On the 14th of September, the Erasmus Student Network has launched a petition to European Commission and the European Parliament to create an Erasmus programme which encourages social integration & intercultural awareness through volunteering and engaging with local communities during an international exchange.
The petition is accompanied by the SocialErasmus Charter which examines the key elements that should form the backbone of an Erasmus experience. Additionally, the project features supporting measures for all involved actors, including recognition of volunteering activities in Higher Education Institutions. This will allow for the next Erasmus programme 2021-2027 to multiply the results of the investment in each participant and support the creation of a society of active citizens. The initiative is also rooted in large-scale research (ESNsurvey 2016, page 53) which proves that only one-third of international students developed a high number of local friendships as expected.
“The Erasmus programme should create a generation of Europeans who transcend cultural divisions and feel empowered to build multicultural societies. By volunteering and helping their host communities international students grow personally and become ambassadors of the programme and its message.”
- Wim Gabriels, SocialErasmus+ Project Coordinator
“International education faces two main challenges – fostering interaction between international and local students and ensuring that exchange students get the most from their experience. SocialErasmus is the much-needed solutions to those obstacles. Sign the petition and help us contribute to a more social Erasmus programme!”
- João Pinto, President of Erasmus Student Network
SocialErasmus+ is a project coordinated by the Erasmus Student Network and co-funded by the European Commission. It aims at building bridges between international students and local communities by bringing the students to local schools. The project consortium includes the European University Foundation (EUF), Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Universität Wien, Universidad de Vigo, Scholengroep Vlaamse Ardennen and ESN Besançon.
Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the biggest student association in Europe. Present at over 1000 Higher Education Institutions, it unites over 500 local associations in 40 countries. More than 13,000 volunteers take care of their international peers under the motto “Students helping students”. ESN works for the creation of a more mobile and flexible education environment by supporting and developing the student exchange from different levels and providing an intercultural experience.