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the magazine of the erasmus student network

express #17 AUTUMN/Winter 2013

INTERVIEW:

DOMINIQUE MONTAGNESE

GET INSPIRED! small but mighty:

ESN FH WIEN WKW / ESN MOLDE / ESN BTH


Get Inspired! T

he theme of this eXpress magazine is inspiration. It is a word that is often confused with motivation. But what actually is the difference between motivation and inspiration you may ask. Motivation is the feeling of wanting to do something that is not necessarily positive and is in most cases actively pursued. I assume all of you have heard about self-motivation or the common saying of ’motivating someone’. Inspiration on the other hand is much more passive. People generally do not go out there and think, ’hey, today I will get inspired’, but they get inspired unconsciously by books, music or by other people. I think that inspiration is one of the core reasons for the success of ESN as an organisation. Many of us have been abroad and have become inspired by the work that the ESN section in our host university did for us. We got inspired by the selfless help that was offered to us by volunteers who did not know us before. When we came back to our home university, we just had the urge to do the same and joined ESN. Others got inspired by their friends, who told them about this wonderful organisation and how great it is to help international students and make friends for life, all around the world. At the beginning I said that one can not actively inspire others. I am convinced, though, that through dedication, hard work and by being a role model to others, it is possible to build a foundation for others to get inspired by you. And believe me, it is one of the most gratifying moments in life, when someone tells you that you have been their inspiration. So go out there and continue the great work you do for international students and for our organisation and help others to get inspired.

STEFAN JAHNKE President of Erasmus Student Network AISBL, 2013/2014

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EXPRESS #17 COORDINATOR Carmen Cuesta Roca SUPERVISOR Gaffar Rampage CONTENT EDITOR Carmen Cuesta Roca ART DIRECTOR Robert Klimacki EDITORIAL DESIGNERS Robert Klimacki Cristina Gavrilă with credit to

Jirka Matousek CONTRIBUTORS Joaõ de Almeida Agnieszka Czarnojan Nena Deschenhalm Jesus Escriva Kenny Ho Laura Köstler Robert Klimacki Brianne Magnat Michalis Naris Sara El Nemr Carmen Cuesta Roca Ivona Tasevska Prokop Teper PROOFREADERS Alicia Macanás Amber Rousse Carmen Cuesta Roca Gaffar Rampage Marisol O’Connor Nives Tomas COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Vera Schwarz

ERASMUS STUDENT NETWORK AISBL Rue Hydraulique 15 B-1210 Brussels Belgium +32 22 567 427 express-coordinator@esn.org www.esn.org Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in parts without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held responsible for the views and opinions expressed in this magazine by contributors. The publisher is neither responsible for nor endorses the content of published advertisements, nor can the magazine be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies in the same.

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Get Inspired Contributors Erasmus Love Stories (Part II) The Person Behind the IB: Dominique Montagnese Small but Mighty - Small Sections in the Network The EYE Project Corporate identity in ESN ESNOLYMPICS Research in ESN - A Way to Better Advocate for Your Rights

Sections in the Spotlight • ISC VUT Brno • ESN Trieste • ISC Medelu • ESN-EYE Łódź #myESNstory - How did you JoinESN? Titanique Lemanique: from Challenge to Reality

Opening Speech NBM Skopje European Youth Capital Thessaloniki 2014 and ESN: Learn it, Visit us, Forward The Message

Research in Your Section express magazine | 03


Erasmus love stories (part II) Amber (USA) <3 Luca (Italy) ~~~~~ by Amber Rousse ~~~~~

Luca is from Italy and I am from USA. We met during our exchange in Oldenburg, Germany. It was my first exchange, he had already spent a year in France before that. For me it wasn't Erasmus, as you could have guessed, since I came from USA and not some other European country. We were immediately drawn to each other, and I think that is normal in an Erasmus atmosphere where everyone is open to meeting new people and is looking to have fun. We had a very close big group of students who partied together every weekend, and sometimes even during the week. Twelve of us went on a trip to Sardinia and Luca and I became closer there. When we returned, it was "all about us". Unfortunately there was only about one month left in his Erasmus and he would be returning back to Italy. I joined him on his flight back and he showed me around his home and his family. We were realistic; we didn't try to commit to each other after we separated. But we couldn't stay away and 6 months later Luca came to USA where he stayed

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for three months. At the end of that period we got engaged. We tried again to look at the situation realistically, and since we knew we wanted to marry each other, but that immigration would be very difficult, we got married in a quick ceremony surrounded by my close friends and family a few days before he went back. I never imagined I would marry someone so quickly, but with Luca it was just "right" (as cheesy at that sounds). Three years later and I have never regretted it. After 8 months of being married and in different countries, I moved to him in Sweden where he was doing the PhD, and we have lived there together as a "real" couple for the first time in our relationship. Now we are in California where Luca is enjoying a research period, before we return to Europe in August. Basically our entire relationship has been some sort of long-distance...even in Sweden we would both be travelling a lot. It keeps the fire going, the fact that we can be independent but still with each other. I don't see this lifestyle changing any time soon.


Easy ride sharing

TRAVEL MORE MORE

FOR FOR MUCH MUCH

LESS

.com

“Perfect for me because even when I decide to travel at the last minute, the prices are amazingly low. Best idea ever.“

“The real secret to making the most of your exchange. I met lovely local people and travelled everywhere, on a tiny, tiny budget.“

Kamil, Exchange to Marseille University, France

Ana, Exchange to Kings College, London, UK


Kenny Ho interviews the Vice-president of Erasmus Student Network AISBL 2013/2014

DOMINIQUE MONTAGNESE

S

ay hello to your Vice-President, Dominique Montagnese!

So you previously participated on Erasmus, where did you go and what motivated you to study abroad? I actually had a complex relationship with Erasmus (the programme, not the Dutch guy). I was supposed to go to Italy with some friends during my 3rd year, but in the end, due to some personal problems, I couldn’t go with them and I stayed in Nancy to finish my Bachelor while they were enjoying their Erasmus experience without me (traitors!). When I started my Master Degree in International Business, I thought “ok, I won’t miss this chance again” so I went to talk about my project to my professors. Unfortunately, I had to deal with stubborn people for whom Erasmus only means parties and coming back with a worse level of English than before. They didn’t let me go and insisted that I get a professional experience abroad instead. That’s the reason why, in few words, I have never “studied” abroad but I anyway had the great chance to experience two internships in Milan for a total of 9 months abroad. What was my motivation? I actually don’t really know. Perhaps a

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feeling inside, since I was a young child, that I belong somewhere else. No idea where exactly, just not where I was born and where I grew up. What were the most challenging aspects that you encountered during your time on exchange? Being French with strong Italian roots, we cannot say I took a lot of risks going to Milan for my exchange. I knew the city, the culture and people beforehand. The most challenging part was maybe to discover parts of my personality that I didn’t know about. As the child of two Italian emigrants and having grown up in France, I’ve always been the “Italian boy” among my group of friends. During my stay abroad, I was “the French intern”. Quite unsettling! But the experience allowed me to understand that I am not either one or the other: I am both! I am lucky to belong to two cultures, which is a benefit and not a disadvantage. I am European. What motivated you to apply for the IB? (in particular the position of VP) (That’s an interesting question! I think this interview is teaching me a lot about myself as I just discovered I am this kind of person who acts primarily on their feelings) Again, I don’t really know but I am sure about one thing: this is something that I felt inside


The person behind the ib since the very beginning. Ever since my first ESN International Event (AGM Istanbul 2010) where I discovered what ESN was all about, I knew that I wanted to be – one day maybe – that guy on the stage. Ok you want something more concrete. But I swear I was sincere! Then let’s say: being responsible for the Events management, the great challenge that the position itself can represent and I don’t forget many friends that believed in me and encouraged me to do it. here were four other candidates that applied for the same position as you did in the IB, can you describe how you felt during the lead up to the election results? Gosh... It was horrible and amazing at the same time. We had a great, respectful and fair competition, from the beginning to the very end. We have been supporting each other all the time and we became like a small group of close friends, living in their bubble for a certain period of time. But the pressure on our shoulders was so heavy... We were continuously in the spotlight. Every day. Everywhere. On social media, by e-mail, by skype, on the candidate blog, during every ESN Event until the AGM, and every informal moment was transformed in a showcase like “hey, let’s observe them and see how they act in a group of people”. People were talking about the Vice-President election all the time. It was like the whole AGM was organised just for us. It was really exciting but very stressful at the same time. After the election I swore to myself: NEVER AGAIN.

How was it? Did I pass the test? As Vice-President you have to oversee and participate in a lot of ESN events. What do you think makes a memorable and productive event? The dedication an OC can put into organising the event. No matter what food you will eat, the number of stars the hotel you will sleep in has, or the minutes you’ll have to wait for a delayed bus. The faces of the volunteers, after 4 days spent running left and right to make people feel at home, is always something amazing. Their smile is a mix of happiness and tiredness, their eyes are red and drooping, but when you ask for something more, they just answer “don’t worry, I can take care of that for you” because they are so proud to show you their work, to show you they are the best ESN Section ever. And nothing can delete all the happy and tired smiles I’ve seen so far during all the events I have been attending. By the time you finish your mandate in the IB, what would you hope to have achieved? It is hard to say. I have so many projects in mind, if I achieve half of them I would be more than happy (and I usually define myself as a perfectionist so you can imagine how much I have to achieve J). Maybe giving the Network a different approach of managing the events we organise. Conducting them in a more professional way, pushing the different OCs to challenge themselves more. There is nothing more rewarding than challenging yourself with the highest expectations possible and accomplish what you didn’t even dare to dream you could reach.

i think the best way to inspire people is just being yourself

As you are a role model for the network, what would you consider to be the best way to inspire people? I don’t really like this aspect of being a role model. I try to do my work with the most professional approach I can. If it can inspire people, good. I think the best way to inspire people is just being yourself, giving your best, working hard continuously and if people appreciate your work, they will simply follow you. This is my style, nothing fancy for an interview, I know. I’m quite boring but I’ve never been a big fan of interviews and I hate talking about myself.

This year the flagship project of ESN is Erasmus in Schools, in your opinion how would this project inspire people to think about studying abroad? When I said before that I am not really keen on interviews or used to them, did I mention why? It is mostly because I don’t like pre-formatted answers. As a real football fan, what disappoints me most is listening to interviews football players give before and after a match. It is so boring and you know in advance exactly what they are going to say. Well, it is the same here for me. How am I supposed to answer this question, my dear Kenny, without being consensual and expectable? Let’s give it a try: “Erasmus in Schools is one of the greatest projects I had the chance to work with. It is all about integration in the local community for the exchange student but invites at the same time high school pupils to discover Europe, talk about cultural differences and learn about mobility programmes. It is a great opportunity to get an insight into what Erasmus is at an early stage and get inspired by the direct contact with the exchange student”.

Who or what inspires you the most and why? I am not easily impressionable. In order to inspire me you need to be really smart but humble at the same time. Which holiday destination would you like to go next? Outside Europe: Australia, Argentina or one of those fancy French Islands like La Reunion. What is the most cliché thing that a French person could say or do? Make a video of the Sea Battle Dance with a baguette and a Beret Which is your favourite quote? Since I moved to Brussels: “Belgians are... different” Which nationality do you think has the sexiest accent? Greece If you could change your name to anything, what would your new name be? Paolo Maldini Do you have any unusual fears or phobias? Getting old Who do you think will win the 2014 UEFA Champions League? AC MILAN obviously :) express magazine | 07


small but mighty

Y T H G I M

l l a m S

T U k B r o w t e N e h ections in t Small S

by Laura Köstler Sometimes, it seems as if everything is about the big ESN sections that are able to gather more than hundreds or even thousands of students for an event, a trip or a local party. But don’t let us forget about the importance and achievements of smaller sections.

occasional helpers – ESN WKW has decided not to organise big trips themselves anymore but to participate in the welcome week of their international office, to organise several day-activities and to inform their students about trips organised by other sections of Vienna.

During my research with the objective of finding ordinary or outstanding smaller sections, one question arose right at the beginning: how do we even define a “small section”? Would that be one with a small amount of team/board members? Or rather a section that only reaches out to a small number of students? I decided to use both characteristics for this article.

The six active members of ESN Molde (Norway) welcome about 100 students and enjoy a truly supportive aid from their university. With their budget of €7,500, this small section – active since approximately 1999 - organises several trips, one-day events, parties and social activities. Thereby, they attract not only international students but also a lot of Norwegian students.

Being a member of a rather big section myself, I wondered how small sections deal with financing and the implied lack or insufficiency of funds to organise events. ESN FH Wien WKW (Austria), part of ESN since 2006 and taking care of 150 international students per year, manages to sell the ESNcard to all of their students. This provides them with a little budget. However, their biggest support is their international office which covers their costs for the participation in the AGM, CEP, NP or others. Due to the small amount of students and members – 4 active members and a hand full of

A probably up and coming section is ESN BTH (Sweden) whose 8 active members celebrate their first ESN anniversary this October. This new section is also lucky to acquire a budget from the international office - especially important since they do not sell ESN cards at this point due to the lack of local partnerships which they will work on in the near future. Despite the young age, ESN BTH has already fully entered the ESN world and can maybe even set an example for older and bigger sections. Geocaching, language cafés, attending the ESN Sea Battle and a trip to Copenhagen are only a part of the whole programme international students at BTH can enjoy. With their 200 students per semester, they

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have already managed to become one of the most active sections when it comes to Erasmus in Schools. Moreover, the section’s members are highly involved on a national level as well as in international committees and the Eduk8 programme. All above-described sections - ESN BTH, ESN Molde and ESN FH Wien WKW – exhibit an amazing cooperation with their respective international offices and a flagship relation with their incoming students as they get to know nearly all of them during their stay. Additionally, all representatives I have talked to claim their international dinner to be one of their most popular events. Though, they have all chosen slightly different paths and laid their focus either on local, national or international events. As to the question in the beginning“Small but mighty?”, I would definitely say: “Yes!” The way they work together with their international offices is something some of our network’s more powerful sections still dream of and meeting most of the students seems impossible to many. Thus, when you are looking for a partner section to organise an excursion or party with, do not forget about the small ones as they might be small, but oh my!


www.newyorker.eu

24,95

29,95


The EYE

Project by Nena Deschenhalm

EXCHANGE YOUR EXCHANGE Getting the chance to experience Erasmus life in a different city

How it all began… In the summer of 2012, ESN Brno (Czech Republic) came to visit ESN Vienna (Austria) for a few days. Our Czech friends assumed that their exchangestudents have always visited Vienna on their own, so we decided to make it easier for them to have a good time. By founding a cooperation between our cities and organising trips together, we formed a new partnership between the universities of Brno and Vienna - two cities that have a lot to offer. Thus, the idea of the project was born.

What is it about? We want to offer a unique opportunity to experience the Erasmus life of a different city. All the participating cities offer a wonderful atmosphere, interesting people, impressive culture and a neverending nightlife . The idea behind it is that local ESN members, who know their cities best, organise the whole trip, so that the incoming group gets to know the city not as tourists but by locals’ EYEs. Local ESN people are well versed students in terms of local information. They have a lot of inside tips to offer, from introduction of national traditions, culture and heritage to national dishes, events and information regarding the city/country.

Costs We decided that the price of every trip of the EYE Project should be limited to 99 Euros, no matter which city will be visited. The fee includes travel costs, accommodation, breakfast, entrances and all the activities.

A project with a future … As the project was a success, other sections from other cities heardabout it and wanted to join. Only one semester after Vienna had visited Brno and vice versa, Prague (Czech Republic) and Bratislava (Slovakia) joined the project too. On the last trip to Prague we had a big EYE Project reunion where friends (exchange students and ESN people) from Bratislava, Brno, Prague and Vienna were getting together.

Spread our lovely project! Every time we made a trip we were going home with a bus full of very happy and excited students. All cities provided a fantastic and eventful programme that made us have one of the best days of our student lives. We as organisers had a lot of work to do, but we have learned a lot from the project and want to spread the idea all over the ESN countries.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

I want to give special thanks to Michal Sikora from ESN Brno. Together with him and the help of our sections we started this awesome project. It would not have been possible without you. You are a great organiser, always looking on things from a positive angle and you have become a very good friend to my. Furthermore, I want to thank everyone from ESN Bratislava, ESN Brno, ESN Prague and ESN Vienna who helped us to develop this project. Love, Nena Deschenhalm


CORPORATE IDENTITY IN ESN

BY JOAO DE ALMEIDA

Last April, the ESN Annual General Meeting took place in Maribor, Slovenia. At this event, structural changes to our network were discussed and voted for. One of the discussed topics was related to the Corporate Identity of ESN. The Corporate Identity directly identifies our organisation and thus represents our aims, values and vision. At AGM, the Visual Identity suffered some changes. Although those changes were not dramatic, they allowed the simplification of the Visual Identity rules without compromising our recognition or causing damages to the Corporate Identity. CHANGES IN VISUAL IDENTITY CAN MAINLY BE DIVIDED INTO THREE AREAS: • LOGO COLOURS; • STAR CUTTING; • SECTION LOGOS.

Concerning the logo colours, it is now possible to use both the ESN Logo and the ESN Star in a full solid colour as long as the used colour is one of the five ESN colours. This can be useful, for example, when creating designs for printing; sometimes by using just one colour on prints, sections can get a better price. However, the normal version of ESN Logo shall always be preferred. Star cutting is one of the rules where more infringements exist. While some are severe, others showed us that the existing rule wasn’t fitting our network needs in some aspects. That is why we decided to add some flexibility without compromising the recognition of the star. From now on, the ESN Star can be used in documents in quarters (as previously) or with any cut if more than 50% of the star is visible, with the cut being made by the borders of the document itself. It is strongly recommended that a full ESN Star is visible somewhere else in the document (for example in the ESN Logo). Finally, local section logos are now recommended to follow an unanimous structure, composed by: left part (a square personalised for each section, using the ESN Colours), ESN Cyan vertical bar and right part composed by the ESN Logo. 
 With these changes, the Corporate Identity Team of the Communication Committee hopes that the usage of ESN Visual Identity can be simpler and even more representative of our organisation.

express magazine | 11


The person behind the ib

ESNOLYMPICS by Sara El Nemr

ESNOLYMPICS is a project organised by ESN Poland in Warsaw at the National Defence University. ESNOLYMPICS 2013 was the third edition of the project.

Last year’s edition gathered 143

Participants coming from outside of

well as Lithuania and Portugal.

and are taken care of by a member of the

participants from 10 cities from Poland as The main purpose of ESNOLYMPICS is

to unite Erasmus students and support the idea of sport and fair- play rules.

Some of our partners included: National

Agency, Jeronimo Martins, Red Bull and many others !

ESNOLYMPICS is primarily about the people, the spirit of competition

and the sporting experience. Those who

participated in the previous editions agreed that the event is an unforgettable, exciting

experience that involves a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun in the international student environment.

Warsaw are accommodated in hostels

four disciplines that lead to the European finals.

hosting team, who assists them with their

The Olympics began with a swimming

related to their stay in Warsaw.

freestyle, 100m men’s freestyle, and

arrival, accommodation and any issues

Last year participants gathered on Friday

(05/17/2013) at the general briefing in the auditorium at the university to be greeted by the Rector of the National Defence University.

Later, the coordinators of each discipline presented the rules and main schedules.

The students later toured the campus and

competition involving 50m women’s a 4 x 50 m relay.

Then the 12 teams were assigned to

three disciplines: futsal, volleyball and the Swedish relay (which took place

at university stadium). The four teams that collected the most points in the

qualifications were promoted to European finals. ional finals the 3rd place was taken

the sports centre.

The winning team was promoted to

to start the ESNOLYMPICS games in

competed in volleyball.

On Saturday morning the teams were ready

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the European Finals, in which 4 teams


esnolympics

After the final matches the best of European Teams were revealed: 3rd – Kraków 2nd – Portugal 1st – Lithuania We would like to congratulate all winners!

If you are interested in ESNOLYMPICS or want to take part in that amazing project write to: pm@esn.pl

STAY TUNED AND SEE YOU at ESNOLYMPICS 2014!

express magazine | 13


Research in ESN

A Way to Better Advocate for Your Rights!

{

IN ERASMUS STUDENT NETWORK, RESEARCH IS A FUNDAMENTAL ACTIVITY. IT ALL STARTED WITH THE FIRST ESNSURVEY EDITION IN 2005 WHEN ESN DECIDED TO ANALYSE THE EXPERIENCE OF EXCHANGE STUDENTS STUDYING ABROAD IN EUROPE. AT THAT TIME, ALMOST 8,000 ANSWERS WERE OBTAINED, WHICH WAS ALREADY A GREAT SUCCESS FOR OUR ORGANISATION THAT FOR USE ATTRACTED THE ATTENTION OF MANY STAKEHOLDERS.

} by Jesús Escrivá

The importance of research in ESN Nowadays, ESN is already a reputed stakeholder in education policy research in Europe and the European Commission and other entities around Europe have demanded our collaboration several times. This is the case of the Erasmus Impact Study (a tender from the European Commission), or some parts of our latest editions of ESNSurvey, which have been suggested by other stakeholders in European education. However, why does ESN need to be considered a major European stakeholder in International Education? Is it so important? Here the answer is of course, although it might not be so clear for some members. ESN Statutes clearly states that we work in the interest of international students

representing their needs and rights on the local, national and international level. This is called advocacy and mainly the president of ESN AISBL takes care of it with the assistance of the International Committee for Education. At the international level, it is of vital importance the work of the ESN advocacy to cope with the aims of our organisation. However, it is important to advocate about facts and issues that we know in a reliable manner - to do so evidence-based. And here it is when research projects come in. Thanks to our international research projets, ESN is able to advocate basing its opinions on facts proven by our different research projects so that we can actually

reflect exchange students’ opinions. These opinions are passed to the main stakeholders in higher education and mobility programmes: the European Commission, National Agencies of Erasmus Programme, higher education institutions and all associations concerned with the topic with the aim of improving the conditions for exchange students. It is important to note that, although there can be many organisations and institutions analysing student mobility in higher education, few can reach out to tens if not hundreds of thousands of students at local level across Europe as we do in ESN. It is this big number of responses what gives ESN projects their reliability and added value. Hereafter, you will be able to read about the different research topics available in ESN.

ESNSURVEY Did you know that exchange students in touch with ESN rate our services almost 4 out of 5 points? Or that it is more important to foster mobility in early ages rather than later to really make a change in them? Do exchange students really consider themselves more skilled to find a job in nowadays’ Europe? There is no doubt whatsoever about the importance of ESNSurvey, which can answer this and many more questions you might pose. It was born in 2005 with the first edition of a questionnaire that would bring further insight into The Experience of Studying Abroad of the for Exchange Students in Europe. 8,000 answers were obtained then.

Since 2005, ESN has been launching a different edition exploring different topics related to academic and non-academic mobility. ESNSurvey 2011: Exchange, Employment and Added Value already gathered more than 21,000 different opinions and we are nowadays collaborating with many association and intitutions in European for this project. ESNSurvey 2012 is to be published really soon. It has investigated the employability of mobile and non-mobile students and will show the beneficial effects of going abroad. The survey also has explored the impact of student mobility on entrepreneurship and European citizenship and has given insight into students´ satisfaction

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with ESN and other student organisations. Moreover, ESNSurvey Questionnaire 2014 is already out and will elucidate issues related to the international experience and language learning in exchange. Do not forget to fill it in! What happened to ESNSurvey 2013? If you are one of those ESN members who thinks to have missed one of the surveys, do not worry. Last month, the International Board decided to change the numbering of the editions and from the research we are doing this year and will be published next year will be called ESNSurvey 2014, after the publication year and not the survey year.


REsearch

European Research projects: STORY and ERASMUS IMPACT STUDY ESN has been gaining more and more importance at European level and it is regarded as a fundamental stakeholder when it comes to student mobility. This fame has brought ESN to the next level in collaboration with the European Union. Erasmus Impact Study (EIS) was one of the latest successful hits for ESN. It was the first time for ESN to win a bid for a public EU tender, on this occasion in collaboration with CHE Consult (DE), Brussels Education Services (BE) and the Compostela Group of Universities (ES). The consortium is conducting study to investigate the impact of Erasmus

PRIME PRIME stands for Problems in Recognition of Making Erasmus and is a complex qualitative and quantitative study, which aims at pointing out the examples of existing obstacles to student mobility and providing suggestions for improvements in order to facilitate student exchange in Europe. It a project funded by the European Union and has met two editions. The project included a really successful dissemination conference and a booklet that ESN prints extensively for all sections that wish to offer some information to their incoming and outgoing students. Moreover, some universities have even started to use them by themselves.

mobility and intensive programmes on skills development, employability, institutional development and the internationalisation of Higher Education Institutions in Europe. It is of course an ambitious project that aims at finding answers to a series of core questions that are most relevant for the future of higher education cooperation. The study was launched in May 2013 in all European countries targeting current, former, mobile and non-mobile students all over Europe and nowadays we are waiting for the results to come.

Youth and it is a project supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union. The project will start in October 2013 and will address three key challenges of student and young graduates training mobility: an investigation on the obstacles in order to produce tangible recommendations for all stakeholders and guidebooks for students as in the case of PRIME; project activities to raise promote training mobility and an online platform to match companies and institutions offering training opportunities. Interesting? Keep an eye for further news soon!

STORY stands for Strengthening the Training Opportunities for International

OTHER MINOR PrOJECTS ESN also carries out smaller research projects. For example, some months ago we saw a survey in ESN about the Visa issue. Nowadays, the European Commission is working on the Visa Directive and ESN strongly believes that Visa barriers should be eliminated for exchange students, since this aspect is quite detrimental to student mobility in Europe. When there was the discussion about the name of the future exchange programme in Europe, ESN asked our students if they preferred Erasmus for All or YES Europe and most of our students clearly preferred Erasmus for All. In any case, the final name of the programme will be Erasmus+.

GET INSPIRED AND USE OUR RESEARCH! But are those numbers and figures actually useful? The truth is that ESN projects are not mere numbers and facts. Collected directly from exchange students who are willing to share their first hand experience to improve the one of future exchange students, the data obtained gives a deep insight into the reality of mobility programmes and of course sections are more than welcomed to use such reports. You can contact your International Office and provide them with useful information. From their perspective, that will make you look like an important, serious stakeholder. Moreover, National Boards can ask national editions of some publications and even if your section has enough answers, you can order a local edition of, for example, the ESNSurvey report.

express magazine | 15


ISC VUT brno APRIL 2013 After a very cold March and a much delayed spring, it is our pleasure to announce that the winner of SitS April 2013 is ISC VUT Brno! This means they will be the Section in the Spotlight for the AGM in Maribor, so a huge congratulations! Not only this but it seems ESN Czech Republic is doing something right, the area of Brno in particular, as ISC MU Brno was voted as Section in the Spotlight last month. What do they put in the water over there?

The roots of ISC VUT Brno date back to 2003/04 when Marketa Dostalova founded International Students Club after already providing help to Erasmus students on her own for the previous two years. In those dark days there came only about 20-30 adventure seeking students to the whole university and she was the only one to help them. And so within the meaning of “the more the merrier” International Students Club of Brno University of Technology was created to help Erasmus and to promote Erasmus studies outside and within our university. The section has a well-established board and communication structure. The board consists of 6 members and every person in the board leads a team consisting of a various number of people to help them in their respective fields. The board is followed by members (roughly 30 people) of the section involved in various teams, e.g. they help to organise various events held by the section. Usually these people come from the buddy programme when they feel the need to contribute more to the section. The last

SECTION IN THE SPOTLIGHT

level in the section’s structure is the base of buddies (80 people). A buddy is in personal contact with his/her group of international students and is responsible of helping them with daily problems they encounter during their Erasmus stay in our university, as well as being their friends! The section is very interested in cooperation with the visiting international students

and offers many ways for them to help with section’s events and activities. Apart from organizing SocialErasmus events such as Free Hugs and Charity kisses, which was held on Valentine’s day or Run for Erasmus, the international students are very active and come up with ideas by themselves. They also provide their international students with opportunities to discover interesting cultural and natural highlights not only of the Brno region, but also with a few trips to the rest of the Czech Republic and neighbouring countries. But let’s not forget about leisure, as ISC VUT Brno provides their members with opportunities to relax and have fun on a regular basis. Every week there is a countrythemed party and some of the students get extremely creative with the decorations of not only the premises but also of themselves. Other highlights of the semester include: Erasmus night, which involves more than 600 students in one club with many competitions and interesting tasks to complete. Tram Party is another extremely

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popular event among the students who are usually amazed by the concept of hiring a tram to go through the city center while having awesome party in it. As for their flagship event, ISC VUT Brno is organizing an International Summer School of Innovations with the cooperation of technology companies. Approximately 60 students from various countries will form teams of 5 to 7 members. Those teams are going to deal with tasks prepared by professionals from corporate sector. The aim of the Summer School is to encourage participants to come up with uncommon and creative solutions in field of mobile applications or cloud solutions. During 10 days are teams going work on their project, attending lectures with academic and also professionals from involved companies. ISC VUT Brno also has a SocialErasmus team, which is focused on Erasmus in Schools project this year. Erasmus students are welcomed to prepare small theatres and games for pupils in English preschools. Because of the fact that they are a technical university, they are particularly interested in cooperation with technical secondary schools. Exchange students are joining language classes and discuss topics related to technical field of study of Czech students. Foreigners are also taking part in promotion of Erasmus for local students. During meeting for Erasmus applicants are presented information about universities and cities that Czech students are interested in. This project is supposed to make the decision of where to go on Erasmus easier and more convenient.

CARMEN CUESTA ROCA


esn TRIESTE MAY 2013 May arrived, love is in the air and Section in the Spotlight has a new winner. The competition was fierce and the results tight but the SitS May 2013 goes to ESN Trieste. Being part of ESN Italy, ESN Trieste is located on the Adriatic coast, almost on the border of Italy & Slovenia. ESN Trieste is a fairly young section whose history dates back to summer 2011. Back then a group of 6 Erasmus addicts refused to end their exchange experience upon return home and they agreed to create an association that would be helping exchange students in their city. By the end of September Associazione Studenti Erasmus Trieste emerged and within 2 consecutive Italian NPs in October ’11 and February ’12 the section first gains their candidate status and later becomes 45th section of ESN Italy. A big milestone for section was their first section partnership with ESN Primorska, with whom they cooperate on monthly basis regarding various events, trips & activities. Currently consisting of 24 active members, ESN Trieste developed an interesting way how to grant section membership. Each potential member has to present their candidacy and for the next 2 months, potential members are evaluated based on their availability & enthusiasm. In the end a final vote is taken. Becoming an ESN Trieste member means you get the right to vote in the assembly (e.g. Board vote) and get fully involved in section work. The internal work structure is divided into 5 Committees (Trips, Graphics/Web, Events, Sports, Commercial) & Board that consist of 5 members (vice-/President, LR, Treasurer, Secretary) plus Webmaster as Board supporter. The section has their own ESN Office with regular office hours and apart from regular communication tools, ESN Trieste regularly publishes in a local newspaper “il Piccolo”. Being an exchange student in Trieste, you can choose from quite a variety of different activities that ESN Trieste brings you. If you don’t just want to be another participant, but rather prefer to get actively involved in preparations & organization, there are regular International Dinners. When it comes to sport,

SECTION IN THE SPOTLIGHT

exchange students can join official ESN Trieste team and play in provincial trophy “Città di Trieste". As for the SocialErasmus, there are events like blood donation day. ESN Trieste also organized a charity match whose cashing went to victims of earthquake in Emilia Romagna in May 2012. On national level, ESN Trieste participated in SE project “A Scholarship for Congo”. Section is also active in Erasmus in Schools. Whether in cooperation with Trieste municipality or AIESEC Trieste, section members together with Erasmus students go to schools to promote student mobility and they have 2 more EiS events planned for this semester. ESN Trieste also takes part in ESN Italy project Erasmus Welcome Days: Welcome meeting, Campus tour, “Useful” city tour (places in Trieste that every exchange student should know), pizza dinner, Welcome party, Trieste sightseeing, football tournament and 2 trips (usually Miramare castle and Venice) all this in one week. The official Welcome Day ceremony takes place in Town Hall in presence of city mayor, University rectors and other authorities. Throughout the semester there are plenty other daily trips to nearby cities & villages and almost every month a 2-3 day trip to places like Ljubljana, Milan, Belgrade and of course both Italian National Events in Rome & Sicily. Being a culturally rich city, ESN Trieste arranges various museum visits in cooperation with city municipality that guarantees free entrance for Erasmus students. Here a visit of the Risiera di San Sabba- the only Italian internment & extermination camp deserves special attention. Exchange students have a unique opportunity to experience local cuisine & traditions during carnival in Muggia every February. There are regular basketball & football events and for adrenaline junkies’ paintball or rafting in cooperation with ESN Primorska are THE options to choose. As for the nightlife, ESN Trieste always provides their exchange students with the best of the best parties in top clubs in the city. The brand new Flagship project of ESN Trieste is the Olympic Games that take place during the 1st week of May with disciplines like: 5-a-side, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, table soccer, cycling, orienteering, archery and running. In the end of the

week a traditional “Bavisela” city marathon will take place. Various disciplines are being prepared in cooperation with different subjects, like University Sportscenter, Trieste Archery Company or local bars with promotion covering local media & websites of ESN Trieste and University. The involvement of local students is mostly done through cultural tandems where people exchange & teach each other languages. Locals also greatly participate in all sports activities, trips & parties. Section makes sure local authorities are always involved in bigger ESN events. ESN Trieste also regularly updates their partners list & acquires new ESN Card deals. ESN Trieste is also active on other levels of ESN. On national level ESN Trieste members are regular participants of all Italian NPs, 3 local members are parts of up to 5 ESN Italy Committees and just before AGM Maribor ESN Trieste had hosted Italian NP with impressive amount of international guests. Section members also didn’t miss a single International ESN event since they joined the Network, be it AGM Granada, SWEP Madrid (where they began their 2nd section cooperation with ESN UC3M from Spain), SEEP Athens or most recently AGMaribor. Exceptional level of cooperation with ESN Primorska involves not only monthly joint events but also attendance of ESN Slovenia NPs on behalf of ESN Italy. It is this immense cooperation with ESN Primorska that ESN Trieste is most proud of. Despite being the 2 geographically closest ESN sections (not considering sections in the same city) the fact that they are in different countries, with different languages, culture & considering past events makes the distance much bigger. Yet they as young people try to narrow this gap through close cooperation and that is what makes ESN Trieste so international. “International like the trips we organize, international like the cooperation we have with our twinned sections, international like the platforms we regularly attend, and like the great people we meet there. But, most of all, international like the students we work for and we live with, building up together a new Europe and a new world. PALLOMERI!”

PROKOP TEPER

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ISC Mendelu JUNE 2013 SECTION IN THE SPOTLIGHT Founded in February 2007, ESN ISC Mendelu has 40 active members as well as over 60 buddies. Even though ISC Mendelu officially joined ESN in 2007, the association already existed and had already been cooperating with international students. At the time there were not many incoming or outgoing students but they managed to gain the support of the international relations office of Mendel University and later become an official ESN section. Now they can proudly say they are ESN’s section in the spotlight for June 2013. ESN ISC Mendelu organises a number of exciting events under Social Erasmus to engage the international students. These include Zoo cleaning, flying lanterns and donation of unneeded items to charity. The section has also committed to the Erasmus in Schools programme, currently working with high schools, but with plans to expand their work to kindergartens and primary schools next semester, using the experience gained from this year. The section also hosts lots of activities just for the enjoyment and intergration of the internatonal students. Orientation week plays a large role in welcoming the incoming international students each semes-

ter. It provides them with basic knowledge of the University sites and with main information, city sightseeing, teambuilding activities, communication activities, and Czech language courses. It also introduces them to the life of Czech students, and most importantly it provides support and adaptation of Czech culture and habits at the time they need it the most. But to be honest, what would an orientation week be without any parties? Parties are one of the activities ISC Mendelu manages to arrange every two weeks. As for the beginning there is a themed party, this year´s called “Back to school”. Additional parties are organiseed throughout the year such as White sensation party, Flunky ball, Comic cone party, Halloween night, Beach party, and many others. To say thanks and goodbye to our Exchange students, the section organises a goodbye party, accompanied by an afternoon with activities such as barbecuing. One of the most popular events is the International Market. At this event students prepare their traditional foods, and they compete in three different spheres: the most delicious meal, the best presentation of a meal, and the best design. All of those activities are organised in order to show the cul-

tural differences, and to create closer bounds between Czech and International students. As the Highlight of this year, it is necessary to mention an event called “The Strong Student”. This competition was created by one of the section’s members, and was organised underneath the financial support of Google+. In this event students were competing in several sport disciplines, which were set up by rules. After that, professional committee evaluated competitors, and the winners were awarded with attractive prizes. Everybody who wanted to be a spectator of this event, was able to come to the sports venue, or was allowed to watch it from home on Hangout, by the support of Google+. The follows the principle: “teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results”. It is important for them to create strong relationships, to motivate members, to train them, to award our them and appreciate their work, and lastly and very importantly to hear their feedback and evaluation. Every month they have a team building. They use different forms of activities, and try to organize it at different places. Every month they also try to arrange workshops for their members, usually created by the members themselves. They also like to appreciate the work of their members. This year they held an event for their 5th anniversary where awards were given to 5 of the members. Last but not least, the section tries to get feedback from members on a quarterly basis.  

CARMEN CUESTA ROCA

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ESN-EYE łódź JULY 2013 SECTION IN THE SPOTLIGHT The July Section in the Spotlight comes from the middle of the country where SocialErasmus idea was born and their activities clearly indicate that. ESN-EYE Łódź consists of 50 active members that can enjoy Alumni Support Level: Over 9000. What do they do every day? In their own words, together with another 70 of their mentors “work every day on changing other peoples approach to the Erasmus students so that student exchange program gains more popularity and foreign students become attractive and trustworthy members of the community.” Wonder what “EYE” in the name of the section stands for? ESN-EYE Łódź was originally founded as part of European Youth Exchange Poland in May 1999, which was then part of EYE Network with sections all around Europe. Based in Łódź University of Technology, they have been working on increasing European identity, promoting Erasmus Programme and helping incoming exchange students. After few years EYE Network fell apart and the section, while kept working in local level, started searching for new umbrella organization. And that is when they found out about ESN and joined in October 2007. So what is the secret of big success of SocialErasmus among the students in Łódź? Probably the fact ESN-EYE Łódź makes SE activities so often. You name it, they have done and with great outcome. Like the flea market at the beginning of each semester where they sell unwanted items left by previous Erasmus to new incomings and then donate the profit to charity. Erasmus Hall was where Erasmus together with ESNers painted walls in paediatric hospital. International Santa Claus with big charity party & other actions to raise money & buy toys for children in orphanages around Christmas time. Or Erasmus Forest in cooperation with Ministry of Forestry of Poland. ESN-EYE Łódź recently got involved in ExchangeAbility project and they started by giving workshops about how to organize events considering needs of disabled students. Next, they prepared a Dinner in the dark to make other

students realize what some students deal with on daily basis. Hopefully more polish sections will get inspired by ExchangeAbility project, not to mention the rest of the Network. Otherwise the event calendar of ESN-EYE Łódź is full of Eurodinners, pub crawls, picnics or sports events that are often part of the national project ESNOLYMPICS. They organize regular Integration Weekends and concerning language the Tandem program that was recently enriched by an opportunity for high school students to join and practise together with Erasmus & other university students. The section also works on two regular big-scale events. The

Erasmus in Schools. They co-operate closely with the University on promotion of mobility amongst local students and all their activities aim to mix Erasmus students with locals and the community. Not only does ESN-EYE Lodz do amazing work on local level, several of their members are active in higher ESN structures. Starting with national Committes members or the National Board, vice-chairs of 2/5 Int. Committees, two EduK8 trainers and most recently the second member of ESN-EYE Łódź to ever become a member of International Board, this time as Communication Manager Robert Klimacki (previously it was WPA

one is Mobility Week full of workshops, contests, sports activities and other events aimed to promote student mobility & different cultures like Polyglots’ Café or International Lunch. The other event, which ESN-EYE Łódź co-organizes, is Academic Job Fair- the biggest job fair in Poland for University students. Erasmus students get an opportunity to find a job in Poland and Local students can find a job abroad. Also, more than 40 workshops by company representatives were delivered last time.

position). Equally impressive is the section involvement in organization of ESN events: they hosted National Platforms, coorganised 1st edition of ESN Upgrade (an Eduk8-inspired national training event) and during AGMaribor they got elected OC for upcoming CND Łódź 2013!

ESN-EYE Łódź is widely recognised in Łódź for their work within the frame of SocialErasmus and more recently, also

So how the work of ESN-EYE Łódź could be summed up in few words? Workshops, social inclusion projects, promotion of mobility and caring for each other. A fine example of work that inspired many. Will it inspire you?

PROKOP TEPER

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#myESNstory began in 2009 in Odense, Denmark, the city of Hans Christian Andersen. During my Erasmus, I met a group of highlymotivated people that helped me to feel at home. After having gone back, I felt obliged to give the students visiting WrocĹ&#x201A;aw the same feeling. Joining ESN is like staying on Erasmus forever. You'll never forget your Erasmus time, neither your ESN ones.

#myESNstory started mostly by accident. After coming back from Erasmus, two friends of mine asked me to keep them company at some student organization meeting. I went not knowing it was Esn Riga but, in the end, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m the only one from us three who has stayed.

Damian, ESN Poland

Jekaterina, ESN Latvia

How did YOU join ESN? I did not know what to expect, I did not know that it would change my life :)

We asked ESNers around Europe. They shared their stories through hashtag. We could never imagine how powerful and authentic they would be. Just take a look.

by Robert Klimacki

Marco, ESN Italy Five years ago I was an ordinary Spanish guy who didn't have any friends out of his region and didn't speak any other language. At that time a friend joined ESN UAM and I started to meet a lot of Erasmus students. Thus, I made the best decision of my life: to become one of them! After my international experience in Pisa, I joined ESN as well and now I noticed that I have improved a lot, developed skills and learned a new language. Now I'm feeling ready to get a job and I know that I owe it to my experience abroad and my time in ESN. But the best thing that I can say is that I have spent three years working to make Erasmus people happier, trying to make their lives easier and also contributing to the development of the Erasmus program. Jorge, ESN Spain

I was searching a way to find new friends and improve my English.

Miriam, ESN Spain

I joined my local ESN section during my first semester at the university. I had just moved back to Germany after having worked in my home town's twin city in the UK for a year. I didn't want to miss meeting and working with people from all around the world - so I joined ESN. And I still love it! I haven't been on Erasmus myself YET but it's only a matter of time until that will change. ESN <3 Katharina, ESN Germany

Life opens you many doors and it is up to your choices which ones you finally go through. My Erasmus changed my life, completely. When Cihan walked into my apartment one evening and told me that the ESN Sweden urgently needs a treasurer, I knew this was a door I wanted to go through and give something back. Since then, I have seen things I thought I would never see, done things I thought I would never do and met people I thought I would never meet. I have not regretted a second of it.

Emanuel, ESN Sweden


I discovered my local ESN section thanks to an ERASMUS student in my first semester and literally jumped into the adventure. We started being buddies and discovered what real friendship means! And, when I thought it could not get any better, I got to know the national and international level of ESN and, from that moment on, I couldn't stop it anymore. Meet Europe, meet culture, meet ESN!

I was looking for somewhere to put my studies into practice and I ended up getting more skills and competences than my Bachelor degree could have offered me. Special thanks to everyone I've met along the way who have pushed, challenged and believed in me. You know who you are, tjing!

Susann, ESN Germany

Before I knew it, it overtook my life, and I haven't even been on exchange myself. Gaffar, ESN the Netherlands

Safi, ESN Sweden

You cannot buy happiness, but you can join ESN - and that's kind of the same thing. Salih, ESN Turkey

The story began in June 2008... I found some information about an academic Buddy Programme and, as my desire was to be the world's citizen, I went there to see what's going on. The project has been cancelled but I received an email from ESN instead. I didn't know what it was and, even less, that these three letters would change my world and me as person very deeply... I jumped into the ESN world and I'm still Where and I don't want to let it go. That's #myESNstory

Apolinary, ESN Poland

After my Erasmus studies, I came back home full of crazy ideas which I wanted to realize. I was looking for an organization where I could do something for others. That's why I decided to become a member of ESN. I thought it would be hard, but after a few meetings I realized that I was in the right place. All the things we do make me feel good and useful. To be a member of ESN is like having a second family. That's how I feel in ESN.

OnutÄ&#x2014;, ESN Lithuania

In February 2012, I had spent two of the last three years abroad as a student, intern, worker... I had received a lot from many different people but not from a specific association and I had never heard of ESN before. I knew I was going to be jobless for a while (young graduate) so I thought I could spend some time giving something back to the international crowd in Nancy as I had received a lot... I just googled "Erasmus Nancy" and Esn Nancy came as first result. Then, I contacted them, had an "interview" with a crazy girl named CĂŠlanie and went to their first meeting in the dark basement of their official bar... The following story is quite common to many of us: I got trapped as ESN Nancy's president. Valentin, ESN France


TITANIC NBM insidijon LEMANIQUE 2013

BY MAXENCE VIALLON

Titanic Lemanique: from challenge to Reality BY BRIANNE MAGNAT

Summer 2012. ESN International is launching a contest organised by one of its sponsors, InterRail. The goal is to find a themed party concept and send in the project. I decided to propose 3 Frenchspeaking sections to unite around a concept on Lake Geneva. ESN, ESN Geneva, ESN UniL and ESN EPFL accepted and gave me carte blanche for the theme. It was to be Titanic Lémanique, in other words, a big '20s party on a Golden Twenties boat. Our project was one of the two winners, we won 1500 euros! Now that ’s where the hard part begins. We first made a budget, in order to reduce the entrance fee for the Erasmus. Looking for sponsors proved difficult, but thanks to Alexandre Hannema, today Education Officer for ESN Switzerland, we did it. In the end, we were able to negotiate with Pernod-Ricard (Responsible Party), another liquor brand, an energy drink brand, ESN Switzerland (who finances intersection projects), three different universities and the company of

navigation on the lake. Then came the hard work: the division of the tasks between the three sections, considering that eventually the boat departed and returned to Lausanne, and therefore we also had to take into account the transport of Erasmus and committee members of ESN Geneva. We made Skype calls every Tuesday for several months; at the beginning, only with the section responsibles, and the last with a maximum number of people that would be present on the boat, so the information was distributed and that there were the fewest possible misunderstandings. I must admit that it was extremely difficult at first because the sections did not always engage, but one of the sections decided to take the leadership and divide the tasks. An extra outside help, provided by Thomas Lanvin, at that time National Representative of ESN Switzerland, allowed us to see clearer and put the finger where something was missing or was wrong. During registration, tickets were gone at breakneck speed! One Erasmus from Lausanne even narrated his coveted treasure hunt a Tumblr GIF! It was

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the ultimate proof that the concept of our party attracted a wide Erasmus audience. The big day arrives and everything is ready: the cosy casino room with blackjack, roulette, poker tables and croupiers formed among members of ESN Lausanne, the locker room and a small cinema where the movie "Chicago" was shown, the bridge top with the bar, twist dancers giving classes on the dance floor, a "photo shoot" space with photographers to capture the mythical crossing … and 250 Erasmus students costumed in the '20s theme and 30 beautiful and well dressed staff members: heaven! The evening was a total success, the tidying up was, admittedly, a bit chaotic ... but the pride of having managed to gather the 3 largest Frenchspeaking sections of Switzerland, to see them work together and to offer the most beautiful evening of their Erasmus to 250 people has no price. Thank you to my sections and ESN International for believing in us!


OPENING SPEECH

NBM SKOPJE by Ivona Tasevska, National Representative of ESN Macedonia

I cannot describe my happiness to be given this opportunity to stand in front of you all on this very special evening. All students have one priority - to finish the studies. Once in our lifetime we all hopefully do that, ending up the whole process with the degree we’ve always wanted: bachelor, master and (why not) PhD. But now, I would like to highlight one different priority. What about meeting people, sitting in the class, or traveling around Europe without having any stereotypes or prejudice? What about being aware and know how to help to disabled people? What about implementing the skills students gained as volunteers in the aforementioned process of studying and later working? What about the added value we all learned as volunteers? What about the willing to learn two/three/all languages you don’t know just

because you’re impressed? What about the ability to recognize all European flags/dishes/capital cities/not-that-famous-cities? What about the searching skills when it comes to low cost flight companies?! This is just a small, very tiny part of what we’ve learned, gained and reached as volunteers. I know a lot of students like me, but I know a lot more who should have the occasion, the opportunity to find out what this means. Under the main principle of ESN, students helping students, ESN Macedonia also is achieving one of the goals of the ESN, internationalization home. Many of the present here, members of ESN Macedonia, volunteers in other student organizations or just students, have a reason why cannot go in Europe and create their own experience. Maybe it is lack of resources, maybe it is lack of motive, maybe it is lack of time or maybe it is lack of planes. But, the moment of internationalization has come. Starting today, hoping that that process would never end. I really like to believe that after these few days we won’t face lack of reasons, but lack of excuses. We’ll finish studying, but we’ll never stop learning. And I’ll never stop remembering the values, the cultures, the manners, experience I gained in Erasmus Student Network, as well in Erasmus Student Network Macedonia and the people I met all around Europe. His Excellency Ambassador of Kingdom of Spain, Dear Deans, Dear Sponsors: thank you for your full, grateful, unselfish support and help. Dear ESN members, thank you for the trust and participation, Dear representatives of other student organizations, students and guests, thank you for your presence. I announce the National Board Meeting in Skopje officially open. May this four days be used in the most creative and fruitful way.

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EUROPEAN YOUTH CAPITAL

THESSALONIKI 2014 and ESN

LEARN ABOUT IT, VISIT US, FORWARD THE MESSAGE

EUROPEAN YOUTH CAPITAL ….. SOUNDS NICE, BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS IT ABOUT? I suppose that most of you , have heard for first time the term “European Youth Capital” or learned something more about it, last year, when Maribor applied for AGM and is the European Youth Capital for 2013. At least the participants of last AGM must know about it. Maybe some of you have already searched more information and details about it , what it concerns about , how you can participate in it and how this idea came from. For the rest of you, that either see or hear for first time this term or somewhere, somehow have heard or seen something about it , we decided to write this article, explaining the terms and the aims of this project, referring particularly to the involvement of the ESN sections of Thessaloniki in it, since is the next EYC, and why we ( ESN of Thessaloniki ) believe that it concerns ESN generally in national and even in international level.

by Michalis Naris

Everything starts from the European Youth Forum (YFJ). The YFJ is a platform of 99 National Youth Councils (NYCs), and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), including ESN International, from across Europe. The YFJ, as the representative youth platform at the European level, aims to empower young people to participate actively in the shaping of Europe and of the societies in which they live. The YFJ promotes and coordinates the entire European Youth Capital Project, facilitating the work of the jury and towards the selection process of the EYC initiative ( the call for EYC applications, criteria how does a city become EYC etc. ). The ‘European Youth Capital’ (EYC) is the title awarded to a European city for the period of one year, during which it will be given the chance to showcase, through a multi-faceted programme, its youth-related cultural, social, political and economic life and development. The EYC initiative encourages the implementation of new ideas and innovative projects, with regard to active participation of young people in society.

EYC THESSALONIKI 2014 AND ESN PARTNERSHIP The EYC for 2014 is Thessaloniki, our city. Even since Thessaloniki was candidate city we, with the Erasmus students of the city, participated in any possible activity helping our city to win the competition. When the YFJ announced the final decision, two years ago, all the Erasmus students felt that they were also part of this victory, felt more like a part of this city. Now ESN in Thessaloniki is official partner of EYC 2014 since there is a representative of our network in the administrative council of EYC 2014. That shows the importance of our network in an European initiative like this, it proves that we can offer. The possibility to apply for actions and activities in your city where all the Erasmus students can participate in it, the cooperation and the networking with other NGOs of the city , the empower of the brand of ESN is the local society are some examples why should we participate and help in something like this, because we can offer

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Photo by Thomas Lanvin

and we can gain back, not only for our network but also for our Erasmus students since it directly affects their daily life in the city that hosts them. The willingness of EYC 2013 to help ESN Maribor during AGM and EYC 2014 to help ESN Thessaloniki applying for CNR , offering us financial and other kinds of help to apply and implement other kind of activities during the year that lasts the EYC are some more proofs of the importance of this partnership. Recently, the coordinator of the new EYC 2015, which is ClujNapoca in Romania, visited Thessaloniki asking for a meeting with us in order to give him ideas of our practices all this period of the preparation and cooperation with EYC 2014 in order he to propose and even implement some of them in cooperation with the ESN section in Cluj-Napoca. All these proves that ESN can become a traditional partner of EYC since our network showed a reliable and active profile in the previous EYCs 2013 and 2014.

So we would like to motivate you to learn more about EYC since the next one can be your city, we would like to invite all of you to visit our city and be part of it, learn more about it , spread the word, offer your ideas in how we can make even better this partnership. For more information check the links below: http://europeanyouthcapital.org/ http://www.thessaloniki2014.gr/ https://www.facebook.com/Thessaloniki2014

The program of 2014 was already announced in September including activities either we applied for, like ESN, or we cooperated with other NGOs of the city in order to implement them. One main action is the same like the one ESN Maribor implemented last year and ESN Cluj-Napoca can also make true next year. In this action Erasmus students will split in round tables discussing about their life in Thessaloniki proposing things that exist in their countries and they would like to see also here and showing the good cases of our city. ESN members of Maribor and Cluj will be invited in this action in order to exchange ideas. Some other actions is an Ethnic Festival as well as an International dinner where all the youth of the city can participate in. All these actions have a multi-cultural profile. Representatives from all our network in international level can be part of all these actions since many costs for the participants will be covered.

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Research in your section by Agnieszka Czarnojan

Not everybody knows that research could be a simple way to discover the issues that you might not know need solving. I bet that, within your section, you have faced some obstacles many times, which were just disregarded with an unclear solution. How many times have you noticed that there is almost no Erasmus student at your ESN party? What? Have they chosen a different, much more expensive, but fancier club? How is it possible that nobody wanted to go on the trip to the beautiful city of Cracow? What? Had they been there, before you even started organising the trip? Those problems in your section are so common… And eventually, you just stopped looking into the problems, hoping that they would disappear spontaneously, but you were just blind! However, do not panic and sit down. I am going to present to you some ideas and some happiness, like a magic fairy in a fairy tale. However, there is a small difference: everything is real, so you do not need to kiss a frog and wait for a prince on a white horse. You will not get three wishes as I am not a gold fish, but you can use these 8 tips and make thousands of ESN wishes come true!

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provide or how they rate the events that you have organised. You will see where there is space for improvement and what your section is good at. Use the potential of incoming students Research! Because if you have artists in the Erasmus group who can paint or there are some who play guitar or can sing, you can use their skills and the talent to create a new event and produce fresh ideas for your section! Get feedback from your ESN colleagues Sometimes you may not realise that there are unorganised, unfulfilling regular activities on your agenda. Let your colleagues observer exchange students during some events and receive some feedback for self-evaluation!

Get to know each other better When you work with various people, it is good to know more about each other, because this way you can avoid annoying them unnecessarily and you know what to expect from them. To give 8 tip s on wh ere to use you an example of how research can help from res ear ch in you r sec tio n: my personal experience during my internship in the ESN office in Brussels: There is a rule that everyday a different person cooks for all people Find out about the preferences of Erasmus working there. As I was new in the team and I students knew nothing about my colleagues, I was very Every group of incoming students is different. One year, aware that “being hungry makes you angry” so I there are lots of party animals, so you need to fulfil their created an online sheet they had to fill out with desire to explore every corner of your city. The next year, their food preferences, including allergies. The Erasmus students cannot stay awake all day and all night. quick research was very important for safety Or maybe, they just like different things that you might reasons - not to cause any health accident while not know! They prefer going to reggae pubs instead of having a nice meal together. hip-hop clubs where you usually give your parties. They might even hate that kind of music! They would love to Be more efficient in your work go to the zoo with you, but they do not know that there Do research for workshops or activities for your even is one in your city. Create a short questionnaire to section members, do research for the best place to see what you can do to easily live up your exchange stuorganise an event at, do research before you make dents’ expectations. a deal with a commercial partner without a goodResearch for Erasmus students' needs during their stay To make a good stay for your foreign friends possible, you should know if they have any problems that could interfere with their exchange experience. Maybe they get sick and cannot find a good doctor or they want to learn your sweet Danish, Dutch or Polish language, but they cannot find a language school. Check and research to see if your Erasmus students are doing well. Look for what is missing in your section’s work Ask students if they are happy with the activities you

26 | express magazine • #17 AUTUMN/WINTER 2013

enough offer. Use it for your daily needs!

Strengthen your voice If you want to show something to the local university or the local authorities of your city maybe you are trying to get some funds - just do a research among Erasmus students and collect the results. The research study will prop up your voice!

Long story short: get inspired and research!

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

eXpress Magazine #17: Get Inspired!  

The magazine of the Erasmus Student Network http://www.esn.org/magazine

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