ERASMUS IN SCHOOLS: Use your mobility to inspire others!
We believe connecting international students with local children is one of the many small steps we can take towards a more inclusive and tolerant society.
No, it will not save the world. However, instead of complaining about how unkind people can become to strangers, we decided to allow them to meet strangers.
During the winter semester, several international students who are on an exchange or are even full degree students in Košice, were brave enough to join our volunteers and meet with local children. Read about their stories and maybe it will inspire you to reach out to your own local schools and centres.
Joining a local social centre
We visited Dorka, a social centre for families with a, you could say, complicated background. The vision of Dorka is to build a network of for children, young adults and families at risk. Clients are offered both shelter and better living conditions for the fulfillment of their basic needs, but above all a space to develop their personality. They work hard to enable the families to get back on track, and to empower the children to develop themselves into strong and self-sustained adults. We joined them one Saturday afternoon for with two international students and two ESNers.
Three countries were introduced to the children in an interactive way - the youngest clients of the social centre can now spread the message of Erasmus in Schools further. They can do so not only by the knowledge and secrets about the countries they learnt from the natives, but also by a thing as natural as movement - the international students taught folk dances to the kids! Both sides were excited and we are happy to say that we are planning more meetings like this.
We are not creating something new, we are just here to help
In november, our volunteers Natália and Claudio visited an elementary school in Ždaňa, which is part of the Teach for Slovakia programme (TfS). Teach for Slovakia is a national programme involving professionals from different fields, that decided to go and teach at school achieving the lowest results in national testings long-term. They bring what other teachers cannot, because they worked outside the educational system before. They dedicate 2 years of their lives to work with kids that are hard to work with.
We are happy that we could be part of this programme for a day and we hope to see them soon again. According to the feedback of the teacher, the kids enjoyed the day with Claudio, an Italian medical student, a lot. He inspired them to learn more, to travel and to be more active in the classroom: things that might be „normal“ in most elementary schools, but not in this one. However, this isn’t us boasting about a cool event we made. We genuinely believe that engaging on a local level is available to everyone, and simply took the chance as it came to us. This isn’t always about creating something new – we joined forces with TfS and helped them, even if for a day, with what they are already working on.
Let this be an encouragement for all of you. Local student, exchange student, ESNer... it doesn’t matter. You are part of your local society. Engage with it. Nothing will change if you do nothing. Education has for long not been in the hands of the government only. Education is what happens when you meet other cultures.
Now I don’t know about you, but we think Erasmus is the best time to do so!
Author: Timka, ESN Košice