Erasmus+ opportunities as seen by ESC volunteer
What is it?
Erasmus+ is the program of the European Commission for youth, education, training and sports. It has a budget of 14.700.000.000 € (14.7 billion €) of taxpayers’ money that are invested in the creation of projects dedicated to topics directly related with youth through the techniques of non-formal education. With this money, the European Commission covers your cost of accommodation, food and transportation to the venue of the project. That is right, you have all your costs covered!
Non-formal education covers the learning opportunities that are not addressed by education at schools. Some examples are emotional intelligence, social inclusion, youth work, public speaking, performing arts and gender equality. But there are as many as you can think! And who knows, maybe you find yourself writing your own project in some years. There are different kinds of projects to cover such topics: youth exchanges, training courses and volunteering.
- Youth exchanges are short projects (most of them last between one and two weeks) in which a small group of participants from different countries gather and do activities around one topic. I have participated in 9 of this projects and I could talk about each one for hours and hours. The latest example from my own experience: in the last October I was one of the six Spanish participants that went to Nova Gradiška, Croatia to work on mental health through debates, art and many other fun non-formal methods. There were five other countries that participated: Croatia, Greece, Lithuania, Denmark and Sweden.
- Training courses are learning opportunities for youth workers to improve their skills, share their techniques and practice.
- European Solidarity Corps (ESC) or, as it was known until a little time ago, European Voluntary Service (EVS). It consists of a longer project with a bigger impact on the local community. In this kind of project you will move abroad to work every day within the framework of your hosting organization. As in the other cases the topics can be very broad so it is important that you choose well based on your field of interest.
Can I apply?
Many times when I talk about the Erasmus+ program I get all kinds of doubts and questions, here are the most repeated ones:
- Do I need to be a university student to apply?
NO, the word “Erasmus” might have probably mislead you. You do not to be a student to be eligible for the Erasmus+ program. In fact, the target participants are all youngsters between 13 and 30 years of age.
- But my CV is not good enough, they will never choose me.
WRONG. The selection process is not focused on your academic or your professional results. Not even in your past experience in other Erasmus+ projects! In fact, organizers are specially looking for newcomers, so it is actually a plus! Just make sure that you show your real and strong motivation to attend to the project.
How do I apply?
So you are finally determined to start looking for projects and applying. The best way to do it is through internet, especially social media, it is a very simple process. From my own experience, Facebook groups are the best source to get a hold of the projects that are looking for participants so I made a list of the most active Facebook groups that will get you to your next project, which you can find at the end of the article. Welcome to the Erasmus+ program, we wish you a lifetime of adventures! :-)
- Youth in Action
- Erasmus Plus Projects
- EVS & ESC vacancies
- Youth Exchanges for European
- Youth Exchange Projects
- EVS (European Voluntary Service)
- Do Great Things Network & Friends All Over The World
- Erasmus Internships, Erasmus+
Author: Javi Hernandez Castro
Photo: Zavod Nefiks