ERASMUS GENERATION MEETING 2022 REPORT
What is Erasmus Generation Meeting?
EGM is the new annual conference of ESN where volunteers from our local and national member organisations meet to discuss, share, learn and network. The first edition of EGM took place in Porto from April 7 – 11, 2022 and had approximately 800 volunteers, students, and stakeholders and partners of ESN to contribute to the future of mobility.
The future of mobility: Erasmus+ programme 2021-2027
The central theme of the EGM 2022 was the Erasmus+ programme 2021-2027. The year 2021 marked the start of the new Erasmus+ programme, and we could not think of a better way to celebrate this remarkable occasion than to dedicated the meeting of the Erasmus Generation to it. This means that the majority of the content revolved around the four priorities of the programme:
Diversity and Inclusion:
- Promotion of and access to equal opportunities, inclusion, diversity and fairness
- Eradication of barriers connected to disabilities, discrimination, interculturality, health, education, as well as economic and social barriers
- Importance of digital education
- Development of digital technologies for teaching and learning
- Development of digital skills
Environment and Climate Action:
- Climate change
- Global warming
- Sustainable development and growth
Democratic participation and Civic engagement:
- Participation in democratic processes
- Knowledge about European Union and participation in the Union’s political and social life
- Active engagement and participation in the life of the community
Since the majority of ESN’s work revolves around the topic of student mobility and Erasmus+, the majority of challenges we face as a network, topics we discuss, and initiatives we contribute with are connected to the priorities of the programme we wholeheartedly provide support to.
Apart from focusing on the Erasmus+ programme, we took this opportunity to commemorate the 35 Years of Erasmus+ programme as well as the European Year of Youth during the conference!
What did I do at EGM?
During EGM, I had an opportunity to:
- Learn more about the priorities of the Erasmus+ programme and what they mean for my university and my local ESN section.
- Learn more about ESN’s role in the internationalisation of higher education, as well as in society and what is the connection between my university and ESN.
- Learn more about ESN’s relationship with the main stakeholders in higher education and how we, together with our partners, work with them.
- Gain new perspectives, insights and inputs from external speakers which will help me in my future activity in ESN, as well as enrich your life as a member of the Erasmus Generation.
- Interact with the stakeholders, voice out the challenges that the students at my university (city, country, community, etc.) face and make sure that the student perspective is heard and taken into account.
- Learn from the external speakers, as well as other volunteers in our network.
Who else was there?
While the main audience was ESN volunteers, there were guests from outside of ESN. EGM was a platform for the entire Erasmus Generation meets, and this expands beyond ESN. This conference was a place where all the players who shape or influence the Erasmus Generation gather in one place to listen to and learn from each other, and where the relevant stakeholders can become better aware of the student perspective.
How was the program?
Mobility Fair and Career Fair were the main events on Friday and Saturday, various parallel sessions ran simultaneously throughout the entire day. Both of the fairs took place for the entire day, longer than before events and similar events. On Sunday, I had the opportunity to access various parallel sessions and ESN Awards. Formats that have chosen for this edition of the conference allowed me to learn, share and discuss, however, they also allowed me to come up with solutions, ideas, and actively work on new activities and projects.
What is Mobility Fair?
Mobility Fair is an opportunity for local sections and national organisations to promote mobility programmes and opportunities existing at the Higher Education Institutions in their countries. Mobility Fair also offers space to young people to learn more about mobility programmes and opportunities in Europe and discover their next mobility destination.
What UTCB and EU-CONEXUS did in Mobility Fair?
I brought various booklets, brochures, leaflets, posters and similar materials about higher education and exchange opportunities topic from Bucharest Technical University of Construction and EU-CONEXUS programme. I promoted mobility programmes and opportunities for international students, and student life in our city Bucharest and in the country of Romania.
The materials I brought were in English and they were clearly explaining our mission, vision and values. Besides all promotional matetrials I brought our university’s merchandise, like badges, tote bags and t-shirts. Thanks to the digital era I played videos on my laptop about EU-CONEXUS programme. And as EU-CONEXUS programme university representer, I had a chance to meet other programme university representers.
Another important thing is in the Erasmus Generation Meeting Porto 2022 event I had a chance to meet with our EU-CONEXUS alliance universities representatives such as “UNIVERSITY OF ZADAR, CROATIA, KLAIPEDA UNIVERSITY, LITHUANIA, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF VALENCIA, SPAIN (ESN UCV), AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS, ATHENS, LA ROCHELLE UNIVERSITÉ, FRANCE “ which you can see in the visuals as well. It was a happy thing for us to meet each other as EU-CONEXUS alliance universities there. I invited representatives of all alliance universities and our partners at their universities to visit Bucharest.
Besides our alliance university reunion I also talked about the topics of “What is EU-CONEXUS?” , “What opportunities that EU-CONEXUS can bring you?”, “How you can get more information about EU-CONEXUS?”. In my first observations, I saw that the number of people who knew this program was not very high. But in the conversations I had at the end of the Mobility Fair, I realized that people had new ideas about this program and our promotion was successful. It was surprising for people who got used to the name Erasmus+ to recognize another exchange program. From my point of view, it was an educational, instructive and exciting event for me. It was also a great honor for me to be there to represent my university.
Being a part of this adventure, as someone who thinks that all young people should benefit from exchange programs, was a complementary factor to my own ideas and vision. I am grateful to the EU-CONEXUS family for this support provided to me as an ESNer, UTCB student and EU-CONEXUS representative.
I would like to give special thanks to Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest and to the EU-CONEXUS Office for their precious support for me. This event was an unforgettable experience for me.
Ayberk-Muhammed YAVUZ, student of Faculty of Civil Engineering in Foreign Languages, 2nd Year Structural Engineering in English MA