In the following two days we had the opportunity to listen to various conferences, presented by professors and experts from all over Europe: the opening speech of the Forum was particularly exciting and Professor Ludovic Thilly, General Coordinator of EC2U, recalled the multicultural essence of Europe and the objectives that the alliance proposes for the future of students. We then participated in the three Virtual Institutes, which means conferences focused on the themes of Health and Wellbeing, Quality of education and Sustainable cities and communities, on which masters and doctoral projects have been jointly developed between the partner universities of EC2U.
Within the program dedicated to us, we appreciated the various social activities organized and the two discussion sessions focused on the themes of “Sustainability” and “Quality of education” in which we listened to the experiences of our European peers, reasoned critically and proposed solutions concrete in a document presented on the last day of the Forum.
The event gave us students the opportunity to confront and discuss issues relevant to our future within a space of dialogue in which both professors and the governance of EC2U participated. It was nice to have our voice heard and to feel an active part of the “policy making” of the university world.
The next EC2U Forum will be held in Pavia in April and we advise you to participate!”
Some words from ESN Coimbra:
“The 3rd EC2U Forum in Salamanca was a particularly enriching experience that put us in touch with the progress of the consortium and also of the European Universities Initiative, contributing to the European Higher Education Area, without forgetting the cultural and linguistic differences of the countries involved. Indeed, being ESN a student organization embodied in an international network following the motto “students helping students”, we had the chance to meet and bond with students from the other EC2U universities, thus deepening our capacity to act among and for international students.”
Roxana Cărăbuș and Andrea Ruja were selected to be 2 of the 5 students that represented Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi as members of the UAIC delegation. They are also local volunteers in ESN Iasi, and they wanted to talk about their experience:
“The EC2U Forum in Salamanca was an experience that provided me with the opportunity to expose myself to other cultures and mentalities by interacting with students from different countries and getting to taste the flavour of a Spanish University city. It is not a myth anymore that such experiences can open your mind and make you thirsty for more. That’s why now I’m convinced to try by myself an International experience, maybe in one of the 6 countries of EC2U.”
“To have the honour of representing UAIC and ESN Iasi at the EC2U forum in Salamanca was an opportunity that I will be forever grateful for. To be completely honest, before we began our trip, I couldn’t have imagined the wonderful experiences that awaited us there. Besides the guided tours, debates and conferences, what stuck with me the most is how different and at the same time similar we all are. Once I will get home, I will inform myself better on how I can get an Erasmus+ scholarship; I think Salamanca and Pavia are very good options for me, definitely I will apply for one of them. ”
“If I should describe this experience using only one word, that word would be “empowering”. It was so interesting to find out how many aspects EC2U covers, and that so many actors are involved. I’m more determined now to contribute to the integration of the International students in our local community, together with my colleagues from ESN Iasi, with whom I’ve already shared what I’ve learned during these days of the forum. Exchanging best practices with the other ESN sections in this direction will help us a lot in our future activities. Now that we understand better what the role of the EC2U Alliance is, we will easily promote the exchanges between EC2U cities and universities to our volunteers and local students. The city of Salamanca is extremely beautiful and full of history. I hope for many other experiences like these ones, open for students, as I felt that students can do even more to help the growth of the EC2U Alliance and fulfil its objectives. “
“I was happy to participate in the EC2U Forum in Salamanca in October 2021, especially in my role as Student Representative of the FSU Jena student body.
I think that the European university alliances open up new opportunities especially for the students of the participating universities, but also for the respective region. I have once again become aware of the importance of multilingualism and interculturality: In a more closely networked EU, but also the whole world, it is indispensable to speak one or more foreign languages and to meet people from other countries openly and without prejudice.
I particularly enjoyed the presentation by the Vice-Minister for Universities and Research of the regional government of Castile and Leon, Prof. Dr. Pilar Garcés García, on “Languages and Language Policy in International Institutions”. Her presence alone showed that the project is also considered important at the political level and that there is a desire to move it forward. In her lecture, Prof. Garcés García highlighted exactly these topics- multilingualism, international networking, interculturality, etc.- also because she has given direction to her own life. Perhaps it is precisely these people who are internationally active in politics or other leadership positions who can become role models. The Alliance wants to educate open, responsible Europeans and therefore it might be a good idea to invite such personalities to the Forum and to listen to lectures on these topics.
I therefore recommend other students to look into the activities of the Alliance and to get involved in the project. The exchange of ideas from different universities has a lot to offer for students, but certainly also for staff and lecturers of the universities. Especially in the current phase, young people can help shape the further work of EC2U through their ideas or contribute their own suggestions. “
“We are part of the French Student Delegation composed of 12 students (Ina Belishta, Jordana Juste, Laura Bagage, Louis Ruchon, Maelie Douillard, Manon Colombo, Marina Perdigao, Marion Guilbert, Mathis Navard, Olympe Challot, Richy Diakabou Oby, Zakariya Boutassoufra) who travelled to Salamanca to attend the third EC2U Forum.
This is where the trip begins.
- First day: October 27th
The first morning, we couldn’t wait any longer to visit the city. Salamanca is one of the most beautiful cities we had ever seen. The cathedrals, the Universidad Pontificia and the gold-like walls were a pleasure for the eyes! We then met the entire EC2U Student Delegation and went to the multi-sport complex to play sports together and get to know each other. The teams included people from each university, so we got to know everyone by playing soccer, padel and archery. For the latter sport, our instructor was one of the best archers in the country, who plays for the national team. It was really nice to learn how to do archery with someone so passionate about it! For lunch, we ate with the Italian, German and Romanian students. It was so funny to see all of us at the same table: some of us were speaking German, some Italian, some were talking in English, in Romanian or in French. Many of us speak more than two languages, which helped us understand the many multi-lingual conversations. Before dinner, a city-tour was organised. It was very interesting to learn more about the city and to find the “frog”! There is a saying that if you see the “frog” on the university wall, one will be successful in their studies. We all found it, which was a “relief” for the whole French delegation!
- Second day: October 28th
After the Forum opening and the conference on “How to Enhance EC2U links between education and research”, we visited the university, which is a museum in itself. The library, the classrooms and even the corridors were amazing. It looked a little bit as if we were in Hogwarts (but the Spanish version)! In the afternoon, there were conferences on different EC2U research works. It was really interesting to learn about various subjects such as ageing in the city, cancer research, menopause, etc. Afterwards, the students met to prepare the debate on « the future of campuses » that was going to be held on the following day. We talked about green nudges, student-teacher relationships, modern facilities and much more! It was very interesting to exchange views on these diverse topics, coming from different universities.
- Third Day: October 29th
On our last day, we woke up early to walk around the city. We visited the Palacio de Monterrey, which has a beautiful view of the cathedral(s) and the city. We also learnt more about the Spanish royal family, which was really interesting. After that, we assisted a Public Conference on “How to assess the impact of European universities?”. Before lunch, we went to the city hall to listen to the Mayor of Salamanca. The most interesting part were the exchanges on the future of the alliance. We got to see what each delegation expects from this Alliance and it was really enriching. The students debate took place at the end of the afternoon. For about an hour, the students spoke in front of teachers and staff and gave an overview of what had been discussed the day before about “the future of campuses”. That way, the debate wasn’t only by students and for students, but also for teachers and delegates of the different universities.
To conclude, we can say that we had a lot of fun, we learnt new things concerning the EC2U Alliance and we got to meet a lot of foreign students and exchange our different cultures. Pavia is looking forward to hosting the EC2U FORUM 4!”