon, by Udon, for Udon. You will fall in love with the dish. Today I have introduced one of the most popular parts of Japanese cuisine; I hope this has (photo: http://u-1gp.com/furuiti) proved to be somewhat enlightening! I will be introducing different authentic cuisines irregularly to give you a better insight into Japanese food culture. Keep an eye out! Dona Ismaili




he novelist Salman Rushdie once wrote: ‘to unlock a society, look at its untranslatable words’. That’s to say, look at the words that cannot be defined in another language, without losing some of their sentiment. Given that language facilitates communication, these differences in words give us a greater insight into other cultures and what they need to say. So, does it follow then that a large proportion of Russians are raging alcoholics who couldn’t describe their Satur(Photo: theguardian.com) day night properly until they invented the word “zapoi” (meaning two or more days of drunkenness, usually involving a journey or waking up in an unexpected place)? Do most Greek women moan in bed, creating a need for “krevatomourmoura” (when a woman keeps complaining about something late at night while her husband is trying to sleep)? And is there such a trend of wearing a shirt, but no trousers nor underpants, in the home in Hungary that they had to label it “donaldakcsázás” (literally Donald Duck-ing)? This assumption appears to be a little extreme. What is more, the majority of untranslatable words are not completely foreign concepts to our society. In fact, knowledge of them helps us to unlock emotions and describe situations that we had previously experienced, but had not been able to express. For example, German has given us “bausünde1” to define Elvet Riverside, the French “dépaysement2” can be used as a synonym for Year Abroad Syndrome, the Swedish “tretar3" identifies the student’s drink of choice around exam time, (Photo: disneyclips.com) and the Irish “suaimhneas croi4” best describes the feeling when that period is over. A few more crowd pleasers include: “noon ooh-soom (눈 웃음)” (Korean) literally meaning “eye laugh”; the semi-circular form one’s eyes take when they smile or laugh; “backpfeifengesicht”, German for “a face badly in need of a fist”; and finally “ayurnamat”, the Inuit equivalent of Hakuna Matata. However much these words perplex translators, for the rest of us, they are merely linguistic gems meant to be laughed about and enjoyed. Bausünde (German): an architectural eyesore. Literally “construction sin”.


Dépaysement (French): the feeling of disorientation and bewilderment from being in a totally foreign environment.


Tretår (Swedish): a “tår” means a cup of coffee. A “påtår” is a refill of said coffee. And a “tretår” is the second refill, or third cupful. 3

Suaimhneas croi (Irish): a bursting happiness and peace encountered after a task has been finished and there is nothing left to be done. 4

Caitlin Labrom


Year Abroad Agony Aunt: Actual events as recounted by real life year abroad survivors Q: My landlord stole my duvet and is hiding it in his bedroom! He won’t give it back to me, and I’ve been sneaking around trying to find it. What should I do?! – Sheet Went Down, France A: This is rather a tricky issue, but there are two possible solutions. Number one: get your landlord drunk on a nice bottle of Bordeaux and coax the hiding place out of him when he’s had one too many. Number two: Kiss that duvet goodbye. I know it reminds you of all of those exciting year abroad memories, such as when you brought that girl home or that time you cried into it about missing your mum (don’t even deny it), but I think number two is really your only option.

Q: If I’m at a beer festival and a drunken, red-faced man in Lederhosen jumps on me, what should I do?! – Better Beerlieve it, Germany. A: Unfortunately, Better Beerlieve it, this is the risk you run with attending any beer-related event in Germany. When there’s an over-abundance of sausages, Dunkelbier and women in Dirndl, things are bound to get a little over-heated. My only advice is to hide behind a Wurst-stand until all the men pass by, and then get back to struggling through that Maß.

(Photo: whyfiles.org)

Q: My roommate has killed a mouse, and I can hear it dying in the wall cavity somewhere. It’s stopping me from sleeping. What should I do?! – Sleepless in Saussan, France

A: This is a sombre moment indeed. Close your eyes for a moment and think of the poor souris as it makes its journey to the big fromage in the sky.

Q: My boss made me pick up a squid, and now I’m absolutely covered in ink. What should I do?! – Squidiculous, Spain.

A: As if this situation wasn’t already weird enough, I suppose being covered in a sticky, black liquid has probably made it worse. Really, my only advice is to pay a ridiculous amount of money to wash your clothes in the laundrette and just chalk it down as one of those year abroad occurrences that probably still won’t make sense to you ten years later.

Q: I’m not allowed to have overnight gentlemen visitors in my flat, but there’s this guy that I really want to hang out with...What should I do? – Romantic in Rome, Italy A: What are they teaching in schools nowadays? Did you never read Romeo & Juliet? Make him climb through your window, or at least sneak in through the front door when everyone else is asleep, and enjoy some quality time with your new friend. Then spend the rest of your time in Italy hiding from him whenever he (Photo: squidoo.com) comes anywhere near you. Everyone’s a winner.



Todo sobre una madre española fter living for a month in Madrid with a typical Spanish family, I learnt some invaluable lessons about how to be “the best Spanish mother” and so I felt it was only fair if I shared my top ten tips on how to attain this status:

Your home is never clean enough. Despite cleaning the bathroom every day and constantly sweeping the floor, there is always more cleaning to be done.

Always shout “{generic Spanish male name} vente a (Photo:litreactor.com) comer” (equivalent of “dinner’s on the table”) to make sure your husband has definitely heard you. Repeat every five seconds to speed up his arrival.

Accompany meal times with songs about the food that the family is eating to entertain everyone. Add hand gestures where appropriate.

Alternatively, introduce interesting topics over dinner such as: the weight of your granddaughter and how much she eats; how ugly French girls are in comparison to Spanish girls, or my personal favourite, how much you dislike your son-in-law’s mother when she doesn’t phone up to check how your varicose vein operation went.

Never let English girls get away with saying they don’t like to eat too late. Force them to “try” a range of dishes until they give in and eat. You should, however, comment that you don’t like eating too much for fear of getting fat. Or that you don’t like eating late either, as you enjoy a full meal at 10.30pm. 

Accompany EVERY dish with tomatoes, as a way to plough your way through the hundreds of tomatoes your husband brings from his allotment every day. 

ALWAYS serve watermelon as the dessert. Do not pretend to mask your horror if a house guest declines politely that he/she has eaten too much and does not want dessert. (Photo: spanishfoodworld.com)

Always support your children. If the next door neighbour accidentally cuts through your son’s tv cables, never help them again. Especially refuse to give them any more of your tomatoes.

If asked by someone to borrow nail scissors, go out of your way to help them by using a pair of large kitchen scissors and cutting the nails yourself. This includes finger and toe nails.

At the end of a busy day, continue to mutter about the chores that must be completed tomorrow until you fall fast asleep. Lauren Moore



Being an Erasmus Student – French edition

ince September I’ve been living in Tours, France, as an Erasmus student. I chose to do this because, to be honest, working seemed a bit too scary. I wanted to prolong my student life for as long as possible and although the generous salary of the Language Assistant was calling me, being a student at a French university seemed like the best option. I could study whatever I wanted, have lots of free time and be eligible for the Erasmus grant – perfect, right? I have to say I’ve loved being a student here. It really (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org) can be whatever you make it: it’s far too easy to socialise with only other British and American students, but if you push yourself, it gets easier and easier to meet people. Besides, the whole point of Erasmus isn’t just to meet people from your target-language country, but from all over the world - I’ve met Italians, Germans, Spaniards, even people from Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, countries which I admittedly know very little about. Just a warning for anyone wanting to be a student: French bureaucracy really is as bad as people say. I thought people were over-exaggerating, but if anything they downplayed the stress-fuelled, heart-attackinducing nightmare that is trying to get French people to do ANYTHING related to admin. It would still be annoying if the amount of paperwork wasn’t about 10x more than anything you’d have to do in the UK, but the fact is 9 times out of 10 something will go wrong. Just keep calm and make sure you have 3 copies of EVERYTHING you have. One of the best things about being a student is both the amount of people you meet and the free time you have, (Photo: aboutfrenchproperty.com) with which to do whatever you want. I’ve visited castles, museums, art galleries (!) and of course Paris, taking advantage of France’s amazing train network. I’m now learning Italian to try and keep up with all the Italians here. And if you’re (un)lucky, you can get that amazing moment where it all clicks at one of the most inopportune moments. For me, it was when my purse got stolen on top of the Eiffel Tower. When we went to the police station, they asked if I needed an English interpreter. It suddenly clicked that I had this whole French thing down after all! I would definitely recommend being a student abroad, especially if you’re worried about meeting people. French universities can be challenging in a VERY different way to Durham, but surely the fact that it won’t count at all just gives you even more of a reason to go to that party? Becky Wyde Liked this? You can follow Becky’s YA adventures on her blog : www.beckyswydeworld.wordpress.com


THE RISE OF THE EUROSCEPTIC RIGHT THREATENS FUTURE ERASMUS FUNDING With Eurosceptic parties gaining in popularity across the continent, funding for international study faces an uncertain future.


n the traditionally-isolationist UK, it’s happening. In debt-ridden Greece, it’s happening. Now, even at the very heart of the European movement in France, it’s happening.

All across Europe, voters are drifting towards the Eurosceptic Right. Disillusioned with the Euro crisis and years of Brussels-enforced austerity, public support for the EU is at an all-time low, according to EU’s very own polling Barometer. And with the elections for the European Parliament only 5 months away, the European movement faces the most significant shift since the Parliament’s founding. For years, parties of both left and right have been committed to the principle, enshrined in the foundational Treaty of Rome in 1957, of “Ever-Closer Union”. In Britain, UKIP have a genuine chance of topping the polls for the first time in history. Across the Channel, Marine Le Pen has revolutionised the Front National since succeeding her father, and the Institut Français d’Opinion Publique now has the party leading opinion polls, spurred on by her (Photo: telegraph.co.uk) pledge to end the Euro “disaster” and bring back the French franc. Le Pen has recently allied herself with Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party has recovered from domestic losses to lead polling. Le Pen and Wilders plan to forge a new alliance of the Eurosceptic Right across Europe, hoping to entice Italy’s Northern League, Sweden’s Democrats and other likeminded partners into a powerful new parliamentary bloc. The European Parliament recently voted to renew funding for the Erasmus programme until 2020, even increasing its budget by a sizeable 40 per cent. While this is very welcome news for prospective Modern Languages students, an emboldened wave of Euroscepticism could threaten the long-term viability of this funding. With UKIP committed to the withdrawal of Britain from (Photo: bbc.co.uk) the EU and other parties pledging to drastically cut the EU’s budget, there is no guarantee that student mobility will survive further attacks on squeezed budgets. Recent events in Spain saw the government attempting to severely cut Erasmus funding, even for students already on placements abroad this very year. This is a timely reminder of the threats facing investment in young people, at a time when youth unemployment has already, by the EU’s own figures, reached the staggering figure of 57.4% in Spain and averages 24.4% across the Eurozone. Whatever the outcome of the European elections in May 2014, it is more important than ever that politicians across the spectrum give students every opportunity to further themselves and succeed in an ever-more competitive global market. Tom Chance


AEGEE: We Make Europe Happen! What is AEGEE? AEGEE (Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l’Europe), aka European Students’ Forum, is Europe’s largest interdisciplinary student organization. It was founded in 1985 in Paris and has spread to over 200 university cities in 40 countries all around Europe. By encouraging travelling and cultural exchange, stimulating discussion and organizing common projects, AEGEE attempts to overcome national, cultural and ethnic divisions and to create a vision of young people’s Europe. Amongst AEGEE’s biggest achievements, is the successful lobbying for the establishment of Erasmus programme or Summer Universities, its longestrunning project bringing together thousands of volunteers every year. AEGEE Durham Durham is one of very few AEGEE local groups in the United Kingdom. We aim to raise awareness about European culture by hosting themed events as well as promoting AEGEE Europe’s projects. In the past, we have successfully organized a network meeting in London and an exchange with Belgian local group. Currently, we are planning a regional training course with AEGEE London and a European event about democracy in practice. My Experiences in AEGEE I have been an active AEGEE member for two years. Here are my experiences:

- Summer University in Torun, Poland, where we developed teamwork skills through engaging in many competitions testing our communication abilities. - Tour around Tuscany to visit a large festival called Luminara in Pisa and to savour the beautiful countryside and culture. - European School of Entrepreneurship in Santander, Spain, where we developed a plan for a sustainable business. - Network meeting in Passau, Germany with discussions about dealing with cultural differences. - Visiting the famous Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain.

Taster of Upcoming Events Russian Winterventure Where: Saint-Petersburg, Moscow When: 24.01.2014 – 02.02.2014 Price: 250€ (includes accommodation, 2 meals per day, all activities, transfer from St.Petersburg to Moscow) Activities: discovering beautiful historical places such as the Hermitage, Pushkin-city, the Red Square or the Kremlin, historical fancy-dress ball in a real palace, matryoshka workshop, old folk fortune telling workshop, ice-skating, snowball fights… Skiweek Nr.5 – Winter Fairytale Where: Harrachov Ski Resort, Czech Republic When: 28.02.2014 – 08.03.2014 Price: 240€ (includes accommodation, 2 meals per day, ski-pass, certificated instructors, transfer from Prague to Harrachov) Activities: skiing, visiting Prague, themed parties, skiing and snowboarding workshops, snow bar, beer bar, snowball fights… Interested? Visit www.aegee.org, drop us an email at durham@aegee.org and like AEGEE Durham page: www.facebook.com/aegeedurham Iva Kovandova, AEGEE Durham President


Durham University EU Careers Dear all, This year I am the EU Careers Ambassador for Durham University. In the coming terms, I will be promoting careers in working at the EU, giving talks and inviting EU employees to come and speak about their experiences. Additionally I will be giving a talk early next term on the application process and what it means to work for an EU institution, so watch this space! Working for an EU institution is a prestigious and fulfilling position with many job perks. They are particularly looking for candidates from the top universities, who know one or more European language. Even if you are not taking a Modern Languages degree come along to find out more about what they can offer you; they are recruiting lawyers, scientists, translators, interpreters and offer graduate internships to those interested. If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me on eucareers.durhamuniversity@gmail.com and make sure you like our Facebook page on https:// www.facebook.com/eucareersdurhamuniversity Thanks! Jennifer Fox

Thanks from The Definite Article team Dear readers,

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Next issue: March 2014


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