Erasmus Student Network and Uniplaces join forces to overcome housing obstacle faced by international students
The European-based startup Uniplaces and the pan-European Erasmus Student Network have teamed up to improve international students’ support services by introducing an innovative solution to overcome one of the biggest barriers to student mobility: accommodation. As Europe has committed itself to increase the global competitiveness of European Higher Education, student support services have an important role to play in attracting high quality students from abroad.
Finding a place to live is not only an early step in a student’s journey, it’s one of the costliest: accommodation can represent up to 50% of students’ total living expenses. Stefan Jahnke, president of the Erasmus Student Network AISBL (ESN) says: “Throughout the years we have within ESN identified accommodation to be one of the largest obstacles to increased educational mobility. Thousands of students leave every semester worried about where they will be staying instead of being able to focus on the upcoming academic and cultural exchange. This is exactly why we’re very pleased to have entered into a long-term partnership with Uniplaces, an online accommodation provider that focuses exactly on our target group – international students. We look forward to tackle the challenge of student accommodation in Europe together and to contribute to the future increased mobility of young persons in Europe and beyond.”
Through the partnership, Uniplaces will offer affordable and safe accommodation to international students which will be promoted by the ESN network all across Europe. The partnership also involves cooperation on the UniPlaces Scholarship, a scheme that offers free housing to students worldwide, as well as an Ambassadors’ Academy, giving students professional development opportunities. ESN and Uniplaces are also planning to conduct research to identify the challenges students face, especially concerning accommodation.
Miguel Amaro co-founder of Uniplaces highlights the importance of the partnership: “At Uniplaces, we’re passionate about increasing student mobility across the globe. ESN holds very similar values. It’s obvious that there are plenty of synergies between both organisations, we share the same mission of breaking down barriers to student mobility. That makes this partnership a tremendous win-win.” ESN and Uniplaces are glad to together contribute to an ambitious project aiming at improving international and exchange students’ lives and empower mobility.
Uniplaces is a London-based startup that is creating a trusted, global brand for student accommodation. Since launching in 2013, Uniplaces became the fastest-growing international website for booking student accommodation. Uniplaces has been making the process of finding accommodation easier for students. It also provides landlords with an easy way to rent their accommodation online to students from all over the world and to benefit from higher-than-average rental yields. Uniplaces works closely with Universities and professional accommodation providers. For more information visit http://uniplaces.com
Erasmus Student Network is the biggest student organisation in Europe, founded in 1989 to support and develop student exchange. ESN is present in more than 480 Higher Education Institutions in 37 countries involving around 14,500 volunteers offering its services to 190,000 international students. ESN works for the creation of a more mobile and flexible education environment by supporting and developing student exchanges on different levels and provides an intercultural experience also to those students who cannot access a period abroad ('internationalisation at home'). For more information visit http://esn.org
It was sure worth the wait! Your favourite and highly anticipated column has finally reached the light of a day after a raw and far too long winter! Without any further ado let us all head to the heart of Germany where a shining little Section in the Spotlight of May resides! Having 22 young and active volunteers, with 3 board members, leading the path and dedicating their passion for better integration of international students. Meet ESN Jena!
The inspiring history of ESN Jena begins as many others in the Network: in 1996 students formed a group named “Erasmus Alumni” that wanted to take care of the increasing number of international students in Jena. Couple years later, in 2000 they joined ESN as the 5th section in Germany. Fourteen years under the ESN star gave them a lot of various milestones to look back to.
That being said, all of the milestones from hosting CNR in 2005 to being legally accepted as an association were unimaginable without the great devotion and dedication of ESN Jena members. Interestingly enough, international students are always welcome to join the section and turns out that they quite like doing so without any extra persuasion. ESN Jena already had members from Russia, China and even faraway places like Vietnam. This puts interculturalism to a whole different level! And even though international members find German bureaucracy off-putting when organizing events they still lend their helping hand DJing at the parties, getting involved in many SocialErasmus activities, charity events or even starting to organize promising projects like working with refugees living in Jena.
During the semester ESN Jena is really buckling down so they could have a lot to offer for the exchange students. From traditional Thuringian BBQs throughout the entire year to going on a hike around Jena. The events are often dependent on the interests of section members and international students, so if you will ever find yourself in this lovely German town prepare to have a refreshing swim in the Baltic Sea one day and watch Eurovision Song Contest the next one.
Speaking about large scale events, the flagship project of ESN Jena named “Get-to-know-weekend” involves around 30 participants each time and demands some high level commitment, see for yourselves: “Thus, we offer a very cheap trip to a small village in the middle of the Thuringian Forest. The special thing about that village: you don’t have any internet connection or even mobile signal. So we need to entertain them otherwise. We make energizer, teambuilding games, get-to-know-games, a German quiz but also cook together, go hiking and go snow tubing which is always great.“
For the shining section of May, cooperation is the key and the heart of their rewarding work. Having a good relationship with the student union and International Office provides the section with opportunities to attend regular meetings and discuss the general situation at the university as well as being a part of decision making progress. IO helps a lot financially and together with ESN Jena they promote mobility at fairs and work on improving the internationalism at their university. Working hand in hand with other organizations is a result of belonging to Int.Ro, the Department for Intercultural exchange of the student council. As a member of this organization, ESN Jena shares an intercultural house in the heart of the city. ESN pad in the city centre! Pretty wicked, isn’t it?
Such is a glimpse of the wondrous life of ESN Jena, a section which inspired their exchange students to join ESN or establish sections in Dijon and Timisoara; a section which gave German NB 2 Presidents, one NR, one Project Manager, one Fundraiser and 3 PRs! How did they do it? We will let them say themselves: “And also the key to the interest in the national and international level is simple: we believe in our members! And as we are Always standing united the network can expect more great things from this small little section in the heart of Germany.“ We are convinced. How about you?
by Karolis Kriuka
For one week Europe will once again be the domain of the SocialErasmus Week Spring 2015 (4th to 10th of May) and the Erasmus Student Network will be united to make one of the largest movements towards a positive social impact happen.
Check the calendar of events around Europe!
SocialErasmus (SE) is an international project of ESN with the aim of involving international students participating in university exchange programs into social and voluntary activities in their host countries. The project promotes a social attitude among international students and facilitates their social integration into the local community while exploring the added value that residesin diversity in Europe.
SocialErasmus offers new ways for international students to expand their knowledge of other cultures and educational systems. It enables them to engage in activities that benefit society and brings them closer to the local communities they live in. The project’s activities promote a social attitude towards international students while at the same time, combine formal and informal education with intercultural experiences. Through their engagement, the students enrich their curricula, gain experiences, knowledge, openness to experience, understanding, and sense of appreciation for Europe.
International students connect to their local community on an interpersonal level and show that mobility does not only consist of travelling or studying abroad, but also active engagement in local communities. Such actions foster a better cultural understanding and inspires local students to study abroad.
ESN sections are encouraged to organise their best and most innovative SocialErasmus activities during this week. The objective is to give the international students the opportunity to take part in the SocialErasmus Week in their host country and to have a positive impact on the local community.
You can find more information about SocialErasmus here: www.socialerasmus.esn.org
About SocialErasmus Week: Spring 2015
The Annual General Meeting of ESN has received the official patronage of the European Parliament! Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament has addressed the participants and the entire network in a video message:
We have also received a signed letter from President Schulz:
Dear Mr Jahnke,
Thank you for your letter of 13 February 2015 seeking the patronage of the European Parliament for the General Assembly of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) to be held in Ankara on 16-19 April 2015.
The work of your association, which aimed at creating a more mobile and flexible educational environment by supporting and developing student exchanges at different levels and facilitating intercultural experiences, is well-known and highly valued by the European Parliament.
Our institution believes that the Erasmus programme has been and continues to be one of the European Union's success stories over past 28 years. By fostering mobile student learning within and beyond the EU's borders, Erasmus has provided young people with opportunities to develop professional skills, gain valuable international experience, improve their interpersonal and intercultural abilities and become more open, confidenr and better prepared to tackle the challenges of contemporary society, while reinforcing their sense of European belonging and citizenship.
Given the clear European dimension of your initiative, it is with great pleasure that I grant your event the European Parliament's patronage.
Unfortunately, owing to a prior engagement, I will be unable to attend your event in person, but I hope you will accept my best wishes for the gathering in Ankara, which I am sure will be a great success.
ESN would like to express gratitude for granting the event with the patronage. Our volunteers from all over Europe value highly the moral support received and are motivated to continue working for the international youth mobility.
We are looking for candidates to be featured in the new Erasmus+ official video.So who exactly do we need?
A person who undertook a traineeship abroad with the Erasmus+ programme and is now working in this company or in the same sector.
The goal is to visualise a "dream story". The student/young employer should now be working in her/his dream job, thanks to the traineeship undertaken.
An official video promoting the Erasmus+ traineeships and how the programme changes lives. All that based on a personal story of the selected candidate.
The video should demonstrate that by providing support to young people to undertake traineeships abroad, Erasmus+ can create a bridge that helps young people secure proper employment.
The location does not matter - the best story will be chosen for the video.How many people will be selected?
Only one person will make it for the interviewDoes the type of the exchange programme matter?
Yes, only the Erasmus+ programme participants are eligible.
(that means that the traineeship took place no earlier than in 2014)
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the topic "Erasmus+ Success Story" by Monday, April 23th 2015, 23:59 CET
o a paragraph telling us your story of the Erasmus+ traineeship success
o your picture.
o extra information about the company and any additional links
o an explanation of how you found your traineeship
o If you have been interviewed before or starred in a video, send us the link too.
Example of a final product:
Do something good - Get something great
The UniPlaces Scholarship, in cooperation with the Erasmus Student Network, is offering 5 students free accommodation for a whole semester!
The challenge is simple, but the stakes are high: do something random and kind for another student - and film it! Everybody uploading a video has the chance to win the first ever global scholarship for student housing.
The Uniplaces Living the Dream scholarship is the scholarship you can take home with you. It’s not just a fund we’re creating, it’s an international movement. By making it more international, making it kinder and more random: this is how we change the world.
Apply by visiting the UniPlaces Scholarship website: http://scholarship.uniplaces.com
Uniplaces is an online marketplace for booking student accommodation with thousands of verified properties. UniPlaces believes in empowering student mobility, especially by making the process of finding accommodation online easier for students and landlords.
Over 25 years of supporting international student mobility and over a century of experience in hostelling. How will this cooperation of the two networks benefit young travellers?
With the growing demand of the young generation to move both abroad and within their own countries, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and Hostelling International (HI) have decided to join forces, helping young travellers discover new places, learn about new cultures and gain experience through affordable and quality travel opportunities.
“I am very pleased with this new partnership. We share similar values.” says Angela Braasch-Eggert, President of HI. “Hostelling International stands for inclusivity, learning and understanding other people and their cultures, and is concerned with a sustainable future for young people. We look forward to working together.”
Both HI and ESN believe that mobility is the key to personal development. “The partnership between ESN and HI can be called a ‘perfect match’. The vision of Hostelling International as a membership organisation with a network of accommodation providers for mobile young people matches 100% with ours. Going abroad is about meeting other people and experiencing different cultures. I am extremely happy that we start this partnership and give all ESNcard holders the possibility to be part of the HI community.” says Stefan Jahnke, President of ESN.
What’s in it for international students? All 130,000 ESNcard holders from the next academic year will be able to benefit from a free year-long HI membership and discounts in nearly 4,000 quality HI hostels in 91 countries around the globe. Furthermore, with the ESNcard students can access thousands of discounted hostel beds in 38 European countries and the opportunity to participate in cultural events, trips and parties organised by ESN all year-round. The ESNcard can be purchased at any of the local ESN associations around Europe.
With the European Commission’s ambition of 20% of higher education students having had a study or training period abroad by 2020 the first step to be taken is allowing young people to move, explore the world and feel confident doing it. From today, HI and ESN together make travelling easier and more affordable than ever before.
ESN says HI to the World! Will you?
Maria wakes up in her dormitory room. She switches on a few lamps that she prefers to the natural, all-too-bright Cypriot sun. She turns the heating up to the maximum to be able to wear a summer top inside, and then switches on the computer and the radio, just to leave the room a minute later. Suddenly, Maria finds herself in a darkest nightmare threatened by a phantom to have her dormitory blown up if she does not turn every appliance off within 10 minutes and save the energy that she has been wasting… Will Maria succeed? To find out watch this amusing, awareness-raising Switch Off Horror Movie made by University of Cyprus students in the framework of the SAVES Project, which is now celebrating the results of its first semester.
The objective of the SAVES Project is to support environmentally responsible behavior among the students living in the dormitories by means of running the fun Student Switch Off competitions in dormitories in five partner countries: UK, Sweden, Greece, Cyprus and Lithuania. Student Switch Off campaigns across Europe launched for the first time in the participating countries in September and October 2014. The first semester of this action showed the achieved average reduction of 295,732kWh in energy usage across the participating dormitories, which equates to 86.98tCO2 and 25.431toe, and translates to a 3.13% saving in just a few months! Even better news? SAVES Project is running until the end of the academic year 2015/2016 and the total expected energy saving at the end of the action is at the level of 8%.
The first semester of European Student Switch Off campaigns saw plenty of vibrant student engagement actions. Around 3,300 students signed up to the campaigns and 104 of them were trained as student ambassadors. Each participating dormitory organized a number of photo competitions on their respective Facebook page, resulting in over 140 photos submitted to date. Take a look at the winning photo. Moreover, around 1,300 students took part in the online climate change quiz raising their awareness about energy-saving and climate change.
Want to know more? Attend a SAVES Project Session at the upcoming 5th UNICA Green Academic Footprint Workshop, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, 25-27 March 2015 or at the 27th Annual EAIE 2015 Conference, Glasgow, 15-18 September 2015.
More information: About SAVES on ESN.org
Press Release: Supporting Learning Mobility - Reaction on the Declaration by the EU Education Ministers
The Erasmus Student Network (ESN), who has been acting for the enrichment of society through international student mobility for more than 25 years, strongly welcomes the recent declaration of the European Union Education Ministers, not only because of the values it outlines, but also due to the joint commitment expressed by the European Commission and the Member States. ESN would like to highlight some dimensions of the declaration and would like to push for stronger commitment regarding international learning mobility.
In the midst of the terrible events that struck France and Denmark recently, we strongly agree that the first long-term answer lies in renewed commitment and investment in education at all levels. Only a comprehensive educational strategy that places equal attention in developing knowledge and skills and in fostering active citizenship, tolerant and culturally-open attitudes will lead to the desired goals.
ESN also strongly supports the engagement of Member States to foster dialogue between all education stakeholders, in particular associative structures. In fact, involving young people themselves in shaping new education methods and goals is instrumental in creating a sense of ownership and belonging, which is absolutely crucial to successful education.
ESN believes that international learning mobility under all its forms offers extremely high potential to help reach all the goals mentioned along the declaration. Given its central place in 21st century education, mobility should be supported by all authorities, from the local to the European level. Involved parties should not only rely on the Erasmus+ programme, but also encourage local, regional and national mechanisms in order to develop the accessibility and the quality of mobility opportunities.
Regarding Higher Education, the commonly agreed target for 2020 of 20% of Higher Education graduates who would have experienced international learning mobility during their curriculum will not be achieved without a comprehensive commitment from stakeholders at all levels. Therefore, we call the upcoming Ministerial Conference (May 2015, Yerevan - Armenia) to address the question of the accessibility of mobility to all young people and students. This future opportunity should be taken to reach an agreement on clear national recommendations to support mobility as an ideal tool to ensure the multicultural identity of Europe.
The Erasmus Student Network, as a pan-European wide-reaching grassroots civil society organisation, commits to support the European Union and the individual member states in reaching goals expressed in the declaration through the action of its thousands of volunteers, dedicated to the cause of a united and culturally open Europe. ESN equally commits to support mobility in order to make every student’s mobility experience, a quality European citizenship experience.
Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association (ESAA) integrate the four higher education associations: Erasmus Mundus Association, Erasmus Students Network, Oceans Network and garagErasmus under one new umbrella.
The new ESAA aims to promote cooperation and mutual understanding among students, who participated in EU higher education programs in different countries. Diversity and internationalization as well as global professional and personal network shape our values. The goal is to create a community, which is sharing a strong European identity, while working on innovative concepts through exchange and bilateral relationships. As “ambassadors” of the EU we want to create and maintain networks and further give opportunities for people-to-people communication and debate. The promotion of studying abroad is a relevant aspect of the EU external relations to foster the European identity.
The following criteria apply:
- The acronym ESAA should be kept clear and the logo needs to mention the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association
- Be as creative as possible, illustrate a fresh and progressively depict of the essence of the four organizations and the specific values that unite us
We can’t wait to receive your jaw-dropping logo designs with the title “ESAA”.
Please send your design to Pavan K Sriram (email@example.com), who is the coordinator of the task from EMA.
Deadline: Tuesday, 24th March, 2015 (29:59)
Award: the winner of the call receives an iPad! The winning logo will become the recognized symbol of ESAA and will be officially unveiled during the kick-off event in Brussels on June 11th, 2015.More information: Erasmus+Erasmus Mundus AssociationErasmus Student NetworkgaragErasmusOCEANS Network
In 2014, the European Youth Event (EYE2014) brought together more than 6000 young Europeans aged between 16 and 30. The event was organised by the European Parliament in close collaboration with the European Youth Forum.
The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) had the opportunity to be present with over 40 delegates to attend some of the 200 panels and workshops, to present the organisation during the YO!Fest and to experience the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
As a follow-up of the event, the European Parliament organised hearings in some selected Committees. Our President, Stefan Jahnke, who was also a speaker during the EYE in 2014, had the chance to share some of the 600 ideas that were generated during the event to those committees.
— European Youth Event (@EP_YouthEvent) February 3, 2015
The hearings ensure an effective political follow-up and gave young people the chance to bring additional attention to some of the ideas. Around 70 Members of the European Parliament reacted directly to the ideas and stimulated a lively debate also on Social Media channels such as Twitter.
Stefan had the chance to present ideas to two different Committees: LIBE (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) and ENVI (Environment, Public Health and Food Safety). If you are interested in learning more about the EYE2014 hearings find more information in the following video materials:
Stefan describing his experience of the LIBE Committee:
Stefan describing his experience of the ENVI Committee:
Stefan discussing the EYE2014 hearings (in German):Post by European Parliament.
Find following some reactions by Members of the European Parliament on Twitter:
— Julie Ward MEP (@julie4nw) January 22, 2015
— Catherine Bearder (@catherinemep) January 29, 2015
— Seb Dance MEP (@SebDance) January 29, 2015
— European Youth Event (@EP_YouthEvent) January 29, 2015
Make a difference - Be one of 75 youth for change.
Get selected for the joint summer school by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and EF Education First. At the UNAOC-EF Summer School you will:
- Address and find solutions to pressing global challenges within the context of cultural and religious diversity;
- Develop an international network and leverage it to create positive social change – locally and globally;
- Get global and local pictures by visiting United Nations Headquarters and special interest excursions in Manhattan and greater New York area.
Selected participants will be provided with flight, accommodation, meals and full event access.
Apply for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by March 09, 2015, here: www.UNAOCEFSummerSchool.org
IE Summer School 2015
Live a one-of-a-kind experience at IE's Summer School in Madrid.
What will you learn?
- During the three weeks at IE, you will have the opportunity to take classes with an outstanding faculty, the same that teach our internationally recognized master degrees.
- The focus during the first week will be on developing your soft skills (team building, leadership, communication, design thinking).
- The second week is designed to give students a well-rounded view of the different areas that make up modern organizations. Students will participate in dynamic sessions on subjects as diverse as Communication, Marketing, Finance, Big Data or Strategy.