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The quantum of ESN energy…

All the great things in history were achieved friendships one of which was written in French.
thanks to people who dreamt of better world and In this way we would like to start a new cycle
brighter future for the mankind and it was their in eXpress – ‘the languages of Europe’ with ar-
vision and conviction that brought these dreams ticles in other languages than English. We’re also
into effect. Their inspiration, power and persis- happy that one of our partner organizations,
tence made them carriers of the positive energy AEGEE, accepted our invitation to contribute to
changing the world and our lives. That’s how this issue as well.
new ideas, new projects are usually born and
that’s how the new beginnings start… The whole issue was created and all arti-
cles were selected under the title of ‘New Begin-
ESN is like an energy fusion bringing ning’. But there’s still one very important thing to
creative thoughts and making them come true. remember - after good new beginning the path
Therefore, such innovative and brave projects needs to be followed, so that at the end the suc-
like Give20 or ESNtrain can take place. Then, cess can be achieved…
by developing ideas like Against Racism Cup or
Social Erasmus, ESNers are spreading the good By Magdalena Wawrzonkowska
spirit and mobilising themselves for the well-
being of other people and show that they care
about the significant world issues. The example
of motivated members of ESN France proved
that thanks to the ESN energy, stubbornness and
hard work it is possible to bring amazing results
in a short time. ESNers know also how impor-
tant self-development, learning new things, gain-
ing new skills and sharing ideas with others is.
And the Annual General Meeting, which will
take place in 2009 in Utrecht, is the best plat-
form for it. AGM and other ESN events are also
the best places to find long-lasting friendships
and experience the intercultural atmosphere –
that’s why so many former Erasmus students join
ESN network. For them ESN is the follow-up of
their Erasmus experience. Huge possibilities that
exchange programmes offer stimulated Macedo-
nian students to fight for the visa facilitation so
that they can easily become part of the interna-
tional students family.

All subjects mentioned above can be found

in this issue of eXpress. The articles here can be
divided into three groups: general articles, pro-
ject descriptions and articles about international
Behind the scenes ESNtrain – Europe’s longest
of the next AGM… communication platform
Probably you may know how addictive Why Utrecht? As some of you might be 2009 is the great year of 20 years of ESN ticipants, so sections shouldn’t worry about the
volunteering in ESN can be. Activities, meet- aware of - the first ESN section was founded in and also the anniversary of 20 years of the Euro- number of visitors coming. It would be fine to
ings and parties are the essential part of the 1989 in Utrecht. In 2009 we will be celebrating pean reunification. To celebrate these big causes organise some smaller but different events so the
ESN life. And everybody who is once involved 20th birthday of our network, therefore, as the ESN is going to organise some great events Eu- participants could decide what they want to do.
in it can never get out. It was the same for me roots of ESN, our city is the best place for the rope has never seen before. One of them is the It also would be nice if some sections could of-
and my colleagues from the ESN Utrecht Board. biggest ESN meeting! ESNtrain: fer breakfast, lunch or dinner or organise a pos-
It was hard to imagine not being fully involved sibility to take a shower. There is also a request
anymore. This probably sounds familiar to many Since last AGM in Besançon the Organiz- The ESNtrain consists of 16 European for cheap opportunities to stay overnight in the
of you and, fortunately, there are many ways to ing Committee (a.k.a. OC) are the heroes who wagons and is with its length of more than 500 visited towns or near them for people who get on
stay involved, for example organizing an interna- will be playing the first fiddle behind the organi- meters Europe’s longest rolling communication or get off the ESNtrain.
tional event… zation of this event. The OC is led by two for- platform. The ESNtrain crosses Europe from
mer board members of ESN Utrecht: Ellen and March 28th to April 21st 2009 for the duration Each country has a responsible person.
ESN network is a very big one and now Nanda, and consists of more amazing people in- of 25 days. During its journey through 18 Eu- You could reach this person under the e-mail ad-
contains 278 sections spread over 32 countries. cluding an EVS volunteer who came over all the ropean countries the ESNtrain is going to visit dress or just by
To make sure that everything inside the network way from Poland to help the OC. more than 40 towns and 90 UNESCO world visiting our homepage
is going smoothly and to improve the coopera- cultural heritages. The ESNtrain offers a total
tion between the sections we have our platforms. All of them dedicated themselves to mak- of 1,200 places and about 700 beds. Thanks to By Remo Weber
The biggest one of them and the most legendary ing the next AGM a big success and we strongly the modular booking system it is possible to stay ESNtrain Team
is the Annual General Meeting (AGM) consisting believe that it will be such. just a few days, with some breaks in the ESNtrain
of all representatives of the ESN sections. Orga- journey or even for the whole trip on the train.
nizing such a big event is a challenge indeed, but By Anthe de Weerd You can decide from where to where you want
we thought – why not? AGM Organizing Comittee to participate in the unique and first time made
communication platform on track.
Therefore, during the last meeting in
Besançon, our section successfully ran for or- The ESNtrain is an inimitable communi-
ganizing the next AGM. The result is that the cation platform on which will be a lot of time to
next AGM will be held in Utrecht at the end of get in contact with people from other countries,
March 2009! This was fantastic news for all the learn something about different cultures and
Dutch ESN fellows as it means that over 400 in- have a good and peaceful time in a special atmo-
ternational ESN members will soon be invading sphere. Activities will be organised at the various
Utrecht for four days to discuss and celebrate the train stops. The visited local ESN sections are free
20th birthday of ESN. to organise whatever they want. Some examples
could be city tours, workshops, sport activities
like Inline Skating or River Rafting, concerts or
parties. In addition to the daytime programme,
the evening activities on the train are the se-
cond pillar of this project. Such activities could
be for example dance courses, language courses,
games, presentations or workshops. These events
give the not visited countries and sections a
good chance to present themselves. The activi-
ties don’t have to be organised for all the par-

For more information, please check out the website and see you in Feel free to become an ESNtrain fan in Facebook, to visit our homepage, to help us during the trip and last but
March 2009 in Utrecht! not least feel free to take part of the never seen ESNtrain journey through Europe! We’re looking forward to seeing you

Erasmus Against Racism Cup Give20 article

Erasmus Against Racism Cup was a tour- (maybe this time also for European ESNers and Dreamt up in Sarajevo, extended in Brus- of your time to, tell us you’re in-
nament organized by Erasmus Student Network their Erasmus :). sels and confirmed in London, Give20 is an ESN terested in helping to support the world’s most
Poland and took place between 17th and 19th project with a truly international flavour! It has influential advocate of children. Now is not the
October 2008 in Warsaw as a part of the FARE By Anna Burtan one aim; bringing together 278 sections in 32 moment to turn your back, now is the time to
Action Week Against Racism and Discrimina- Coordinator of Erasmus Against Racism countries to raise huge amounts of money for the have fun for an amazing cause!
tion in Europe. It consisted of 2 parts: integra- Cup ‘08 world renowned charity, UNICEF.
tion and sightseeing for Erasmus students that By James Beckett
are studying in other cities than Warsaw and the ESN has students with a strong conscience Give20 Team
main tournament for both – Erasmus students throughout its sections and now has the opportu-
(from all over the country) and ESN members. nity to show the whole Europe that our organisa-
Participation in the tournament was free of tion is an active and generous rather than just a
charge so everyone who wanted to support the party group.
action, help to achieve its goals and have some
fun could join in. It took place at Kozminski Uni- So what are the details of the project?
veristy in Warsaw where one of the Polish ESN Every section is encouraged to start raising
sections is located. money from the 1st of January 2009, whether
it is through hard work, running, dressing up,
More than 120 students competed on two partying or anything else you can dream up! On
pitches – outside and inside. Even though tourna- the week of the 12th to 16th of October 2009,
ment was dominated by Spanish and Portuguese marking the 20th Birthday of ESN, the fundrais-
also other nationalities like Germans, Belgians, ing efforts will come to a close with coordinated
Nigerians, Italians, Turkish and many more par- events capturing the attention and imagination
ticipated in Erasmus Against Racism Cup. of people and press all over Europe.

During whole weekend organizers took There are many things to get very excited
care not only of organizing sport event. After about. Not only is their unlimited potential for
sport emotions everyone could integrate during raising money and getting ESN’s name to the
special Erasmus party (of course with fair play forefront of European news but a unique web-
rules :). site featuring live video feeds, interactive fund-
raising leaderboards and links, celebrity endorse-
Students incoming to Warsaw just for the ments, world record attempts and an incredible
event were accommodated in one of the War- UNICEF project to put our support behind.
saw’s hostels where full board and great local-
ization were provided. Even though in that case Preparations for the project are already
ESN couldn’t afford to cover totally the expenses, well under way, we have a committed interna-
the cost for students studying in other cities than tional team working hard, top designers already
Warsaw was reduced to minimum and came to making clothing for the event, so now is the time
33 euro (120 PLN). for you to get involved in the project. There are
lots of ways to do so, why not become National
What was the response after whole event? Coordinator of Give20 for your country or take
Of course very positive :) That is why next year charge of your sections events and fundraising?
we’re going to organize this event once again All you need to do is send an email, two minutes
for European Youth Activists
Workshops of Polish cuisine… Folk dance planning to conduct charity actions in majority As an old adage says – every beginning is this campaign receives from the members of the
classes… Cultural evenings… Meetings in kin- of Polish cities under the name of International another beginning’s end. As one year is ending European Parliament and the European Com-
dergartens… Teaching at a language school as Santa Claus in December. and another one approaching, it is the right time mission, European Movement International net-
a native speaker… Charity actions… Interna- to rewind the track of our accomplishments and work, our fellow youth organizations and other
tional Santa Claus. We hope that the program will change the rethink our plans for the future. It is our obliga- members of the civil society.
stereotypes about Erasmus Programme and help tion, being the most dynamic part of our soci-
What those things have in common? They us to promote the exchange as well to help Polish eties and their only future, to take our part of The year is ending in a great anxiety over
are all actions of a new ESN Poland program – children in feeling part of Europe. responsibility in tackling challenges awaiting Eu- the world’s and Europe’s future in the light of
SOCIAL ERASMUS. rope and the world in the year to come. the biggest global financial crisis since the Great
By Magdalena Pawelczyk Depression. In the time of misfortune and anxi-
The program was established in May dur- Social Erasmus Coordinator, ESN Poland In 2008 once again the European project ety it is of paramount importance to remind
ing delegates meeting in Katowice. The goal of has been rejected by the European citizens. The ourselves and the ones around us that no crisis
the project is to activate Erasmus students who Irish negative vote on the Lisbon Reform Treaty is more powerful then the solidarity of our com-
have a lot of free time and energy, are open this June has shown once again people’s discon- munities and that there is no possession more
minded, are ready to take actions and participate tent and disconnection from the current deve- valuable then the sense of fulfillment, once you
in our activities. We thought, if we are dealing lopments in the European Union’s high political have done something for the greater good of the
with really active and young people interested in circles. The inability of the European political society. I hope that this moment will show to our
our culture why not to make Erasmus closer to elite and the EU governance structures to win friends, parents, professors and business and po-
the Polish society and involve the international the hearts and minds of the people for the neces- litical leaders, that there is no better school of
students into it... sary changes in the ways the enlarged Union op- professional accountability and social responsi-
erates has again brought upfront the importance bility than volunteerism and active citizenship.
We set the rule: “you got help from us, so of societal initiative. When political leaders fail
try to help as well” and we created a project of a to deliver the message, it is our chance, as it is our By Dragan Stojanovski
new program called “SocialErasmus”. duty, to work more and harder to show the value President of AEGEE
The program is divided into 4 groups of and the benefits of the European unity for our
actions: generation and the ones to come.
1. CultureErasmus – promotion of Polish
culture as well cultures of exchange students into From Iceland to Kosovo, AEGEE mem-
the Polish society; bers lead dozens of initiatives that engage great
2. ActiveErasmus – helping Erasmus stu- number of young people in profound dialogue
dents to find a job as a native speaker at a lan- on the principles and practices of the Europe-
guage schools or working for NGO’S; an Citizenship. And this will continue to be our
3. ErasmusHelpus – motivate Erasmus prime challenge in 2009 with our two newest
students for helping in kindergartens, primary European projects. “YOUrope Needs YOU” is EUROPE
schools, pension houses; a widespread effort for bringing the education
4. ESN for Kids – Charity actions like In- for European Citizenship to high schools across
ternational Santa Claus – collecting money for Europe through peer education, while “Y Vote
children’s houses. 2009” is a brave campaign challenging the EU
democratic deficit by battling political apathy
The idea of ‘SocialErasmus’ is new and among first time voters at the European Par-
innovative but we are sure that the potential liament elections in June 2009. We are always
of Erasmus can be used to help others. We are pleased and encouraged by the huge support

If you are interested in our program please contact:

Justyna Adamiec our PR responsible person or
Magdalena Pawelczyk SocialErasmus Coordinator

No visa! No borders! New educational database

Macedonia is part of Europe /DEEP/
This is the motto of the Student’s Parlia- The mission of ESN is to foster student During these days European Commission tion Association. It is possible also to get general
ment, the leaders of the Macedonian student mobility in Higher Education under the prin- (EC) is working on a new tool to help students get information about countries of interest. At the
community, which are organizers of the recently ciple of SHS - Students Helping Students, ESN the information about possibilities in Europe and moment thirty-eight countries in Asia and Eu-
held protests against the long visa procedures and Macedonia asks you, our fellow European stu- Asia for going abroad. rope are listed on the website all of which belong
disrespect for the student visa facilitation by the dents, to help us by raising your voice and let to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), an infor-
embassies of the EU countries in Macedonia. your support for us be heard because you are At the moment, when there is a real prob- mal trans-regional platform for dialogue and co-
along with us, the future of Europe! lem with unemployment among young people operation amongst the 25 EU Member States, 13
Macedonian students are peacefully pro- on the EU level, helping the future workforce to Asian countries and the European Commission.
testing against the visa regime and the inability Maja Sahpaska become more international is essential. In EU It will be part of the European Commissions
to freely travel to Europe. Since the visa facili- PR of ESN Skopje, F.Y.R.O.M. 4.6 million people aged between 15 and 24 are communication “Working together, working bet-
tation for the students which was suppose to be unemployed and young people represent 38.5% ter - A new framework for the open coordination
obligatory for all of the EU member’s embassies of the total unemployed population. Amongst of social protection and inclusion policies in the
and consulates that are issuing visas for Macedo- those working, a big percentage of young Euro- European Union”.
nian citizens are not followed at all or with small peans work under atypical forms of contracts.
exceptions, the students are asking for total visa Temporary contracts and internships are name Asia is not seen as a popular destination for
liberalization. of the game where young people receive low or student exchange at the moment. Hopefully, this
inexistent pay. Improved exchange of students project will change the situation. On the website
The protest began on the 15th of Octo- and young professionals would help to resolve you can also read exchange stories about Euro-
ber when the Euroambasador in Macedonia, this situation. EC is trying to inform European peans who went to Asia and vice-versa. The da-
His Excellency Mr. Erwan Fouere, EU Special students more, so they would be able to find a tabase is awaited to be fully functional in March.
Representative for Macedonia, was handed a better job in the end. Europe and Asia are just So spread the word…
Declaration for releasing of the visa regime and the beginning. The goal would be also to see the
was asked for a meeting which which was not other continents joining in. By Jörgen Talkop
realized. After that, another protest followed and European Voluntary Service, Brussels
the students are planning to continue their initia- The database offers a possibility to search
tive until they are heard. for universities which offer your desired course.
In the Declaration the students from the Information is based on World Higher Education
Republic of Macedonia ask for facilitation which Database and International Association of Uni-
will lead to total suppression of the visas for the versities. DEEP offers you a country profile, links
Macedonian students. to visa requirements and study resources. The
- In the Declaration we confirm our strong idea is to collect all possible information about
determination to live together with the other every exchange possibility into one database
European nations and countries in one united and make it accessible for everyone. Through
Europe in which the borders will not represent this process EC tries to resolve the problem that
walls, but open door for opportunities. - said An- the information about possibilities to go abroad,
drijana Pejkovska, a member of the Presidency about scholarships and grants doesn’t spread that
in the Student Parliament. well and is kept in a small circle of people.
The students say they have the support of !
the entire student community and their aim is to There is also information on accreditation,
symbolically state their opinion. Signing a peti- grants, loans and scholarships offered by your
tion on all the major universities and faculties in home and host countries. Data on scholarships
Macedonia will follow in the next months. and exchanges is from the Academic Coopera-

More information:
B627E7DA291125&CFID= 264632&CFTOKEN=84972318
ESN experience in Your Resume! THE IMPORTANCE
All Erasmus Student Network members general competences you have gained. Europass When I joined ESN and during all the first ties, doing things with a similar enthusiasm.
have different reasons for being in ESN – we like is one of the tools that provide a good layout for months of my membership, it was almost impos-
to see our ideas being implemented, we’re here skill based education (europass.cedefop.europa. sible for me to look over the boundaries of my Finally, the example of other people can
to get a bunch of new friends from all over the eu). own local section. Obviously, this was not because be very motivating. You discover that others do
world, brush up on our English skills, learn how Finally, where does it all go on your re- I didn’t realize there are other ESN sections, but and organize their events in a different way, have
to organize events, share our experience or we sume? Depends on you, your education and the because during my day to day experience I didn’t creative ideas and you commence to do it the
simply like the idea of student mobility and inter- level of professional experience. If you had little have the feeling of sharing any activity with oth- same way.
cultural learning and we want to make the world involvement, that rather would go as additional ers apart from those in my department.
better. But although our motivation is different, experience/education, but at some point you However, I must admit that we still need to
we’re not only spending countless hours work- might want to write ESN in your work experience. Eventually, in May 2007, I had a chance work very much to reach a real unity and some
ing voluntarily, we’re also learning and gaining NFE is only complementary and obviously can’t to get in touch with ESNrs from the National kind of uniformity within the sections. We still
skills – formally under-valued, but useful in our be a substitute for formal education and there’s Level - during 2007 ESN Italy members had the have a huge work to be done but we are going
future careers. no guarantee that this will always work, however great opportunity to meet each other not only the good way and heading good aims. We need
as long as you’re skill focused and realistic about on one but on three National Events during the to find out better ways to recognize each other as
Non-formal education (NFE) is an orga- what you have done and what you haven’t, this same month, celebrating the 20th Anniversary part of a same group through new initiatives and
nized, skill focused process that takes place in gives you an advantage you shouldn’t miss. of the Erasmus Programme. I took part in all of even through new rules and we have to manage
different youth organizations, like ESN. Unlike them and this changed relevantly my point of to maintain the spirit that motivates us.
formal education (schools, universities), NFE is By Madara Apsalone view. I realised how important it is to be a part
much more individual (because you choose where National Representative of Latvia of the network. By Valentina Settomini
and how you want to participate), outcome and Member of ESN Italy
skill focused and also much less recognized by Firstly, we can say that being part of a net-
everyone starting from yourself to employers, work allows us to be immediately recognizable
universities and society in general. by the external stakeholders in every aspect of
our activity.
You don’t have to be the president of
ESN International or the head of AGM’s OC Secondly, the fact of being united allows
to learn something important. Having as simple every section to get more profitable partnerships
job as a mentor for an exchange student, you and better relations with the institutions. As far as
improve your intercultural communication and they are concerned, it is even highly useful hav-
language skills. And what about team working, ing the possibility to show the great work we are
project management, organization, HR, finance, able to do all together and demonstrate in this
PR and all other skills you gain organizing any way our seriousness and sense of responsibility.
event? You have probably never though about
it from this perspective, but those are important Thirdly, being connected enables us to or-
skills. ganize some kinds of events otherwise impossible
to be realized, as for example the Annual Gen-
The next question is about showing the eral Meeting or the National Erasmus Events.
employers our experience. Well, your future
employer, supervisor of your chosen masters’ Furthermore, there are several social ad-
program and most of the other people don’t re- vantages in being part of a network. It is amaz-
ally care about what events you have organized ing to meet other people living the same kind of
in particular, but they will basically focus on the experiences you have, facing the same difficul-

New beginning in France! Intercultural Friendships

or How to Walk a Tight Rope
France is the second destination of Eras- ment services to sections, and to all international It is a common thing among those who pect that puzzles you about their culture without
mus students and therefore should be an active exchange students in France. Next National Plat- are planning to spend some time abroad to look being seen as an ignorant. Because nobody can
ESN country. This was not really the case until form will be held in January 2009 where we’re forward to one thing especially: finding friends in know everything. Intercultural relationships that
June 2008, where 5 out of the 7 French sections expecting almost 60 participants, strategic dis- unfamiliar culture. First of all, there is absolutely are founded on assumptions and embarrassed si-
met in Brussels for a National Platform. For this cussions and motivation from all our members! nothing wrong with this wish because getting to lence are, in the long-run, doomed to failure.
event we were warmly welcomed by the Interna- know people one can consider of utmost impor- Intercultural friendship means mastering
tional Board and were hosted in the great ESN By Joachim Wyssling tance if you are an ‘alien’ in another country. the differences and similarities between cultures
House. National Representatative of France Even though many exchange students prefer to through an intense experience. It means to learn
stay in a comfort zone, i.e. their own language how far you can go before crossing a line you did
The National Platform was really success- group at first, finding friends in the host culture not see coming. It means maintaining a delicate
ful, since people were convinced by the ESN spir- or among other international students is what balance between your own values and the beliefs
it they felt at the AGM2008 in Besançon. So new most exchange students hope for. of others. It means openness, tolerance and pa-
projects were set, new tools were created and the tience. It teaches you how to walk a tight rope
new board was elected. The ESN France Board is Becoming acquainted with the students without a safety net.
composed of members from Brest, Lyon, Nancy from other cultures is most of the time easy
and Besançon - good for the geographical cover enough and a natural process when one lives in Most importantly it means friendship.
of our country. another country. However, maintaining these re-
lationships is challenging and requires more ef- By Elisa Lange
The first main step was to set up tools fort than a friendship with someone from one’s Press Release Working Team
enabling us to work together through this huge own cultural and linguistic background. Un-
country and to implement an ESN Satellite for doubtedly, the language barrier often provides
our national website. We’re now setting up tools the biggest obstacle for a successful and long-
for the sections helping them to manage their ac- lasting intercultural friendship because it triggers
tivities and some services (ordering PR material misunderstandings and false impressions. Here,
on the national level, ESN cards, etc) or planning communication is the basis for a good intercul-
a national Erasmus forum. tural relationship. This seems to be a paradox,
but the inability to speak a language properly
Within two months we got two new sec- does not necessarily have something to do with
tions, which are highly motivated by the network good communication.
and the possibilities it gives. We established con-
tacts in the main French cities such as Paris, Lille, In an intercultural environment it is almost
Aix en Provence and Marseille. French sections impossible not to avoid language misunderstand-
were also well represented at the South Western ings and not, intentionally, offend someone from
European Platform in Milan and it was the first another background because what is true and
time that there were nine French ESNers at a right in my culture seldom applies to others as
Regional Platform. A strong network needs part- well. It is not possible to apply the same patterns
ners therefore we’re cooperating with national and standards to every culture. Even hand ges-
student networks, authorities and sponsors in or- tures, which seem rather innocent, can get one
der to strengthen our network. into big trouble in some parts of the world.

ESN France, although it’s a new beginner Therefore, ‘intercultural friendship’ should
in ESN network, provides through its develop- mean that you can ask your friends about any as-

More about ESN France:

My new beginning Erasmus in Thessaloniki,
In the time when I worked in the ESN However, I have never considered difficul- Decision of going for the Erasmus ex- When I come to Poland I won’t be the same
Buddy System at my home university in Brati- ties of moving to another country. It was after change was the best decision in my life!!! Right person, I will be a European Citizen. And after-
slava and enjoyed my normal student life I had several days when I realized how alone I felt in now I am in Thessaloniki, Greece. I chose Greece wards… where should I go first?… Tallinn – to
never thought that once my life will change in this unfamiliar country. I will always remember for 3 reasons – very original language to learn, Birxu, Lubliana – to Tomaz, Paris – to Romain,
the way it did. I believe that there are several new the day when my boyfriend told me, that he was great places to see and of course the weather. I Budapest - to Eve, Madrid -to Cristina, Crete - to
beginnings throughout one’s life. Once you think going on a business trip abroad for several days. found everything what I had expected but now Mitsos, Santorini- to Paul, Thessaloniki - to Ilias
that nothing surprising can happen in your life, I couldn’t believe that I had to stay in our flat all I have to add one thing more - really hospitable or Bialystok - to Grzesiek… let me think…
life shows you how wrong you can be. on my own. Well, I did. And as much as I know and open people!!!
how crazy it sounds I didn’t leave the flat since By Natalia Kucharska
I have always had lots of plans concern- the day he left until he came back again :). Let me start from the beginning. When Erasmus Student in Thessaloniki, Greece
ing studying abroad; however, I have actually al- I am happy that today I’m not scared of I was taking off from the Polish airport in my
ways failed to put them into practice. The more life anymore, but try to take all challenges it of- head there was only one thought “Natalia, this
I think about it today I’m pretty sure, that I was fers to me. When our Slovak NR, Katka, wrote is the new beginning of your life”. I started my
just waiting for the right moment to make all my me about the call for applicants for Advisory Greek adventure in Crete. I took EILC course
dreams come true. Council on Youth, I took the chance and be- and spent five weeks in one of the most beautiful
came the ESN candidate for this position. Elec- places in Crete – Rethymno. We were having
I am not sure if life works that way, that tions are scheduled soon. Cross your fingers and modern Greek classes from Monday to Friday
you get rewarded for all the things you did in the maybe we will experience the “new beginning” and during weekends we were traveling.
past. Anyway, I got my reward. Today I’m living together!
with a wonderful guy (who was Erasmus student Once we decided to see whole western
in Bratislava), I moved to Hamburg last summer By Dominika Skotkova part of Crete, so we rented a car and headed
and I have just began my master program here. ESN Candidate for Advisory Council on Youth, our first destination - Gramvousa located in the
Leaving my family, friends – simply my whole Slovakia north-western part of the island. Gramvousa is
‘old life’ in Slovakia – was the most difficult part. one of the most magical places I have ever seen
I knew that something new was awaiting me in – mountains behind you, blue sea in front of you
Germany and and that’s what made me going. and the island – breath taking! After few hours
we arrived to the south-western part where our
friends had been already waiting for us. We de-
cided to spend a night there under the sky. A
warm night, bonfire, sausages, songs in many
different languages and afterwards a nice nap
in sleeping bags on the sand in front of the sea.
This was an unforgettable experience.

After five weeks I had to leave Crete and

I went to Thessaloniki. I started my real Eras-
mus life with a new school, new people, new sur-
roundings. I can’t even count how many great
moments I have had and how many great people
have I met. My life in Greece is ‘HALARA’ (easy)
and I love it! There are many places I would like
to see here but it’s impossible to do it in one year.

*just before releasing this issue of eXpress the elections took place and Dominika Skotkova was elected to the Advisory Council on Youth
of the Council of Europe. Congratulations and good luck!
France et Pologne...
Avant de partir en Erasmus, ça faisait qu’Erasmus à proprement dit, parce qu’il est
longtemps que je voulais partir à l’étranger (de dédié à la recherche, je revis l’ambiance Eras-
préférence en France) pour un long séjour. Mais, mus de l’année précédente.
contrairement à beaucoup de mes amis, je ne Après un an à Besançon, je peux dire que
voulais pas habiter à Paris. Ce que je voulais j’ai vraiment eu de la chance de pouvoir rester
c’était une petite ville où tout le monde se con- dans la ville de mon année Erasmus, et avec de
naissait et où on pouvait croiser des amis dans la nombreuses personnes que j’avais rencontrées
rue. Et Besançon semblait parfait pour cela. ici, et de continuer une des meilleures expéri-
ences de ma vie.
Quand je suis arrivée, j’ai vécu un vrai
choc culturel. Tout était différent de ce à quoi By Zuzanna Rudas
je m’attendais : des éléments de la vie quotidi- Erasmus Mundus Student in Besançon
enne comme les heures d’ouverture des maga- United Management Institutes is the first
sins (La pause de midi ? Les magasins fermés le private management school in Finland. UMI
dimanche ? En Pologne personne n‘en a jamais is a Belgian-Finnish higher education institute.
entendu parler ! ), jusqu’au charme de la ville The institute was founded on the principle of
de Besançon dont je suis tombée amoureuse tout providing higher education to those who might
de suite, en passant par l’attitude des Bisontins, not possess the opportunity to obtain one. UMI
comme par exemple les chauffeurs de bus qui is honoured to offer degrees with the best qual-
semblaient toujours être de bonne humeur, et ity of knowledge from an academic and profes-
disaient « bonjour » à tous les passagers! A ma sional point of view. UMI operates as a private
grande surprise, tout le monde était très ouvert Management School offering undergraduate,
et se portait volontaire pour m‘aider sans que je graduate, doctoral, executive and distance-learn-
le leur demande. Déjà à la gare, mon « parrain ing education. UMI as a management school is
Erasmus » est venu me chercher et le lendemain delighted to be able to offer new exclusive pro-
il m’a montré la ville. L’Association des Etudi- grams such as BA and MA in Football Coaching
ants Internationaux de Besançon dont il faisait & Management™ and Master of Political Ad-
partie (que j’ai également rejoint) avait fait beau- ministration™. These programs are offered only
coup d’efforts pour que les Erasmus se sentent in UMI and no university in the world is autho-
bien et surtout pas perdus dans un nouvel envi- rized to offer these program without validation
ronnement. Grâce à toutes leurs activités, je me and authorization of UMI. UMI offers degrees
sentais comme chez moi (ou même mieux). in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and execu-
tive studies as full-time, part-time and distance-
Bien qu’on dise que l’année Erasmus learning -all in English. Students can start their
c’est en grande partie la fête (ce qui n’est pas studies at UMI campus in Finland and continue
faux d’ailleurs), dans mon cas ce séjour a eu une it at UMI partners’ campus around the world.
énorme influence sur mes études, à tel point United Management Institutes is a full mem-
que j’ai décidé de rester à Besancon encore un ber of “European Academic Council of Private
an. J’ai été aceptée dans un autre programme Higher Education” in Brussels. UMI degrees are
d’échange, Master Erasmus Mundus, dont la certified and validated by this council. United
première année se déroule à Besançon. Bien Management Institutes is in partnership with
que ce programme ne soit pas la même chose United Business Institutes of Brussels.

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e-crew 4th issue

Responsable eXpress
Magdalena Wawrzonkowska

Editorial team
Madara Apsalone
James Beckett
Anna Burtan
Anthe de Weerd
Natalia Kucharska
Elisa Lange
Magdalena Pawelczyk
Zuzanna Rudas
Maja Sahpaska
Valentina Settomini
Dominika Skotkova
Dragan Stojanovski
Jörgen Talkop
Remo Weber
Joachim Wyssling

Design and illustrations

Ismet Lisica

‘This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflect the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot
be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained

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