ESAA ESAA MAGAZINE MAGAZINE Edition 0 Edition 1 . 2016 It’s fun being a volunteer ! Interview with Floor van Houdt Miscellaneous News
Volunteer project: “Building homes for strays”: “Leave your Mark Wall” where participants created the logos of ESAA, ESN and SocialErasmus while also creating some personal drawings. More on page 16.
Dear Reader, ESAA lives because each member is a volunteer. The members of this association invest their time, and share their knowledge and talent to create amazing projects worldwide that are worth sharing. This issue of the magazine is dedicated to everyone who actively participates in this association. It is also an expression of gratitude, because without their initiatives and altruistic spirit we could not have recently celebrated ESAA’s first birthday! The magazine features how ideas have become great adventures, how these adventures have had an impact on communities and the people that surrounded the ESAA members. From building homes for strays to evaluating the quality of Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees, our members work hard every day to make their projects come true. The people within ESAA have a great potential, not only in their professional fields, but as leaders of global projects that contribute to society. … imagine the things that you can achieve under this umbrella! Although we do not have enough pages here to cover all the pro- jects people are doing or have done over the year, we hope that this issue, full of inspiring stories, will motivate all ESAA members to keep on proposing new initiatives and participating in exciting projects. Welcome to a journey through the ESAA voluntary adventure! Marcela Chávez Ocampo Communication Coordinator
“There is joy in helping to create and develop a community with like-minded and inspi rational friends and colleagues.” Leasa Weimer, PhD ESAA Board Member Imprint Editor and Editorial Board Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association (ESAA), ICUnet.AG, Anja Heinkele General coordination Marcela Chávez Ocampo, Communication Coordinator and the Communications Team Copies 250 Photos Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association Design Anja Heinkele, kleinezeichen.de
CONTENT p 14 p 29 It’s fun being a volunteer! ESAA organisations join forces to help refugees 6 8 ESAA Events 2016 ESAA – made for you! 12 Interview with Floor van Houdt 14 It’s fun being a volunteer! 20 Building homes for strays 22 Are you the next EMA Star? 24 Volunteer experience 26 Volunteering and professional life 28 Miscellaneous News 30 We want you and your story! 5
Take a look around ESAA Events 2016 Student fair + Raise me up Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 22–23 April Promotional event with 20 NGOs and student organisations from Bosnia and Herzegovina to present their work. Workshops & presentations also took place in order to improve personal and team skills, including project funding and conflict management. North America Meet Uniplaces Portugal, Lisbon, 7–8 July A networking event to prepare students for entrepreneurship in one of Europe’s most successful startups. Interestingly, Uniplaces itself was founded in 2012 by three former university students while facing the challenges of a stay abroad and has since grown into a successful business. Europe Day Celebration Mexico, Mexico City, 9–13 May Visit of the European Union Delegation to Mexico. Its aim was to strengthen the ties between Mexico and the EU. PhD students were presented awards for pro- jects related to the European Union and funded by EMA. South America For you, for me, for the future, RECYCLE! Bolivia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, 18–26 June A social project outside of Europe funded by ESAA to raise awareness about waste management and the importance of recycling. Volunteers installed recycling containers and explained their usage. There was a workshop for children to EMA Promotional Event Brazil, Porto Alegre, 11–13 April create decorative objects with recycled material. A discussion on the process of internationalisation and international academic cooperation in Brazilian institutions of higher education, while providing information about the transcultural EMA programme.
Let’s get mobile Serbia, Zlatibor, 13–15 May Promotion of Erasmus+, including work- shops on how to overcome cultural pre- judices. It also included an open discussion about possible improvement of the student exchange services funded by ESAA. GoGreen! GoClean! Romania, Oltenita, 25–26 June An outdoor nature event in a completely unin- habited area outside of Oltenita. Students from six different countries cleaned the River Danube’s left shore to raise awareness on the current level of pollution and slept in tents during the two-day camping event supported by ESAA. Europe Asia Backyard Culture Challenge South Korea, Daegu, 2 April A networking event to promote cultural and social interaction between European and Korean students organised under the Organise Your Own Event funding scheme Africa European Higher Education Fair Japan, Kyoto & Tokyo, 11–12 June A promotion of study and research opportuni- ties for prospective Japanese students in Europe organised by EMA. Information for students about the application process for Erasmus+ programmes: scholarships, accommodation and housing services. EVENT (Erasmus Vision on Education, Network, and Training) Indonesia, Malang, 21 May A one-day conference at the University of Muhammadiyah Malang featuring presentations, workshops and an exhibition of the internation- alisation in Indonesia. The main focus was on “game changer strategies”, how to get out of your comfort zone and the importance of changing habits (in order to become a great researcher). Australia
ESAA – BUILT FOR YOU! Take a look inside ESAA – made for you! The Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Asso- ciation welcomes you to our umbrella magazine! Its second year in the making, we have been working towards offering our members a variety of opportunities. Whether upon our initiation or upon our invitation to realise your own ideas! By Neringa Tumenaite 8
Gabriele Armao Communication WG “ ESAA WGs will teach you how to work in a team made of people coming from very different backgrounds, it will also force you to find and learn the best tools to collaborate remotely in the most productive way. ” How do they do it? Who better to give you an inside view on what ESAA can offer than our Working Group (WG) members, who are the power engine behind it! Roy Someshwar Events WG “ ESAA organises events with added value and strong impact, and Events WG is here to ensure it. ” Felix Kwabena Donkor Events WG “ Lifelong email or email forwarding, also a platform where all ESAA member profiles are stored and access to members permanently for networking. Invite to ESAA events in their locality. ”
It’s all about your empowerment! Velimir Tasic Professional Development WG “ It is much more about alumni than about Professional Development (PD) WG. Alumni is welcome to contact and propose beyond current portfolio. Especially in the case of different contests for projects proposals where the mission of a contest is to enrich possibilities of alumni and help them in organizing their own projects at the local level. Furthermore, ESAA Entrepreneurship Incubator is a program with a mission to help ESAA Entrepreneurs in growing and developingtheir entrepreneurial projects. Therefore, it is much more about alumni than about PD portfolio. ” What else does ESAA focus on? Sunhee Kim Survey & Research WG “ I think ESAA can provide statistical information of students’ perceptions on the transformative impact of Erasmus+ programmes. If the first ESAA survey on internationalisation is completed successfully, we would be able to provide some evidence that Erasmus+ can facilitate students and their community to develop internationalisa- tion and relevant capacities. ”
ESAA – BUILT FOR YOU! An inside glimpse into the world of ESAA’s Working Groups Communication Working Group The Communication Working Group is responsible for the network’s communica- tion channels. It manages the website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. In addition, it publishes regular newsletters and the ESAA magazine. Events Working Group The ESAA Events Working Group deals with topics relating to the identity, estab- lishment and development of the ESAA community. The Working Group’s mission is to be instrumental in connecting the ESAA members with a variety of education- al, socio geographical and professional backgrounds. Survey & Research Working Group The ESAA Survey & Research Working Group keeps the ESAA community informed of important educational policies, research, and dialogues on a European level, as well as events that impact them. PER will seek out opportunities for external re- lations, suggest seminars, events and conferences that are important for ESAA’s representation. Professional Development Working Group The Professional Development Working Group offers strategies and methodolo- gies that can assist ESAA members in the acquisition of professional development skills. This includes a platform for cross-disciplinary collaboration and the ability to work in diverse teams. The Working Group fosters global and cultural awareness, helps ESAA members to develop leadership and project management skills and get a flair for entrepreneurship. Promotion Working Group The Promotion Working Group is the main coordinating hub for Erasmus+ and ESAA promotional events. Currently, the team coordinates the ESAA kick-off event. They work with all members to create an interesting and thought-provoking agen- da for the 250 participants. Organising the content of the speeches, panels and workshops is just part of the job. They are also in charge of establishing the invita- tions to speakers, event concept and logisitics. Want to stay in the loop? Follow ESAAeu on Facebook, twitter and check out the esaaeu.org website for regular updates! Your ideas and contributions are always more than welcome. Feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com 11
INTERVIEW WITH FLOOR VAN HOUDT “ 2016 – a special year for EVS as it marks its 20th anniversary. ” The European Voluntary Service is the best programme help- Being in charge of EVS as a way to promote youth volunteering, ing young people to volunteer abroad. How is the volunteering could you share with us one of the most inspiring volunteering scene in Europe and what is the European Commission stories you have come across while working at the European working on at policy level? Commission and why? Within the EU Youth Strategy – the framework for coopera- Working with EVS and the Erasmus+ programme in general tion in the youth field between Member States – volunteer- is an inspiring and humbling experience at the same time – ing is one of the eight fields of action. The Commission and the chance to be a piece in the puzzle when directing EU Member States jointly evaluate the implementation of the EU funding to volunteering projects that change lives is quite ex- Youth Strategy every third year through the EU Youth Report. traordinary. There are so many excellent projects out there The 2015 EU Youth Report includes a good picture of EU and so many project organisers that put their heart and soul and Member States’ activities in the area of volunteering. It into it, and working in the Commission I get to hear about also provides an insight into the commitment of many young many of them. The celebration of the 20th anniversary of people to volunteering; around one in four of young Euro- EVS this year has brought out many extraordinary stories, peans has engaged in voluntary activities; in some countries and if I am to highlight but one I would like to mention the (for instance Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands story of Mina Jaf. She is a young Dane of Kurdish origin who and the UK) the participation rate rises to even one in three. herself had experience as a refugee when she was a child. The report shows that volunteering is often inspired by previ- Wanting to give something back to society, she travelled to ous experiences in community engagement and data show Belgium as an EVS volunteer and gave invaluable help to an that young people seem to be more active in volunteering organisation in Brussels that works with refugees. We made when they participate in other collective political and cultural a video about her that you can see on the EVS20 campaign activities. In particular, engagement in a youth club is very website: https://europa.eu/youth/evs20 closely related to involvement in voluntary experiences. We in the Commission are pleased to hear the kind words What are the most common problems with groups of young on the European Voluntary Service, or EVS! “EVS” is not only volunteers and how do you overcome them? a great opportunity for young people, but also a key tool to Most problems that occur in volunteering projects are solved realise the Youth Strategy’s objectives in the field of volun- long before they reach us in the Commission, either with teering. It is part of the Erasmus+ Programme and currently the help of project organisers or the many professional and 10, 000 young people between the age of 17 and 30 go experienced colleagues in the Erasmus+ National Agencies abroad yearly to make a difference as a volunteer. In 2020 we across Europe. When problems are brought to our attention, hope to double this figure thanks to foreseen budget increas- it may mean that an agreement could not be reached among es, so that a total of 100, 000 volunteers will get the chance the organisations or volunteers involved. Whenever needed, to go abroad under EVS in the period 2014 – 2020. we take care to gather all information and work closely with This year, 2016, is a special year for EVS as it marks the 20th the Erasmus+ National Agencies for youth in the countries anniversary of its existence. We are celebrating this all year, involved to find a good solution. The welfare of the young on social media using the hashtag #EVS20, and through volunteers is of prime importance in EVS, but the young- events and activities across Europe. For example, a celebra- sters also have their duties and obligations. All organisations tion of EVS, showcasing some of its best stories and expe- wanting to participate in EVS, and come from Erasmus+ riences, took place at the European Youth Event (EYE2016) Programme Countries or countries in neighbouring regions, organised by the European Parliament in Strasbourg in May. must go through an accreditation process. This is a quality 12
europa.eu For a quick impression, have a look at our EVS factsheet. To find EVS projects that meet your criteria, search the Volunteering Database. ec.europa.eu As an organisation interested in getting involved in EVS, check out the Erasmus+ Programme Guide. assurance that helps organisations to bet- ter understand what EVS is about. Further- more, it means that organisations receiving or sending young volunteers have gone through a quality control first! The accredi- tation can be re-evaluated and in the worst case withdrawn if deemed necessary. This does not happen often, but it is a question of ensuring the best possible implementa- tion of EVS. Finally, what would you advise ESAA mem- bers who are now coordinating a team of volunteers in different places around the world or want to do it in a near future? My main advice – get involved in EVS! Taking part in an EVS project is a terrific learning opportunity for both the young participant and the organisation. 97% of the volunteers learnt to get along better Floor van Houdt Head of Unit for the Youth programme, Outreach tools and Traineeships with people of a different cultural back- Ms Floor van Houdt has been working on EU youth affairs ground after taking part in an EVS project within the European Commission’s Directorate-General for and 85% say they have become aware of Education and Culture since 2009. She currently holds the European values. More EVS projects will position as Head of Unit for the Youth programme, Outreach be funded in the future and we are always tools and Traineeships. Beforehand she was the Deputy Head encouraging organisations to get involved, of the Unit for Youth within the same Directorate-General. be it those already familiar with EVS in the past or new ones. In fact, one of the main Ms van Houdt worked for the European Commission for aims of the EVS20 campaign is to spread more than 20 years in the areas of youth, research, entrepre- the word about EVS to new actors in the neurship and maritime policies. Before joining the European field. In that context, the EVS20 cam- Commission, she worked as a European Affairs Consultant. paign website is a good starting point for those curious about how to get involved: She has studied Law and European Studies in the Nether- europa.eu/youth/evs20. lands, Spain and Belgium.
IT IS FUN TO BE A VOLUNTEER It’s fun being a volunteer Ever since I was a teenager, I have been volunteering my time in ‘community- building’ activities and/or organisations. By Leasa Weimer Volunteering makes me feel a part of something bigger and there is joy in helping to create and develop a commu nity with like-minded and inspirational friends and colleagues. My first exposure to the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA) was in 2008 at the General Assembly in Perugia, Italy. I signed up to participate in the Promotions team (now named Community Development) and became in- volved in the creation of the North American chapter. At first I was lost in the organisation, but quickly found that putting my energy into a few key projects opened up a whole new world filled with an amazing community of talented and globally competent individuals. The more I became involved, the more I fell in love with the work of EMA and the incredible international reach and network of the organisation – our members come from 74 different countries around the world. Over the past 8 years, I have been called an EMAphile (a person who is fond of, ad- mires, or even loves EMA culture, community, and history). After an amazing Eras- mus Mundus joint master’s degree adventure in three countries (Norway, Finland, and Portugal), immersion in EMA projects was the perfect creative outlet during a stressful and solo PhD journey. Plus, being involved in EMA aligned succinctly with my professional ambitions of researching international education; EMA served as the practical experience to an otherwise cerebral career. 14
From top to bottom 1. Amsterdam ESAA Working Group Members in a relaxed atmosphere at the Impact Hub. 2. South Korea A cultural city rally through Daegu. 3. Turkey Volunteers distribute boxes of food to Syrian refugees.
“ Volunteering makes me feel a part of something bigger. ” Leasa Weimer, ESAA Board Member and EMA representative She oversaw the strategic development of EMA. She holds a PhD in higher education policy and works as a knowledge development adviser for a professional association on the internationalisation of higher education. From top to bottom 1. Bolivia Recycling initiative in a Bolivian community. 2. Malaysia Malaysian students at the the photo booth at an education fair funded by ESAA.
IT IS FUN TO BE A VOLUNTEER Balancing Act: On Being a Mother and a Volunteer 2013 was a defining year for me! Not only did I complete my PhD, but I also be- came a first-time mother and President of EMA; all in a matter of two months. Reflecting on this, I am truly humbled by the EMA community. I was eight months pregnant during elections and unable to travel to the General Assembly. My cam- paign speech was via Skype and I was sure that I would not get elected because I was pregnant and I was not there in person. Next thing I knew, I was receiving all sorts of messages saying congratulations! Volunteering for the Community My time as President was bittersweet as we steered EMA through tumultuous times. EMA became part of the newly formed Erasmus+ Students and Alumni Association impacting our structure, guiding documents, and budget and at the same time we became a legal entity – a long arduous process. But, one thing kept me going: my unconditional love for the EMA community. Balancing the emails, Skype calls, and travel with a newborn colicky baby was quite a feat. Luckily, I was living in Finland and reaped the benefits of 10 months of maternity leave in addition to having a “super-husband” who was so supportive. Why volunteer? While the time invested in EMA has paid dividends both personally and professionally – I gained so many valuable skills, friends, and life lessons – the core reason for volunteering is civic responsibility and we can certainly use a lot more of this right now. The world needs more community! The world needs you to serve others! The world needs more tolerance! So, go out and volunteer your time and build community. Volunteer once in your life – be open- minded, challenge your comfort-zone and explore endless opportunities to learn, meet, travel, and grow. By Velimir Tasic Volunteer, Volunteering, Volunteerism – as usual, there are various, puzzling defini- tions. Organisations which offer opportunities to volunteers have diverse missions and purposes. Therefore, in a very broad sense, I see all organisations as profes- sional or humanitarian. It is important to add that volunteering in humanitarian organisations can be also professional from a project or activities perspective, and vice versa. However, most important is that it is your choice and the organisation in which you are active appreciates your contribution. Furthermore, on one hand, it is significant for volunteering organisations to develop a plan and opportunities for volunteers to continuously grow, and on the other to provide freedom and mentorship. 17
IT IS FUN TO BE A VOLUNTEER Initiative, curiosity, questioning and entrepreneurialism are four of the most im- portant characteristics that young people should develop, and active volunteering provides a skilful platform that can help in their development while on the way to a successful career. As such, garagErasmus is an organisation that offers profession- al volunteering possibilities accompanied by excellent opportunities of profession- al growth and mentorship. Embark on a Journey Beyond Your Comfort Zone My volunteering journey started back in 2006/2007 and these days I’m very proud of the decisions and choices I made. In my opinion, volunteering is complementa- ry to education, growth, impact, innovation and passion. It has opened me endless opportunities to learn, meet, explore, travel, and grow. Although I like making jokes about it, it is actually a true mark. If you are looking for opportunities to challenge your comfort-zone or to change the advantages in your own game of life, volun- teering is a perpetual podium which will definitely help you. Most of the volunteers are passionate about what they do and always ready to go an extra mile. Unfortunately, due to huge inequality in many different points, worldwide volunteering is seen and evaluated differently. History, maturity, and education play a very important role in the context of appreciating volunteers and volunteering. I have volunteered in Europe and Asia, and it was a very diverse ex- perience. However, I am very happy and grateful that I had an opportunity to vol- unteer on two different continents. Volunteering in Different Countries Volunteering worldwide and especially in after-conflict geographical regions is very important. Honestly, my feeling is that volunteers in such places contribute much more and make a much bigger impact. Unfortunately, modern media does not pay enough attention to positive contributions and always showcases a greater number of negative cases. Furthermore, this is not uniqueness of media – it is the world in which we live. Once again, I strongly recommend that everyone should be a volunteer at least once in their lives. Be open-minded, challenge your comfort zone and explore endless opportunities to learn, meet, travel, and grow. We live busy lives and it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the ben- efits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you to make friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills and even advance your career. Therefore, it is all about you and your choice on how you would like to grow. If you are an Erasmus student, garagErasmus is an excellent organisation to help you explore volunteering life. 18
and challenge your comfort zone. “ Be open-minded ” Velimir Tasic, Leader of the Professional Development WG and garagErasmus representative He helps companies develop unusual ideas into a project or a programme. He also alleviates entrepreneurs’ challenges in organising a project from inception through content and delivery to closure. From top to bottom 1. Amsterdam Lively exchange of ideas at the ESAA Working Group Meeting at the Impact Hub. 2. Serbia Participants at a conference on student exchange in the Zlatibor mountains.
BUILDING HOMES FOR STRAYS 20
More than 60 people were engaged in the activity. BUILDING HOMES FOR STRAYS ESN Building homes for strays On 30th and 31st May 2016, a SocialErasmus event on animals took place in Athens. The event was organised by ESN TEI Athens, ESN KAPA Athens and was funded by ESAA. By Stella Damigou More than 60 people were engaged in the activity consisting of locals, internation- al students as well as ESAA and ESN volunteers. They had the chance to support Nikea-Keratchini’s local animal welfare organisation, which is run by volunteers without any public funding. Throughout the activity, the participants helped to clean the animal shelter, paint the walls and build sheds for the strays, thus en- hancing their living conditions. They also walked the dogs and participated in a campaign to raise awareness and promote dog adoption. Moreover, they had the chance to chat with the animal shelter volunteers and to educate themselves on how to treat animals better. The participants helped to clean the animal shelter, paint the walls and build sheds for the strays. 21
ARE YOU THE NEXT EMA STAR? EMA Do you have what it takes to be the next EMA Star? The Erasmus Mundus Association through the eyes of three extraordinary women. By Maryia Kukharava and Swayamjyoti Soumya Once a year, the Erasmus Mundus Association chooses its of my Erasmus Mundus Education to the EMA members and “Stars”. EMA Stars are EMA members who give their best and the society I live in. I am touched and inspired by this recog- a little bit more in everything they do. Their energy, passion, nition.” There are small steps that everyone can take to help and enthusiasm represent EMA spirit and become the source others: Geline started by moderating the Facebook page for of our organisation’s numerous activities worldwide. the Erasmus Mundus members in Tanzania. Gradually, she became a strong link between the European Commission Last year, at the General Assembly held in Ghent, Belgium, and Tanzanian EMA members by assisting the EC in promot- three remarkable women received this prestigious award. ing the Erasmus Mundus Programme and other European Geline Fuko, Georgiana Mihut and Shiella Balbutin have been higher education activities in Tanzania funded by the EC. She actively working to improve the EMA and the communities in volunteered in a number of EMA projects, saying: “I do con- which they live. Each of them represents an important area tribute to the society in Tanzania with skills acquired through of work: Geline plays an essential role in her own Tanzani- my Erasmus Mundus education. I have taken on an active an community, Georgiana runs the Course Quality Advisory role during the ongoing Constitutional Review process in Board – one of the most important success stories of the Tanzania. I provide civic education to marginalised commu- Erasmus Mundus community – and Shiella is the president nities, about its constitution and also work in healthcare and of the South East Asian Chapter, EMA’s most most active legal sectors. My educational background has helped me to regional chapter in 2015. engage positively with my community.” As all three awardees were nominated by their colleagues Serving as the Chair of the Course Quality Advisory Board and friends, the award itself represents our members’ grat- (CQAB) for EMA, Georgiana has brought the CQAB’s survey itude. Geline says: “It means a lot to me, to my family and team to a different level. She is committed to the CQAB’s the rest of the EMA community in Tanzania. Since my grad- purpose to monitor the course quality of the Erasmus Mun- uation, I knew I was responsible for passing on the benefits dus joint masters, based on the student satisfaction feed- 22 Erasmus MundusAssociation
ARE YOU THE NEXT EMA STAR? Georgiana Mihut, Geline Fuko and Shiella Balbutin (from left to right) are the EMA Stars 2015. back. “We have two main data analysis teams at the CQAB tive countries, in partnership with the EU Delegation Offices. that work in tandem on interpreting the data emerging from I am currently an Assistant Professor and the head of the De- the Course Quality Student Services (CQSS) survey, our flag- velopment Communication Department at Xavier University. ship initiative. One major milestone in the CQAB’s activities Despite my hectic schedule, I find time to work for EMA as was when we started to present the work of the CQAB at it is a passion of mine.” Shiella is excited every time she can academic conferences.” Indeed, EMA had its first peer-re- travel, meet plenty of talented people and expand her net- viewed article in an academic journal through the CQAB in work through EMA events. an edition of the journal Education Studies Moscow. Talking about her volunteer experience in EMA, Georgiana stresses Our three stars differ in their goals and dreams, but they are all the effect that it has on her: “Being active in EMA gave me the connected with something we call the EMA spirit. Geline talks opportunity to apply my skills. My involvement with EMA and for everyone when she says: “I see people like me in EMA with the CQAB is a mutually beneficial relationship. I work in the different backgrounds but with the same spirit. The spirit of higher education sector and I endeavour to bring quality as- performance, a wish to share perspectives on different issues surance of the EM course to the forefront of EMA and the EU.” arising from members coming from different contexts and multicultural environments. That shaped me to work success- Shiella is the proud president of the in 2015 award-winning fully with people from multi-cultural backgrounds.” South East Asian Chapter, where she works to promote Euro- pean education in ASEAN countries. Last year, upon the pro- Erasmus Mundus Association is celebrating its 10th anniver- posal that ESAEN countries should follow the mobility pat- sary in 2016. The number of people joining this association tern of European education, she participated in a high-level and getting involved in various projects grows every year. We policy dialogue on education in Jakarta. Shiella explains: “We hope that our Stars will inspire you to seek new goals and help in the organisation of promotional events of Erasmus dreams. We thank our EMA Stars for taking the time to talk to Mundus at EU fairs and pre-departure activities in our respec- us and sharing their stories. Shine brighter every year! 23
VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE Even if they are not real teachers, some OCEANS students teach at local schools. Which subjects do they teach? – About their home countries: Korea, Finland, Estonia, and Austria. 24
VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE OCEANS Network Volunteer experience Studying abroad is more than just credits in class. By Sunhee Kim As many of us already know very well, studying abroad isn’t one university in South Korea wanted to promote the uni- only about earning credits in class – when you are in a different versity’s internationalisation and recruited more internation- university/town/city/country, you want to be involved in the lo- al students. OCEANS students there were happy to serve as cal activities, culture and community. There are many ways to student ambassadors for the PR. And as a result, we were do this – but one of the best ways, and probably with the most then able to find these wonderful students on the university’s genuine experience, is volunteering for the local community. website and calendar. While studying abroad, OCEANS members find various op- portunities to make their volunteering experiences in their 3. Volunteering for cultural activities: When you are interest- host countries special: ed in cultural activities, you can connect your interest to vol- 1. Teaching at local schools: Even if they were not real teach- unteer work. One OCEANS member volunteered at a local ers, some OCEANS students teach at local schools. Which theatre, helping to clean, move prompts, hang posters and subjects do they teach? – About their home countries: Korea, signs, and guide audiences. By volunteering, this student had Finland, Estonia, and Austria. They are the experts of their benefits in learning more about backstage work as well as own nations. So they introduce their native languages, cul- being able to enjoy the plays at the theatre for free. tures, histories, and other interesting things to local students. Quoting one OCEANS alumni from South Korea, “Many kids Among many benefits brought by volunteering, one of the did not know where my country was. But at the end of the greatest is being able to build a deeper connection with the class, they had so many questions and wanted to know more local community. You can find and choose activities that in- about my country. I was feeling very proud.” terest you and take part in these activities with local people 2. Being student ambassadors: Some OCEANS students help a more genuine local community spirit which you may not their host university’s public relations strategy. For example, easily experience in the classroom. who probably have similar interests. You will be able to find 25
VOLUNTEERING AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE garagErasmus Volunteering and professional life – possible together? Volunteerism is represented in almost every field, country and topic as it is today one of the biggest opportunities. The advantages experiences like this can bring are endless. By Dorottya Fulop Helping to clean the streets where you live, assisting at the our gE4 cities (Athens, Lisbon, Istanbul, Milan, Pisa, Prague, Olympic Games, or teaching kids in Africa can all come un- Tours) create the offline dimension, thus giving a clear exam- der “volunteerism”. The wide range of possible experiences ple of how the two worlds (voluntary and professional) can is amazing. However, building up our careers is one of the meet and simultaneously work together, allowing us to both most important aspects of our lives, and combining our pro- grow in as well as to develop our careers. There are various fessional lives with and volunteerism can be challenging. topics and ideas on how to use the events, and here you can see two examples from the last few months: On March The garagErasmus Foundation was founded in order to 24th the association garagErasmus4Tours organised a con- give the Erasmus generation an online and offline dimen- ference on “World & Work” called “Professional Insertion & sion that will count 1.1 million former students by 2021. At International Mobility”. It was run in partnership with students Check-In Europe, people are given the chance to become from the course Master of International Business and Foreign part of a huge community. The online platform’s very useful Languages at the University François Rabelais in Tours. The features (at www.checkineurope.org) offer a wide range of goal of this event was to make students aware of the impor- tools which help the community to spin off jobs, arts, social tance of academic and/or professional experience abroad initiatives and start-ups. The combination of voluntary work in their future careers. To achieve this objective, CEOs and and professional life is one elementary aspect that charac- young professionals, who were once Erasmus students in terises the foundation’s activities. There are two main dimen- the past, agreed to participate in order to share their experi- sions: offline and online. Together with local associations, ences and thoughts. 26 Foundation
VOLUNTEERING AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE First meeting point of gE4Pisa was in Pisa in the beautiful setting offered by Argini&Margini. The conference on “World & Work”: Professional Insertion & International Mobility on March 24th at the University François Rabelais in Tours. The first meeting of gE4Pisa took place in Pisa in the beau- offers and interact with other members of the community. tiful setting of Argini&Margini on 23rd June. It was attended “Being a volunteer in the post-Erasmus world is one way of by seven members from local NGOs and associations, five repeating your own experience. Once you have lived abroad, members from the Erasmus Student Network Pisa and 15 your whole life totally changes and sometimes you also want Erasmus students from Italy, Serbia, Spain, France and Slove- others to realise how important this is for oneself and the nia. The purpose of the meeting was to gather Erasmus stu- collective. At garagErasmus, we are building a special rela- dents together so that they could ask questions, talk about tionship with the post-Erasmus life: our local volunteers are the problems they had during their exchange periods (pro- developing activities that in a way try to make their cities viding mobility students with lots of practical information), more international. And that in the same spirit that they got create new activities from the ideas and with the support of to know during their own mobility period. Becoming mo- Erasmus students, design mutual projects and set new things bile-minded is not just a process that includes individuals, it in motion. It however also included some drinking games, is more and more a mindset that is impacting on cities and and the students were also able to just watch soccer and chill. regions. A digital and globalised world such as the one we in- habit cannot do without that.” Nicola Filizola, Vice-President The online dimension is our platform Check-In Europe and EU Affairs, garagErasmus. it provides tools to help make this large community even more active. It is a virtual environment where the Erasmus generation can create events, start new projects, find job 27
MIXED NEWS Miscellaneous ESAA News SocialErasmus conference and training On Friday 24th and Saturday 25th June, the Erasmus Student Network hosted its SocialErasmus conference and training, “The Social Dimension for Erasmus+: Integration through Volunteering”, an event which fo- cused on creating a broader perspective upon the added value of volunteering as a part of the Erasmus+ experience. The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) has been working hard to fulfill this vision by developing SocialEras- mus, a project that aims to enrich the international experiences of young people abroad through volunteer- ing activities that allow them not only to get to know other realities but also to learn how they can contribute to improving society as global citizens. Using this project as a reference, the event provided a space for learning, exchanging ideas and coming up with concrete conclusions on how the organisations involved with the Erasmus+ programme can involve young citizens in volunteering activities that aim at fostering change in the society. At this event, the organisers aimed at highlighting the importance of the Erasmus+ programme, not only for its participants but also for local communities. Through this event, youth organisations involved with Eras- mus+ had the chance to discuss the added value of volunteering. The first day of the event was dedicated to the SocialErasmus conference. On Friday, the participants had the chance to meet the representatives of different organisations, such as: Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, Head of Erasmus+ at DG EAC; Safi Sabuni, President of the Erasmus Student Network; Neringa Tumenaite, Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association; Tinkara Oblak, European Youth Forum; Marta Rachlewicz, UNICA; Alexandra Bigotte de Almeida, SocialEr- asmus Coordinator, Erasmus Student Network. Besides showing the participants the results of their projects, they also presented funding and development opportunities for future volunteering activities that can be organised for Erasmus+ exchange students. On Saturday, the activities were focused on training the participants and putting into practice the knowl- edge gained during the conference. The day finished with the writing of a manifesto where everyone had to give his/her input. The manifesto shows how volunteering has an added value for the mobility experience and the importance of the SocialErasmus project to the Erasmus+ programme and society’s development. The event took place in Brussels, and it was funded by the “Go Social with ESAA” grant of the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association (ESAA). 28
CQAB presents Course Browser The CQAB launched Course Browser, an online tool that presents the data collected through the Course Quality Students Services (CQSS) survey. The main goal of Course Browser is to give you access to informa- tion about 78 Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees in a most transparent and convenient way. About the Course Quality Advisory Board The Course Quality Advisory Board (CQAB) was originally created to facilitate a quality Erasmus Mundus expe- rience for all students involved, regardless of their course. To accomplish this, the CQAB has designed a variety of tools to capture student concerns and to facilitate meaningful dialogue between student representatives from various programmes. Our most comprehensive and systematic initiative focused on quality assurance is the CQSS survey. The design of the CQSS survey is rooted in the complexity of the EMJMD student experience and is driven by two distinct factors: 1. the perceived issues around quality across joint degree courses, and 2. the general underrepresentation of students in the evaluation of the EMJMD programmes. Survey on the Quality of Student Services The Course Browser visualises the results of the second improved edition of the CQSS survey. Many of these improvements resulted from the feedback of the EMJMD consortia as well as from Erasmus Mundus students. Following the recommendation by the EMJMD consortia, the course reports now include com- parative information on each course in relation to other EMJMD courses that received a sufficient number of responses. At the suggestion of survey respondents, the 2015 CQSS survey edition was released at the end of the academic year to ensure that all had completed at least two EMJMD semesters before evaluating their experience. Additional changes have been made to the 2015 edition of the CQSS survey to streamline the survey experiences, to facilitate the data analysis process, and to capture information about key subpop- ulations among EMJMD students. For further reference, a full description of the methodology behind the creation of the 2015 edition of the CQSS survey and the analysis procedures behind the CQSS reports was published in the first 2016 edition of the academic journal Education Studies Moscow. Course Browser was recently featured in an article published by University World News. CQAB Team The work of the CQAB would not exist and could not continue without the support of numerous commit- ted volunteers spread all over the world, driven by a strong motivation to help improve the quality of EMJMD courses. ESAA organisations join forces to help refugees Since its establishment, ESAA organisations have acknowledged the beneficial value of working together in the higher educa- tion sector and the EU mobility agenda. Collaborations are determined to advance social issues that are directly or indirectly related to education and youth. For this reason, the ESAA board has decided to allocate resources and financial support to a joint ESAA project for the benefit of refugees in Europe in order to improve the higher education system. One of the board members, Edlira Alku, acts as the champion of the project and will bring various higher education stake- holders and key representatives from each ESAA organisation together to better understand how student and alumni organ- isations can help refugees and their strong interest in receiving higher education in Europe. The project is currently being developed and the first presentation will be made at the ESAA General Meeting followed by other key activities in late 2016. So, watch this space and if you want to get involved, feel free to get in touch with Edlira via Edlira.firstname.lastname@example.org.
GO FOR IT! Send us an email: communication@esaa-eu .org
We want you & your story! Draw us a picture or drop us a line if you want to be part of the next ESAA magazine with your project.