The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is preparing to launch a new edition of the Social Inclusion Days, an initiative that aims to advocate for inclusive mobility programmes, through activities that bring together international students and members of local communities, in more than 42 countries.
The Social Inclusion Days will take place between the 23rd of November and the 7th of December 2020. During these two weeks, more than 500 local associations of ESN will promote activities that aim at integrating the international students into the local communities and vice-versa. With this initiative, international students will have opportunities to better understand their host communities and become aware of the issues among them; to work together with the volunteers on boosting the social inclusiveness of these communities; to spread awareness on social causes and to have a tangible impact, while increasing their sense of solidarity at the same time.
Although there are very good examples of impactful activities on the ground from past editions (e.g. visits to local schools and nursing homes, etc.), this year, 2020, we are facing a new challenge, a new reality, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This won’t stop us, nonetheless. It will only make us explore new alternatives. This year Social Inclusion Days activities will have a very strong online focus: keeping everyone safe, but at the same time putting in motion people’s minds around different topics and keeping them engaged.
The activities organised under the umbrella of the Social Inclusion Days will enable international students across Europe to have a social impact within the communities that host them. As such, they have the chance to become active European citizens, who are aware and empathetic to societal issues, and who work together towards a better and inclusive future. This active and engaged attitude towards society is the driving force that will enable the Erasmus Generation to change the world.
‘With the Social Inclusion Days we are aiming to foster Internationalisation at Home and break the “Erasmus Bubble” by bringing international and local students together to organise meaningful activities for their local communities. ESN strives for the “enrichment of society through international students” and the Social Inclusion Days are the best tool to achieve this mission.’
Kostis Giannidis, President of the Erasmus Student Network