21 May 2016

Discover Erasmus + World

Lots of young people travelling around Europe..and you hear many of them talking about some amazing programmes, called Erasmus+. What do these actually mean?

Well...let me introduce you to Erasmus + World, which may become a lifestyle for many of you even though you might seem not so confident at the beginning. The aim of all 
Erasmus + programmes  includes the focus on promoting non-formal education and giving international young people the opportunity to discover multiculturality, to enlarge their horizons, in other words, to grow.

Projects, projects, projects...people with experience in youth sector and transcultural programmes say that the very first project can have a great impact, by conturing the way you continue in life.

You have no second chance to make a first impression, and in this context, I have to agree, as in my case, the first project I have attended, has awaken in me the desire to explore more about the youth sector and how one can develop youth policies and apply good practices in NGO field.

Let`s find out more about some of the experiences you can have as an Erasmus!

1) Youth Exchanges (YE)

What`s the programme about and who can attend?

These programmes have as target group young people aged 13-30 and their duration is between 5 and 21 days. For this type of programme, people representing each country must have a group leader (no age limit), that will permanently communicate with the organisation which coordinates the project and will offer support to the participants before, during and after the mobility.

Wave 2 Youth Exchange organized by Agora Aveiro in Sao Jacinto, Portugal (June 2015)

Which are the skills you can improve during this programme?

Mostly, these projects are created for people that want to improve their English skills and meet new people with the aim of improving their transcultural skills. During Youth Exchanges, people have more free time in order to get to know other participants better, in comparison to Training Courses.

The projects include minimum 2 organisations(from different countries): sending, which is in charge of finding participants for the programme and receiving, which, usually, has written the project, organised activities and taken care of creating an adequate environment for the participants.
Social inclusion, democracy, diversity are some of the themes that could be included in a Youth Exchange.

A Youth Exchange should be your first experience in Erasmus + World! Why not to give it a try?

2) Training Courses (TC)

What`s the programme about and who can attend?

Training Courses are especially designed for youth workers, as they focus on providing persons with decisional role in partner organisations with knowledge that they will use further in local communities.
An important fact, is that there is no superior age limit for training courses. So, if you`re 18 years old or older, and have interest in a specific subject, go for it and apply! Maybe you will have the chance to represent an NGO from your country that relies on you that you will get involved afterwards in the development of the community. 

EQYP Training Course organized by GEYC in Bucharest, Romania (May 2016)

Which are the skills you can improve during this programme?

Participants in training courses are expected to have a very good English level and also to be part of organisations with relevant experience in the specific theme that will be discussed during the days of training.
The aim of these programmes is strongly connected to the exchange of information between organisations and the follow-up would be the implementation of the accumulated knowledge through local projects.
For example, if you are selected to attend a training course on Entrepreneurship theme, you may be expected to organize a workshop or presentation for youth in your country and send the results of your work. The dissemination of results is esential in trainings,

3) European Voluntary Service (EVS) 

What`s the programme about and who can attend?

In some countries in Europe, young people decide to take a "gap year" before going to university, as they don`t know for sure what to do further. Not only for them, but also for people older than 17 and younger than 30, an EVS represents a great chance to understand yourself better, develop soft-(Negotiation, Presentation, Training abilities) and hard skills(ICT, Social Media) in social area.
If your curiosity has been awaken, you will be surprised to find out that you can take advantage of this opportunity twice in your life, as there are 2 types of EVS: short- and long-term EVS.
It is very important for you to know, that you can attend both of them, only if you start with the short-term EVS and as long as the sum between the duration of the short- and long-term EVS is less than 12 months.

Which are the skills you can improve during this programme?

EVS gives you the chance to live in a different country, within or outside Europe and to work directly with disadvantaged people, minorities, young people or to help in the development of an NGO (e.g. Social Media, Marketing etc). The programmes offered for youth through EVS are various and you may choose to apply for the programme you are interested in.

EVS is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and people that have taken part in this type of Erasmus + Programme confirmed the fact, that their way of thinking and seeing life has changed after this period of time spent abroad. No matter how much experience you have in your domain of activity, no matter how much knowledge you think you possess, one never has to stop learning and this is why I think an EVS might be an answer for you, if you feel not so sure about your actual life or if you want to try something different, to think and act global.

4) Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs has been created for youth interested in the field of Entrepreneurship.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitory Report from 2015 has showed that the tendency of people to become entrepreneurs, to be on their own has grown from year to year. Indeed, this aspect has a great impact on local economies, as they not only encourage people to buy local, from people that implement new ideas, but also provide new jobs on the labour market and as a consequence they reduce the unemployability rate.

What`s the programme about and who can attend? 

Young entrepreneurs or people willing to start as entrepreneurs, are selected to spend 1 to 6 months abroad, in order to learn from real entrepreneurs how is it like, to have their own business, which are the risks, which are the benefits and how one can be successful in this field, field which has become a lifestyle for many european young people.

Which are the skills you can improve during this programme?

You start developing valuable skills that will definitely be useful in your future as an entrepreneur, it helps you create your own transcultural network, that will give you an advantage for entering foreign markets and it may also help you discover new ideas for your business.

Host entrepreneurs have the advantage of receiving fresh ideas from the entrepreneurs that perform this "traineeship" among them, while young entrepreneurs get to know how a start-up actually is founded, how it was developed, which the difficulties that might appear may be, and how to solve different problems. This experience may end with a long-term collaboration between the persons involved, so you should be aware of not missing this opportunity that could change your career, your life.

My advice for all of you is to try getting out of your comfort zone at least once and see how it`s like to be an Erasmus! Erasmus gathers people together, creates unity at international level. See you somewhere in Europe doesn`t have to be an utopy anymore, but a reality!

Keep an eye on GEYC website! Soon we will surprise you with an amazing interview! Can you guess what`s about?