The idea behind the project
Participation of outgoing students in the Erasmus+ and other mobility programmes was always a challenge for the UK, especially for the students coming or studying in smaller cities. Therefore, UK based students have yet to explore their full potential for participation in the Erasmus+ programme and other mobility programmes. In case of a no-deal Brexit, and if the UK will not participate in the Erasmus+ programme anymore, this problem will become even more intense and many students, especially those in smaller cities or rural areas, will never benefit from the opportunities of the exchange programmes. ESN UK decided to take a step further an ensure that our volunteers will be properly informed and trained to do their best to contribute to the promotion of the Erasmus+ programme, especially in smaller cities.
The main event (part of the project) took place between the 11th and 13th of October in the city of Aberdeen.
The event had three main activities:
a) Coffee Sessions with ESN UK organised on the occasion of the #ErasmusDays https://www.erasmusdays.eu/event/coffee-sessions-with-esn-uk/?fbclid=IwAR3AI3yqk7DMuumOWgxX7ZWNFvS-1Rz5UoR1fyIetUem27Q09Sh3Ps51ylI
where local students had the chance to speak to our volunteers and ask questions about the Erasmus+ programme
b) a conference focused on the promotion of mobility and especially Erasmus+ in smaller cities and also in general in the UK
c) a flag parade that showcased the beauty of the Erasmus+. The goal was for the ESN volunteers and some volunteers from other exchange societies, to brainstorm and get trained on how to promote the Erasmus+ and organise their own Erasmus+ info days of support the Mobility Fairs of their University. We focused a lot on the promotion of the Erasmus+ in smaller cities, which is a main issue in the UK.
The conference attracted around 60 participants including participants from the sections of ESN UK, representatives from the International Office of the University of Aberdeen, a Europeers representative, and Representatives from 4 Exchange Societies outside of ESN (from the Universities of Durham, Coventry, Warwick and Belfast). The Coffee Sessions attracted around 120 students that were informed about the Erasmus+ programme from our volunteers. Finally, our volunteers are more than ready to support the next mobility fairs that their International Offices will coordinate! The results and our updates of the project were shared with the British Council and the Higher Education Consultative Group of UK.
Our project helped our ESN sections to be trained on how to effectively promote the participation of the UK students to the Erasmus+ and other mobility programmes, with specific attention to the students coming or studying in smaller cities, through the increase of knowledge about these programmes by the information dissemination in mobility fairs, Erasmus+ info days, or simply, in the events that our volunteers organise. There are too many opportunities and our volunteers are now aware of them. The final effect will be the increase in the participation of the marginalised population, in terms of the access to the Erasmus+ programme, which in this case, for the UK, are the students coming or studying in smaller cities or rural areas.