Hey World, I’m a young European
My country decided to go with a campaign to promote Kosovo as the “young Europeans” some years ago, namely, claiming to promote it in terms of having a young population and being a newly established country in Europe trying to fit in as it should. This sounds great and the ad looks lovely; all those happy faces of youngsters, working hard and looking so optimistic. However, in reality, it’s hard to feel like one young European.
However, in reality, it’s hard for us to feel like young Europeans.
Plenty of people I’ve met during my travels have had no idea where Kosovo is located (most of them putting it somewhere in Russia, or even Africa). Another bunch of them had never ever met a Kosovo citizen (I was their “sample”). There are all those prejudices I can see in people’s faces, how they react (or keep silent) when I tell them I’m from Kosovo. The world doesn’t picture us as young Europeans, and to some extent they’re right.
How can we really be young Europeans when it’s so difficult for us to visit European countries and get to know their culture and values. For instance, if I’d want to visit an EU country this month, I should have scheduled a visa appointment in January or February. I don’t have the possibility of just hopping on a bus/train, going to the airport and taking off to some place. And this makes it harder for us (Kosovo citizens) to feel Europeans and for Europeans to see who we are. There’s a lot of question marks I’ve noticed in people’s heads over things, the situation, culture, religion, language and what now of Kosovo and we should be able to answer those questions ourselves and now have people form their opinions based on what they hear or read in who-knows-what media.
In addition, Kosovo is many times “expelled” when Balkans Tours are organized from different tour companies. So even when Europeans or the world citizens come to visit this part of the planet they are not being shown the whole picture. One of the Lego pieces is missing, hence all the prejudice, hatred, and fear.
Therefore, the best way I’ve found to promote my country and what we stand for and who we are is via social media, mostly Instagram. I’m glad I’ve convinced some people so far about visiting Kosovo, or I’ve shared my recommendations on what to visit and where to stay/eat/drink to them (by emphasizing that Kosovo is safe – which is always a concern of people contacting me).
Read my short guide on what you should know before visiting Kosovo and if you still have questions, shoot me a message!