ESN SPAIN ESN BELGIUM
IN THIS ISSUE:
- PRIME 2010 - NEW ESN PROJECTS
10th edition January 2011
PROJECTS & PARTNERS
Editors in Chief
Past, present, future
Leo Smith Marco La Rosa
Joachim Wyssling Justyna Pisera Eva Ntovolou Justyna Marut Rania Chantzopoulou Marco La Rosa Alejandro Rodriguez San José Rosanna Cordaro Sarah Van Hooreweder Ann-Sophie Vanderschueren Arum Sukmawanto Jonathan Desdemoustier Caroline Braibant Leo Smith Monika Lapėnaitė Aušra Balandytė Veeli Oeselg Ladislav Vlcek Nick Andries Amandine Schoffen Carlos Jover Micó Sagrario Losada Marti Alicia Macanás José Campos Barbora Pavlíčková Friederike Herold Tania Berman Ruxandra Birle Katerina Papoutsi
Leo Smith Alicia Macanás Adriana Perez Encinas Maria Kalaentzi Matjaz Dolenc James Warren Martin Moravec
Design and Illustrations: Marco La Rosa Rania Chantzopoulou
Understand and take-up new challenges! by: Joachim Wyssling Since the first ESN section was born in 1989, ESN has made huge steps forward and built a network of more than 350 local sections with Europeanwide projects and activities, meetings and conferences. “Time Travels” will help us to understand better the history of ESN and give us an insight into current activities and projects and the opportunity to imagine our future. In 2011, the ESN History book will be released and I encourage you to take a look and find out more about ESN. You will be able to discover different aspects of our history and with this knowledge be able to build the future of ESN on all levels. Even if ESN was created more than 20 years ago, our network is young compared to recent European History: in 2005 the headquarters moved to Brussels, in the past years, more and more National Boards were created and are contributing with highly dynamic projects to ESN and finally two years ago the network reached 300 sections. I was recently reading the values of ESN, and realized that they are an amazing result of our history, stating that we all have different backgrounds, but share one common aim and goal while enjoying relations based on respect and committing ourselves to volunteering for the benefits of others. This is the “ESN spirit” allowing us to be mobile – also within the network, to discover and explore, to cooperate and to interact, to break borders and thanks to this we live and benefit from the cultural richness of Europe to the utmost and learn to understand and accept others. We need to understand all this, to build all together the future of ESN. Moreover, it is also crucial to identify the challenges of European society in order to give an active contribution and input to the society of tomorrow. Indeed, we have the chance of having a European wide network welcoming and integrating international students, fostering and improving learning mobility and playing an active role on all levels, while facing all together local, regional and European challenges. Take the first step into the future… discover the Time Travels of ESN! And don’t forget, ESN is your network and we are contributing all together to its existence. We wish you all a very good beginning to the year 2011, which will include plenty of continued and new activities, moreover we invite you as well to take the opportunity of the European Year of Volunteering 2011, as this year is specially designed for us volunteers, in order to value current and future volunteers around Europe !!
Ladislav Vlček Laura Isomäki Katja Krohn Markus Lutter
Sandra Larsson Miriam Eid Marco La Rosa
If you want to write an article, please send it to:
ESN International Rue Hydraulique 15 B-1210 Brussels, Belgium
The theme of the next issue:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PRIME 2010 SECTION GUIDE
ESN ANTWERPEN ESN BRUSSELS ESN GENT ESN LIEGE ESN LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE
9 9 10 10 11
20 ESN SPAIN ESN BLOOD DONATION ESN UAM ESN BARCELONA COOPERATION ESN UCM: MEETING POINT ESN VALENCIA: FIRE PREVENTION
DID YOU KNOW THAT...?
FIND THESE BOXES AND DISCOVER FUNNY THINGS IN THE HISTORY OF ESN!
22 22 23 24 24
KOZMINSKI ALTERNATIVE TRIPS IBIZA TRIP SUMMER CAMP IN LITHUANIA WILD DATES ALUMNI MEETING DRESDEN ALUMNI AND ME A GROUP OF FRENCHIES AT SWEP2010 THE CZECH REPUBLIC ROCKS! ESN GERMANY NATIONAL EVENT
6 7 14 14 18 18 19 25 26
EXCHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE! CZECH: SPOLECNE DOBIJEME SVET! EN: TOGETHER WE CONQUER THE WORLD NORWEGIAN: NÅR UVENTET FORVANDLES TIL NOE ...FANTASTISK EN: WHEN UNEXPECTED TURNS INTO ...UNBELIEVABLE
16 17 28 29
SECTIONS IN THE SPOTLIGHT ESN UG GDANSK ESN ISC BRNO ESN KAPA ATHENS
7 15 25
EVENTS & ERASMUS EXPERIENCES
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY! 8
PROJECTS & PARTNERS
Problems of Recognition in Making Erasmus by: Justyna Pisera
ESN has always put a lot of effort into supporting students’ mobility. Yet, after twenty years of the Erasmus Programme, various research, the ESN Survey among them, showed that there are still many obstacles and difficulties that Erasmus students face, with a significant problem of course recognition among them. This is believed to be an important factor discouraging students form studying abroad. Therefore, ESN decided to do something about this problem. That is how the idea of the PRIME project was born. An series of in-depth questionnaires were distributed among students and universities. Their aim was to investigate the existing situation, define problems and provide solutions. In 2009, after a year of intense work of many ESN volunteers, a PRIME final report was produced. It has shown that only 42.6% of exchange students are believed to gain full recognition and no necessity to take any additional courses or exams at the home institution for their period of studies abroad. It has shown that a lot needs to be done in the future. This is why ESN has decided to continue the project in 2010. The second edition of research will bring certain changes and developments to the project. In order to make it more representative, ambitious goals were set. It is planned to extend research to reach 300 universities and 3000 students (last year’s research data came from 100 universities and 2400 students). Moreover, a new qualitative questionnaire for National Agencies will be developed to a gain country-level point of view. Apart from subjects already covered by the previous edition, there are ECTS points, Learning Agreement negotiations, information provision and of course recognition, new issues will be taken into consideration. This year’s survey will examine the division of grants, their calculation and grades transfer. These matters are believed to be factors which often prevent students from going abroad. At the moment, the project is in its first phase. The International coordinator together with the research team, composed of motivated volunteers, are working on new questionnaires. Questionnaires will be made available online in January. This is when a work
Problems of Recognition in Making Erasmus
PRIME: ESN input into making the Erasmus Programme better.
of national and local coordinators starts. They will conduct the interview with National Agencies and promote the project at their home universities. Later on, data will be analyzed and published in the PRIME 2010 report. At the same time, a broad dissemination strategy will be launched. Local and national conferences will be organized in participating countries, with a focus on regional recognition problems, showing specific examples of both good and bad practices. The final conference summing up the results is taking place in Brussels in October. In order to make PRIME results more accessible to a wide range of students, a guidebook and a video guide will be produced. It will be a short, yet comprehensive publication, providing relevant information on recognition process and students rights and responsibilities in an attractive form. This all constitutes quite a big and ambitious project. So, is it really worth an effort, one may ask? The answer is yes! The project was trusted with a grant from European Commission, which means its goals are believed to be significant among EU decision makers. Secondly, this research may really help make Erasmus easier and more accessible to students, which is one of our main goals as ESNers! By each section putting a little effort we can all together create a complex report on the recognition situation throughout Europe and therefore provide the Commission with important advice on how to improve the Erasmus programme.
JUSTYNA PISERA PRIME COORDINATOR I come from Poland, where for almost 5 years I was a member of ESN local section at University of Lodz, and I was vice president in 2009. My academic background is Political Science and European Studies. I recently graduated and I am currently living in Brussels. I have spent one semester as an Erasmus student in Lyon, France, which I consider an unforgettable and enriching experience. However, as many other students, I didn’t avoid problems with recognition at my hometown university. This is why I strongly believe in the gravity of PRIME project. I really enjoy working on it, as I consider it an important initiative, which can help to raise the concern of problems of exchange students throughout Europe. I am happy to join multicultural team in ESN Office and the whole society in the capital of Europe. Travels were always one of my passions and challenging as it may be, living in other country for a longer period I consider even better!
PROJECTS & PARTNERS
Did you know that...?
ESN Slogan The slogan of ESN is ‘exchange your life’ but it could have been very different! How do you like the sound of the second and third place in the competition: “Europe- taste it with ESN” “ESN- the smile on your face” Do you know the name of the creator of our slogan? Valentina De Mari!
PRIME 2010... what’s new? ►► More representative – 300 Higher Education Institutions and 3000 students will participate in the research, comparing to 100 universities and 2400 students last year ►► More descriptive – an in-depth qualitative interviews with National Agencies will be conducted by national coordinators ►► More complex – new topics, there is grade transfer and Erasmus grants will be examined together with last years’ edition matters: information provision, ECTS, Learning Agreement and course recognition will be examined ►► More accessible – guidebook and video guide will be produced to make recognition process more understandable for students ►► More visible - national level conferences will be organised to present local results to country stakeholders
A STEP FURTHER?
1. Choose your local coordinator within an ESN section 2. Send his/her data to your National Representative 3. Contact your university, provide them with guidance and necessary information 4. Promote the project among former exchange students and encourage them to fill in the questionnaire
1. Become a National Coordinator in your country! 2. Help us coordinate the project on a national level, conduct an interview with your National Agency 3. Organize local or national dissemination conference about the results of the research in your country/city
ESN KOZMINSKI PRESENTS... Kozminski alternative trips
by: Justyna Marut
If you’re tired of the same old tour with some old boring guide... Let ESN Kozminski show you around! Here are some great events created by the Kozminski ESN team for the new Erasmus students! Warsaw Dessert Tour. The concept for this “field trip” was to indulge in our sweet tooth. The Wedel chocolate factory shop is located on Ul. Szpitalana. It was built in 1894 in a beautiful house by the confectionery manufacturer Emil Wedel. Inside the shop they offer candy by weight, heart shaped chocolates, handmade “Torcik Wedlowski”(a round wafer) and “Ptasie Mleczko” (Bird’s milk – chocolates with cream foam filling). But most importantly the best hot chocolate in the world... one might say... When we arrived we were shocked by the ambiance of the cafe. Almost everyone ordered hot chocolate and we shared Ptasie Mleczko. The hot chocolate choices were far too many (almost six whole pages of choices!!!) One word that was exclaimed for the next twenty minutes by everyone (as soon as the chocolate arrived) was YUM!! The second and final stop on the dessert tour was Blikley on Nowy Swiat. The shop has a pre war feel to it. Most of us ordered tea or coffee (still buzzed from the sugar at Wedel) and a few of us ordered the famous Blikle doughnuts with rose filling. (highly recommended) With the ambience of one of the most beautiful streets in Warsaw and being warmed by tea the group sat outside and enjoyed the weather, the dessert and Warsaw. This event – two thumbs way up! City Games. The City game concept was executed quite well. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet students from different Universities and different countries and work in teams to beat the others... depending on how competitive you are of course. The game was interesting and exciting! The games were held in the center of the city and the object of the game was similar to the Amazing Race or a treasure hunt. Groups of five-six people were given instructions on where to go and what to do. From sketching Kopernicus (one teams version was quite feminine looking) to running to McDonalds for a cheeseburger to getting the right dates figured out for the Warsaw Uprising... At the very end there was a bit of a mad dash to the finish line. The perfect ending to this event was at the Sheesha bar where some could gloat about winning, and repeat in a very loud voice of how much better their team was. The prizes were
pretty incredible too... All in all, I believe that the Erasmus students learnt a lot about Warsaw, a few things about team work, and the fact that Google can be used to find some of the answers.
Służewiec Racetrack. Sluzewiec is worth a trip! We met, we bet... we lost. But it was a great time anyway. The coolest part of this amazing tour was the fact that we were accompanied by a horse owner. He met us and gave us a VIP tour of the event. We were allowed to watch the horse track from the exclusive VIP room as well as enter the jockey room and were generally given loads of history about this wonderful place. Sluzewiec is over 70 years old and was the most modern and biggest tracks when it opened in 1939. We ended up watching two races in total. It was interesting to learn the complicated way on how to bet on a horse and how to choose... most of us were lost in this whole process but the weather was beautiful and there were many laughs to be had. On a non-horse racing related item, we had an opportunity to see as a group the biggest graffiti galleries in town (if not in Poland) on our way to the race track.
ESN UG GDANSK
Section in the Spotlight: November by: ESN UG Gdansk
We are ESN UG GDANSK – the section from the heart of northern Poland. Gdańsk is a very beautiful city, known not only for its historical and geographical attractions but also because of unique climate and atmosphere. Those are the reasons why a lot of European students choose Gdańsk as their destination for the Erasmus exchange. Our section joined ESN team in 2004 and since that time we have been doing our best to spread the ESN spirit among students and also to make ESN more recognizable and visible at the University. Nowadays, our section consist of around 30 people. Despite the fact, that there is not so many active members, we think that we make a lot of interesting and creative projects ,not only, but of course mainly for Erasmus students. And that is why we applied for “Section in the spotlight”. We take on many projects and always try to do new and exciting things. Recently, we have been preparing for celebrating Santa Claus’ Day and Christmas. Firstly – SocialErasmus and International Santa Clause. We have been visiting an orphanage in Sopot. Erasmus students prepared European lesson and now we focus on making Christmas decoration – ESN, international students and children form an orphanage-together and on the 12.12 we are having International Santa Clause celebration. Of course it is not going to be the end of our SocialErasmus visits as we are planning to have them all year long – just to bring smiles
to children faces and give the Erasmus students opportunity to do something for the others. Also this week we are having a Christmas Dinner – special meeting for Erasmus students which aim is to show them how we celebrate Christmas in Poland. We are going to cook traditional dishes together, decorate the Christmas tree and have a Christmas Karaoke. We have started to work on Discover Europe photo contest, which is going to take place at the beginning of the next year. We also have regular meetings of Each One Teach One, with games and a lot of fun for everyone who is willing to join us. At those meetings students have an opportunity to improve their English and get to know different cultures. Each month we are having a trip to a chosen destination – October it was Get to know Pomerania Weekend, November- Krakow and December – Warsaw. For January we are planning a sleigh ride as it has always been a huge success among Erasmus students – there is nothing like experiencing Polish winter in the country side. All in all, it is only a small fraction of activities which we take in our section. If you want to know more about our section check out our website: www.ug.esn.pl. We are glad that we could be the section in the spotlight it was an inspiration and good motivator for ESN UG Gdańsk section.
ESN SPAIN PRESENTS... IBIZA TRIP! by: Alejandro Rodriguez San José When you hear the word “Ibiza” the first image that comes to your mind is “clubbing”. It used to be the same for me because before joining this yearly National Event of ESN Spain I had never visited the island before. Everything changed for me four years ago, when I went to the island for the first time in my life. The Balearic islands are usually seen all around the world as a British/German holiday resort, where you can just burn your body on the beach during the day and “burn your mind” during the night; but apart from these stereotypes Ibiza is much more than that (and even more with the ESN spirit!). Why did I change my mind from “not being interested at all” to become a member of the Organising Committee of a +2500 people event for two consecutive years? Not only did the clubs exceed all my expectations, but also the incredible beaches with white sand and turquoise water, the nice tiny villages in the countryside, the uniqueness of the Spanish culture, the wildlife of the almost-virgin island of Formentera and, above all, the experience of enjoying the biggest trip in the world organized by a student association. Definitely this is a trip that you’ve to experience once in your life! Why you should take my word? Because I didn’t go to the island because of the clubs and my love for this event is not based in the Ibiza clubbing experience, but in the Ibiza ESN Experience! Second week of May the place to meet and relax for ESNners is Ibiza!
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
by: Rosana Cordaro & Sarah Van Hooreweder
It’s the land of chocolate, beer, fries. But does it also have anything else to offer? Definitely! Whether you go to the north or the south, there’s always something that will surprise you.
The northern part, Flanders, is proud of its medieval art cities. Starting with our “Venice of capital: Brussels the north” or Bruges, this little city with its canals language: French, Dutch, German is a romantic spot during summer and winter. Little houses and streets create a charming atmosphere, area: 30.528 km2 which attracts tourists from all over the world. If population: 10.58 million you go more to the east there’s Ghent, a vibrant student city, where culture meets party in a perfect combination. During hot days -yes we have them government: Federal Parliamentary too here- lots of people gather at Graslei to enjoy Democracy under a Constitutional the sun and drink something along the river. Next Monarchy to Ghent you’ll find Antwerp, the city of fashion. Six EU accession: 25th March 1957 big names in the fashion world are gathered here in one street. So it’s a good place to shop, but also to do some sightseeing or enjoy the nightlife in one of the many bars and clubs in the city centre. Only one hour away in Wallonia, you’ll find the rolling hills of the Ardennes with its castles and small villages with typical architecture. To some people it feels like being in a totally different country. The culture, houses and language are different, but that doesn’t mean that it has nothing to offer. In Liège there are every year in August the famous “fêtes du Péket”. It’s a three-day long folkloric festival where they drink one of Liège’s specialties: “jenever”, a typically Belgian alcoholic drink. Next to that it’s also worthwhile to visit Namur, a charming city with its citadel full of history and Tournai with its huge Belfort, that is designated as UNESCO World Heritage. In the middle you’ll find our cosmopolitan capital. Brussels is the headquarters of the European institutions and other very important organizations. The city has such a wide impact in the world that it has become an extremely attractive place for doing business. It’s also the place where the north and the south of our country are gathered in a melting pot of culture, people and traditions. In fact, Belgium is the perfect country to live. In one day it’s possible to ski in the Ardennes, followed by a business meeting in Brussels, and finish with an evening walk at the beach.
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
ESN BELGIUM ESN from the start
Did you know that...?
ESN International HQ
ESN is nowadays registered officially in Belgium, there is an ESN Office, an ESN House but... since when? Initially ESN was registered in Copenhagen, the big change was made with in 2005 when, for the first time, ESN had a seat in Brussels! The President and Vice President were the only people living in the office/house. Since 2007 five people of the Board are living at the ESN House and an ESN Office is also present. Do you want to know more? esn.org/content/esn-office esn.org/content/esn-house
In 1989 the first evaluation of the newly developed Erasmus Program took place in Ghent. That is when the idea of developing ESN started growing. We can thus proudly say that it has all started in Belgium. Now, more than 20 years after this date, ESN Belgium is a very happy member of the big ESN family: we have 7 healthy sections, fairly spread over our whole country (2 in Flanders, 2 in Brussels and 3 in Wallonia). Since last year we also have a National Board and our very first National Event took place in October 2010. 3 of our sections spent one of the -very few sunny- October days together in the Ardennes where they visited caves and went for a kayak trip. Next year all sections are looking forward to getting involved and we would be happy to host you â€“ ESN members from all over Europe â€“ as well. Our sections are very happily hosting several thousands of students each year. Since we are such a small country, sections often arrange activities together (for example, the infamous beer cantus of ESN Ghent and ESN Antwerp). They also guide each other around in their respective cities and they regularly visit the neighboring countries and their sections. For the future we are working on an even stronger cooperation between the sections in Belgium and on more involvement in international projects. Furthermore we hope to develop ESN sections in Leuven and Namur, two important cities that are still lacking a section.
ESN Belgium National Event
by: Ann-Sophie Vanderschueren
ESN Belgium is ready for the next 20 years. What about you?
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
by: Arum Sukmawanto
by: Rosanna Cordaro
For the Antwerpians, Antwerp is the center of Europe, if not the world. (we are not known for our modesty) Of course, we know that this isn’t true but with great beer, fashion, architecture, food and even diamonds, there is no denying that Antwerp is a great place to visit or even live in. The crew of ESN Antwerp are proud of their city and will do everything to make sure that exchange students that have chosen Antwerp for their exchange year, know how great the city really is. With activities such as citytours, pubcrawls, trips to other Belgian cities, brewery visits, cantusses, parties and many, many more, we make sure that the students are never bored and are able to experience Belgium like a local.
We are a young section as we officially started 5 years ago. Although our crew is small, we are a very active and motivated. Some of our members had an Erasmus experience and others went abroad for voluntary projects. So sharing those experiences is central! Our goal is to make the stay of Erasmus students in Brussels pleasant and to let them have fun, learn our culture as well as those of other Erasmus students. In general we want them to have an incredible life changing experience! The first big activity is the Welcome Week. Through this week Erasmus students get to know the city, other Erasmus students, but also the local students. It’s a week consisted of a guided tour of Brussels, different games in the whole city and of course a big party! The city offers a wide range of cozy cafes. Our ESN pub crawl has always been very successful! So what will it be, a Blanche, a Kriek or a Lambic? There is just something about Belgium. We take our Erasmus students to the north (Antwerp, Bruges, Leuven and Ghent) and to the south (Liege, Namur, Dinant and Tournai). When doing so, we contact other Belgian ESN sections for some tricks and tips about their city. Belgium is well located when you want to travel in Europe. We organize also city trips to Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Cologne and so one! For our typical country nights we ask help from our Erasmus students! They decide with us what is going to happen, which music to play and so on! During those nights everyone can taste some typical food and drinks. And so we organize every Tuesday a country night. Other activities our museums, kayak, visiting the European Parliament and many more parties! After reading this article you should definitely come visit us! You’ll be more than welcome! Your fresh Belgian beer is waiting for you!
ESN, in the heart of Europe!
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
ESN GENT by: ESN Ghent Recently awarded the 7th place in “Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities for 2011”, Ghent has proven to be an excellent place to go on Erasmus! You can immerse yourself in history by strolling around the medieval city centre, do some cultural exploration in one of the cultural centres or museums, and enjoy life to the fullest in the vibrant student areas. Every year, the energetic team of ESN Gent introduces about one thousand exchange students to every facet of Ghent student life and Belgian culture by organizing a whole variety of activities. This can go from attending a baroque concert, going on a World War I trip and joining the annual Ghent Museum Night, to visiting a Belgian brewery and enjoying an ESN Cantus (a typical Flemish tradition). Trips to other Belgian cities, such as Bruges, Brussels and Antwerp, are also frequently organised, guided by the ESN Gent members themselves or in cooperation with one of the other Belgian sections. Every semester, ESN Gent spends some days in the beautiful southern part of Belgium during our famous Weekend to the Ardennes! There, we combine nature, culture, Belgian cuisine and beverages with pure ESN fun! Mind you, we do not stay within our national borders! Since the ESN Gent team breathes the international spirit, we sometimes leave our beloved country to take the exchange students on a romantic trip to Paris or on a journey to youthful Amsterdam. Christmas shopping in Cologne is on our annual to do-list as well! This year, the ESN Gent team has welcomed an almost entirely new board, with whose fresh spirits and inexhaustible enthusiasm we try our best to follow in the footsteps of our predecessors and continue to make the exchange students feel at home in our wonderful city and give them an international experience they will never forget!
ESN LIÈGE by: Jonathan Desdemoustier There is an Esn section in Liège, Lüttich, Luik,… for all the students of the university. Esn Ulg (University of Liège) was born 2 years ago. Our section is very young but we are already legendary in the city. Our team consists of 15 students and we’re a close bunch of friends. Traditionally in the beginning of each semester there’s a welcoming barbecue 3 days before the start of the academic year. Next to that we also organize some sightseeing tours at the university and in the city. All of this ends in a crazy boat party on the Maas River. Each month we organise for the students an Erasmus party. It’s a unique occasion to meet all the international students during a party in “Point of view”, our partner café in “the square”. That place is student’s heaven, it’s a district where 6 streets contain all the student’s pubs. When you enter the square for a party, you are sure to meet all your friends but you will also have a nice reminder the next morning.. a splitting headache. The pubs in the city never close so prepare yourself for a crazy night! Next to that we also have a cultural agenda. Every year we organize 2 travels to Paris and Berlin. We also organize an opera night where students can visit the backstage, assist at the representation and have a free drink during the break. And we’re also present one day during the Belgian carnival. Last WEP, where we had an interesting and crazy experience, was our first encounter with the international side of ESN. So from now on we’re definitely present on international events. But on the other side, we’ll happily organize a sightseeing tour of the city. So if you decide to come to Belgium, we are ready to receive you…
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
ESN LOUVAIN - LA - NEUVE
by: Caroline Braibant
Louvain-La-Neuve is a small town near Brussels. If you wanna live the student and Erasmus experience 100%, LLN is the right town for you. It is not very big : you don’t need any public transport to get from one place to another. It feels like living in a big village with all of your friends ! You can also travel cheap and easy within Belgium. But more about ESN LLN : We’re a young and pretty small section whose main activity is to PARTY !!! Living on a campus the scale of a town, it’s impossible to stay at home every night and get bored. There is a big party every night of the week in a different area of town. We go out in places called “cercles” which is run by students from faculties or regional groups. Tired of dressing up to be able to get in a club? Well, that won’t happen in LLN. You go out in old jeans and dirty old shoes, because after all you’re out to party, not to impress. And you know very well you’ll probably end up drenched in beer so why bother? Naturally, ESN LLN organizes special parties for its exchange students, like international dinners, beer tasting, trips… as all the ESN sections do. But the special thing is that our everyday life itself is a huge party. And as the city is very small and that everyone goes out more or less at the same places, it’s easy to keep in touch. Of course, it’s not all or nothing. If you’re not really the type of person that goes out a lot, than you can still join us on our ESN trips and other activities to enable you to meet other exchange students. We also have a cinema and regular pubs and cafés, so you can lead a (more or less) normal life! Next there are students associations around town that allow you to do pretty much everything, from renting mangas or board games, to rowing or learning circus tricks… Our section always tries its best to provide the exchange students with as much information as possible during our Welcome Week. And to make them feel at home at once, we organize pick-ups at the airports and train stations. In short, it’s impossible to feel lonely in LouvainLa-Neuve.
TOAD IN THE HOLE AVY WITH ROASTED ONION GR by: Leo Smith This is truly one of my favourite English dishes and something that most people grow up loving. It is warming and homely dish from the humble origins of British cooking. It combines a light, crispy, crunchy batter and meaty pork sausages all moistened with a generous amount of roasted-onion gravy.
WHAT DO YOU NEED? Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
400g good quality pork sausages (6 approximately) 75g plain Flour 1 large egg 75ml semi-skilled milk Salt and black pepper 55ml water
225g onions, peeled and sliced 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp mustard powder 425ml vegetable stock 1 tbsp plain flour
PREPARATION IN 9 STEPS! 1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 220°C. 2. Begin by making the batter. Sieve the flour into a large bowl and with the back of a spoon, make a well in the centre, break the egg into it and add some seasoning. 3. Measure the milk and water in a measuring jug and then using a whisk begin to whisk the egg into the flour – as you whisk, the flour around the edges will slowly be incorporated. Then you need to add the liquid gradually to the mixture. Whisk until the batter is smooth and then it is ready for use. 4. Place the sliced onions on a baking tray place on a high shelf in the oven. 5. Next you need to arrange the sausages in the roasting tin and place on a lower shelf in the oven for 10 minutes. After this time you need to remove the sausages from the oven, but leave for the onions for 5 minutes longer. When they are ready, remove them and leave to one side. 6. Now place the roasting tin containing the sausages over direct heat turned to medium and, if the sausages haven’t released much fat, add the tablespoon of oil. When the tin is really hot and the oil is beginning to shimmer, quickly pour the batter in all around the sausages. Immediately return the roasting tin to the oven, this time on the highest shelf, and cook the whole thing for 30 minutes. 7. Lastly for onion gravy you need to first add the Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder to the stock, then add the onions from the baking tray to a medium-sized pan. Then using a wooden spoon stir in the plain flour. Stir all this together over a medium heat and then switch to a whisk, then gradually add the stock to the pan, whisking all the time, until it’s all in. 8. Gently simmer the grave for 5 minutes and taste to check the seasoning and then pour into a serving jug. 9. When the toad in the hole is ready, it should be puffed brown and crisp and the centre should look cooked and not too squidgy. Serve it immediately with the gravy, and it’s absolutely wonderful with mashed potato.
SUMMER CAMP IN LITHUANIA Let‘s gather the sections together!
by: Aušra Balandyte, Monika Lapenaite Many of us go to summer camps when we are children. And why can’t we turn back the time a bit and have something similar when we grow up? We did! On 20th – 22nd of August, 2010 ESN KTU section for the first time organized SUMMER CAMP for all seven ESN Lithuania sections! It was decided to gather all of them together and spend the time efficiently! Therefore, teambuilding was the main goal. So, let’s introduce the programme so that every reader of this article can feel the power of the SUMMER CAMP and ESN.
mainly for the new members of ESN. During the second meeting, day Algirdas Karalius (famous motivator in Lithuania) organized a teambuilding seminar. Every ESN Lithuania section had to define its concrete future goals. These tasks have been very important for planning further events, projects and other significant matters. There were many trust challenges organised like walking on hot coals and broken glass. Also, participants tried to pass the labyrinth as a team, lose the fear of falling and trust in the team! It was very exciting for everyone to test their mental and physical strength!
During the first day, the participants of this event played lots of introduction games, which was very useful for setting the appropriate mood for the coming days. After getting to know each other, there was time for everyone to enjoy. The fanatical believers of the second religion of Lithuania (basketball, of course!) could invade the basketball court. Passionate football players managed to make a team for their favourite game. And some people preferred to have something else, such as volleyball. Running in the field, supporting your friend was followed by the presentation of ESN, which was
Everything was summarized during the last day of SUMMER CAMP. ESN sections which were the best during various tournaments and team games were awarded. As a consequence of the entire programme, the time was spent really jovially: many people shared their ideas, got to know each other better and many future plans were made. The aims are waiting to be realised, so it was not the end, but the beginning of other great ideas! Moreover, now the idea to make SUMMER CAMP international next year is being considered!
We will keep you updated!
...if you feel lonely while being on Erasmus by: Monika Lapenaite A young girl is sitting alone outside the café. You can also see a young, but sad guy sitting behind his glass wall. That was the beginning of the movie advertising the event Wild Dates. However, the beginning of it was completely different from what was happening on the evening of 21st October, 2010. Do you know why? We will tell you! ESN Vilnius University invited everyone to participate in a new kind of game / competition. Even though the tasks were kept in secret till very end, exchange students were active while registering from the first days. So, we would like to share our ideas with you, dear ESN members! In order to make the couples, participants were asked to answer the questions given by members of the other gender. The girls were mostly interested in the guy’s opinion of the perfect date and place for it. Meanwhile guys were asking how far a girl would go on a wild date or what kind of present would make her happy. The answers were both serious and funny. For example, a girl, who was asked what she is looking for in a man, answered: “The man must be intelligent, interesting, have a good sense of humour, he must be communicative, persistent and attractive and it is a huge advantage if he is interested in music or arts…” Isn’t that a perfect description of an ESN’er? So, it was not too difficult to find a partner for everyone. We even found his Mary Jane for the guy who claimed that if he needed to choose what hero he would like to be, he would prefer becoming Spiderman – an ordinary dude with extraordinary capabilities. Various capabilities could be demonstrated during the event. As a warm-up, the girls were asked to do the ties for the boys. It was quite easy, maybe, except for participants who showed the willingness to have one girl and two boys in a couple! The ones, who did not succeed in this task, could show their best while dancing on the newspapers. Sounds easy? Keep in mind that the newspaper needed to be folded time by time! Moreover, do you still remember the couple with three people? At some point girls needed to “invest the money” into guys by hiding them in various places. They were fast! And they were strong while trying to pop the balloons between the stomachs too. Of course, not all the tasks were requiring physical strength. We know that mind power is also very important! For example, do you know how you would behave if you call your girlfriend by a different name? Or how would the guys get out of the situation if they forgot the wallet after they invited the girl to a quite an expensive restaurant? After this task, participants claimed that they will check if they have their wallet ten times before the date rather than experience that in real life! During Wild Dates it was remembered that not only people fall in love. Participants justified their name of “Wild Daters” by expressing their love in the language of monkeys, lions, rabbits, fish etc. What else? We will leave it to your imagination about what the wild final dances were like. However, if you like the main idea of the event just spread it! ESN Vilnius University says: “Mentorship rocks – let’s get rocked together!” This time let’s say: “ESN rocks – let’s rock together!”
PROJECTS & PARTNERS
CODENAME: SECTION GUIDE
The Section Guide will help you to find the way in ESN! by: Veeli Oeselg From the first approved project idea until now, one year has passed. A high number of ESN members have contributed to this project at different stages and now we can say that in beginning of 2011 the Section Guide will be finally published! The Section Guide is a manual for all ESN sections. It contains information on how to work as an ESN section and how to manage all its different activities. Moreover, also ESN as a network, its benefits and possibilities for sections are explained. The aim of the guidebook is to help ESNers to lead the sections and give them hints to conduct all their activities in a successful manner. It is based on theoretical educative information combined with best practice examples from all over the network. Interested in knowing about the topics? The guide will deal with various topics such us organisational management, human resources, project and event management, basic finances. We will also provide some general information about ESN and the current educational policies in Europe. But to find out more, just have look yourself in the Section Guide, when it will be released! How did we do it? As you have read above, a very important goal of the Section Guide is to write down the best knowledge which you could use in a section. Even if the team members are experienced, we have found out that sections would help us with collecting ESN knowledge and that is why we came up with the idea of Best Practices Competition. There is our unique post-process where we selected the best from your best practices and put it into the SG where all ESNers could read it. Last but not least - if you share your knowledge with ESN you might win beautiful prizes! The final ceremony of the competition will be held at CND Milan! So,would you like to know something about us? The core team of the project is composed out of four members and we are all typical ESNers! Veeli Oeselg, is the former Vice President of ESN International and coordinator of the Section Guide project. Veeli is a small gourment and in fact considers the dinner the highlight of each day. She also loves traveling, but this is normal for the ESNers. Tania Berman, is the NR of France and responsible for the communication in the project team. Martin Sinal, member of the Czech National Board, is responsible for the Best Practice Story competition. Martin loves beer and especially Pilsen Urquell. Nikolas Spanoudakis, ESN Ioannina member, is responsible for the structure. Nikolas, like Veeli, loves travelling and after visiting Martin enjoys every single pint of Pilsen Urquell. Orestis Vlahos, member of NTUA Athens, helps us with the graphics and the design of the guidebook. So, be prepared for February 2011. Then the Section Guide will be released!
ESN ISC MU BRNO
Section in the Spotlight: January by: ESN ISC MU BRNO The Section in the Spotlight for January is ISC MU Brno. The ESN Team of ISC MU Brno currently consists of 50 members who are happily working for the exchange students and organize cultural, sportive, educational and party events on a daily basis to offer the exchange a wide variety and make sure that they are not bored during their stay in the Czech Republic. Next to pub quizzes, movie nights, sports competitions and a tandem program, they also have language courses taught by their exchange students to offer interested people free language courses. This semester people could learn Czech, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, English and even Chinese. Apart from that the Erasmus and their countries are introduced in a weekly radio show where you can also listen to typical music of the countries. But this is not the only way exchange students can take part in the program of the ISC. A very popular event is “Erasmus got talent”, organized by exchange students, where everyone gets the chance to show what they got and perform on stage. Another event where the exchange students play a big role is the “Youth for you(th)” festival, organized together with YMCA, in order to show, that young people do care about their culture and that they are very active. The Erasmus people have one stage in the city centre, where they again can show some performances, also typical ones from their countries and they also help in organizing the festival. A very special event of ISC MU Brno is connected to a medieval castle. The Hartenberg castle was severely damaged by a fire in 1985 and the section agreed on helping to rebuild the ruins as a Social Erasmus project together with the exchange students. But the students do not only rebuild the castle, but also organized a special evening for kids on Halloween, where they played ghosts and creepy creatures to give the children a big scare. In return for their help, the students got the chance to stay at the castle and they were accommodated in the ruins for free and were able to experience the life of the Medieval times, which can be very challenging in the winter, as there is no proper heating system. The exchange students had so much fun, that they asked for a repetition of the event, even though it is winter.
SPOLEČNĚ DOBIJEME SVĚT!
by: Ladislav Vlcek
Vážený čtenáři, moje jméno je International Student Club CTU in Prague, o. s. (pro přátelé zkráceně ISC z ČVUTu) a ke své radosti jsem dostal v současném vydání časopisu Buddy Up prostor, abych se trochu představil i na VŠE. Tak tedy něco o mě. Jsem kosmopolitní, otevřený a přátelský studentský klub, který funguje od roku 1999. Od té doby díky podpoře úžasného Odboru mezinárodních styků naší univerzity, troše štěstí a zejména díky práci mých zapálených členů velmi dobře prospívám a takříkajíc rostu do krásy a moudrosti. Jelikož mám týmového ducha, spolupracuji i s dalšími kluby v ČR i celé Evropě, dokonce jsem v roce 2002 dovedl ČR do ESN. Jsem sice skromný, ale i přesto se musím pochválit - za svou práci jsem stihl získat během doby svého působení řadu ocenění, např. roku 2005 cenu EU LABEL za inovativní jazykové programy nebo v roce 2008 Cenu Karla Velikého v ČR. Letos v červnu se u mě stavili na setkání CNR zástupci všech zemí z ESN a prý se jim tu moc líbilo! Mým hlavním posláním je podpora zahraničních studentů, kteří přijíždějí z celého světa (ročně kolem 650) studovat do školních lavic ČVUT v Praze. Dnes mám víc než 100 aktivních členů včetně několika zahraničních dobrovolníků a mohu říct, že mnozí z nich se mnou tráví spoustu svého volného času a vkládají velké úsilí do toho, abych se dále rozvíjel a zlepšoval. Musím zdůraznit, že jsou skvělá parta a jak sami tvrdí, také se díky mě ledasčemu naučili a potkali spoustu skvělých lidí. Aby vše fungovalo, mám k dispozici také více než 250 „buddies“ – českých studentů, kteří pomáhají těm zahraničním nejen v začátcích v České republice. Jak je známo, pilně seznamují zahraniční nováčky s pražskými výčepy, studentskými párty a dalšími krásami života na ČVUT. Co dělám během semestru, když už se všichni znají, ničeho nebojí a mohli by se začít nudit? Nejprve pošlu cizince prozkoumat naší vlast - výlety na jižní Moravu, do Karlových Varů, Plzně, Liberce, Kutné Hory, Českého Krumlova i jinam jsou vždy narvané, dokonce si rádi nechají nadávat ve středověké krčmě v Dětenicích! Aby ČR neomrzela, jedeme i do Budapeště, Dráždan nebo Krakova. Studenti mezi sebou cizími jazyky nejen mluví, ale dokonce se je i vzájemně zdarma učí, například tento semestr patnáct jazyků! Při kurzech jako je Café Lingea či při Tandem programu to jde samo. Pro Čechy, co by také chtěli zkusit být ten „Erasmák“, se koná Study Abroad Fair. A mimoto samozřejmě nechybí pravidelné sporty, tematické večery i nějaké to umění. Už je toho moc? V takovém případě, je tu možnost dát si pauzu na červené pohovce v mém centru na Masarykově koleji, nebo na Strahově. Když přijdou studené podzimní večery, skončí se zase někde u piva. Hlavně ve středu, když se konají vyhlášené prezentacemi zemí výměnných studentů následované mezinárodním mejdanem. Můžeš se zúčastnit i ty, takže doufám, že se někde potkáme osobně!
TOGETHER WE CONQUER THE WORLD!
ISC CTU Prague
by: Ladislav Vlcek
Dear reader, My name is International Student Club CTU in Prague, o.s. (for friends just ISC from CTU) and it is my pleasure to introduce myself in the current issue of BudyUp magazine. Well, something about me. I am a cosmopolitan, open and friendly student club that has been active since 1999. Thanks to the Department of International Relations of CTU, a little fortune and especially work of my enthusiastic members I have grown up and I am doing great. As I have a team spirit, I do cooperate with other clubs in the Czech Republic and whole Europe. I am modest but in spite of that I must boast about myself – during the time of my existence I received couple of awards, e.g. EU LABEL award for innovative language programmes (2005) and Karel Veliký award (2008). In June this year I was visited by representants of ESN countries and they liked it here very much! My main duty is to support foreign students who come from round the world (yearly around 650 people) to study on CTU in Prague. Today I do have about 100 active members including several international students and I should say they spend a lot of time with me and put very much effort to make me develop and improve my skills. I have to say they are great team together and as they confirm, they learn thanks to me a lot and meet great people too. So that everything works well I have more than 250 “buddies” on hand. These are Czech students who take care of foreign students when they begin to study here. As you might know they really like showing local pubs, parties and other beauties of student life on CTU. What is my job when everybody knows each other, stress is gone and people are getting bored? At the beginning I send exchange students to learn about interesting places in our country – trips to South Moravia, Karlovy Vary, Pilsen, Český Krumlov and other places are always full, the students even let the staff at the middle age-styled pub Detenice yell at them! Not to make exchange students bored, I do organize trips to Cracow, Budapest or Dresden for them. Students do have opportunity not only to use foreign languages, but also to teach each other, this semester, for example, fifteen languages! Thanks to programmes such as Café Lingea or Tandem it is a piece of cake for everyone. For those local students who would like to be Erasmus students, traditional Study Abroad Fair takes place. Except for this there is a little bit of sport, art or special theme sessions. If someone is tired already then there is a possibility to relax on my red sofa in Masarykova dormitory or Strahov office. As soon as there are cold autumn evenings, people end up at some beer places. Especially on Wednesday, because this day is dedicated to famous presentations prepared by international students followed by parties. You can also participate and I hope we will meet there in person soon!
Did you know that...?
eXpress is not the first Magazine of ESN. The previous one was called InCommon and was mostly an e-magazine, reachable at the address incommon.info (now not working anymore). But hey... happy birthday! eXpress is at its 10th edition!
PROJECTS & PARTNERS
ALUMNI MEETING DRESDEN When the opportunity to experience what ESN Alumni has to offer to those who have passed on through to the other side was offered, I was intrigued to find out what they were doing and whether the ESN spirit still lives on. So I joined a band of merry men from Belgium on an epic road trip to Germany. This three day event in the heart of Saxony was the largest alumni meeting to date with over 20 people attending from all over Europe, and suitably supported by ESN TU Dresden, ESN HTW Dresden and the ESN Deutschland Alumni. The event was the perfect mix of culture, social activities and work. On Friday the participants experienced a relaxing and beautiful steamboat journey navigating the river Elbe to the castle of Pillnitz in the glorious October sunshine, offering people an insight into the Saxon culture and nature. This was followed by a guided tour of the Altstadt by the erudite and informative Mathias Kissig. The opportunity to see the renovated and rebuilt Baroque architecture with its rich history was a pleasure for all in attendance. But, with so much walking and sightseeing people got hungry. So there was nothing better than dinner at “Watzke” a restaurant belonging to a local brewery offering typical Saxon food and its own delicious beer. With full stomachs the participants were free to enjoy the rest of the night... and I can vouch for the fact that the alumni still know how to party
ALUMNI AND ME
by: Leo Smith
in the ESN style: ‘it’s like learning to ride a bike’ one of the alumni commented. The next day was full of plenaries and presentations and there many things to discuss for the alumni. They are relatively new in their current structure and with this large group of people they had a great opportunity to come together and begin to discuss the big questions: who are we? What is our purpose? What are the plans for the future? The meeting provided them with many answers to these questions and new ideas about to progress. Also, Nick Andries was elected as the fourth coordinator in alumni board. And perhaps most importantly, it was agreed that the next meeting would take place in the Ardennes, Belgium. After attending this meeting I began to realize what ESN Alumni is really about- keeping the link with old friends, keeping the spirit of ESN alive, keeping up the travelling and intercultural exchange, and supporting the network… but doing it in a more chilled out and relaxed way. And after attending so many events where I only had the pleasure of seeing airport, train station and university interiors, it was fantastic to be an ESNer and tourist at the same time. I actually felt like I experienced the city and would love do this more often…
by: Nick Andries
The ESN Alumni aren’t dead. They might be old, or at least older, but they’re very much alive, and they might even surprise you with latenight experienced survival techniques. Recently, a new wind is blowing through the organization. We find ourselves on the verge of a new era, an era where the professionalism of ESN International must reflect on all its aspects, including the Alumni. You notice me writing with capital letters when I refer to them. This is not because it’s a higher power or something, it’s just that it looks a hell of a lot better. Experience, they can bring you that. They might know who’s who in your section, in your city, they might have done things or seen things that you cannot or should not imagine. In this new era, they will for sure keep on sharing just that, making Erasmus richer inside. That’s pallomeri for you. A word from our past but a meaning for the present. Share, enjoy, make the whole experience richer for yourself, for ESN, and of course for those thousands of students who rely on you during their stay in a foreign country. I feel inclined to quote some famous people here who had a thing or two to say about age. Stuff like ‘growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional’, or ‘one is not old until regrets take the place of dreams’. I for one don’t regret much. I have given and I have received, and since growing up is indeed optional, I continue to do so. The same thing can be said for most of the ESN Alumni, I suppose. Take a look at ESN events, and check the history of some of the people standing there on the stage, looking official, looking damn good: these people have been around, and still go around. I won’t look at the sex of these individuals because that would bring me in a dangerous zone, at least one too tricky as long as I am throwing compliments and flowers around. So, what’s next? Well, the Alumni meetings are regular events now, honouring most traditions of ESN events. We have meetings, but the emphasis is definitely on the fun part. Eurodinners, parties, cultural visits, all that stuff. There is of course a serious side, where we’ll try to make a standing presence during the AGM and on the platforms, and where we will prove that ‘old wine is best to drink’, or ‘you learn how to ride better on an old bike’. We are not a cult, so there’s no such thing as impossible integration. Therefore we encourage everybody with a heart for ESN to join us after their active ESN life. Maybe just to know how things evolve in the Erasmus environment, maybe to see friends you made and who think that the Alumni network is as good a place as any to reunite, or maybe just because it’s the perfect excuse to get out of your everyday life, marriage, or rusty friends (motion to strike this last remark – sustained). I will see you all soon, and I hope on many occasions in the future. In the mean time, pallomeri to you, or palumnimeri or something like that.
SWEP 2010, PADOVA
A group of Frenchies at SWEP’10, Padova by: Amandine Schoffen The SWEP 2010, which took place in Padova, Italy from the 25th to the 29th of November 2010, welcomed 13 different countries from Spain to Macedonia, Switzerland to Bosnia, Finland to Slovenia, and a group of fourteen Frenchies coming from Dijon, Besançon, Lyon, Paris, Troyes, Nancy, Strasbourg and Ales. Seven of them decided to start the weekend by meeting the night before openingday to travel together. As they planned everything beforehand, they were not expecting their weekend to start with a Lyon-Besançon round-trip during the night for two of them. Indeed, one Bisontin (name of people living in Besançon) forgot his ID in his room, which would have probably prevented him from boarding. Thanks to the friend of one of the SWEPers who agreed to lend his car, our two friends were able to go get the ID card through the night, and arrived on time to meet their friends about to leave for the airport. After a long trip by plane, bus and tram, they arrived in Padova for the first day of SWEP’10. This opening day was probably a way to relax before starting plenaries and long days of work. Two tours of the city were proposed to the earliest SWEPers to arrive, followed by an official welcome conference, a dinner and welcome party. After an evening of getting to know each other, the SWEPers 2010 were officially ready to start SWEP’10. The three main days of the weekend were divided into all-day plenary sessions, workshops and needed coffee-breaks. Topics such as ESN committees, ESN International, best practices of each section or important projects such as Social Erasmus were on the spot. Evening events were also planned with the popular Eurodinner which allowed people to discover food specialties from every represented countries and helped them getting closer, or a dinner in a Pizzeria. The OC also organized a visit of Venice full of surprises with not only workshops but also stories, gondola and culinary specialties. After four delighting but tiring days, on Monday November 29th, SWEPers had to say goodbye to their new friends from all over Europe. We are all thankful to the great job the OC did and are now looking forward to the next international event!
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
by: ESN Spain
Still not decided where to go for your next trip? Have you ever been to Spain? Have you ever heard what it is famous for? Sure you have... because... who hasn´t heard about Gaudi, Dali, Picasso, Almódovar, Cervantes, Flamenco, Barça, Real Madrid?
PASSPORT capital: Madrid language: Spanish, Catalan, Basque & Galician
area: 504,030 km2 During the last four decades the Spanish tourism population: 46 million industry has grown to become the second biggest in the world . Spain is known for its culturally diverse heritage, having been influenced by many nations government: Parliamentary democracy and peoples throughout its history. Spanish culture and constitutional monarchy has its origins in the Iberian, Latin, Visigoths, EU accession: 1st January 1986 Roman Catholic and Islamic cultures. In addition, the history of the nation and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played strong roles in shaping its culture. After Italy, Spain has the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world!!! Due to historical, geographical and generational diversity, Spanish art has known a great number of influences. The Moorish heritage in Spain, especially in Andalusia, is still evident today in cities like Cordoba, Seville and Granada. Spanish music is often considered abroad to be synonymous with flamenco. Nevertheless, thousands of music fans also travel to Spain each year for internationally recognised summer music festivals Sonar, Primavera Sound or Benicassim, where you may find indie rock and electronic Spanish artists. Both festivals mark Spain as an international music presence and reflect the tastes of young people in the country. In the eyes of people outside the country, Spain remains mysterious. Among the most prominent Spaniards many of them are fictional like Don Juan, Don Quijote or Carmen. Fiestas and flamenco tempt of expressive and irresistible exotics, enriched with influences from outside the Europe. The population of Spain have a rich diversity of cultures, languages and climates, from subtropical south, suffused with the smell of sweet pomegranate and hibiscus, to the emerald north with heather and deep fjords. We can assign to Spain two inseparable elements. The first one is the light-sunlight, the gold glow, which is present in each city. The second element is a unique, omnipresent vitality, noticed in cafes, among strolling crowds on Sunday´s evenings and enthusiastic festive parades and processions etc. This is Spain, it illuminates wide landscapes with its optimism, and... waiting for you!!!
BIENVENIDO A ESPAÑA!!
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
by: ESN Spain
At present, ESN Spain is a fast growing family, passing, during the last National Platform, from 23 to 28 sections, and more applications are waiting for the next National Platform, which will take place in Barcelona in three months. We used to meet twice a year, but since the topic list was growing more than the time available to discuss them, we decided to create a third NP in the middle of the year. Also, we all meet in the three National Events that are organized during the year: two in the Spanish mainland, the other one in the great white island: Ibiza. Our National Board is based on 9 members: President, Vice-president, Secretary, Treasurer, Webmaster, External Relations, NR, Vice-NR and a member supporting special tasks. Some of them are also involved in international Committees. Among our particular aspects we have a special system of accepting new sections: the process is supervised by the vice-president with the help of the NR, from legal documents till the organisation of the section-to-be. Also, to support the current sections, we have created a credit system of lending money with the aim of helping our sections to develop their projects. Nowadays, international projects are getting more and more important in our ESN lives. Most of the former sections participated in PRIME 2009, and we even had a conference organized and we have got ready full enthusiastic participation in PRIME 2010. Apart from that, we are creating our own Social Erasmus project, touching different aspects of what could be considered social. Also, we have sections highly interested in ExchangeAbility, due to the growing number of disable students coming to some of our universities.
Did you know that...? You used to be able to chat every Thursday with the Executive Board between 6-7pm on the chat room of www.esn.org. Let us know if you want it back ;)
To sum up, even if we are still learning how to manage a country growing this fast, we are doing our best to follow its lead, providing help and support to the sections needing it, caring about the international level and the courage of a motivated National Board in love with the ESN spirit!
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
BLOOD DONATION ESN Spain National Project
by: Carlos Jover Micó For a very long time, there have been several little projects in Spain, some ‘social’ actions, largely unrelated and still waiting for a name to be given. Different sections, such as ESN UAM and ESN UAB have organized at some point parties where the money from the entrance was given to different projects. On the other hand, ESN UAM organizes the ‘operación kilo’ with the aim of donating long lasting food to NGOs. Other sections as ESN VALLADOLID or ESN MURCIA have organized blood donation events. This last activity brought to us by Alicia Macanás (Social Erasmus coordinator) and me, Carlos Jover, was the perfect idea for a different kind of ‘national event’: The ESN Blood Donation Day, when all the ESN sections in Spain went to give their blood. Moreover, Spain is the first country in blood and organ donation. For that aim, we contacted all Red Cross delegations in our ESN cities. They immediately we fell in love with the idea, and they gave us facilities to organize concerts, competitions, give presents, such as cinema tickets, T-shirts, etc. We just had to present it at the Granada National Platform, and to choose the date. So, we decided to plan 2 different events: a preevent and the real event. The pre-event became a reality on the 24th November. The sections had to start getting to know the process and could get the feedback from the Erasmus students to improve the experience for the following and real Blood Donation National Event by ESN España. The real National Event will take place on 23th March 2011. We are trying to get as many sponsors as we can, local and national media such as television, newspapers, etc. We will also make a lot of merchandising for the participants. Because, apart from the social task, the aim is also to “clean” the image of the exchange students, and try to relate ESN to something else apart from parties. We expect a huge participation of all the Erasmus students and a bigger involvement of their sections. It’s a project in which we are investing loads of energy and thrill, as we know we can help people that really need it. Check esn-spain.org website, “ESN Solidario”. There’s a video waiting for you.
The Erasmus Backpacker by: Sagrario Losada Martin The path taken in the 80’s by the ERASMUS STUDENT NETWORK of the Autonomous University of Madrid could be qualified today as that of the “Erasmus Backpacker”. All of us, both the teaching staff and students, enthusiastically adopted this extraordinary project, visiting European countries in order to convince the Erasmus students and show them that there was and still is space for it in our universities. Its objective is based on a very valuable quality for Humanity: the meeting of cultures, languages, music, poetry, science, ethnic groups and the colours that make up the Human mosaic. The universities have changed since they began to interrelate beyond academic subjects. For ten years we have worked so that you, besides learning indepth grammatical Spanish, also learn to read, interpret and, with your contribution, enrich our universal works of literature and philosophy as well as our universal authors. Since the start of the 2010/2011 academic year, the Department of Social Anthropology and Spanish Philosophic Thinking, in collaboration with ESN UAM-SPAIN, have acknowledged a Spanish Support Course based on Hermeneutics (interpretation of texts) for the purpose of contributing brilliance to our universal Spanish language, third in number of speakers in the world. It was the interconnection of young generations that has gave this extraordinary characteristic to the university community of ESN UAM. The person speaking to you is a girl of ’68 who left Spain for the first time to go to Paris to feel something new, such as what was happening in the Champs de Mars. In that beautiful area of Paris, named after the god of war, we would meet to fill our lives with new ideas. All of us who met with the intellectuals and students there concentrated, realized that we have to claim the future as something that belongs to young people, who are the most vulnerable to their destiny if their States abandon them. You are people that fill the world with colour, light, music, poetry, science and finally with a whole life project. I wish you a happy event and ask you to embrace each other in a project of peace.
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
A new way of cooperation
by: Alicia Macanás
I was cleaning the office the other day when I suddenly opened a dusty folder. It was a humongous surprise to find a university document of 1997 about ESN UAB – autonomous university, then named “ESN Barcelona”, and it’s way of working, when Facebook wasn’t even in existence. The Trip Questionnaires, that we usually distribute to fill in the bus after the trips, already contained stereotypically hilarious answers. So much time has passed since the establishment of ESN in the greater Gaudi city, and nothing could compare the good old times of our grandpas... Until a couple of years ago. In that time, there was only one section within 1 university moving the thousands students from all over the world in the 8 universities of Barcelona… and, of course that wasn’t an easy task! So, when we first heard of the new sections coming, we opened up our arms and we integrated them into our ESN lifestyle, receiving the best feedback from them. We brought them into our legendary trips, into our bingo activities in the bus, our megaphone’s curse nightmare (all ESNers know it will always get stolen by a crazy student!), our legendary monthly parties in BeCool, our close relations with the students, so we could make them live the best year of their lives… with us! Some pupils get better than their teachers, but it wasn’t any of the previous cases. We created a new way: the ‘ESN Barcelona’ way. UAB was not alone anymore, and a good team of 30 people was taking steps, creating the revolution. After a year working like a big, big family, we, the 4 sections: UAB, UB, UPC and UPF, are proud to say, and so can do all the rest of sections in Spain after having attended our National Event, which took place last November, that ESN Barcelona is real, and has established a model of cooperation that is unique and worthwhile. Our big, big family got to be Godfathers for a weekend during that NE, providing maps, performing funny city tours, having sunny picnics in the park (yes, we made the anti-rain dance for weeks!!), warming the sea temperature so they could have a swim, speaking a different accent in Spanish so we could delight their students and enrich their vocabulary (not any rude words, we promise), and so, to make them experience the real loving spirit. Enthusiasm for friendship, respect for the diversity... briefly, all the good ingredients for our 4 coloured cocktail. But, how do we exactly work? First of all, we have an extremely frequent mailing contact, so we can always propose activities or supervise the usual ones. We have activities together where we see each other very often, such as: the trips, the biggest parties, the weekly meeting point, briefly, whatever means big crowds. On the other hand, as every section, we work with our “own” students with activities on campus and small meeting points such as costume parties, tandem evenings, dance classes, etc. Nevertheless, there will always be someone from the other sections supporting or participating in the activities. Now, reader, imagine that the members of our team come and tell me while writing... “well, well, well, but what about us?” And to answer to the question about the big, big team, I just can say that we love each other not just much, but a lot. Everyone has found the best friends among the members: the spirit surrounding when we are all together sharing a experience like being in Formentera distressed is just unique and unforgettable. They are. To conclude this article, I will just remind you that Pallomeri spirit doesn’t belong only to the International level… but to the local too! Geographically close sections can work together on behalf of their students... and for themselves in a great friendship too!
SHOW YOUR COUNTRY
ESN UCM: MEETING POINT by: Jose Campos All the ESN sections have a meeting point. A recreation place where all the essential events happen for every Erasmus student. Of course class notes and beer aren’t mixed often, but all the memories they are bringing back home started there. It is the place where every Erasmus realizes that those students from their own countries are the largest group, or at least that they are more than they thought. Then there are the trips. There is nothing like sharing a cold water morning shower to begin a new friendship. It is comfortable to see how who those who come back to the hostel for breakfast time give all their attention to that historic summary that the guide is giving inside any cathedral or monument they are visiting. Even better is how those people are ready at party time, doesn’t matter how many days without sleeping. Then it is exciting to rediscover your own city again every year, thanks to showing it to a few unknown classmates, listening carefully to the local legends and tales, that they will forget but at that moment put down little roots they will keep forever. I’ve always thought that a visit in Cordoba’s mosque, for instance, is worth more than hundreds of pages of reading to understand the Spanish history. In ESN Spain, nothing motivates us more than see all this people passing every year. Hundreds of stories going on far from where they started, and ESN being a part of them. Erasmus is more than an exchange. Erasmus is an attitude, and ESN has to be the one keeping that attitude, being the meeting point of thousands of students. Here we work on that.
ESN VALENCIA: FIRE PREVENTION by: ESN Valencia From the 15th of July till the 15th of August the 3 ESN Sections from Valencia (ESN Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, ESN Universidad de Valencia and ESN Universidad Católica de Valencia) with the collaboration of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and the Mancomunidad del interior tierra del vino (local authorities of the region of Valencia) organised an environmental volunteering project called “Fire Prevention in the forests of Utiel-Requena (Province of Valencia)”. The program combined daily surveillance walks through the fire-endangered forests with leisure activities such as: rafting, trekking, astronomy, integration games, orientation and cooking lessons. The project was four weeks long, with different volunteers each week. The first two weeks, the activity took place nearby Requena in a cottage with swimming pool and sports facilities. The last two weeks we stayed in the middle of the forests of Utiel, at 1100 metres above sea level, where our participants could escape from the Valencia’s hot summer. During the four weeks, accommodation, food, material for the activities and petrol expenses were provided by the three ESN sections with the help of the funds from: Mancomunidad del interior tierra del vino and the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, resulting in a participation fee of 25 Euro per week. This year we are searching for sponsors and external funds to reduce the participation fee. 60 volunteers participated during the four weeks in this project, representing 14 different countries: Spain, Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Tunisia, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine, Latvia and France. All of them enjoyed the project and learned more about the conservation of our environment. For us it has been a great experience and a pleasure to organise this event for the very first time in such a multicultural atmosphere. Due to the success of our activity, all ESN sections from Valencia are planning together “Social Erasmus: Fire Prevention 2.0”. From our lovely city, we encourage all ESN members to join us and discover the “other” Valencia! See you next summer! Be social!
THE CZECH REPUBLIC ROCKS! by: Barbora Pavlícková The Czech Republic has become a very popular destination for exchange students in last few years. The number of incoming students is increasing very fast and the question is – why? Why is Czech Republic so cool nowadays? To be honest: what is the first thing coming to your mind if you are thinking about Czech Republic? Good beer? Beautiful girls? Ice-hockey? Well, it is stereotype as well as it is true. We really have great beer, lovely women and dream ice hockey team in the Czech Republic. But we are offering much more than just cheap alcohol or a strategic starting point for exploring the whole Europe! We have ten ESN local section with great volunteers who are organising many activities for their foreign colleagues from all over the world. ESN Czech Republic has won three ESN STAR Awards at the last Annual General Meeting in Istanbul. ISC MU Brno has won the most appreciated STARlight Award for the most active ESN section internationally, ISC CTU has won LogoSTAR Award for the best adaptation of corporate identity and ESN Czech Republic has won ESN Alumni Prize for Knowledge Transfer. It is a great success and we proved again that ESN Czech Republic is doing an excellent job in the field of ESN. In addition, ESN Pilsen was chosen as the first Section in the Spotlight and VSE Prague has won the same prize in October. Why are Czech sections so successful at international level of ESN? The answer is very simple: we are participating in many special projects such as Social Erasmus or ExchangeAbility. The SocialErasmus project involves exchange students doing things for the local community and so enriching both them and society. In the Czech Republic, exchange students can enjoy many interesting charity activities in order to get to know our culture or history. For example, international students in Brno can spend some days and nights at a Castle Hartenberg in West Bohemia as a volunteer and help to prepare an interesting cultural event for a local community. They can explore the castle and its surroundings and help to organize an event for children and their parents there. The main aim of the ExchangeAbility project is to make ESN an association accessible for students with disabilities on all the levels of its activities. One of the most successful events was programme consisting of wine tasting led by a professional sommelier and music by traditional folk band. This event was accessible for hearing impaired students - the sommelier’s talk was translated into Czech sign language. It was a great experience for all participating students as well as for organizers from the ESN section. Another Czech section organised a special cultural event accessible for visually and mobility impaired students: concert of Philharmonic followed by an informal meeting of participants in a local pub. It was a new and interesting experience for international students to communicate with Czech students with disabilities. For them, it was important to get in touch with the international community. We can summarize: there are many great and enthusiastic ESNers in the Czech Republic – that’s the reason why is the Czech Republic so coooool for international students!
ESN GERMANY NATIONAL EVENT ESNters the City Dresden 2011
by: Friederike Herold Under the motto “ESNters the City” the first national event of ESN Germany has started 2009 with a huge success in the German capital Berlin. Since then thousands of international students and ESNers are “entering” a different German city every semester and are exploring its local culture and night life. From the 24th to 26th of June 2011 the local sections ESN HTW Dresden und ESN TU Dresden are inviting you and your international students to the beautiful Saxon city Dresden located in the Elbe valley in the border triangle of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. One weekend, one city, one goal: Discovering one of the most historical and amazing cities in Germany in an international atmosphere! Whether cultural, architectural, historical or simply social: With plenty of museums and historical buildings, as well as many bars and pubs this significant city, its history and night life are waiting to be explored. So far the program for the weekend includes two nights in a hostel located within walking distance to the historical city centre of Dresden, entrance to two parties, a buffet with typical Saxon specialties and a BBQ, a flag parade and many more surprises. Due to unconfirmed sponsoring contracts the prize isn´t fixed yet but will be between 60-65 EUR per Person. Invited are sections with their international students as well as single ESNers. So what are you waiting for? Hurry up and register between the 16th of February and 10th of April 2011 for “ESNters the City Dresden”! For the registration form and all information about the event and Dresden itself check out: www.esnters. esngermany.org. See you soon in Dresden!
HISTORY BOOK Time travels… and can be put into a book. 21 years ago, some students decided to build a network. 21 years later, one of their descendents tries, with the help of around 60 people from all around the network, to write about the time that has passed by in the meanwhile. Time travels. But can Time, if taken with careful hands, be put into a book… and conserved? No. The history of time. The history of what we have done with that time. So what have we done? Since the year 1989, when our network was created, what have ESNers done? We have built up sections in 34 countries, seen around 350 sections appear, invented a structure to maintain the network and communicate amongst us, and imagined projects that are implemented in the different countries. We have an office in Brussels, 6 people working full-time for ESN, 34 National Representatives debating on the future of the network, 5 regional events training local members, several international events gathering between 60 and 2500 ESNers, national events developing the ESN spirit on the local level, and one annual meeting where 400 ESNers meet and vote during 4 incredible days. Those that had this tiny, simple, evident idea to create a network can be proud. They created one of the biggest- and probably one of the most challenging, most exciting student organizations in Europe. Why is our network so challenging? So exciting? Everyone may have their own answer. What I feel is that it is because of the
by: Tania Berman incredible liberty we have to design our network in the way we want it. The general attitude is open-minded, encouraging, friendly, generous, open to risks - why not? Looking forward to making meaningful things, to make them well… and to have fun: this is what volunteering for ESN is about. The spirit of independency and the goal of self-realization are high. And if we know how to work hard, we don’t forget how to relax after work: the party time! We are still students and we deserve our slogan: “Work hard, party harder”. What about our future? Where do we want ESN to lead us to? Where do we want to bring our organisation? ESN is, first of all, a network. It’s his main purpose and its greatest strength. Why do we need a network? Because we want to share. We want to share our values, our practices, our activities, our future. We want to share what we believe in and to exchange. This generosity and interest in others, that is the basis of our section’s work, which plays a key role in the network’s spirit. Time travels. But it kept, I believe, the spirit of the roots: dedication, motivation, team spirit, positive energy. How is the network going to evolve in the future? How will the future generation look at us in 20 years? What will they say to conclude 20 more years of our network? This is up to us; this is up to you. So let’s make it rock! Let’s make it big and great! Let’s make it ESN-alike!!
PROJECTS & PARTNERS
ESN KAPA ATHENS
Section in the Spotlight: December ESN Kapa Athens applied for the Section in the Spotlight when they realised how active their section has become and thought it would help the bonding of their team even more. It was founded 3 years ago by a small group of friends to reach up to 20 active members today! They refer to themselves as the â€œKapa Familyâ€? to indicate how close they are to each other: they organize parties at their houses, spend their summer holidays together, some of them work in the same company while other became roommates. At this point we should not forget to mention that by the time this is published they wll have come back from their first reunion abroad with 6 alumni ESN Kapa Athens members who are currently living in different European countries. And of course, the Kapa Family meets every Sunday at the ESN Kapa office to discuss about forthcoming ESN events and projects or find solutions to the problems their erasmus students may face. The opinion of the Erasmus students is of great significance to them so they try to include them in the decision making of the events they organise. The evaluation they get at the end of every semester, is the best proof of their good work. They also run a buddy system; depending on the department of studies and the character of the applicants, the best match is made between the incoming Erasmus students and former greek outgoing ones. A pickup service from the airport upon arrival is also in the program, and their housing team has created a Google-map to make it easier for the students to locate a house when searching for one. They regularly organise cultural events, such as visits to the Acropolis, Greek movie nights, Greek dance seminars, and trips, but also fun activities like theme parties, bowling, hiking, karaoke, paintball, football games, picnics, flashmobs etc. Often enough, they co-organise events with other ESN sections of Greece and they especially try to support the candidate ones. Furthermore, ESN Kapa Athens is very active in the National level of ESN!
by: ESN Kapa Athens They organised the first NP of ESN Greece, one of their members was elected NR (2009-10) and another one Vice-President (2010-11) at ESN Greece. Moreover, they started the Greek ESN Magazine and have arranged some good ESN card partnerships. One of their members is also a member of the newly created Greek webteam. They are equally active in the International level too; they participated in AGM Istanbul 2010 and plan to attend AGM Budapest 2011 as well, one of their members became for a short period a member of the IT Committee and has plans to join again in the future and another one visited the ESN House in Brussels in August. As far as the international projects are concerned they are very involved in the ExchangeAbility Project. They participated in both ExchangeAbility meetings (Brussels and Antwerp) and one of them was elected international coordinator for this project. Thanks to 3 disabled members that they have in their team, they try to make ESN/ Erasmus in Athens more accessible (a really difficult goal if you know Athens) and took the initiative to start the mapping of the accessibility of all the faculties of the University of Athens. In addition, they co-organised with the Faculty of Medicine and the European Disability Forum an ExchangeAbility conference in Athens on 22/12/2010 where there were workshops and sessions about disabilities. They are making progress in the Social Erasmus Project too; they did a Reforestation event, organized educational programs in cooperation with primary schools of Athens and arranged a philanthropic football game between Erasmus students so at to give the money to charity. They have two section coordinators who work on this project along with their National Social Erasmus Coordinator to become even more active in it. To sum up, they are doing a really great job and that cannot be a big surprise if you think that the founder of ESN Kapa Athens is the current president of the International Board, Eva Ntovolou! She is what ESN Kapa Athens is most proud of!
Did you know that...?
ESN COMMITTEES The committees have only been up and running for 12 months in their current form, but back in 1996 we had a similar thing, just slightly different names: Evaluation Committee, Newsletter Committee, Elaboration Committee, Tempus Committee, Internet Committee, PR Committee, Summer Camp Committee. And after...? Till a few years ago ESN had the so called Working Groups. The Committees nowadays are for the first time official bodies recognized and with their own Chair and, eventually, Vice Chairs.
NÅR UVENTET FORVANDLES TIL NOE ...FANTASTISK
by: Ruxandra Birle
Å forlate hjem og flytte til et helt nytt land med en veldig forskjellig kultur er aldri lett, og kan være skummelt hvis du ikke vet hva som venter deg. Men denne gangen, denne gangen var det annerledes. Alt startet i mai, når listen over Erasmus stipend var hengt opp på universitets infovegg. Jeg ble nysgjerrig og ville vite mer. Når jeg leste listen, kom jeg over et veldig interessant navn, Agder, Kristiansand, Norge. Jeg noterte meg dette universitetet på en liste i hodet, og googlet det når jeg kom hjem. Jeg så hjemmesiden, kursene og bildene fra tidligere år og bestemte meg: dette stedet toppet listen. Et par dager senere ga intervjueren meg gode nyheter: et helt semester i utlandet. Tiden fløy og i august fant jeg meg selv pakke vinterklærne mine når det ute var nærmere 30 grader. Hva hadde jeg begitt meg utpå? Var dette en feiltagelse? Tusenvis av spørsmål dukket opp i hodet mitt, noen teite, andre så seriøse at de skremte meg. Men jeg ga meg selv et svar på alle: dette er en utfordring, et eventyr, jeg er dum om jeg lar sjansen gå fra meg. Jeg skulle til Norge, og det var ingen vei tilbake. Og takk gud jeg ikke ombestemte meg, for det har vært det beste semesteret jeg har hatt. De første menneskene jeg møtte, og de første vennene jeg traff her var ESN buddiene. De ventet på meg som de hadde lovet, klokken 11 om kvelden med lilla t.skjorter som jeg har utviklet en Pavlov refleks for: hver gang jeg trengte noe og jeg så lilla, begynte jeg å stille spørsmål. Og det beste av alt skjedde: alle svarte! Selv når jeg spurte det samme teite spørsmålet to ganger, selv om jeg spurte etter et supermarked når jeg sto rett foran et og til og med når jeg gikk meg vill og ringte mine lilla-skjortede venner for riktig retning, var de der for meg. Vennskapet våres forsatte ettersom de arrangerte fantastiske
ting for meg og de andre internasjonale studentene. De hadde orienteringsuke i samarbeid med internasjonalt kontor, hvor vi lærte alt om å bo i Norge: bolig, nordmenn, butikker, eksamensforberedelser og mer! Vi dro på båttur i magiske piratskip, gikk på tur rundt Odderøya og oppdaget den mest fantastiske natur og historie, holdt spesielle arrangementer hvor vi ble kjent med hverandre, hadde potluck middag, internasjonal pub og dro til og med på turer sammen. Når det gjelder Norge og norske stereotyper har jeg funnet ut at veldig få ting jeg visste på forhånd var sant. Nordmenn er ikke veldig opptatt av mat, og de spiser mye frossenpizza (Gradiosa ser ut til å være en lokal favoritt, og frossen pizza har tatt over halve hyllen i frysedisken), de spiser usunn mat men er allikevel sunne, alle trener og mange sykler i allslags vær, og de er veldig rettferdige. Det jeg har funnet ut er feil er imidlertid at nordmenn er kalde mennesker. Været er det som er kalt, menneskene er varme og fantastiske! De er faktisk sjenerte, og tar sjelden det første steget, og når jeg først fant ut dette, sluttet jeg aldri å spørre, snakke eller smile til dem. Jeg elsket mitt semester her, og selv om jeg gleder meg til å se mine venner og familie hjemme igjen, kommer jeg til å savne dette stedet og alle de fantastiske studentene jeg har møtt, mennesker jeg har jobbet med, og venner jeg har fått for alltid. Jeg kommer til å forlate en del av hjertet mitt i Norge, men jeg tar også noe med meg: det store pågangsmotet som jeg så i ESN buddiene her: ESN Romania, du har fått en ny tilhenger, og forhåpentligvis en dag, et nytt medlem. Jeg byttet Romania for Norge for utdannelsesårsaker, men endte opp med så mye mer.
WHEN UNEXPECTED TURNS INTO ...UNBELIEVABLE Leaving home and moving to a completely new country with a very different culture is never easy, and can even be frightening if you do not know what to expect. But this time, this time it was different. It all started in May, when the Erasmus scholarships list was taped to my university’s announcement wall. I was intrigued and wanted to know more. As I read the list, I stumbled upon a very curious arrangement of names: Agder, Kristiansand and Norway. I added this university to a list in my mind, and googled it the moment I got home. I saw the website, the courses, the photos from the previous year and made up my mind: this place crossed everything else off of the list. A few days later, the interviewers were giving me great news: a full semester abroad. Time flew by and I found myself in August, packing my winter clothes when outside we had close to 30 degrees. What had I gotten myself into? Was this all a mistake? Thousands of questions filled my head, some silly and some so serious that they scared me. But then I gave myself an answer to all of them: it’s a challenge, an adventure, something I would be stupid to pass up on. I was going to Norway, and there was no turning back. And thank god I didn’t, because it’s been the best semester I ever had. The first people I met and the first friends I met here were the ESN buddies, who were waiting for me as they promised, at 11 in the night, wearing their purple t-shirts that I have developed a Pavlov reflex for: whenever I needed something and I saw purple before my eyes, I started asking questions. And the cutest thing would happen: they would all answer! Even if I asked the same stupid question twice, even if I was asking for a supermarket when I was standing right in front of it, even when I would get lost and call my purple-shirted friends for directions, they were there for me. Our friendship continued as they kept organizing wonderful things
by: Ruxandra Birle
for me and the other internationals. They held an orientation week in collaboration with the International Office, where we basically learnt how to live in Norway: accommodation, Norwegians, grocery shopping, exam arrangements, you name it! We went on boat trips in magical pirate ships, walking around Odderoya to discover the most amazing nature and history, held special evening where we got to know each other and socialize, had potluck dinners and international pubs and even went on trips together. As far as Norway and Norwegian stereotypes are concerned, I have found that very few things that I had known were true. Norwegians are not very concerned about food and they do eat a lot of frozen pizza (Grandiosa seems to be a local favorite and frozen pizza has taken over half of the frozen foods aisles), they eat bad foods but are still healthy, they all go to gyms and a lot of them ride bikesregardless of the weather, and they are very correct and fair. What I found to be false however is that Norwegians are cold people. The weather is the one that is cold, the people are warm and amazing! They are actually really shy and rarely make the first move, and once I figured this out, I never stopped asking, talking or simply smiling at them. I loved my semester here and as much as I want to see my friends and family back home again, I will miss this place and the lovely students I have met, people I have worked with and the lifelong friends I have made. I will leave a part of my heart in Norway, but I am also taking something with me: the great spirit I saw in the ESN buddies here: ESN Romania, you have a new fan, and hopefully, some day, a new member. I traded Romania for Norway for educational purposes, but ended up with so much more.
Photos by: Sandra Larsson Miriam Eid Laura Isom채ki Marco La Rosa Vv.Aa.
Did you know that...? The Council of National Representatives used to be called the International Board. With the growth of ESN a differentiation was made, among the CNR members an Executive Board was chosen. Nowadays the AGM elects the members of the Board. And... ESN used to calculate its budget in... US dollars!
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QUIZ Fill the vertical lines (beginning with the first letter from the top and going to the bottom) with the replies from the questions 1 to 12. The horizontal marked line will give you the answer to what have the European Commission designated 2011 as the year of... ?
If you solved the puzzle, please send it to us, the first answer we receive will get a price! Send it to: Erasmus Student Network Rue Hydraulique 15 B-1210, Brussels Belgium
1. How many people work in the ESN Office in Brussels? 2. What is the name of the new CNR Administrator? 3. In what capital city will the first NBM of 2011 take place? 4. Which ESN Meeting took place in Dresden in October 2010? 5. In which country will the NEP 2011 be held 6. Where should you visit if you are having problems with your satellite? 7. Which country in ESN will be a co-host of the European Football Championships in 2012 8. What is the new ESN project that offers trainings to ESN members? 9. Which country is an associate member of ESN? 10. What is the Turkish section that will organize the SEEP in 2011? 11. Who was the section in the spotlight for January? 12. What is the surname of the current Vice President of ESN International?