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January in some respects is seen as a quiet month, as the exchange students and sections take somewhat of a break from their ‘fun’ lives and spend time studying and preparing for those exams which are the test of all that was learned (or not) in the first semester. But it is just like any other month for the Board with many tasks, deadlines and preparations to be done, albeit with a bit less travel.
Over Christmas and into the first weeks of January, Damien worked tirelessly on the budget and accounting of ESN to make sure that 2011 was accounted and 2012 was prepared for. We are all grateful and thankful for his work and this alternative Christmas break he spent in Brussels…
In mid-January, to further develop and plan the Eduk8 project we had a planning meeting here in Brussels. With Michel working as the SocialErasmus coordinator (and Eduk8 trainer) in Brussels and Katja as the Board Member responsible for the project it was simply a case of inviting Dorottya Glatz (NR of Hungary & Eduk8 coordinator) to our humble abode in Brussels. The three of them had long, yet productive meetings in the new (but yet to be renovated) ESN meeting room which is upstairs in the office. They also began writing the grant application for the project to help support the Eduk8 project in 2012 and beyond.
The following week, Katja and Michel jetted off to northern climes for the Social Erasmus Coordinators Meeting in Trondheim, Norway, where over 40 motivated national coordinators and ESNers gathered to work on the project and the activities that will be run this year, the 25th Anniversary of the Erasmus Programme. The participants were treated to icy conditions, Norwegian hospitality, culture and cuisine and amazingly a display from the Northern Lights. Concurrently, Fabian attended the Hungarian NP in Szeged and gave presentations and support to the ESNers about our IT projects.
Damien and Leo continued to work on our partnerships and we signed our third international agreement with EF Education First, which will provide discounts off language courses for ESN members and exchange students. This is the first of many announcements of great partnerships for the network in 2012!
At the same time as all this was going on, the entire office was working on a variety of grant applications which will develop the work and projects of ESN. Many hours of work and discussions were devoted to these tasks and we just hope that we get positive answers in the coming months.
On the final weekend of the month, we welcomed 8 potential Board candidates to Brussels for the Insight Weekend for 3 days of insight, discovery and a little bit of teambuilding. The weekend was a great success and we look forward to seeing many motivated candidates at the AGM.
Last but not least, on 30th and 31st January the European Commission launched the celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of the Erasmus Programme, which ESN will be at forefront of, underlined by the fact that we had seven Erasmus Student Ambassadors including our very own, Katja Krohn and the first president of ESN, Desiree Majoor represented.
After a productive month of grant writing, intensive work and sleepless nights, CNR Rotterdam is approaching with the prospect of long discussions about statutes, standing orders and much more and we all have our eyes firmly fixed on the AGM which is not so far away either.
Greetings from the International Board!
Written by Leo Smith