I study at the University of Liechtenstein. Yes, Liechtenstein, one of those smallest countries and Erasmus destinations. And let me tell you, it may be small, but it has a big heart and a lot of opportunities. But I don’t want to bother you with how awesome Liechtenstein is, rather what happened to me when our ESN section offered me the chance to participate in the International Erasmus Games in Porto in 2017. I have first heard of that event “IEG“ a year before when my friend tried to convince me I had to go because it is so great. To be honest, the only thing I thought - „Ah, come on, I got better things to do“. Big mistake, as it turned out when I saw the pictures and heard them talking about it.
And that’s when my decision was made: I will go next year, no matter what.
One year later, we booked our flights to Porto. Eventually, the first official part of the IEG began and suddenly we were surrounded by many people from all over the world presenting their countries and waving their flags. You can only imagine… But, we wouldn’t be Liechtenstein if it wasn’t for our „being special“. We brought not only flags, (you might want to say is for beginners) but we brought something more... Our beloved Unilicorn, the University Mascot, which was then all over the place - literally. I must admit, we lost it the first day while walking through Porto for an awesome sightseeing tour and flag parade and its head may have also been overrun by a car... Sorry again!
When the games started, our teams in Basketball, Futsal and Volleyball (we managed to get all of these teams, having players playing in all sports simultaneously - that’s what we call motivation!) were performing pretty well, losing very closely and actually winning a basketball game - of course, motivated by the cheering crowd on the side - with the Unilicorn! The next day, as we were pretty much with no chance of winning in futsal, we decided: The time had come! We are going to trick them, confuse them with all we have. And there it was: my turn as Unilicorn in the goal. And let me tell you, it skyrocketed! Saves after saves, with everything that this thing has - mentioning here: the Germans didn’t take it easy on us while shooting! Then, the last minute: we had to pull the last strike. The Unilicorn took the ball, ran over the field (without seeing very much), dribbled the ball through the German defence, jumping over legs that got into its way, eventually shooting! That shoot, it was majestical! (Unfortunately, it missed the goal and time was up in the second we shot - but who needs to know that... and that we also lost the game) If you think, that was it. It wasn’t. Because then actually, that one moment, a lot of people (including me) dreamt about, happened. The Germans, as well as our Liechtenstein team came, took me and threw the Unilicorn up in the air. I can’t even tell you what it felt like, just that this was one of these moments. And I still think of it and hold that picture in my head like it was yesterday… Actually, after the finals in futsal (oddly enough we didn’t make it to the finals) when everyone was running onto the field to be with the team that lost the game, there was one of those moments again. Everyone was jumping around, celebrating what we’ve just experienced and spreading the spirit of IEG and it happened again.
And that is IEG - making friends while playing sports and partying, sleeping little. Being in an environment that is full of positive energy and a spirit that is nowhere else to be found. Nowhere else have I felt such strong unity in diversity and it still gives me goosebumps. And actually now, after this IEG in Porto, I am the one coming home telling this story to everyone around, having a sparkle in my eyes as I motivate them to participate so that they can tell their own stories and just make their decision: I will go, no matter what!
See you in Paris!
- Sina, ESN Liechtenstein