Ilias Agathangelidis – 50 – Sweden

Ilias Agathangelidis – 50 – Sweden

Since 2005, Ilias has been coordinating various eTwinning, and Erasmus+ school education projects, giving his students the opportunity to learn about sport, culture, the environment, democracy, human rights and entrepreneurship. 70 staff, 500 students and 3 school classes have taken part in various international exchanges in several EU countries, including Belgium, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Finland, Germany and Greece. The experience has inspired students to become involved in similar projects, both within and outside school. Some have gone on to high schools where they could continue working on similar projects, while others are active members in youth organisations. Most of these students have vastly improved both their language and social skills due to their continual interaction with different nationalities and cultures. The Swedish teachers have also learned a great deal from these exchanges, such improving Information Communication Technology (ICT) teaching methods. Different languages are now being spoken freely across the school, adding a truly international element.

Bridging Europe and Africa: A Social Initiative - Romania

Bridging Europe and Africa: A Social Initiative - Romania

So far, 24 individuals from both the EU and Africa have taken part in the 'Bridging Europe and Africa: A Social Initiative' project, working on a number of health and education projects, which have reached some 900 beneficiaries, including children, teenagers and parents. Romanian volunteers working in Benin are developing their skills as youth workers, social workers and midwives. Meanwhile, Portuguese volunteers in Cape Verde are learning a great deal about the environment and wildlife protection, while also developing their entrepreneurship skills. Similarly, locals in Cape Verde and Benin have gained valuable insight into how their counterparts in Romania and Portugal plan, prepare, and run youth and health projects. For example, staff working at a health clinic in Benin are now providing better quality patient care, while local schoolteachers in Cape Verde have mastered non-formal education approaches like team building and brainstorming. Crucially, children in both Benin and Cape Verde are taking part in various leisure activities, shielding them from drug and alcohol dependency.

Hubert Skrzyński – 41 –Poland

Hubert Skrzyński – 41 –Poland

Hubert is currently Head of a prison school in central Poland where he teaches English and Polish. He has successfully created, managed an implemented a number of Adult Education (formerly Grundtvig) projects, applying learning experiences from other prison education systems in Europe to his home institution in order to better encourage social inclusion through education. Taking part in these projects has permitted Hubert to develop a network of contacts through which innovative exchanges take place and new ideas and techniques are shared. Hubert's experience of adult education through Erasmus+ has reaffirmed his belief in the importance of education, and allows him to feel that he is making a positive and active contribution to his society.

Hubert's experience has opened many doors to him: he founded an association for socially excluded people; he has written several articles on prison education; and he sits on the steering committee of the European Prison Education Association (EPEA). 

CARMA Project – Palermo, Italy

CARMA Project – Palermo, Italy

The main aim of the CARMA project is to develop new non-formal learning techniques which will transform school practices. The strategies are being developed as part of an overall EU strategy to reduce early school leaving to below 10%. With pilot schemes already launched in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey, positive results already indicate changes in the attitudes of pupils, with many actively looking forward to their next non-formal lessons. Staff have also benefitted from specialised training and open dialogue with experts in the field of non-formal education in an international setting. CARMA will use the findings from the pilot phase of the project to provide recommendations at the national level for how to best combat early school leaving with non-formal education.

Kieran Brosnan – 51 – Ireland

Kieran Brosnan – 51 – Ireland

In 2014, St. Paul’s Primary School undertook a year-long Erasmus+ project which fostered mobility amongst school pupils. The theme of the project was Inclusive Education; it aimed to educate staff and pupils, and develop an increased awareness of cultural diversity in the classroom to ensure equal opportunities for all. By working alongside schools in Latvia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey with a similar profile to their own, Kieran Brosnan, the project coordinator, was able to share experiences and ideas with colleagues throughout Europe and introduce new teaching and learning methods to his school. Concepts such as 'team teaching' are now used by Kieran and his colleagues in Ireland, and their pupils are really benefiting from more diverse teaching styles and cooperative learning activities. St. Paul's Primary school now offers a more inclusive learning environment, and staff and pupils have recently received a national award for their participation in the campaign 'Show Racism the Red Card'.

 

EMMIR – Germany

EMMIR – Germany

The European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations (EMMIR) is the first African-European Erasmus Mundus Master Course in Migration Studies. Through an intercultural approach, the course provides theoretical skills in migration studies combined with field work in Europe and Africa. For students, EMMIR offers a diverse teaching and learning environment which introduces innovative contributions to the field. A growing global network of partners provides unique opportunities for both internships and employment. Almost a hundred students from around 70 different countries have graduated from the programme since 2012, and this young, dynamic network of migration experts is now making a difference in the field. Most graduates have found jobs in international organisations such as the Red Cross or with migration-related NGOs, while others have gone into research and education. One graduate, for example, currently provides intercultural training for nurses.  

Guillaume Vandeberg – 25 – Belgium

Guillaume Vandeberg – 25 – Belgium

Guillaume is a freelance mason. Through a Vocational and Educational Training  programme (formerly Leonardo) he worked as a trainee mason in Florence, Italy, where he worked to renovate old stone buildings. He was a shy and reserved teenager who never felt like he fit in, and had left the traditional school pathway. Masonry was a skill he could pursue and the training in Italy a revelation. He learned to fend for himself, opened up to others and regained self-confidence. The skills and experience that Guillaume gained as a team leader in Florence have enabled him to set up his own company in Belgium, where he is responsible for his own workers. At his company, Guillaume often hosts trainee masons; he encourages these individuals to explore the same techniques that he learned in Italy.

SPIN – Austria

SPIN  – Austria

Launched in 2011, the Sport Inclusion Network (SPIN) project brought together seven like-minded organisations to increase the number of people volunteering in sport from minority groups. The partners shared examples of good practice by holding workshops on the social inclusion of migrants in each of the seven countries. The project also published various studies on the role that sport plays in social inclusion. For example, the ‘Good Practices Guide’ compiled 45 examples of positive sport initiatives in 8 European countries. Furthermore, the Football Refugee Day - part of the World Refugee Day - saw several partners mobilising local refugee and asylum-seeking communities to participate in tournaments. The 1,952 participants who took part in the project gained from their involvement. For example, migrant football teams were empowered by the experience, with their skills improving. SPIN has been vital in raising awareness and provoking debate of issues which often go overlooked. By building links between refugees and migrants and civil society, SPIN has been able to build strong networks and engage more vulnerable people in sport. 

Carina Autengruber – 26 – Austria

Carina Autengruber – 26 – Austria

Carina is passionate about social inclusion, and has actively participated in this cause since childhood. However, Carina's European Voluntary Service (EVS) placement in Luxembourg gave her a whole new perspective. During her EVS mobility, Carina worked with young people with disabilities. She became aware of new ways to engage with and contribute to society, and felt she was really making a difference. The experience also broadened Carina's understanding of what it means to be European – 'Europe' transformed from being a concept into a tangible reality. The opportunities offered to Carina by the EVS programme have also helped her develop many key skills; she is more self-confident, better able to face challenges, and has more intercultural awareness. Carina has further built on these skills as a European Youth Delegate of the Austrian National Youth Council, where she has focused on topics such as youth participation, migration, and gender equality, and in her new role as vice president of the European Youth Forum.  

Tania Habimana – 27 – United Kingdom

Tania Habimana – 27 – United Kingdom

Erasmus – Higher Education

Germany, 2009

Tania grew up in the UK and Belgium. With Erasmus, she studied international business and German. The experience presented Tania with the opportunity to build an international network of contacts, and prompted new, entrepreneurial ideas. Today, Tania runs her own enterprise Tailored Business, a TV show which documents experiences of designing suits for individuals in Africa, and interviewing them about their own careers. Tania is an advocate for women entrepreneurs, and hopes that her TV show will inspire others to explore their own business talents. Tania also contributes to Elle magazine South Africa as a careers specialist.

Jennifer Lenhart – 35 – Sweden

Jennifer Lenhart – 35 – Sweden

Erasmus Mundus

Hungary, Sweden & Greece, 2005

Jennifer is a programme manager/expert at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). She was one of the first students to participating in the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management (MESPOM). Her experiences abroad, in Hungary and Greece, helped Jennifer better understand other cultures, as well as to appreciate the different applications of environmental policies and scientific research in diverse local contexts. The knowledge which Jennifer gained during her Erasmus Mundus course continues to influence her work today, where she aims to engage citizens in shaping the cities in which they live.

Elías Pérez Carrera – 38 – Spain

Elías Pérez Carrera – 38 – Spain

Erasmus – Higher Education

France, 2003

Elias is the co-founder of Quobis, a company specialising in unified communication solutions. He did his Erasmus at a graduate school of engineering in Paris, where he wrote his thesis on speech processing. His experience was eye-opening; he discovered new ways of working and learned to broaden his perspectives when solving problems. Elías' Erasmus experience allowed him to develop the skills and confidence to develop the international side of his own business. Elías now aims to give other young people the chance to gain the same skills and experience that Erasmus gave him by hosting Erasmus+ trainees at his company.  

Renee Vozelj – 27 – Slovenia

Renee Vozelj – 27 – Slovenia

Youth in Action

Belgium, 2011

Renee is a young entrepreneur from Slovenia, whose Erasmus experience encouraged him to develop his own business ideas. Back in 2011, while studying at Maribor’s Faculty of Logistics, Renee embarked on his first international experience in Belgium to help organise a local festival. Alongside his colleagues, he helped with logistics, planning and producing content for the festival. Camping for the first time and organising a large event helped him get out of his comfort zone and make new connections. While in Belgium, Renee fell in love with local beers and developed an interest in making his own beer back in Slovenia. In addition to having developed different business ideas in the field of logistics, he also opened his own brewery in Slovenia two years ago.

Jakub Viktorin – 26 – Slovakia

Jakub Viktorin – 26 – Slovakia

Erasmus – Higher Education

UK & France, 2012-13

Jakub is a film producer and young entrepreneur. He did an Erasmus film course at the University of Falmouth in the UK and an Erasmus+ internship at NISI MASA, the European Network of Young Cinema in Paris. His Erasmus experiences were very positive, allowing him to learn about new cultures and outside of a typical school environment. In Falmouth Jakub improved his production and writing skills, while in Paris he made valuable contacts, with whom he remains in touch. Studying in various countries helped Jakub expand his portfolio and experiences; it also allowed him to gain knowledge which helped him start his own company. Jakub thinks the Erasmus experience gives students a new perspective on life and work.

Simona Bisboaca – 37 – Romania

Simona Bisboaca – 37 – Romania

Erasmus – Higher Education

Italy, 2001

During her Erasmus exchange, Simona was able to take full advantage of the lab facilities available at the University of Bologna, and greatly improved her Italian. On returning to Romania after her stay abroad, Simona was able to secure employment at an Italian firm based in Romania; this was thanks to the language skills and knowledge she had developed abroad. Simona also became more confident and entrepreneurial thanks to her time in Italy. Simona now runs her own company which manufactures a powerful anti-oxidant supplement which she discovered as part of her research. Her research and entrepreneurial skills have led to two patents for her products. Simona is a keen advocate of engaging young people in science and research and allowing them the educational opportunities to grow and innovate.

Carlos Arsénio – 30 – Portugal

Carlos Arsénio – 30 – Portugal

Vocational and Educational Training (VET)

Spain, 2004

Carlos is an electrical engineer. He completed a VET mobility when he was just 18 years old. Prior to moving to Cáceres to undertake his internship, Carols developed a prototype for a robot which could detect human life in areas hit by natural disasters, for which he won a Young Scientists and Researchers Award. During his mobility in Spain, Carlos developed an interest in industrial maintenance, and decided to pursue academic studies to become an engineer. Living abroad at such a young age gave Carlos the confidence to explore new and challenging environments, and adapt to different ways of working.

Anna Kwiatkowska – 50 – Poland

Anna Kwiatkowska – 50 – Poland

Adult Education

Poland, 2013 - Present

Anna is an IT specialist, developing educational tools for people with intellectual disabilities as part of a number of Erasmus+ projects. Anna and her colleagues at the Polish Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability build partnerships with therapists and psychologists across Europe to improve people’s employability, thus helping them live more fulfilling and meaningful lives. To Anna, Erasmus+ means breaking barriers using new technologies. Recently, she helped create a tailor-made computer lab and got to witness how this can help change people’s lives.

Ánde Trosten – 26 – Norway

Ánde Trosten – 26 – Norway

Youth in Action

Germany, 2012

Ánde is Sami, an indigenous minority in Norway. He currently works as a Sami language teacher and is a member of the Norwegian Sami Parliament's Youth Committee. Ánde's youth exchange was in the environmental field. Whilst in Hanover, he organised workshops to demonstrate the effects of climate change on the Arctic region. During his placement, Ánde strengthened key professional skills, such as his ability to manage, organise, and communicate confidently in other languages. Ánde was encouraged by the ease with which he was able to build positive relationships with people from entirely different cultural backgrounds to his own. On returning home, Ánde was highly motivated to become more involved in the Sami community, particularly in creating a dialogue among young people concerning the challenges faced by people in the Arctic region.

Roberto Breeveld – 30 – Netherlands

Roberto Breeveld – 30 – Netherlands

School Education – eTwinning

Germany, Denmark, UK, France & Sweden,  2012

Roberto is a geography teacher and enthusiastic eTwinning ambassador for the Netherlands. Since 2012, Robert has led two eTwinning projects, organising virtual student exchanges across five European countries. By interacting with people from different backgrounds, his pupils gain new perspectives and become more open to new ways of thinking and learning. They also greatly improve their English language and ICT skills. The experience is also educational for Roberto himself, prompting him to try new and exciting approaches to teaching and learning.

Ruth Frendo – 37 – Malta

Ruth Frendo – 37 – Malta

Adult Education

Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden, 2015

Ruth represented Malta in a multi-country Erasmus+ project which promoted social inclusion. During the project, Ruth interviewed asylum seekers and refugees in Malta and was able to connect with people on a personal level through their stories. Ruth learnt a lot from her experience, and built lasting relationships with colleagues throughout Europe. Ruth's research was translated into seven European languages, and resulted in the production of a television documentary.

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