Social Erasmus is a project of ESN International with the aim involving young citizens during their mobility experience through volunteering activities that take social action, fostering change in society. During the SocialInclusion Weeks that take place every semester, ESN from all over our network focus on organizing such SocialErasmus activities and events, which are showcased on the channels of our ESNcountries. However, SocialErasmus is not something that ends after the SocialInclusion weeks - our volunteers continue to work on and further implement this project throughout the whole year!
One such example was the SocialErasmus+ Training that was organized by Youth for Exchange and Understanding International (YEU) and Erasmus Student Network (ESN). Together, YEU and ESN are trying to improve and upscale the impact of volunteering activities of Erasmus students during their exchange. The goal of the new project SocialErasmus+ is to build bridges in society by bringing international students closer to local schools. The project aims at improving the already established education pillar within ESN's SocialErasmus project, Erasmus in Schools, in order to reach one of ESN's main causes: To ensure a better integration of exchange students in local societies, to raise intercultural awareness and acceptance in students already from a young age and to increase the recognition of voluntary activities in higher education.
In September 2018, YEU and ESN organised two training courses (17.09.-23.09. and 23.09.-29.09.) in Crnomelj, Slovenia, hosted by Mladinski Center Bit. In total, 50 ESN members from all over Europe worked together to exchange knowledge and experience and develop a set of tools for Erasmus students, ESN sections and universities helping to implement SocialErasmus and to better integrate exchange students in the local communities through SocialErasmus activities.
The aims and objectives of the training courses were the following:
- ensuring a better understanding of SocialErasmus activities
- learning how to train international exchange students who are interested in doing SocialErasmus+ activities
- the development of high quality materials and a database with guidelines and frameworks ESN volunteers and university personnel who want to organize SocialErasmus activities
- learning skills that are necessary to design such activities and how to pass on these skills to colleagues by delivering workshops on how to establish sustainable links within their local communities
Two of our Austrian ESN volunteers, Marion Moll and Jakob Salvenmoser, took part in the SocialErasmus+ Training Event. Here is what they have to say about it:
"For me, the moment when we were all laughing together was the most memorable experience. It happened during the feedback session and nobody was expecting it: we were all tired from a whole week of thinking and really tried to focus when all of the sudden one participant sneezed really loudly. Of course we were all shocked but then someone started to laugh and everyone joined in. And it's always nice to have external trainers.” (Jakob)"
“I took part in this training because I wanted to learn more about SocialErasmus in general, and Erasmus in Schools in particular. It also seemed like a great way to get to know ESNers from other countries with similar interests and ideas. My favourite thing were the workshops and everything about them: we got the chance to develop workshops, which to me always seemed like an impossible task. That we go to try them out and received feedback from the others, and that we can now share them with our sections and implement them again. In the future, I will definitely to use the activities we prepared and apply the skills I gained when it comes to workshop development and facilitation.” (Marion)