First Online Partnership Meeting with Future ESN Yerevan Team!
On May 6, NEO team had an online meeting with 3 bright and optimistic Erasmus+ alumni: Nensi Mkrtchyan from French University in Armenia, Hermine Fanyan from Armenian State University of Economics and Shushanik Galoyan from Eurasia International University. NEO was happy to learn about their active interest and initiated steps towards establishing a new support structure for Erasmus+ and international exchange students, expressed in an application to become the first Armenian section of Erasmus Student Network (ESN).
A quick reminder on ESN geography: Erasmus Student Network was established in the Netherlands 30 years ago and at the moment it consists of 42 countries and 529 local sections. It has local representatives in Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova and Azerbaijan. Hence, admission of Armenia into ESN family will allow the network to cover all 6 countries of Eastern Partnership.
During the ZOOM videoconferencing the three alumni, who form the future ESN Yerevan core team, shared their personal stories and concerns about not having an ESN in Armenia, especially amidst COVID-19 pandemic affecting student mobility. According to them, the absence of ESN in our country has a negative impact on exchange students (both incoming and outgoing). There is no common platform for incoming students to learn about Armenia, exchange information, raise issues and help in finding solutions them. Besides, discount opportunities of ESN card are not available in Armenia to both local and foreign students, which increases economic disparity between Erasmus+ Programme and Partner Countries.
The future ESN Yerevan team solicited continuous and regular contact with National Erasmus+ Office in Armenia as one of its key strategic partners and asked NEO to help reach out Armenian students currently undertaking their online mobility in the EU. The parties agreed that a survey analysis of these students’ needs and challenges could help to shape the direction of Armenian candidate section’s yet online activities in 2020. They discussed the mechanisms and details of cooperation, namely, communication platforms, organization of joint events, training of future ESN Yerevan members by the NEO, and so forth.
Candidate ESN Yerevan team has already established a Facebook group “Erasmus+ and International Exchange Students” which invites all previous, current and future incoming and outgoing mobility students and alumni from various higher education institutions in Armenia to join as initial members of a promising and exciting network. The aim of this group is to create a community of exchange students, International Relations Officers and other Erasmus+ key partners in Armenia and beyond.
NEO wishes the team best of luck in submitting the final application and in being approved as a full member!