Erna 1

“Eeer.. Guys..? I would really like to get SocialErasmus..!” It was last June or July and I was with my new board (the board of ESN the Netherlands) in a student’s living room in Tuinwijk. Scattered on the coffee table were a couple dozen post-its and half finished cups of tea. That weekend we had all gotten together to – among other things – distribute responsibilities and on one of the many notes that represented a project it said SocialErasmus and I had my eye set on it.

“Scattered on the coffee table were a couple dozen post-its and half finished cups of tea.”

SocialErasmus is a project in ESN which I first encountered when I became a board member last year at ESN Utrecht. Milou was also on my board back then and she explained the bottom line to me: that international students get the opportunity to reciprocate to the society they are a guest in during their exchange, by making a positive contribution and by interacting with people from the society. ‘The international bubble’ is the term used to refer to the tendency of international students to hang out with, well…. other international students, and SocialErasmus activities actually do a fabulous job at that!

Throughout the year I kept on nagging Milou whenever the projects committee organized one of them, but there was usually a very limited number of participants to join. They’d gone to accompany elderly people during a show in the elderly home, they had joined the Smulhuis (a facility for homeless people), etc.

Erna 2

 ““YES!” I said excitedly!”

Finally, during the spring SocialErasmus week (keep in mind, I had been whining about it since September!) she came up to me and said: “Listen, I’d like someone to attend the activity to take pictures. Would you…” “YES!” I said excitedly! And so I came to join the first – what she would call – quality SocialErasmus activity; together with local kids from Kanaleneiland the international students would cook at Resto VanHarte.

Erna 3
I absolutely loved every single moment in it, which brings me back to that afternoon with the post-its. Yes, I got my ever-so-desired SocialErasmus post-it and Milou actually became the National SocialErasmus Coordinator, which means that we are now working together on this beautiful project. Our main focus is currently on the fall SocialErasmus week that takes place from November 16th to 22nd. Throughout the entire 37 countries of the Erasmus Student Network SocialErasmus activities are organized and in Utrecht there will be an auction! Care to join?

By Erna van Burik


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