If you’re a young student or a young trainee looking for some inspiration and information on your upcoming exchange experience, then you’re already at the right page and I am also here to give you the reasons why. So keep reading and you won’t be disappointed! To get you started let me first introduce this special edition explanatory topic that’s about to be presented in this page. - Well the title more or less says it all…but you’re still interested so here we go!
In one word that’s Erasmus+! Well, in two words; that’s Youth Mobility. Well, maybe in 3 words; that’s Erasmus+, Mobility & loads of Experiences. (Don’t get me started describing those experiences, it’s gonna take some time! The ones who’ve already participated in the Erasmus+ programme know what I mean, right? ).
Erasmus+ is a life changing experience that cannot really be defined or described in linguistically specific words. Can it? It’s something way more than just words!
As mentioned above, 30 years now, the Erasmus Plus programme brings people & cultures together and it is considered to be one of the European milestones ever existed!
An enduring European success story, Erasmus+ is a cultural phenomenon that has been credited with fostering a pan-European identity. The current programme, running from 2014 to 2020, is set to provide mobility opportunities to over 4 million people. Erasmus+ has also been said to boost employability and job mobility.
Exchange isn't a year in your life, but a life in a year!
Celebrating the Erasmus’+ anniversary, the local ESN’s as well as the responsible institutions and associations that deal with the promotion and the proper execution of the program, have been organising events and campaigns throughout the whole year, aiming to bring attention and to create visibility on the program’s significance! The launching of the Official Erasmus+ App (that will be analysed in detail later on- keep reading), marks the beginning of the digitalisation of the programme; the creation of a mobile app is now facilitating the Erasmus+ Students when dealing with the mandatory paperwork & looking for all the relevant sociocultural information!
For the ones that aren’t even aware that this amazing opportunity exists, the Erasmus+ Programme (European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is a European Union (EU) student exchange programme established in 1987. When you apply for the Erasmus+ scholarship, you are given the chance to spend a semester or a year abroad, studying or working at the “partner universities or associations” that participate into the programme.
Isn’t that great? Do not think about it, challenge yourself and do it! Think of how many people do not even have the chance or the financial ability to move around within their own country! All you have to do is to be prepared for a unique experience and of course to stay updated and apply on time! Consult your university’s co-ordinator and just go for it! You won’t regret it!
At itinari, we are building a database of inspirations and stories related to tourism in Europe; personally, (as the responsible editor for the Erasmus+ content), I am working on creating articles/pages that will help the Erasmus+/exchange/international students find their way around & settle down in their new cities (from accommodation, to public transport, to restaurants, sightseeing and night life ....).
As a student who have lived and studied abroad in 4 different countries, I know the struggle that a new student faces while being in a foreign country. So guys, I’m one of you and here to help you through our platform!
Let’s suppose that you are an Erasmus+ student or in general a student planning to study abroad for a semester or so. What are the factors that you would take into consideration before choosing your next destination and university? How would you organise your background research? What are the things that you’d love to know about your university in advance?
Struggling to answer some of those questions before moving to my first university, I had to start with my first research; it was a detailed one, covering important aspects of my upcoming university life abroad. I gotta admit, it took me some time to find the secret websites and the well hidden Erasmus+ info in those! Sooner or later it just became a habit, a part of my everyday reality for the next few years; after finishing from my first Erasmus+ programme, I have started looking and desperately applying for similar mobility programs.
While creating content for Itinari, I’ve decided to gather all the necessary information and add them in personalised for each university pages. By contacting the collaborating universities, I gather reliable data and info that can actually help the new students adjust easily into their new university. Furthermore, through our platform we do promote the local ESN communities and their relevant action in each city. Interesting, don't you think?
By using our tool, we’re trying to promote articles that encapsulate all this information (which otherwise is spread on the different platforms making the search inefficient for the students) and that are then easy to share and embed in other platforms. Our goal is to create a database including info about the most significant cities & universities that participate in the Erasmus+ mobility program.
So far at Itinari we have created a useful database of pages that include important info that would help a student adapt into his/her new city and university.
The pages are quite specific, featuring each time different universities, countries and cities. At the same time, they are always being created in the same line following the same structure, fact that makes them more easily readable and comprehensive. Through our pages the future students or trainees can get information regarding 1) their new university & its infrastructures, 2) the life in the city & the general cost of living, 3) the offered accommodation & the suggested solutions, 4) the cultural activities & the sightseeing offered in the new city, 5) the local associations and the ESN’s where they could refer for any kind of mobility issues. At the same time, the pages are interlinked with the official pages of the universities featured, from where in fact the main information is being withdrawn. We are proud to announce that we already have a database including the most significant universities of Greece, Belgium, Spain and Italy (and of course the list is about to get bigger and bigger!!).
Among the already existing list, it’s worth having a look at universities such as the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, the Sapienza University in Rome, the Carlos III in Madrid and the Vrije University of Brussels that have so far gathered multiple of views and helped a lot of students find their way around! At the same time, a wide variety of similar pages can be found in the recommendation/suggestion part at the bottom of each page. Keep scrolling!
As you can realise, at Itinari we believe that the future of the Erasmus+ mobility and its preparation is now establishing online and as a result we’re trying to contribute with our way in its rapid development! Supporting the official Erasmus+ Programme we’re happy to promote its general action and in this case specifically, the Erasmus+ Mobile app that has been already launched online; the European Commission and the European University Foundation have developed a mobile application that guides Erasmus+ participants every step of the way… In it you can actually find everything you need to know about opportunities to go abroad with Erasmus+ and check out all the features that are specifically built to facilitate your experience! Intrigued yet?
Download the app and explore the world of Erasmus+! Preparation tips, cultural information, linguistic support, document preparation and learning agreements can now be found in one app. Sounds time & paper-saving and I’m pretty sure it is!
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