Easter and different traditions

Christians celebrate Easter to commemorate Christ´s resurrection while other cultures sees it as a day to welcome spring.

The “normal” traditions in the UK includes attending the mass, making and eating Easter eggs, decorate Easter bunnies as well as eating chocolate bunnies. However, in other places around the world the traditions are very different from ours and they are quite interesting.

Slovakia whipping

The women in Czech Republic & Slovakia are being “whipped”, in a non-harmful way, with the believes that this will make them healthy and beautiful.


The children in Finland dresses up as witches with broomsticks and goes trick or treating in a Halloween fashion way. Bonfires are also lit as it is believed that witches becomes more powerful during Easter and the bonfires are made to scare them away.

The traditional Easter menu in Colombia is a bit different from the UK´s. Instead of eggs and chocolate they eat green iguanas, turtles and big rodents.

It is very interesting to learn how other countries celebrate the same holidays as we, and if you want to know more about traditions around the world connected to Easter, just click on this link and real all about it – Easter traditions.



A day as an MEP in Strasbourg

Euroscola 2016. This year 23 sixth form students from Durham participated in the Euroscola programme in Strasbourg. The students came from Framwellgate School Durham, Teesdale School, Durham Johnston Community School and Consett Academy.

The European Parliament set up the Euroscola programme in 1990 and every year since, thousands of students aged between 16 and 18 from all 28 European Member States have participated.

Euroscola lets students experience how it is to be a Member of the European Parliament. They get to engage in decision-making debates in the hemicycle, negotiate with their “colleagues” and vote on topical European issues.


By bringing all these students from different countries together, it helps them to learn and experience foreign languages, but also about the importance of cross-cultural cooperation. The students are given the chance to introduce their school and the region they are from. This is meant to highlight the cultural diversity and enriches the cultural dialogue.

About 20 Euroscola sessions are held each year and it is the European Parliament Information Centres (EPIC) that are in charge of choosing the students that gets the opportunity to go to the programme. The EPICs chooses the students through organising competitions in their member state.

The Euroscola programme is an important tool for the European Parliament to reach out to the young people.

The 23 students from Durham that went this year had a day planned that involved:

08.30 – Day begins and breakfast is served

10.00 – Introduction to the EU, school presentations and opportunity to ask questions

12.45 – Lunch

14.00 – Split up into committees to debate a given topic

16.00 – Present the committee report in the plenary

18.00 – The day ends

Here are some of the thoughts of the students from Durham about the day in Strasbourg

“We really enjoyed:

  • Speaking with people of different nationalities- we counted 17!
  • Learning more about how the EU works and is structured.
  • The Eurogame- although we thought having it over lunch was a little chaotic.
  • The session in the morning with the opportunity to direct questions towards a real MEP.
  • The live translation and exposure to other languages and culture.
  • The fact the teams in the afternoon debate were made up of people of different nationalities.
  • The presentations (introductions to each country) and felt the pace was good.
  • We enjoyed the chance to socialise over our evening meal with the people of different nationalities we had met earlier in the day.
  • Amazing vegetarian/vegan food.”


Do not miss the opportunity to be the next group that gets the chance to participate in this exciting programme! You can get more information and read all about Euroscola by clicking this link – Euroscola.



A visit from Sweden

In the beginning of this month a group of students from the Linnaeus University in Växjö Sweden came and visited County Hall in Durham. The students are part of a programme that is dedicated to international studies within different sectors. Some of them will study to become teachers and others will continue on with studies about political science.

Our International Office has hosted this visit from the Linnaeus University for a couple of years and very well-functioning partnership has been established. Perhaps the most prominent evidence of the ongoing partnership is that the programme International Administration with English as a study language, once a year sends an intern to complete their internship before graduating.

The group of students that came to visit the County Hall is on a trip through England and have stopped in various places as they are travelling from London to Edinburgh.

They were greeted by our current intern David Nörell, our head of the International Office, Brian Stobie and Vice Chairman Edward Bell.

At first the students had the opportunity to ask questions to the Vice Chairman and the general theme of them were about the upcoming referendum. After the Q&A, David Nörell held a presentation about County Durham and how his time as an intern has been so far.  

The visit ended after a very pleasant time with the students and hopefully some interest for Durham awakened in their minds. 


EU project for the youth

SpunOut is a not-for profit website directed to 16-25 year olds. The aim is to provide the younger generation with information about the European Parliament and their work.

SpunOut have an ongoing project right now involving people from all over Europe. Young Europeans are asked to write about their lives, in English, and how it is for them to be a European citizen in their country. The topic for these articles are that they should reflect the issues that the country faces and how they are relevant to the country’s membership in the EU.

To read more about the SpunOut project and how to participate, just click this link.





Open consultation regarding EDICs

A mid-term evaluation have been carried out regarding all the EDIC (Europe Direct Information Centre) offices and as a complementary tool to data collection, interviews, surveys, etc that the external evaluation team uses, they are also inviting the public to have their say.

This means that there will be an open consultation between 10/02/2016 to 04/05/2016.

Here is the link to the consultation.

International Women’s Day!

Women's Day 2016

The first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States in 1909. After that, from an initiative in Copenhagen Denmark by the Socialist International in year 1910, a women’s day were instituted. This movement meant to honour and support the universal suffrage for women.

The women’s day also became a way to protest the First World War. In Europe, on or around the 8th of March in 1913-1914, women held rallies to either protest the war or to express their solidarity with other activists.

In 1975, during the International Women’s Year, the United Nation began celebrating the International Women’s Day on the 8th of March.

A major step in the right direction was taken in 1995 when 189 governments signed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This declaration focused on 12 critical concerns such as: the right for every woman and girl to exercise her own choices, participate in politics, getting an education and living in an environment free from violence and discrimination.

Every International Women’s Day has had a theme and this year the theme is Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for gender equality. The 2030 agenda have some key targets and they are in short:

  • By 2030 all boys and girls should have access to early quality childhood development.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private sphere. That includes trafficking, sexual and other types of exploitation.

If you are interested in how you can contribute to the work that people connected to the International Women’s Day do, you can click this link International Women’s Day and read more about what the day is all about.

Intern from Tokyo !

Hello. I’m Yumi Hotta. I live in Tokyo.

I’m going to do an internship for 3 weeks in County Hall. I want to go visit local schools and meet pupils and tell them about Japan.

I like watching movies in my free time. “My fair lady” is the best movie in my view.

And I like to travel around the world as I want to be a flight attendant in the future.

This internship is a very good experience for me to inprove my English skills.

I belong to Teikyo Heisei University in Japan. I study English and some French.

I want to have communication with people in other countries.

So if I can speak English, I want to study other languages. (Especially French and Chinese)

I try my best!!