Virtual: Erwan with the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange program
Erwan, 21 years old, is a social sciences, political science and comparative sociology Master 1 student at the University of Bordeaux. Read about his rewarding human experience within the framework of the Erasmus + Virtual Exchange program!
How did you discover the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange (E+ VE) program?
I discovered Erasmus + virtual exchanges thanks to my English course. When I was younger, I lived in the United States for two years with my family, where I was able to learn English. Knowing this and due to the Covid-19 lockdown, my teacher sent me a link to the program and suggested that it be my grade for the semester, instead of taking the course.
What motivated you to join this program and what are its advantages?
Having carried out an international mobility period in Tbilisi (Georgia) within the Erasmus+ framework during my Bachelor, I was curious to see what new experiences the program could offer. I had a great time in Georgia, and this may be linked to Erasmus+, because I also had a great time during the virtual exchanges.
I was a little skeptical at first because I am not a big fan of phone or video calls. However, after a lesson or two, you start to befriend other students and it becomes very natural to connect with them.
I also thought it might not be very productive, because no one in these groups is really an expert in political science or public policy studies, not even the facilitators. But I quickly understood that this wasn’t the project’s objective. It isn’t a course where you listen to a professor and learn academic facts. Rather, it’s a think tank, a discussion, in which you can ask questions and try to find answers with other students who have had completely different experiences from yours.
Young people from Syria, Turkey, Italy, Ireland, Egypt or Romania will not perceive problems the same way as you do. This experience opens your mind to different perspectives by conversing.
In this period of confinement, do you think that the E+ VE program can be a good alternative to physical mobility?
The weekly chat takes two hours of your time. Add a maximum of 45 minutes to watch the pre-class videos and answer questions, which brings you to a total of less than three hours per week.
Not only is it easily accessible in normal times, but it is even more beneficial in these confined times, as it allows a pleasant escape from the daily routine.
You soon discover that you can travel for two hours to a whole new place where distances and flight times don’t exist. Above all, you make new friends. Whether you are sociable or not, after just a few sessions, you are part of the friendly dynamics.
What advice would you give to students who are interested but haven’t yet dared to enroll?
In a nutshell, the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange program is a great attribute for your CV, a fantastic opportunity to think about political questions and an international asset for your social life!