ERASMUS is the EU’s flagship education and training programme established in 1987 giving the opportunity to approximately 200 000 students to study and work abroad each year, for a period of at least 3 months and maximum 12 months. The programme funds collaboration between higher education institutions across Europe, where it supports not only the students but professors and business staff to teach abroad and receive training.
The programme gives the opportunity to live abroad and experience a foreign culture, customs, meet new people and practise the foreign language. It also enhances the possibilities of finding a job in the near future due to the new relations made during the period abroad.
But, who are the real heroes behind Erasmus programme that make it so special and unforgettable?
Of course all the students! Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is one of the biggest interdisciplinary student associations in Europe. Its aim is to create a more mobile and flexible educational environment for students, by supporting and developing the student exchange from different levels which mainly operates on a volunteer basis. Everything works under the principle of SHS – Students Helping Students, where opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development are provided.
ESN operates on three levels, Local such as ESN Southampton, National such as ESN UK and International such as the International board.
All the members of ESN stand and share the same values. They passionately commit themselves to volunteering for the benefit of each other. They work to improve the social and practical integration of international students, to represent their needs and rights on local, national and international level.
Furthermore, ESN through their members provides relevant information about the different mobility programs available in Europe, motivates students to study abroad and gain relevant insight to different cultures, actively contributes to the improvement and accessibility of students’ mobility and finally promotes the local volunteering and active citizenship.
Concluding, ESN offers help in academic, social and practical integration process. This is mainly done through activities in the local sections, consisted from a variety of cultural and social events such as trips within the country, film nights, buddy group and language projects, food festivals and last but not least, parties.
In our university, each school has its own Erasmus Coordinator. If you speak to the relevant school reception, you will be able to get their contacts. Feel free to speak to them and they will provide you with all the relevant information that you will need in order to do an Erasmus placement abroad. Alternatively, you can contact the university’s International office. For further information please visit our website at www.erasmus.susu.org or the university’s International Office website at http://www.southampton.ac.uk/international/erasmus/index.html.
ESN UK & ESN Southampton President