I first went to the European School in Luxembourg at the age of four. My parents -both Dutch- placed me in the Dutch section. European schools are great places. In each year, there are as many groups as the amount of spoken EU languages. It means that all courses were given in our mother tongue. The only exception initially, was second language.
I remember fights. Our class of cuddly four-year olds used to take on the Portuguese. We were literally chasing each other over the schoolyard. The Spanish and the Greek had trouble later, and I don’t think that the Germans and the French used to get along that well. Yet as we grew, classes mixed. It became common to have kids of twelve nationalities in one room for a history course in French. By the time we were sixteen, what had once been a collection of separate groups had learned each others language. We’d grown out to a tiny international network of friends.
This school didn’t just teach us maths, art and biology. It has shown us how different countries have different people. An Irish is not a Spanish and a Greek is not a Fin. And that’s fine. By accepting these differences we can open our minds to each other and share our joys and pains.
My past taught me to trust into the future. Yes, there are differences. It is a challenge to become one people of the world. But it’s happening. And I know we will succeed. Some may not see it now, but others have learned it as a tiny little child.
The moment has arrived where we are forced to face each other. There is no hiding in the bushes anymore. We will find our way.