Erasmus + sparks meaningful intercultural interactions
Ela Jakoubek is a member of the Out of the Box Expert Pool who has been involved in the Erasmus + programme from the beginning. As the programme is now in full swing, Ela is the perfect person to provide insight of how it has been developing so far and what have appeared to be advantages and drawbacks.
How do you see the impact of the Erasmus programme so far?
Frankly, to talk about its impact at such an early stage seems a bit difficult to me! What I can see from my experience in those two years is on the level of impact on individuals – I did see young people being engaged with international youth work, and involved with intercultural interactions because of their participation in some Erasmus projects. I would call that a success. An example very close to my heart is my younger sister, who through her EVS in Romania got totally crazy about Non-Formal Education and international projects, and just presented her own idea for a youth exchange on last deadline. So yep, it works!
What have been the greatest challenges in the implementation of the programme?
I guess, for the organisations I have been working with, to re-adjust to new rules. It also seems a bit messy with many National Agencies, still – the rules and interpretations are not clear, and on many occasions they are not being of much help, to be honest. So I guess, there is still a lot of work for all stakeholders in understanding the programme.
What needs to be improved?
There is a lot of work to be done in terms of accessibility of the programme – it is still quite a complicated procedure, where a lot of digital and technical expertise is needed. So, instead of providing more opportunities for small, youth-led organisations or non-formal groups, it puts them off, I think.
The programme is in its second year. Is it too soon to talk about results or do you perhaps have some insight as to where most changes and progress have been made?
Again, it is bit too soon for a bigger scale reflection… I guess, one of the best things that the new programme brought, are the Strategic Partnerships in the frame of KA2. It really allows to think bigger and to build better projects, which are based on cooperation. We’ll see where they take us.
The so-called generation Z is emerging, will programmes such as Erasmus be suitable for those who’ve been growing up in an almost entirely digital world? Is digitalization making things easier in youth mobility or not?
Oh, big time! The programme is made in a way that allows and encourages use of digital communication – look at the transnational youth initiatives for example. It is tricky, though – I still want it to first and foremost let people meet for real! There is nothing that can replace an actual interaction face to face and hand in hand!