EAIE Helsinki 2019, Europe's largest international higher education conference, took place during 24-27 September 2019 and welcomed over 6000 higher education professionals from 95 countries.

The event brought together higher education institutions, national agencies, student service providers and many other participants, as well as the ESN delegation of 5 people - the only student organisation present at the event. The programme was full of interesting sessions, networking events, debates, keynotes and workshops, all under the common motto of “encompassing all voices”.

 

 

For 4 days, the Erasmus Student Network representatives had the pleasure to facilitate 7 different sessions. Their contribution focused mainly on showcasing ESN’s projects and services or addressing the causes ESN deals with.

Sabina Achim, the Communication Manager of the Erasmus Student Network, kicked off with a poster session about ErasmusIntern.org, presenting a platform where trainees can meet with numerous Erasmus+ traineeship providers all over Europe.

ESN gave its statement towards the challenges of social integration of international students. As a solution, ESN’s Project Officer Wim Gabriels and Vice-President Tajana Mohnacki presented the benefits of implementing the SocialErasmus+ project that encourages exchange students to engage with local communities during their studies abroad through volunteer activities in local schools and next to that the supporting toolkit developed for this purpose, along with a best practice guide.

For the questions like “What are the key aspects of inclusive mobility?” Dominique Montagnese from Confia International, Valérie van Hees from SIHO and Wim Gabriels from ESN presented the www.inclusivemobility.eu platform for a toolbox on inclusive mobility. Together with representatives of IROs and Disability Offices, they mapped the small & big actions we can take on the local level towards implementing a sustainable framework on inclusive mobility. Additionally, the Vice-President of ESN presented MappED! - a platform that provides information about international mobility for students with disabilities.

Kaspars Ābelnīca, the Web Project Administrator of the Erasmus Student Network presented the “The impact of buddy programmes on the integration of local and international students” that showcased the useful insights on how can staff and local students join forces to develop or improve a buddy programme to respond to on-arrival needs of international students. Together with the European University Foundation and the European Commission, Kaspars Ābelnīca discussed the digitalisation of the nomination process for Erasmus applicants and how the Erasmus App can make life easier for both universities and students.

One of ESN’s highlights at this year’s EAIE was the “Bracing for Brexit: updates and uncertainties” session where ESN’s President, Kostis Giannidis, shared the students’ perspective and called for minimising the impact of Brexit on student mobility and announced the continuation of ESN’s support for international students in the UK.

EAIE Helsinki 2019 was once again a very inspiring and valuable experience. Next year, the EAIE will travel up north to Barcelona and ESN will not be missing among the participants. More information about the upcoming edition can be found here.