My Una Story - Brian Talty

Brian Talty, a former member of the Student Board and current Policy Officer intern for Una Europa, recounts his captivating journey as a student within the Una Europa.

In the beginning of his master studies, Brian was eager to get involved in university activities, stumbled upon an email in their inbox that caught their attention. It was an invitation to participate in the Student Congress in Madrid, and it piqued their interest as it aligned with their passion for international relations and education. Intrigued, he looked into the organization behind the event, known as the Student Board, and decided to apply. 

What specifically interested you and drew you towards Una Europe?

"I formed lasting friendships with fellow participants in the Student Congress. The experience marked my integration into student advocacy and representation, as I got to meet members of the student boards and other like-minded individuals during the event in Madrid.

I decided to apply for the student board because I saw it as a great opportunity to work with the student forum, a group of people who seemed to share similar values and were pleasant to work with."

What kind of opportunities has Una Europa given you to develop your skills? 

"Through my experience with Una Europa, I have had the ability to communicate clearly and effectively in a diverse and multicultural environment. I have learned to be mindful of cultural nuances, use inclusive language, and be sensitive to different communication styles and preferences. I have also developed skills in organizing board meetings and events with local task forces, which has improved my project management and organizational skills. Working with colleagues from different backgrounds has allowed me to expand my professional network, creating opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and learning from different perspectives.

The opportunity to work in an intercultural environment has greatly enhanced my communication skills, intercultural competency, and ability to work effectively in diverse teams. It has also broadened my perspective and understanding of different cultures, and has been a valuable experience in my personal and professional growth."

If you could say something to all stakeholders about the importance of students and the experiences of students, what would you say?

"In the current European education system, students are often seen as traditional learners who are being prepared for future roles as researchers. However, there is a growing consensus that students should be treated as experts in their own right, with the ability to actively participate in shaping their education and becoming builders of their own future. Many students today have a strong will and interest to learn and engage in projects and activities beyond the classroom.

They possess valuable insights and perspectives that can contribute to the overall educational experience. It is essential to acknowledge and tap into these qualities to ensure that students are not left behind or overlooked in the education process.

Students are the ones who live through the university life and can provide valuable feedback and input on how to improve the educational system. Treating students as experts in their own right, rather than just passive recipients of knowledge, can lead to a more meaningful and engaging educational experience for them."

Brian has also taken part in the Una Podcast earlier - please see his podcast here: Students as change-makers - Podcast #13 on student engagement | Una Europa (