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It was the first ESN summer school EVER. For 50 participants from more than 20 countries for 6 days in Sofia – august 2009.
The overall goal behind the project was to enlarge the awareness among members of ESN of the importance and role the organization plays in society and the potential it has in addressing topics such as intercultural dialogue and social inclusion. The participants should go home and work more effectively and efficiently in their local branches. Consequently, the internationalization of their universities should be increased. This also should have a spill over effect on their team members, family, friends, fellow students and local society.
Invited were all members of ESN (two from the countries with a high number of member sections – one from the others). In case, the places could not be filled, also members of other student/youth organizations would have been invited to join.
The project was planned and conducted exclusively by young people. It was also important that the trainers were of the same age, but some exceptions were made due to the vast experience of those trainers.
The trainings were all in the form of non-formal education and interactivity was held high. Therefore, presentations were followed by a group or individual activity resulting in discussions and conclusions in the plenum. Besides educating the participants about international higher education and mobility, volunteer management, project management, and non-formal education and training a lot was done to create a group feeling among the participants. As a result, the young people worked very well together and built up relationships lasting longer than only the project duration.
In the end, participants as well as the trainers were overwhelmed by the good organization and the group spirit. The participants are still in contact with each other and much for active in the organization. Also, the demand for another summer school is clearly visible. Furthermore, recommendations on various topics were drafted and can be found in the final report that is disseminated electronically.
To conclude, the project was an immense success, even though the intended objectives were not always reached in the way forecasted. This is largely because of communication obstacles as well as the novelty, meaning the lacking experience, of such a summer school within the Erasmus Student Network. However, this is clearly seen by the organizers and the organization as a whole and will be prevented in the future.