SocialErasmus: Call for Erasmus+ that encourages integration & intercultural awareness
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With more than 4.4 million higher education students having taken part in the Erasmus+ programme, it is one of the most successful initiatives of the European Union. The Erasmus+ programme has been developed to create a new Generation of Europeans that have a better mutual understanding and intercultural awareness of citizens with a different background. To create a young generation who’s cultural identity transcends traditional cultural divisions, who carry memories and values within themselves that originate from all corners of the European continent.
To ensure that this happens, an Erasmus+ experience must reach further than the study programme. Therefore, Erasmus+ should go beyond individual participants, impacting both their home and host communities. The programme should encourage students to be active participants during their exchange by volunteering and engaging with their host community. This experience will make each Erasmus student an ambassador of the programme and its message, multiplying the results of the investment in each participant and supporting the creation of a society of active citizens.
We are therefore calling for an Erasmus programme that is more social!
INTEGRATION AND INCLUSION
Erasmus students should feel integrated in their host society and empowered to interact with their members to build understanding and break down barriers between people from different backgrounds, further strengthening social inclusion.
By interacting with locals, Erasmus students get to experience the local reality. Students should have the possibility to immerse themselves in the local culture and allows them to experience local customs in order to better understand the local context.
EXCHANGE OF VALUES
Building bridges between locals and Erasmus students fosters an open dialogue and the exchange of values between people with different backgrounds to force a person to look at the world from a different perspective.
Personal development is a key aspect to an Erasmus experience. Not only does it expand your knowledge, it empowers students to test and improve their social skills as well as rediscover their personal beliefs. Erasmus changes the participants' self-perception and broadens their horizons.
Building intercultural awareness to increase understanding of different cultures is important for both the Erasmus student and their host society to overcome prejudice of people that have a different cultural background and ensure acceptance of intercultural diversity.
GLOBAL AND EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP
Erasmus students and the locals they encounter during volunteering activities, should feel encouraged to think outside of local and national confines. The programme should aim at creating global and European citizens, ensuring human connection between people from all over the world and bringing Europeans closer together.
The Erasmus programme should empower students to make an active contribution to society. By volunteering during Erasmus, people can leave their mark by giving back to their host society.
Higher Education has the social responsibility to engage students to reflect critically on society and take up their democratic rights to improve life in local communities.
Encounters between Erasmus students and locals raise awareness about mobility opportunities and the benefits of Internationalisation to local society. It fosters a positive attitude towards multicultural societies and ensures the world stays more connected than ever through exchange of information, international business and travelling. Erasmus encourages people to improve their knowledge of foreign languages.
EDUCATION IN THE 21st CENTURY
Erasmus should contribute to bringing education into the 21st century. Community Service Learning builds a stronger link between theoretical knowledge and practical experience, allowing for a better learning experience of students by bringing elements of non-formal learning into the formal education system.
This Charter was developed in the framework of the SocialErasmus+ project. To find out more about SocialErasmus activities or how you can become more active during your exchange, check out SocialErasmus.org
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