A group of young people holding a big flag made of many other country flags.

The heartbeat of the Erasmus Generation pulsed through the streets of Seville as EGM Seville 2024, Europe’s largest student-led conference, gathered more than 1,600 participants from over 70 nationalities around Europe and beyond. From the 4th until the 7th of April, Seville became the capital of the Erasmus Generation, hosting an unforgettable convergence of minds, ideas, and dreams, thanks to the hard work of the volunteers of ESN Spain. The conference was supported by the Erasmus+ Spanish National Agency (SEPIE) and the two universities in Seville: the University of Seville and the University Pablo de Olavide.

As a tradition, the event started unravelling next to the Guadalquivir River during a Flag Parade - a traditional walk of the Erasmus Generation celebrating unity in diversity with the colours and flags of their countries. The Opening Ceremony followed, where renowned figures such as President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, through a video message; Vice President of the European Commission Margaritas Schinas; Member of the Parliament of Andalusia Patricia del Pozo Fernández; Spokesman and Director General for Communication at European Parliament Jaume Duch Guillot; Minister of Youth and Children Sira Rego; and Spanish Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Universities Juan Cruz Cigudosa captivated the audience with electrifying speeches on the role of the Erasmus Generation in Europe’s present and future.

This meeting is the symbol of what Europe stands for. Keep going, don't stop dreaming, and follow the cause from your heart. Europe of opportunities means Europe of hope. Speak for Europe because you are our best ambassadors, and you are our best hope. - Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission

Among breathtaking cultural moments filled with harmonies and emotion, one of the most captivating ones was definitely the performance of the Erasmus+ Orchestra - an orchestra made up of European Conservatoires and Music institutes that participated or are taking part in an Erasmus+ international mobility experience, supported by the Erasmus+ Italian National Agency (INDIRE). It is an ensemble that spreads the values of the Erasmus Generation through a language that everyone understands - music.

Over those four days, the pulse of the conference beat to the rhythm of empowerment through more than 170 sessions under the theme of "Removing Barriers for Active and Equal Participation" in the spirit of the upcoming European elections and the “Erasmus Generation in Action” project, co-funded by the European Parliament. The conference blazed with intensity, debates ignited with passion, and networking sessions hummed with the spark of possibility. Together, the Erasmus Generation navigated a path towards more inclusive and accessible mobility programmes.

Mobility must be a reality for all, and it’s our duty as the Erasmus Generation to continue fighting to make that a reality. There's no better organisation than the Erasmus Student Network to drive change in society, and you demonstrate this every day. - Rita Dias, President of the Erasmus Student Network

This event would not have been possible without our trusted partner, Pernod Ricard, who made sure that the participants were well-informed on the safety and importance of staying hydrated during EGM Seville 2024 through the Drink More Water project. To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Pernod Ricard’s collaboration with ESN, Vice President for Human Resources, Cedric Ramat, highlighted our shared mission during the opening of the first day: "To shape a brighter, more inclusive future that brings people together".

One of our first sessions of the conference was brought to the Erasmus Generation by the European Commission in collaboration with Coimbra Group and Eurail. A discussion on making exchanges more green yet how difficult it is for our generation to afford it. Participants left the session excited to utilise the borderless travel available in Europe and with a promise of a future where sustainable travel will be affordable for them.

The session “Unveiling the European Student Card: Empowering Digital Transformation in Higher Education“ showcased that digitalisation is key to removing barriers. It allows us to streamline processes globally and take away the burden of the current administrative gaps and intricacies of our youth.

During the “Collaborative Waves: Building Cooperations for Inclusive International Opportunities” session, held by the Erasmus+ National Agencies of Romania and the Czech Republic, the participants explored the benefits of collaboration between their agencies and the Erasmus Student Network to make visible changes on the topic of inclusivity on exchange.

Parallelly, with many engaging sessions across the Higher Technical School of Engineering (ETSI), participants could interact with each other and many institution and company representatives during the EGM Expo - a space gathering academic, mobility, and employability opportunities for the Erasmus Generation.

A conversation with last year’s Erasmus Destination of the Year, Ghent, opened the second day of the conference, followed by the presentations of the five finalists for the Erasmus Destination of the Year 2024: Istanbul (Türkiye), Nicosia (Cyprus), Porto (Portugal), Seville (Spain), and Sofia (Bulgaria). This time, the spotlight shines on Porto, celebrating ESN Porto's exceptional commitment to nurturing a home away from home for all international students and their collaborations with local institutions towards better and more inclusive mobility.

Internationalisation of our generation is something we all strive for and see the benefits of. It was shown once more during several sessions on the second day, such as “The Future Is Erasmus”, moderated by Rita Dias with panellists from the European Commission, the Academic Cooperation Association and the Erasmus+ Spanish National Agency. “The Future Is Erasmus” is ESN’s leading initiative to shape the future of the programme and EGM, marking just the start of a beautiful journey.

EPSO, who were already present at EGM Porto 2022 and EGM Bucharest 2023, returned this year and once more gave the participants insight on how they too can make it in the EU bubble through their engaging session “Careers in the European Union: Matching Aspiring Talent With EU Careers”.

EGM Seville 2024 offered opportunities for participants to get to know about the most recent higher education cooperation initiative launched by the European Cooperation, the European Degree, together with Yann-Maël Bideau, Policy Officer at the Higher Education Unit in the European Commission and Fernando Gálan, Consortium Manager at Arqus European University Alliance

Last but not least, at one of the closing sessions of the day, “Europe on the Move: Navigating the New Learning Mobility Framework”, brought by the German Academic Exchange Service, the Lifelong Learning Platform, the European Association for International Education and the European Commission, the participants engaged in discussions and were introduced to the ambitious goals of this new framework, including a 25% mobility goal for higher education and 20% for individuals facing fewer opportunities.

The day was filled with sessions brought forward by members of the Erasmus Student Network who spoke of their experiences being part of minority groups and how they faced challenges on exchange. From people with both invisible and visible disabilities to trans folk and those who have faced discrimination throughout most of their lives. To quote one of our speakers: “I have never felt safe enough to share, EGM Seville 2024 gave me a voice.”

Sunday kicked off with the session “What is the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education and how we can monitor it?” which brought those who monitor the charter to the Erasmus Generation itself. Panellists included the INGENIUM Alliance of European Universities, the Slovenian Erasmus+ National Agency, the University of Ljubljana and the European Commission.

It was a day filled with opportunities for the Erasmus Generation to directly influence the future of exchange, such as “Student Housing: Ensuring All Students Have Quality Accommodation on Exchange”, held by the Erasmus Student Network in collaboration with The Class Foundation and “Be Part of the Co-Creation Process of the European University Initiatives”, where our participants worked together with the ENHANCE, INGENIUM Alliance of European Universities and Ulysseus University Alliance.

To close the conference, the traditional ESN Awards took place to showcase and reward the activities and initiatives from around the network. The ceremony can be rewatched here.

We have celebrated the 35th anniversary of ESN and 20 years of one of our biggest projects, the membership card of the Erasmus Generation, while still following the motto of “students helping students” as in 1989. Among interactive activities throughout the conference, the highlight of the celebration was an emotional video to reminisce about the accomplishments of the organisation but also to showcase the fulfilment that comes with volunteering.

As the sun sets in Seville, the echoes of the Erasmus Generation Meeting Seville 2024 linger, a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Erasmus Generation. United by a common purpose and fueled by boundless passion, EGM Seville 2024 shaped the destiny of student mobility and inspired generations yet to come.

Experience ESN Seville 2024 through your screens by checking out the live stream recordings, and stay tuned for EGM Ancona 2025 on the official website of the Erasmus Generation Meeting!